Everyone meet Kota Eberhardt
I first fell for model, writer, and artist Kota Eberhardt online. On Instagram, to be exact. Hers is the kind of feed that can suck days away from your own life and make you question your sexual orientation (I still love you, Larry!). So when I met Kota in person at her sunny Venice beach home, I brought with me some expectations, like that she would naturally speak as though she were reading poetry and yet still be humbly down-to-Earth–or Mars, anyway. Did I expect her closet to be filled with the fashion equivalent of crack-cocaine? Didn’t see that one coming. Here the multi hyphenate (she’s also the co-founder of creative consulting agency the Color Kids) candidly reveals her inspirations and philosophy on life, style, and happiness.
So Kota, what inspired you to move to Los Angeles?
When did you first start modeling?
I was first discovered by a scout and Bruce Weber in Virginia Beach, which lead to my first campaigns with Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. As soon as I was in front of a camera, I felt like modeling was a part of my destiny.
Describe your experiences recently shooting campaigns for Barneys and Aeropostale.
I can’t talk about it! All I can say is that they will serve major face.
Kota at her Venice Beach residence.
What inspires you?
I would have to say writing. It really serves as a testament to my work and acts almost like a therapist, a mirror to the higher self, a dream archive and a guide. It doesn’t get much better than to find advice to yourself from yourself some time later down the road. Writing is the best medicine. It always brings me into a space of positivity and is a great way to keep mental and emotional inventory. Even if you don’t know where to start, a graffiti-ridden page of random thoughts sure beats a blank canvas of potential ones.
Do you own an article of clothing or accessory that reminds you of a great memory?
(Points to her shirt and laughs). Actually, I wore this shirt in Pharrell’s music video “Happy.” Last year I dyed my hair aqua blue and went to Burning Man for the first time. Pharrell found my instagram pictures from the festival and really liked them. An assistant reached out to me and told me that I looked really happy and asked if I would like to be featured in his music video. I agreed, booked the video through my agency, and was on set the very next morning at 5:30 a.m. in Griffith Park. I came wearing this shirt, thinking that they would have clothes for me to change into, but then they started shooting. It was a really organic process. I would describe him just like that experience: you get what you see. He’s such an incredible soul.
Kota alongside Pharrell in the 24-hour-long music video for his hit single “Happy.”
What was it like having Pharrell himself single you out via social media?
That’s like Jesus asking if you want to have dinner on Thursday at 8 p.m. Yes Jesus, I’ll be there! I had so many questions but just tried to remain as present as possible in the moment. Those magical moments in your life always unfold naturally. You never have to try to make them happen. He followed me on IG, and suddenly I’m standing there right next to him having a conversation. It was surreal and humbling to say the least and the most at the same time. It really changed my life. I’ve been booking [modeling and comercial jobs] non-stop!
What is your best thrift score?
Oh, that’s easy! I scored this helicopter windbreaker for $10. It’s made out of copter mapping of the Amazon. I think it’s called chartwear. The material is entirely indestructible, basically better than diamonds. Definitely Burning Man-worthy. My friend is actually borrowing it now, so I better get it back!
“L.A. is overwhelmingly awesome. I always find so many nooks and crannies.”
How has your personality changed over the last two years?
Since moving to Los Angeles? I’ll be honest. I think it’s commonly perceived that the people are dishonest in this city, but the reality is you can find dishonesty everywhere you go. So however social I am, I am also very selective about new friendships or relationships. I have learned that not everyone has my best interests at heart. In the past two years I have developed a keen discernment while maintaining my inclusiveness.
Are you a morning or a night person?
Night. It holds so much mystery, in the same way that it looks.
If you could be a color, what color would you be?
Clear. It’s so versatile. I like rainbows, but I don’t like rules. I was and am still obsessed with anything lucite, because there’s the idea of being transparent and revealing in fashion. Once you define yourself as a color you limit your potential to be everything. I don’t want to be an orange and not be able to be a banana. I would also like to be invisible, so then I could rob a bank finally! [Laughs.]
On her tattoo, Eberhardt explains, “According to numerology, the number 11 is my master number.”
What do you think about the style of women in Los Angeles?
Women are reflections of their environments, and I think naturally we also pick up a lot from each other communally. I think a lot of people in L.A. get their style inspiration from what I call “city surfers,” the kids who are dressed in color even when they wear black, who ride waves of radiance, who take over the night fearlessly, who believe in signs and watch the tides, who are inspirational. They talk you into taking risks, and being vulnerable to love and life.
Left to right: Vintage Gucci, Balenciaga, vintage Dior, and vintage Emilio Pucci. “I found most of these items at the Rose Bowl flea market.”
If you had an hour to live and could do anything, what would you do?
I would most definitely spend it on the 405 at 5 p.m. on Friday because it would be the longest hour ever.
What are your favorite L.A. stores?
Hands down, The Well downtown! They have a collection of all my favorite brands, from UNIF to Dimepiece to Vivienne Westwood, and they carry a bunch of local jewelry designers, too, not to mention everyone inside has killer style and individuality. I love picking out crystals at House of Intuition off Sunset, and Book Soup in West Hollywood for all the eclectic, hard-to-find coffee table killers.
Kota’s collection of jewelry, with pieces from Upper Metal Class, Torchlight jewelry, and Bones and Feathers.
Who are your favorite jewelry designers?
I love Upper Metal Class. It’s very sleek and minimal, but affordable, and that name bosses life. I love Torchlight jewelry for their use of crystals and minerals, Mau for their appreciation for lines, and Bones and Feathers for their pieces that demand a presence. I love anything that is reflective of metaphysics and defiance, and jewelry that is dainty and fragile. I love stories and anything that reflects the spirit of humanity. That is not jewelry, that’s art— that is what it’s all about.
What can you tell us about the Color Kids?
My business partner and I have decided to keep it private until it’s released. It came from a dream to create, and see my friends do the same. We’re beyond excited to introduce ourselves to everyone!