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Hair: Ponyboy
Photography & Set Design: Kyle Crooks
Styling & Words: Graham Peacock
MUA: MV Brown
Featuring @okaylourdes, @apieceofcabbage, @fran.k____, @samanthamaria268, @araecullen
Photo Assistants: Isabella Atanes-Enepi, Kate McMahon & Nova Needham
With thanks to Limitee PR and Dandy

Scotland’s queer creative community needs Ponyboy.

Founded by couple Dill and Reece last summer as a hair studio, Ponyboy has quickly evolved into a multi-hyphenated queer space specialising in editorial hair, high impact spectacles, and elaborate nightclub productions.

Bringing together queer creatives from almost every corner imaginable in their showcases (art, music, drag, ballroom, fashion, and more), Ponyboy provides a framework for how a truly integrated creative network can help queer communities within cities blossom. Celebrating queer beauty, with an emphasis on the trans community, exists at the forefront of Ponyboy’s work. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture and historic fashion references, Ponyboy uses hair to indulge in fantasy and empower their clients, performers, and partygoers. Ponyboy understands the power of image, and the importance of safe havens. It is their equal celebration and adoration of Scotland’s queer community that has cemented them as a beautiful, unpredictable powerhouse.

This feature was shot by Kyle Crooks, with makeup from Glasgow makeup artist and Ponyboy resident, MV Brown. The names in this collaboration with LUNCH aren’t just mainstays of Glasgow’s queer creative world, they’re also Dill and Reece’s friends and frequent collaborators, adding an authenticity to Ponyboy’s work which is forever tangible in their output.

What influenced you to start Ponyboy?

Well, the name Ponyboy obviously comes from the SOPHIE song. When the name was suggested by a close friend of Sophie, we both immediately knew that Ponyboy was perfect. We were also surrounded by our chosen family at a festival and the moment felt very perfect.

We wanted to immortalise her legacy in the centre of Glasgow as a love letter to the queer community (specifically the trans community) because of how important SOPHIE was to us all and what she represented.

Our chosen family are primarily trans or non-binary and Dill especially has experienced the stress that comes with navigating the world as an often femme-presenting person and how hostile the world can often feel.

A huge goal of ours in creating Ponyboy was to contribute to the historical archives of queer and trans beauty because we see so much of it here in Glasgow.

Queerness is at the core of everything you do. We’d love to hear you chat a bit about the relationship between hair and queerness. What do you think hair has the power to unleash within people? 

This is why we do the pay-what-you-can drop-ins for trans and non-binary people and have trans-specific discounts because we regularly get to see the power that hair can have in helping to outwardly reflect how someone feels internally. While the UK government has any control over us and continues to express a disdain for trans people, the community of Glasgow really need to rally together to uplift and amplify trans voices in any way they can.

Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

We find inspiration everywhere. The formative hangovers of Reece and I’s relationship were often spent watching runway shows and Reece could recite every notable collection for the past twenty years, whereas I just have a brain that never stops running at 110mph.

Our aesthetics are quite different. Mine is often an explosion of colour and texture and Reece’s aesthetic is much darker with sharper edges. I feel as though Ponyboy is the coming together of both these things.

With the Ponyboy showcase on NYE, I led the creative direction for the overall aesthetic and Reece and I pulled inspiration from 90’s club-kid aesthetic, but also Mona The Vampire and Mars Attacks!, so our moodboards pull from all sorts of animated universes, eras, or aesthetics.

We are constantly inspired by the people we work with and always want the finished project to have injections of everyone involved contained within it.

The work you did on this shoot is unbelievable. How did you go about putting the looks together?

We always work differently depending on the project, but always in a very collaborative sense with one another. With this project, when Kyle suggested creating a mylar chamber, I imagined the models appearing as though they were floating in water which felt symbolic of divine feminine energy and healing. Once that idea formed in my mind, I knew that I wanted the shoot to have a trans feminine focus and be heavily centred on high glamour as filtered through the aesthetic of each person involved. We ultimately always want to tell a story with everything we do.

We regularly explore different time periods and aesthetics, and were heavily influenced by Valley of the Dolls and hair ads from old magazines for Lourdes and Arae’s hair. We always want to juxtapose different eras and influences with every project to create a remix of existing ideas that feels new and exciting. Reece also adopts old techniques of styling hair and uses vintage tools whenever they do period hair as they want it to be as authentic as possible. I think it really adds another dimension to the finished project.

There’s no one else doing what you’re doing right now with the Ponyboy Showcases. What did you set out to achieve with these events? Where do you see them going in the future?

I think when Reece and I started dating and were discussing our plans for Ponyboy, I wanted to produce a club night to showcase their insane artistry as a launch party, but, with anything I produce, my ideas tend to grow arms and legs and quickly it becomes a production.

I was also keen to have the majority of the lineup be people under the trans umbrella because having a glam squad to help support how you see yourself can be a really transformative and euphoric moment, and it just makes it feel more worthwhile for us.

We are also very keen to make a Ponyboy Lookbook to create an archive of the beauty of Glasgow’s queer community, so hopefully we can secure some funding and make it happen in 2023. We are honestly sitting on so many insane images already that I’m holding onto until we can give them a place deserving of their gorgeousness, but I want it to be done correctly.

How do you decide who you want to collaborate with next?

We are always quite keen to ensure we are pulling from different queer collectives and ultimately we want everyone under the queer umbrella to see themselves reflected within the showcase.

I also used to be part of the ballroom community, and regularly attend, host, and perform at queer club nights, so we are very integrated with the queer community and exposed to the insane talent that exists here.

We’d also been fans of MV Brown’s work for years and they’ve quickly become a consistent collaborator and friend of ours, so we’re very excited to continue creating gorgeous visual spectacles with them throughout 2023.

What are you most looking forward to right now?

Well, I’ve been asked to produce a Ponyboy Showcase for LSDXOXO on February 10th at Stereo which already has such a fun team behind it. There’s even more dimensions to it than previous events and I honestly can’t wait for people to see what we have planned and to showcase Reece’s artistry.

I’m also going to continue producing showcases at Bonjour and have some really fun plans for themes, shoots and performance ideas that I want to develop. There’s so much beauty in the room at every showcase and I can’t wait to continue creating space for that to take place.

We’ve had some producers from other cities suggest taking the showcases to their clubs. I think if it was feasible we’d love to be able to take some performers with us to other cities and create some cross-city queer collaboration. We also desperately need a holiday.

Separately, people should book in for hair appointments so we have the financial capacity to make our plans happen if you believe in what we’re trying to create – regardless of whether you’re queer or just support our mission statement as a hair studio and creative space.