Bowen Yang on Hard Seltzers, Hangovers, and Harry Styles
Bowen Yang, aka @fayedunaway, aka the SNL legend-in-the-making behind instant classics like the iceberg that sank the Titanic and “trade daddy,” is gearing up to star in his friend Joel Kim Booster’s queer Pride and Prejudice send-up Fire Island. But first, he sounds off on the Pines Pantry cashier girls, successful rocket launches, empathy sinkholes, and Bushwick.
“It’s sort of this reality distortion field. The rules of time and space work differently there, in the best way. It’s all about who you go with, and if you can subsist on Jack Link’s beef sticks for the week. Everyone’s survival is in the hands of seven teenage girls from Long Island, who work at the grocery store and the restaurants. It’s the perfect setup for queer debauchery.”
“I was probably stoned when I figured out that I could change my Instagram handle from @bowenyang to something else. The reason I took the handle @fayedunaway on was because I was like, ‘This is a camp legend.’ People let her get away with being a caricature of an Old Hollywood actress. The fact that she gets physically violent and calls assistants little homosexual boys, and it makes the news, just speaks to her stature as a legendary figure.”
“Bushwick is like its own Rorschach test, not to be meta, but people hear ‘Bushwick’ and come to their own conclusions. No one’s cool enough for it, so everyone’s sort of equalized there. When I go, I feel just the right amount of alienation, and that’s how
it should be.”
“I have a case of White Claw that’s been sitting in my fridge since June, but I don’t know what that says about me. I think it means I’m trying to be open to new trends, but there’s some fear in me of actually engaging with them in a meaningful way. I’m scared of bubbly water making me lose my inhibitions.”
“My relationship to eyewear is defined by an Elton John concert I saw on TV when I was like five. They followed him backstage and he had two suitcases full of different colored glasses. I was like, ‘I want that when I grow up.’ That was probably my first hint of being homosexual. I didn’t even wear glasses at the time.”
“I don’t live there anymore. I’m in Williamsburg now, but I do love Clinton Hill a lot. Your stroller–to–junior–publicist ratio is a little higher over there. It will always hold a special place in my heart for being the place that I rode out the beginning of lockdown in, so it’s both traumatic and sentimental.”
“I’m mostly just proud of myself for stomaching it. It’s a miracle that so many people pressed play on this horribly traumatic allegory about wealth and poverty and not only did they not go back, but they loved it. I really loved it, too.”
“A real estate firm. A daycare for celebrities’ children. A multi-building complex of people who are ‘creating’ their own majors.”
“I remember when he did the read-through at SNL, one of his rockets took of successfully, and he was very happy about it. I was like, ‘Oh, okay. So this guy just geeks out over rockets. That’s his whole deal.’ And that’s all I needed to know about him to make him a human being to me, because before he was just a concept.”
“An empathy sinkhole, because I go to them and I just feel very, very bad for the people working there. I’m like, ‘Oh gosh, where’s the tip jar? How do I make this okay for you?’ You’re mentally unwell if you go to an open bar and ask for anything more complicated than an Espolòn and soda. You’re just being rude.”
“There’s no cure, but something that helps is putting your eye patches on, using your jade roller that’s been in the fridge, and getting the puffiness down. The rest will follow.”
Grooming: Kumi Craig using Sisley Paris at The Wall Group.
Production: Perris Cavalier at The Morrison Group.
Photography Assistant: Jesse Hasko.
Fashion Assistant: Libby Ferguson.