Culture

“I'm Down To Fight It”: Jesse Jo Starks Weighs In On The Doomed Life Of Nepotism Babies & The Best Advice Cher Gave Her

Ahead of her album release, Malibu baby Jesse Jo Stark exclusively catches up with ELLE Australia.

By Ava Gilchrist
"I want a treat, or like a donut or something", Jesse Jo Stark mutters to someone off screen as I join our scheduled Zoom call.
Despite her slightly pixelated appearance, casual demeanour and penchant for saccharine snacks, it's clear Stark means business.
It's the afternoon in her home town of Los Angeles when we connect to talk about her latest venture, her first ever full length LP: a haunting yet equally enchanting album called DOOMED.
The California sun seeps into her modern abode as she tells me about it.
Sonically different to her folk-esque early work, though Stark doesn't see it that way, DOOMED tells the story of a sordid love affair over 11 tracks.
Self love and Los Angeles wrestle with each other over dreamy albeit equally delirious melodies that enchant, and haunt.
It's Jesse Jo's Beautiful, Dark, Twisted, Fantasy, her magnus opus and a lust-worthy soundtrack that will soon be tattooed on your brain.
"It's more mature, because I'm me today and not me yesterday but it's very much everything I've always been into," Stark explains.
"Like I experiment more for sure, but visually and everything I really feel like it really truly represents me."
For a nepotism baby with an estimated net worth sitting in the millions, there's something innately approachable about Jesse Jo.
From her smokey Southern California drawl, to her gothic plush skeleton toy keeping her company during our conversation, the smoke and (smoke fogged) mirror behind this booming rockstar with a cut-throat edge transpire completely.
There's not a single signature Chrome Hearts crucifix, the sigil of her parent's critically-acclaimed fashion enterprise, in sight.
She's not a Stark of Malibu, or heiress to a fashion conglomerate — she's just Jesse Jo.

She's sick, in every sense of the word.
And no, we don't mean ill, but rather the definition adopted by skate rats and surfer dudes in the 1990s—effortlessly cool and equipped with a certain je ne sais quoi that's made her a bona fide It girl and leather-clad pariah in the inner circle of the glitterati.
DOOMED's album art tells us a lot about how Stark sees herself.
Jesse Jo imagines herself an angel, basked in light and dressed in (no doubt) a leather Chrome Hearts creation. But we also see her interpreted as a scorned vixen, dressed in a spiderweb bikini and ready to devour us in one sound bite.
We're not sure which one Jesse Jo is, or which one she's pretending to be, but we can tell what we see is not going to be all that we get.

Sure, from the outlook she's your typical Los Angelino, with parents in the creative art, a purveyor of Melrose's vintage fashion scene and a social media following in the thousands.
But underneath the filters and stripped from the 808s, Stark's story is more dimensional than the fleur-de-lis sterling silver Chrome Hearts spoon (which is currently valued at upward of $500AUD) may have you believe.
"I write about my life, so love is always the number one topic…I love to write about love, good or bad", Stark coos.
Glimpses of this multifaceted and unrequited love story appear early in the album and persist until the dizzying close.
"I know I'm abusing you, I do what I'm used to", Jesse Jo remarks in the album's opening '666 in the subs', later she coos "flashes from the paparazzi, how much more can I take".
It's clear this fast paced life of hers comes with its own set of trials and tribulations, but if DOOMED has one takeaway, it's that this condemned life has a silver lining.

"I've always wanted to sing, I've always wanted to play guitar and writing is such a release for me, I wouldn't know how to exist without that," Stark tells us.
Of course, for the daughter of the owners of one of the most highly-sought after brands in the world, a fashion connoisseur in her own right and best friend with supermodel Bella Hadid, it's clear that the discourse around the luxuries nepotism babies are afforded weighs heavy on her heart.
"I touched on that intently throughout the album", Stark recalls when I prompted her to share her thoughts about the favouritism that plagues the entertainment industry.
"I don't know if I've struggled with it, but I think there's a total, like, judgment around being a nepotism baby, that's, you know, a little bit what contributed to DOOMED because it feels like you know, damned if you do damned if you don't.
"You're born the way you are and then somehow you're criticized for that. I don't think it's just nepotism babies it's just people in general and I think it's f**king bullshit.
"I'm just offering everything I am that makes me me throughout this album. That's the theme," she adds.

As for who gave her this insatiable energy and passion for fighting what she believes in? Her godmother, the one and only Cher.
"She always says to go for it, and really just offer all of yourself because that's, you know, all we have…she's kind of like the baddest b*tch around.
"I think as people like, whatever you choose to do, you have to prove yourself, but I don't think that we should, or anyone should be criticized for literally being born…", she laughs.
"That's just funny to me. I think the word is funny, but I'm down to fight it."
"I really have to prove myself in any way with anything that I commit to. People think something was handed to me, but nothing was handed to me, because I've still put in the time and the work with everything.
"I just played my first huge festival like, a month ago, and it's not like I was playing that when I was 13," she adds.
"Art is art, and you can't fake that. People respond to authenticity, and they can hear that, it's there decision, it's not mine, I can't keep a stage if I'm not supposed to."
But it's clear from Jesse Jo's prowess in front of a crown and microphone swinging abilities that she was born for this, whether people like it or not.
If it wasn't for her identical resemblance to her designer parents Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark, we'd think she was the lost daughter of Joan Jett and Iggy Pop.
Fortunately for us, Jesse Jo's release means that she may be making her first voyage to Australia, bringing her magnetic on stage energy and soul-filled tunes to our shores.
"I really need to come, I love Australia, I've fallen in love with many Australians," she tells us.
Now that DOOMED is out in the world, Jesse Jo is about to embark on a three-stop sold-out tour to London, Los Angeles and New York.
She's also manifesting more roles in films, similar to her appearance in Balmain's short series Fracture.
She's also a horror junkie, so we're sure she's starting her Halloween preparations early. Will it be as iconic as her Flintstones costume with Bella Hadid from 2019?
"Our lives are crazy and we always try to hang out on Halloween, but it just felt like another night." she mused.
We're taking that as a yes.
As for us, we're predicting Jesse Jo will either be a scorned nepotism baby or a fallen angel à la her album art, DOOMED blasting from the Chrome Hearts stereo, of course.
DOOMED is now available to stream across all major platforms. Listen to to the album, including singles like 'So Bad' and 'Tornado' here.
SHAREPIN
  • undefined: Ava Gilchrist