In Conversation With Orion Carloto
THE OUTNET’S guest presenter, broadcaster Harriet Rose, caught up with poet, author and influencer Orion Carloto. In case you missed their live conversation about her new book Film for Her, being vulnerable in her writing and her ultimate style icon — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
“I’m gonna be honest, I’m wearing sweats. It’s entirely Princess Diana chic going on all the time.”
Harriet: Orion, welcome! It’s so lovely to have you. Listen, lets kick off by actually, genuinely asking how you’re doing. Because this time, I mean, everybody, I feel like everybody, in England we’re in a third lockdown. So, everyone is just like ‘I am done.’ How are you feeling?
Orion: Yeah, you’re exhausted. Honestly, tired, I’m kind of like in this reset mode, I guess where I’m kind of just adjusting to the new year, adjusting to the changes that are happening in life and trying to take it in as best as I can without losing my mind. But all in all, my health is great, my cats are great. I’m healthy and you know, I have two legs and two arms. So, I’m good, I’m good.
Harriet: Now, let’s start from the beginning. So, I was reading Film for Her which is your latest book — which is beautiful by the way. Because, if I’m totally honest, I really struggle with poetry because I feel like I’m not intelligent enough but actually, I feel like reading yours … it’s easy for someone like me who’s not necessarily accustomed to reading poetry, to actually feel a lot about.
Orion: No, absolutely and I think that’s what’s so wonderful about modern poetry, that it is more accessible to others. I love that it is more digestible now and it’s fun. I think I also struggled with that when I first started really getting into writing. I guess not feeling like I was intelligent enough for the art of it and feeling as though I lacked something that I just couldn’t bring to the table but I think the beauty of poetry and the beauty of writing in general is sharing whatever set of emotions or stories that you want to tell and in your voice and in the way that you want to do it, not what you were taught.
Harriet: Yeah! Someone’s actually just commented — any tips on like for someone who wants to get into poetry?
Orion: Oh, gosh, the only piece of advice that I’ve followed on my own terms, and while it’s vague, is just to be honest with yourself and to be honest with others, more honest with yourself. For so long I struggled, I found myself writing for other people and to appease other people and trying to be like the poets that I love and the writers that I love. And, while it’s great to gain inspiration from people, it was really hard to find my own voice in that and write in a way that felt genuinely like something that came from me and not from the inspiration of somebody else.
Harriet: You started out, and you kind of talk about this at the beginning of Film for Her, you started out as a young person not necessarily knowing your creativity. Was there anything that you can remember that specifically made you be like, ‘oh, this is something I like, and this is something I really want to get into’?
Orion: I think it was definitely when I started to understand the interests of the people around me. I found that my interests just didn’t align with the people I was surrounded by and not just my interests, but I guess the way that I carried myself and the way that I viewed things in my… I wanna say morals but I’ll save that for another conversation. We were on two totally different planes here and I think that’s when I started taking myself more seriously and what I like to do and really diving deep and experimenting. Thankfully the age of the internet has introduced me to other creatives and also other forms of literature that I would have never imagined picking up.
Harriet: I feel like your presence is so 360, you’re really available for your fans. Do you find that there is a limit to that for you, especially during the pandemic? I feel like a light has be shown on social media and how it affects our mental health. How have you found navigating that at this time?
Orion: It’s actually funny, because we have so much time to sit at home and be on our phones. I didn’t find myself as present online as usual, as I typically do. I think that’s because I have been granted so much space and so much time for myself that it was easy to find that break for myself and to take this time to, I guess, learn more about the world and about myself and really just kind of where my head’s at.
Harriet: And how does it feed into your other art and your poetry? Do you find that the worlds collide, and you use it as inspiration?
Orion: Yeah! I mean, especially in Film for Her, I was given so many opportunities with my job, with my platform and social media to travel the world and meet new people and gain these experiences that I never would have been able to 1. Afford, 2. Really plan for myself. So, that in a way has played a big part in my poetry because of the experiences that I was able to have when the world was open, and we could have fun.
Harriet: In your books, you’re so vulnerable about love and your experience in heartbreak. Which is something that really connects with me, and everybody really from all the comments I’m seeing. A lot of people have experienced heartbreak, I think during this time as well, whether it be relationships, friendships or losses. Obviously when Flux came out, that was your first kind of big moment of sharing those vulnerable things. Did you feel a difference in Film for Her in terms of sharing? Was it easier to put those stories out there or being more well-known, was it more difficult because people know more about you, your relationships and stuff like that?
Orion: A little bit of both actually. At the end of the day, whether it’s online or I’m walking down the street, I’m going to be perceived one way or another. And so, Film for Her was this introduction where I kind of got to scratch the surface of my family life and things that felt much more personal but that’s not to say that I went as deep as I should have allowed myself. I think there definitely is this atmosphere that lives around me where I do have a platform and you know, there is that fear of sharing too much because there are people that know of the other relationships in my life. I grew up for so long being ashamed of the instances in my family life and you know, not having this grand opportunity and this privilege to be everything I wanted to be at that time. So, I’m still unlearning things as I grow. It’s ok to share those stories because that’s ultimately what makes me, me, as a human being. Over this past year I read Eve Babitz and I’ve read Joan Didion and they have this way of sharing, especially Babitz, with some sort of grit. She’s very vulnerable and she just does not give a fuck, and I admire that. But I’m allowing myself, like I said, I’m unlearning things and I’m learning new things so I can become more vulnerable and bloom into the writer that I strive to be, and you can only want that, as a writer and as a human.
Harriet: Is there one book that you’d recommend that we all need to read right now?
Orion: So, one that really touched me, I actually recently talked about this, and I just mentioned Joan Didion. I read The Year of Magical Thinking and I picked it up for a particular reason, I experienced a loss, and the book is about loss and it’s about grieving and kind of understanding that. I’ve had it on my shelf for two years and honestly, it’s truly been collecting dust and it felt like it kind of came to me at the right time when I needed it to be there and there’s still lines from the book and anecdotes that are in my head and that stick with me and I think will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Harriet: Obviously THE OUTNET is all about fashion. What we wear, how we wear it. You’ve got great style, great vibe, is it something that’s important to you? I’ve found, in lockdown specifically, clothes are so important to me, they really make me feel good. Have you had that same thing? Have you felt that connection with fashion or have you kind of let go of it?
Orion: Fashion has always been something extremely important to me, ever since I was a kid. Again, didn’t have the luxury of growing up looking like a pretty girl. I come from Spanish roots, so my mom did not let me touch my eyebrows until I was 18 and I definitely had a moustache going on. I just wasn’t the prettiest of the bunch, so I found it very necessary from a young age in order to stand out I had to look nice and dress nice and dress how I want. But, yeah, fashion has always been something dear to me. And during quarantine, I’m gonna be honest, it looks fine up here but down below I’m wearing sweats. That being said though, on the outward I’m not truly dressing to my full potential. I have been taking the time to research designers and runways that I can be inspired by for when I have the opportunity to dress up when it’s not you know, for a photo or to walk to the Whole Foods down the street. But yeah, to be honest it’s entirely Princess Diana chic going on all the time.
Harriet: The levels though. Princess Diana chic is what we all aim to achieve, right?
Orion: She’s effortless, and we can only strive for that, for sure.
Harriet: Yeah, I was a bit tomboy, I also didn’t really know about my sexuality, I hadn’t been able to express my queerness and I was kind of very straight and very… I used to just tie my hair up, wear clothes and that was it. When I moved to London and came of age, I found myself. So, it’s kind of nice to have that and also keep growing it and changing it and enjoying it and like you say, the minute that lockdown and everything ends, it’s going to be fashion…
Orion: Oh, everywhere, everywhere. We will be servin’ and that is all you will need to know. When will that happen? Who knows? But until then, my sweatpants collection is growing and I’m not mad about it.
Harriet: Orion, thank you so much for joining us on THE OUTNET. It’s been such a pleasure. Exciting things are coming but also wonderful to hear that you’re taking care of yourself and really looking after yourself during this time. That’s the best thing, I think.
Orion: Yeah! Thank you for talking to me, I appreciate it.