Martha Mulholland, 22, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and works as a cataloguer for M. Klein Auctions.
Liz Armstrong: What is that around your shoulders?
Martha Mulholland: A Victorian silk collar.
LA: Where'd you get it?
MM: There used to be an old store in Kentucky called Just Fabu run by two gay guys. Every time I went home they would let me root through the back room. I also have little jackets and hoop skirts from this little shop.
LA: What's with the Victoriana?
MM: I'm a hoarder and I collect things. I collect antique clothing and antique furniture and taxidermy animals--I want to keep them for posterity. I'll get really dressed up in period costumes sometimes.
LA: Just for yourself?
MM: Yeah. It's interesting to see yourself taken out of context, to suddenly look at yourself and you're somebody else. It's why I collect mirrors too. I like to think about who used to wear this, how many faces have looked in this throughout history and who's been reflected back.
LA: How do tight jeans fit into this picture?
MM: I thrifted these in Los Angeles. They have the 14-inch rise that makes it virtually impossible to move. I feel like all my organs are being rearranged.
LA: That's very Victorian, actually. What's your belt buckle?
MM: This is from when my dad went out of the horse business. He bred horses, and business in general was bad for a while, but he was so attached to this equestrian ideal that he opened a hoity-toity riding shop. It was full of fox and hound belt buckles and stuff. This is a greyhound. I remember it was sitting in my mother's dresser for years and I was always petrified of it.
LA: You seem drawn to things that are creepy.
MM: I don't know where that comes from. I like juxtaposing pretty with macabre, but I don't think I like "creepy."
LA: What about the taxidermy?
MM: I grew up in the country around animals and now in the city I'm not really around wildlife. So I'm bringing it into my home. People ask how I can have stuffed animals in my house around living animals, my cats. I say it's OK because they would've been well dead anyway. I named them all--the pheasant is Ferdinand, the squirrel is Fievel. They keep me and the cats company.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.