Blair Broll: Ready, Set, Strut

Carrying a genuine sincerity, Blair Broll boils with favor and spills her talents into her professional life. She works in casting, acting as a scouter for the next, fab models by day and then becoming a full-fledged partier by night. Broll basks in the rave scene and takes her band, Girl Dick, into the thick of these spaces.

Performing and reveling in their friendship, Girl Dick allows their comradeship to blanket itself through their stage presence. Ironically, they don’t even have any music out, yet they still manage to book shows in the city. Some would call this luck, but it feels kind of divine.

Her individuality has brought her into the grandest of spaces and allowed her to take the editorial world by storm. On a random night, at a booming rave, she bumped into the likes of Mel Ottenberg, Interview Magazine’s newest Editor in Chief. They saw each other again at Madonna’s pride party, and in their destiny stricken run-in, Ottenberg chose to feature her in an editorial for Interview. Shortly after, Broll was featured on the Drunken Canal’s September Issue.

Through the thick of these moments, Broll keeps her community first, and she recounts the time when she moved from Kansas City to New York. Her memories of adjusting to city life dwell in the past, pushing forth through her present life. Broll breathes all of these experiences in, and exhales the memories out, using them to assimilate into every environment she rests in.

Are you from the south?

I'm from Missouri. So like, some people consider it southern, some people don’t. The public schools are really, really bad and I went to a Catholic school. It's funny because a lot of kids who aren't Catholic might go because the school systems are just really bad there. When I got to high school, my mom wanted to switch to public school just because she's a single mom. It's expensive doing private high school. So we moved to the Kansas side to go to public school, but the school was way more conservative vibes than my Catholic school. It was very much suburban, conservative families on the Kansas side, whereas Missouri was a lot of different types of people [and] income levels. When I got to college, I didn't even think New York was an option for me because not many kids end up leaving the midwest or south. But I had a teacher who really believed in me, pushed me, and kind of helped me see that going to New York for college was an opportunity for me.

What school did you go to?

I just finished Parsons.

You graduated in the pandemic?

Yeah, I did a year and a half online.

I toured at the New School, but I felt like I wouldn't have a regular, conventional school year.

It kind of is every man for themselves at the New School. Until my senior year, I always felt really isolated in my program. I didn't really click with anyone. In my thesis class was the first time I ever made a friend in my program.

I think dorming helped me make friends. I had a friend, Carly, who is two years older than me in my high school. She had dropped out of school early to model in New York. So having her here as someone who could bring me in and show me downtown was helpful. Honestly, I made so many social mistakes my freshman year. I definitely got swooped in with clout chasing people. I had to kind of learn for myself. Freshman year was the trials and tribulation to figure out what my vibe in the city is and what nightlife culture I feel a part of. Honestly, it's evolved over the past four years. It's not even the same today.

You definitely have to go through crazy and chaotic things in order to find your community. When you were navigating through nightlife, did you ever find it hard to adjust? Transitioning from Missouri to New York is a huge adjustment.

I think one thing that helped me not be so shook is that I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. I was raised in the punk houses there. Since I was 14, I was going out with the [Kansas City Art Institute] punks who were in their 20s. I grew up in that world and going into those shows. So I feel like I wasn't that shocked by any drug usage or whatever because I'd already seen that. My senior year, I went to Amsterdam for spring break. My friend's family brought me and it was my first time leaving the country. I think that kind of showed me techno, nightlife. I saw a sex club in Amsterdam. I think that kind of helped me be like, ‘Well, I've seen this. I can handle New York.’ A lot of the DIY venues would have cruising or sex rooms that were really popular when I first came to New York. You don't see that anymore so I think I was surprised that people would just be fucking out in the open. When I first came to New York, the DIY punk scene was pretty strong. There was a venue that I went to all the time and it kind of reminded me of home in Kansas City.

When you think of Kansas, what do you think?

I think being around my family feels like home. Those Kansas City, DIY houses, or dive bars feel like home to me. Seeing burnt-out 35-year-old punk-turned-rocker guys makes me feel at home. I think the thing about Kansas City is like, the punk community is so intertwined because it's small enough that everyone has to support each other.

What's a day in the life of Blair like?

I work in casting and fashion. Most days, I usually work from home. My afternoons and nights are when I can do passion projects, like music stuff. But then there are days where I'm at a photoshoot or something. I feel like a lot of nights there's always a show, rave, a dinner [or] party. Every damn night there's something to do.

How did you get into casting?

I had been scouted by my first boss. When we met, we just clicked. I had grievances with the casting world and exploitation of trans people and casting. I just thought he understood what I was trying to say. I saw him post that he needed an intern, so I started interning for him. In six months, I got hired on, but then the pandemic hit, and they couldn't afford to keep having me work with them. It was summer 2020 when I started freelancing. My senior year, I basically was freelancing full-time while finishing school. Work just got crazier and crazier. It's my way to fully make money and live.

What do you look for whenever you’re casting?

I think I'm really interested in personality. I always like to meet people who I'm like, ‘You're a real person. There's something special about you.’ It makes me excited to give opportunities to those who are good people. I love to put my friends up for jobs because you always have to put your friends on. But there are so many looks that I think are special and interesting. I'm definitely drawn to unique faces and unique beauty. But it always just depends on the project. Most of the time, I'm assisting casting directors. I also have to keep their vision in mind and make sure I'm doing a good job for my boss and the client.

Did you create Girl Dick with your friends, too?

I had done a lot of performance art in high school and college. I feel like I'm a performer at heart. It’s just a way for me to feel creative and have fun. I made a song for jokes in high school with my friend Lena. My friend Mira, who is in the band, is an amazing musician. I was like, ‘Dude, if you and I did a band it would be so fucking fun. It'd be a cool way for us to bond and spend time together.’ I always said I wanted to do it, but when I was in school and working full time with casting, I was insanely busy. I couldn't really do these passion projects. I started doing burlesque at the end of last year, and I did a project with my friend, Eddie, who's my synth player. The drummer, Rachel, was also in this show at Coney Island with us. I just want to put people together and do something fun. I knew I wanted to do a musical project where I was the singer and writer. I knew I wanted Mira to be on bass. I just got Eddie and Rachel involved and the rest is history. This summer, after graduating, I had the time to work on it. It's been going so fast. We literally booked our gigs without people ever hearing our music. They kind of just trusted in us. Now, we're rushing to try and release music because it's just been getting crazy. We haven't even had time to record anything. We've just been playing shows and stuff.

I just recently saw your Interview Magazine editorial. How did that come about?

Somehow, Ottenberg, the editor in chief, and I met [while] raving. He came to one of the Club Carry parties, and we just met on the dance floor. He was the nicest, sweetest guy. When I saw him at Madonna's pride party, he was like, ‘Hey, Blair. You don't know me, but I want you to be in the next issue of Interview.’ I was like, ‘Obviously, I know who you are, babes. You're an iconic stylist.’ I think the project came from Cruz, the photographer. She wanted to highlight up-and-coming trans girls in New York. It was a very trans-heavy team. The stylist was trans and Mel was just super supportive.