Lucky Blue Smith, On the Precipice
LUCKY BLUE SMITH IN JUNE 2015. PHOTOS: GUY LOWNDES. STYLING: ANDA & MASHA. HAIR: NICOLE WALPERT.
Looking at and listening to Lucky Blue Smith, and especially doing both at the same time, it’s hard to believe that he didn’t spontaneously generate, fully formed, somewhere in Southern California. He’s only lived in L.A. for two years, but he’s got the uncanny appearance and parlance of a native: the bleach-blond hair, the healthy tan, the lips, an uber-agreeable air, a laid back lilt to his voice, and a penchant for describing things as groovy and awesome.
He’s actually, somewhat famously, from Utah. Born to Mormon parents in a small town called Spanish Fork, he has three older sisters whose names all sound as lyrical and racehorse-like as his: Pyper America, Daisy Clementine, and Starlie Cheyenne. That affect may well have been intentional on their parents’ part; from a young age, all six of them have gotten together for regular family meetings at which they share their ambitions and measure the progress they’ve made towards them.
Modeling wasn’t originally one of Lucky Blue’s childhood goals—until he and his siblings got scouted in their early teens—but suffice it to say he’s accomplished it. With more (and more fervent) followers than most of the brands and magazines for which he models, the 17-year-old has settled into the kind of superstardom that male models scarcely know at any age.
“I love my Lucky Charms,” he says earnestly. That’s the name his 1.6 million Instagram followers gave themselves at some point—he can’t quite remember when—and that he now happily uses to refer to the hordes of teenage girls who attend his meetups at fashion weeks around the world. “It’s definitely gotten bigger,” he says of his fandom, and of the crowds formed at such events. “Sometimes the fans, they get… not crazy”—he pauses—”but they get rowdy. Sometimes, at the end, my shirt is ripped in half.”
Lots of models, discovered in their tweens or teens before they’ve had time to accomplish anything else, seem eager to eventually transition into other creative fields, especially if they’ve achieved name recognition: models-turned-actors and models-turned-photographers are a dime a dozen. Lucky Blue’s side gig is one he’s had since before all the modeling mayhem: together, he and his three siblings form The Atomics, a retro-sounding rock band whose first instruments were the ones their parents gave to them on Christmas when Lucky Blue was just seven. Band practice has become markedly less frequent since he, and more recently his sister Pyper America, have booked more and more modeling jobs, but they’ve never disbanded or gone on hiatus. Continuing to make new music is a priority (one that’s frequently discussed at those aforementioned family meetings) and their agents will even reschedule photo shoots to find time for the family to practice together. “It’s nice, actually,” says Lucky Blue. “Me and Pyper can just come in at the end of the process and figure out the bass line for each song.” Very nice, since they’re ostensibly the busiest.
Considering that they grew up on the surf and disco music their dad played for them, the Californian vibe that the four of them put out isn’t totally surprising. In the way of musical inspiration, Lucky Blue cites Jimi Hendrix, the Black Keys, Sublime, and Lana Del Rey. The band’s sound is starting to change, though: “less vintage, and a little more pop,” he offers. “More danceable.” They’re currently debating whether to go all in on a new album or put out an EP. (Unsurprisingly, given their other commitments, they’re leaning towards an EP).
That may not even be Lucky Blue’s biggest extracurricular project in the coming year, though. He recently wrapped his first-ever acting job in Love Everlasting, a super-sentimental-sounding film slated for release next summer, in which he stars as a misfit teen with a poor mother, an abusive stepfather, and, thanks to heart problems, limited time left to live (and, of course, fall in love). He’s definitely got the face for a role like that—if all goes well, he says, he’ll have more screen credits in the near future. “I’m just really stoked for 2016,” he says from what sounds like a place of pure, unhampered optimism. “It’s gonna be huge.”
FOR MORE ON LUCKY BLUE SMITH AND THE ATOMICS, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.