Evan Mock is the pink-haired skateboarder turned model, actor and perennial cool kid who is currently brightening up your screen as Aki Menzies, the sexually fluid, private school skater kid, in HBO Max’s reboot of the much-loved 2000s classic, Gossip Girl.
Born in Oahu, Hawaii, the 24-year-old spent his youth outdoors, fully immersed in the island’s surf and skate scene. A rising star in his small circle, Mock was propelled into the spotlight in 2019, after a video clip of him and his newly dyed pink hair found its way on to Frank Ocean’s Instagram—a friend had sent it to the singer who had also recently dyed his hair pink. Catching the eye of major fashion houses, it wasn’t long before Mock was walking runways and fronting campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein, Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton. That same year, Mock launched his own streetwear brand, Sorry In Advance.
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And now? Fresh from the release of his first collaboration with surf clothing and lifestyle brand RVCA, and currently starring in HBO Max’s most-hyped show, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Here, he spares a moment to speak to Vogue via Zoom about his relationship with beauty, how he takes care of his skin and where he gets his confidence from.
What was it like growing up in Hawaii?
“I grew up on the north shore of Oahu, mainly around the beach, so I was surrounded by surfing and everything to do with the water. The people I grew up around shaped me to be the person I am today. It’s an island and there are limited things to do, so surfing was always a big thing. Being around the best surfers in the world, the best water photographers, the best people making films, all those things—that made me interested in how to do everything. They were pretty much all older than me and were ahead of the game, so I felt like I got to learn from the best. And that all translated into photography and filmmaking.”
Growing up, was there a time when you looked in the mirror and didn’t like the way you looked?
“The only time I remember looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw was when I moved to New York and instantly lost my tan.”
Do you look after your skin?
“Yes, I exfoliate and moisturise. My skin tends to get dry in colder places. When I was living in Hawaii, I didn’t have to do much because the air is so damp there. I didn’t need to do anything, honestly, using moisturiser there would make my skin too oily. I definitely take care of my skin a lot more when I’m in colder places.”
How much time do you put into thinking about how you look?
“Nine times out of 10, I think about how I look and what I’m wearing, but I’ve started leaning more towards functionality. I think about what I wear, but not necessarily whether I look good or not; I like to wear what I want to wear that day. My outfits these days usually go with my mood.”
Would you ever wear make-up?
“I wore make-up on the set [of Gossip Girl], but when I go out to dinner or leave the house, I don’t put make-up on.
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Should makeup be gender-free?
Can you talk us through your different hairstyles and colours? Do they make you think differently about yourself?
“Yes. Whatever hairstyle I have affects what I wear. Some outfits I would only wear with slicked-back hair, some I would only wear with pink hair, and so on.”
What advice would you give to kids who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin?
“The most beautiful thing you can do is to have confidence and if you own what you’ve got, then everything else follows.”
Career-wise, what’s next for you?
“I’m trying not to think too much about the future beyond Gossip Girl right now. It makes me just want to close my eyes and go to sleep.”
What are you most hopeful for in the future?
“I’m most hopeful for people not seeing colour, race or ego, and just getting along better. There’s so much negativity right now, it can really take its toll on you. So I’m hopeful for people taking care of one another.”
Gossip Girl is streaming on HBO Max now