We had the good fortune of connecting with Max Kassidy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Max, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I am the antithesis of everything I was brought up to be. I was raised by Utah Mormon “doomsday preppers”. I was groomed to be a devout, cap-sleeve wearing, casserole dish holding, mother, wife, and homemaker. Turns out, I’m a U-Haul driving, bra-burning, lipstick lesbian artist, who at 22 years old googled the gayest cities in America and bought a one way plane ticket to Seattle. (Okay, there’s a little more to that story but that’s the gist.) Risk is not a foreign idea to me. However, I am learning that risk with preparation can create path of a little less resistance. With $600 dollars in my pocket—the equivalent of two months rent in Utah and to my shock only a burger and fries in Seattle—I packed up my red suitcase and decided I was going to give myself everything I deserve. Ever since then I’ve been on a pendulum swing between my big dreams and the reality of real life—learning how to make the former into the latter. I’ve spent my years in Seattle working full time for “the Man”, but in my days off, I worked for me. Freelancing in my every spare minute and saving every dollar, I’ve finally arrived at the point where I can give myself the gift of owning myself. After years of saving, planning and coordinating. This week I quit my 9-5, packed up my U-Haul (which fits a little more than my red suitcase) and took off on the I-5, headed for Golden Coast and full-time artistry. And phew, if it’s not the scariest thing I’ve ever done.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The path of an artist isn’t an easy one. It’s a lot less linear than other careers. It’s a lot hearing no and manifesting the occasional yes. When you ask me what I do, I’m always a little unsure of how to answer. If you need someone to do something I can probably do it (or I’ll certainly figure out how). When working as a creative I’ve found it important to remain flexible and I like to avoid being put into boxes. The more you’re willing to do, the more you’ll work and grow as an artist.
I’ve enjoyed working in many aspect of creating for publication and film: costuming custom looks for music videos, story boarding, acting/modeling, teaching posing, photo work, creative directing, and of course doing the occasional step ball change.
I’ve fought to find my voice as an artist. It’s taken a lot of work and discovery to unpack my religious trauma, internalized homophobia, and unique upbringing. As I do that work, I’ve become grounded in my identity, and my voice as a queer artist becomes more clear. I’m currently in the works on a project about my experience growing up queer within a religious cult.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am currently cruising down the I-5 interstate towards my apartment I’ve never seen in real life at an address I’ve only seen on a map. If you have any recommendations, I’m ready for them.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have found love and support in all the nooks and crannies of life. If you ask the universe for it- she’ll deliver. Thank you to my life partner; Savannah Sykes, for loving me enough to risk it all in the Hollywood hills. To the man on the other side of the state insurance line who told me he was proud of me and that he thinks I can do this. To Uncle Jon who is making the three day trip to LA with us after we ended up stranded in a Safeway parking lot in the middle of the night with everything we own and a busted uhaul truck. To all the no’s and to all yes’s, sonic drive through corn dogs, and to Shoutout LA for welcoming me into this city and giving me a voice in my new home.
Carlin Stoll Fuego Gatsby Archie L. Fried JT Flixx Gemma Cross