“The more high fashion you go, the more it becomes art.”
Kat Graham is an artist in many aspects. She is an actress, singer and budding fashionista, trading in her Vampire Diaries character’s signature American Eagle and Free People duds for Alexander McQueen and Viktor Luna at the end of the day.
“Fashion, hair, makeup, everything should be a character,” Graham tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And then I hang up her clothes and get right into my acid washes, bustier and get the F- out.”
During a recent interview with THR, Graham browsed around trendy WeHo boutique Church, where she discussed what she loves (and hates) in fashion today. Aiding her for the day was Church “altar boy” – or sales clerk – Justin Lynn.
“I think in the TV and film world, when you're an actress, you're supposed to be middle of the road,” she laments. “And if you somewhat go outside of the box, you're automatically compared to Lady Gaga or whatever. When you just honestly want to step outside of the box. But so many of the weekly mags or whatever bully you for stepping a little outside of the boxes.”
For her everyday style, Graham says she’s really into kilts, men’s shoes (“I love a good Oxford or Alexander Wang”) and plaids for the fall -- a far cry from her red carpet glam.
“I'm thinking of wearing some leather kilts coming for fall, and some cool big blazers, like oversized," she says, adding: “I feel like leather pants are going to make a very vicious comeback. I love the tight leather to the ankle pants with some simple pumps, like my Gio Dievs.”
Known primarily for her role on The Vampire Dairies, Graham broke out onto the music scene with her debut single “Put Your Graffiti On Me,” currently climbing Billboard’s dance chart. The video puts Graham in bright, neon hues (fitting, considering the song's reference to graffiti) and Doc Martins with a high ponytail.
“It was all very young and fun, but it was tons of Jeremy Scott and all that kind of stuff,” Graham says of her video. “The fans immediately had this negative reaction to it, because they're used to seeing this innocent, sweet character, the 17-year-old whatever, not some 22-year-old shaking her ass.
“So for them, it was hard to distinguish that one is a character written by writers and produced down to a T,” she adds. “And then for me, I just have to be myself, especially with my music, especially with red carpets and stuff like that. Because that's really all I have, I could never utter another word again or never release another song. All I have is what people see.”
Graham is set to debut her second single off her freshly released EP, Against the Wall, at the end of the month, but remains tight-lipped on which song is going to hit the airwaves. For the forthcoming video to pair with it, Graham is currently in the creative process, but we suspect that fans can expect more of her dance moves.
“On stage. Well, I dance a lot,” she says. “I love sailor pants. I love sailor pants and a tiny top -- baggy pants, tiny top – but I’m kind of into customizing things.”
At her last red carpet appearance, the Teen Choice Awards, Graham donned a bright, printed mini by Mara Hoffman, pairing the event-appropriate dress with the same gold chain worn during our interview. And while discussing her favorite qualities in a red carpet outfit, Graham issued a call to action for her fellow starlets.
“I feel like sheer is sexier than the typical Hollywood stretchy bandaged dress,” she proclaimed. “I'm over it. Can you tell them to stop?”
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci