Dani Miller and how Punk still disrupts the traditional Beauty Concepts
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But what really sets Dani Miller apart, it’s her smile, her famous identity mark. Gucci’s 2019 campaign would change not only the course of her career, but also her whole life.

She’s got a tousled mullet, flashy makeup, flamboyant clothes and exuberant charisma that makes her unique.

But what really sets Dani Miller apart, it’s her smile, her famous identity mark. Gucci’s 2019 campaign would change not only the course of her career, but also her whole life.

The artist could finally feel some self-acceptance and personal growth as her smile, which caused her to be mocked and bullied when she was a child, was now being celebrated by an international brand and many people around the world. But before reaching the stardom with Gucci, she had been on the New York garage-punk scene for several years, challenging conventional beauty standards.

Born in California, she was later adopted in New York. By the age of 20, she was quitting drugs and working for Darren Aronofsky, director of films like Requiem for a Dream, The Black Swan and Noah.

When she was 21, she put together a band to play on a friend’s event and she was blown away by the adrenaline of being on stage. She instantly realised that this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. That’s when she went on to lead a punk band called Surfbort, a name that has nothing to do with surfing but was inspired instead by Beyoncé’s song “Drunk in Love”, where she sings “I fill the tub up halfway, then ride it with my surfboard”.

Surfbort is irreverent and trashy, just like the band’s singer. Their most famous songs, “Hippie Vomit Inhaler”, “Pretty Little Fucker” or “High Anxiety”, talk about relationships and everyday life. Politics are also on the table, with some songs talking openly against current affairs and the Republican party, like the video “Trash”, where the singer throws up on a TV showing Donald Trump. That’s some tune.

The producer and singer of The Strokes, Julian Casablancas, signed with the band after seeing their irreverent and explosive live performances, which also got them to tour with bands like the Black Lips. But in 2019, Miller went beyond music when Alessandro Michele signed her for Gucci.

Alessandro had fallen for her freedom on stage and her smile that was now on magazines and billboards everywhere in the streets of New York. Gucci is eclectic and constantly looking to break the mould, going beyond beauty standards with the power of natural beauty and self-expression and those were Miller’s values too.

Miller got to be the face of the Pre-Fall 2019 campaign next to the Australian Amy Taylor, singer of the punk band Amyl & The Sniffers. Taylor plays with her band to a crowd of thousands of people in the Primavera Sound Festival, or play at a forty-people venue and then be the star of a Gucci campaign, synchronizing all those different words and making it look easy.

But everything took off after launching Gucci Beauty in May 2019. Its lipsticks highlighted natural looks with a catalogue full of different smiles, and guess which was the most remarkable?

Yes, it was Miller’s smile. It immediately became viral on social media and gained an incredible interest from the press, revealing that having tons of good and bad reviews was actually a positive thing.

Betting once again on the same concept, Gucci made her again the star of its new line of mascaras in May 2020 with the contemporary photographer Martin Parr behind the camera.

 

WORDS: Manuela Palma

She is a rebel and a troublemaker, but many doubt that collaborating with a luxury brand like Gucci is really anti-systemic, to which she replies: “Gucci empowers people and supports communities. This collaboration is not inconsistent with being anti-establishment. Surfbort will keep on fighting corrupt white Republicans and greedy politicians around the world that take advantage of societies and their individuals”.

Bringing lots of negative comments on social media and breaking the beauty industry standards, is anyway, anti-systemic. But I endorse this, because in a world saturated with Jenners, Hadids and almost identical beauty representations, someone like Miller is just what we needed.

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