Our community is always on the lookout for new and upcoming leaders, the next generation who is going to shape our community into the sparkling and glorious melting pot that it continues to become. If there is any group that has standing out and coloring outside of the lines down to a science, it’s the self anointed Milian Mafia. This New Jersey based Haus takes their name from a legendary Jersey queen (Alexis Milian) and their cues from the haus scene that came before them; it’s about family. While still maintaining their individual lives and working towards their own goals, the Milian Mafia together are turning the “lewks” and showing all of us that gender is the simply a construct. I sat down with the entire Milian Mafia for my ongoing #PrideSeries, and from their humble beginnings to their Pride season travels to what they have coming up next, plan on seeing a lot more of these talented and revolutionary trailblazers.
Michael Cook: So let’s start at the beginning; how did the Milian Mafia take shape? Give me each of your names also…
Milian Mafia: We are Herbert Milian (@herbertmilian), Magenta Milian (@notmagentamilian), Charles Milian (@charlzmilian), Jared Milian (@jaredmilian_ ) and Jay Milian (@milianbeauty) (Danza Milian)
The Milian Mafia was born as an extension to the Haus of Milian, started by the one & only Alexis Milian. Jay was brought into the Haus as the drag protégée, Danza Milian. Throughout the years Alexis helped to mold Danza into the Haus Mother that she is today. Eventually Alexis would retire & would pass the torch to Jay. In order to continue & elevate the legacy, Jay wanted something bigger than a Haus. He wanted a brand & then #MilianMafia was born. One of the definitions of mafia is “a closed group of people in a particular field, having a controlling influence”, which speaks to some of our ride-or-die family values that like to control the fashion influence we have in our own community. Specially-selected, each of us are like puzzle pieces that come together to make the most beautiful images.
MC: How long do you all know each other? What are the relationships between you?
Milian Mafia: It’s different depending on the person really. Jay, Charles and Herbert were good friends for a number of years. Eventually they met brothers Jared and Tyler together and all formed an immediate bond.
MC: You seem more than friends, almost family-esque; is that fair to say?
MM: I think if it’s anything not only is it fair, but it’s accurate. We aren’t the kind of friends who just get together and turn looks and then go our separate ways. We are all very involved in one another’s lives, we spend holidays together, we know the parents and families of each other etc. We are definitely into the club scene and the looks and the music, but family comes first and we are all a very close family.
MC: Your looks are very gender neutral and you definitely play with gender as we all know it. What reactions do you get to your looks?
MM: We like pushing people out of their comfort zones with our fashion. We maintain the idea that gender is merely an illusion, and anyone can wear anything. In regards to reactions, it depends on where we are. We’ve traveled to a lot of different Pride festivals and have experienced different reactions and met incredible people, and have amazing stories from each one.
MC: Many of your most talked about looks are the ones that you do for those Pride festivals all over the nation. Tell me about them…
MM: DC Pride was an experience! On our final day there we did a festival look. We got to the festival and hundreds of people were stopping and asking for pictures. We ended up going to an after hours party at a club called Flash, DC. We arrived at the club around 9:45 and were greeted by a woman who told us that the club was going to close at 10 PM. We went in anyway because we wanted to have a good time. Cut to four hours later, that same door woman comes up to us and says “they kept this club open because of all of you” and we all had this moment of disbelief, because as ridiculous as it was, we really had an amazing time.
Los Angeles Pride is the benchmark for all prides. Everyone is turning a look. We did ten looks in ten days and the reactions and compliments and things we heard made it all worth it. We made a LOT of our LA looks, so to hear kind stuff in regards to that is always incredible. We fit right in at LA Pride. We got to experience The Abbey, Evita, Motherlode Revolver just to name a few and we met amazing people who all said really kind things. We of course had to turn some looks at every single Vanderpump location!
NY Pride last year was a little different for us as we had an opportunity to volunteer our time and services at the Hetrick Martin institute, an organization that provides hot meals, health services, counseling, and so much more to LGBTQ+ youth for free all year round. (This June MAKE UP FOR EVER is celebrating Pride with twelve brand new nude lipsticks under the tagline: #AcceptedAnywhere: Own Your Nude. For every Artist Nude Creme sale in the US in June 2019, MAKE UP FOR EVER will donate $2 to the Hetrick-Martin Institute). We got to do hundreds of kids makeup for the Pride parade and we were brought to tears by the experience. That day, those kids got to turn the looks!
Finally, NJ Is home for us, so we could never leave out NJ pride. We’ve turned a lot of looks at Paradise for the annual Pride tea dance, but a few years back we did the Rainbow look, where we each did a full monochromatic look in one of the colors of the Pride flag. We always get a room that overlooks the party, and that year we all came out at the same time on the balcony for everyone to see the looks for the first time, and people started cheering below. That moment was unforgettable. NJ Pride is amazing because everyone knows us and they expect the looks and we love to deliver 🙂
MC: Some of you are very musically inclined, and have put some music out. Plans for more?
MM: Of course!! We are so excited to release the music we have recorded. We have worked so incredibly hard on it, and we just want everything to be perfect. We have a few amazing tracks recorded and we’re working on turning them into an EP. Actually, we have a BANGER recorded that B.Ames produced for us. We haven’t told anyone that yet, so that’s actually an exclusive!
MC: How do you each describe your own fashion sense? How do you merge it together with some of the looks you manage to make so cohesive? Where do you get most of them/who are your favorite designers?
MM: The looks take a lot of patience, time, planning and money. We literally have meetings where we come together to have dinner and hang at someone’s apartment, and we vision board, conceptualize, practice and compromise over what we think the looks should be. If someone is out at the mall and sees something someone else would like, we immediately send it to the group and ask if they want it. If we’re having trouble finding a certain piece, we might change a look to ensure cohesiveness and success. If we can’t find something we absolutely need, we will literally make it ourselves..
MC: How do you each describe your individual fashion sense? Any particular designers you guys absolutely love?
MM: Charles would describe his fashion sense as boundary pushing and attention grabbing. Herbert would describe his fashion sense as a trendy style with modern twists with a sprinkling of ‘prep’, attire that boasts fun colors, patterns and prints. Magenta would describe their fashion sense as 90’s Mom and Millennial. Jared’s fashion style is a mixture of banjee and bougie, he’s inspired by street style, and a lot of leg, body and boots. Jay’s fashion style is eclectic and androgynous. A play of feminine garments & masculine pieces blended together to create a plethora of genderless silhouettes.
Some designers and brands we have had the pleasure of working with before are, PhilthMark Custom Designs, Marek and Richard, Hologram City La, Jolina Jasmine, Fashion Nova, Eye Hunee, Ivy Park, just to name a few. And of course each other, as we love helping craft and design fun pieces for the group
MC: You have gotten some attention from another Milian, namely Christina Milian correct? Tell me about that?
MM: Yassss!!! She actually found us on Instagram a few years back. She liked our pictures and we began messaging and she followed all of us.She’s really really gracious and sweet. For Christmas two years ago she signed and sent a personalized picture to all of us, we’re obviously big fans. It was just such an incredible moment, because she could have sent us a cease and desist, but she gave us an amazing blessing!
MC: If Milian Mafia had a motto, what would it be?
MM: Simple: our motto would be to always stay true to yourself, and let it shine through at max capacity!
MC: What’s next for you each and as a group?
MM: We all have so many amazing things in the works, of course more incredible looks and our music are definitely high on the list of things to come.
Individually, It is Herbert’s pleasure to continue expanding his hospitality brand, #hospitableherbie by providing Asbury Park with exceptional customer service.Herbert also looks forward to continuing to expand his artistry and to working on the music. Charles is continuing his successful Aesthetician career by helping the residents of the Jersey Shore look and feel their best after his services, and he continues to look for more educational opportunities to expand his knowledge, all while serving summer looks and laying down the Milian summer beats. Magenta will be preparing to slay New Jersey’s Icon singing competition this fall (which Jared is the current reigning winner of) and they look forward to creating content and looks this summer, and working on the music. Jared continues to write and produce music for himself and the group, and will be starring as the Witch in Into The Woods this upcoming fall, at the Union County Performing Arts Center, a role he won after destroying the competition in the aforementioned Icon contest, that Magenta will be competing in this year.Jay continues to excel as an Sales & Education Executive for MAKE UP FOR EVER throughout the NJ/PA region. He is grateful to be part of a company that gives back & spreads awareness. He works hard to continue the legacy of the Haus of Milian, and is excited for all #Milianmafia has in store for the future.
MC: What gives each of you pride?
Magenta Milian: Having friends who shine as brightly as my friends do, gives me pride.
Jared Milian: Outside of my amazing friends? What gives me pride is sending my parents pics of our looks, and telling them all about pride. Seeing how much they love me and support me and are genuinely interested in my community and my friends. Also, the kids we see at pride…here is nothing like that.
Herbert Milian: What gives me pride is our ART, what we create, and the LGBTQ community we inspire. Our bond as family, friends, and a Haus always inspires me further in the end.
Charles Milian: “ take pride in my LGBTQ community, and I take pride in marching for our equal human rights and standing up for our community.
Jay Milian: What gives me pride is the ability to unapologetically be myself, whether it means wearing makeup or having neon hair, staying true to how I see myself without caring about what anyone else may think. You only get one life so might as well live it to the fullest!
(All Photos Courtesy of the Milian Mafia Unless Otherwise Indicated)