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AKA Marfa Girl

interview: Tiffany Diane Tso
model: Drake Burnette with Foreman Management

Girl crush worthy Drake Burnette is a native Austinite currently residing in Brooklyn and the unexpected starlet of the latest Larry Clark film Marfa Girl. We're not saying this lady didn't have star potential, she definitely does, but 26-year-old Burnette opted to live out her teenage years fully and go to school to study art history during her formative years rather than pursue modeling or acting. Opportunities, like playing the title character "Marfa girl" and recently signing with DNA Models, have seemingly "fallen in her lap." If Burnette's life is charmed, it is probably because she is abundantly charming herself.

Marfa Girl is about the culture clash and co-existence of living in a small border town, and in the vein of a Larry Clark film, disenfranchised youth: teen pregnancy, religious and moral conflicts, immigration. The film will soon be making its way to the festival circuits. We were able to catch up with the Marfa girl and get some insider info on the upcoming film and some insight on her life and mottos.

You said you were a fan of Larry Clark's movies throughout his career, what did you like about his films (Kids, Wassup Rockers)?

Well, I've been a fan of his films and especially his photography books Tulsa and Teenage Lust for a while now. In regard to his films, I enjoy how he is able to translate the magic and darkness of adolescence that his photography captures into narratives that feel very classic to me, like fairy tales almost, but in the context of contemporary American youth culture. I think Larry's work is timeless.

What was it like to work with Clark?

It was challenging and lovely and celebratory.

How about the rest of the cast?

I spent the most time with the local boys whom I grew to deeply adore. They brought light and laughter to long shoot days, and I identified the most with them as they were also non-actors. So when we were shooting scenes, it quickly felt very natural, just like talking to a friend.

The actors that were cast out of Austin were interesting to work with, because they each brought a different method and intention to their character and to the film. They were kind of the wild cards, and in some cases it was very nice because I felt like they were almost leading me into their moment, which allowed for a creative interaction that felt more choreographed than with the non-actors. In other cases, there was more of a struggle, perhaps due to a difference in, like, a personal rhythm, or sometimes it felt like a struggle for attention was being created.

I'm not a center of the stage personality, my default is one of passiveness and peace, but I'm also not afraid of being direct for the sake of communication, so it was difficult at times to negotiate someone else's need to feel seen and important as I was one of the leads in the film. Like, trying to deflect any competitive vibes with a vibe of, like, creative equality in the moment.

What was it like to shoot in Marfa?

It was a dream. Marfa is one of my favorite places so I felt incredibly lucky to have a reason to be out there for the five or so weeks that I was. I got to spend time with loved ones and meet new people who are now loved ones, and in the meantime shoot a movie with a legendary filmmaker in a legendary region for film locations. I mean, not only do I love the work of Larry Clark but the canon of West Texas film is epic, so it's like, what more could you ask for?

Who do you think would direct a film about your life?

Ha! Well, there is no way that will ever happen, but if it did I would want Woody Allen and Alejandro Jodorowsky to combine forces to capture the never-ending contradictions and dualism that is my life.

What is your current life mantra?

Everything is okay.

Do you have any routines?

Not lately, except washing my face when I wake up and before I go to bed. But I'm learning how to exercise, so I'm sure in a week or two I will have a better answer for you.

I've been asking this question a lot lately, so it must be on my mind, but what do you collect?

Letters, photos, art and jewelry.

Do you have any lucky charms or tokens?

I've acquired a collection of Alyson Fox necklaces that I wear in different combinations for different degrees of protection. I recently received a double-headed snake ring from India that is very old and very special that I wear with a larger oval stone ring that I rescued from my sister's floor. I refuse to take either off.

Any personal traditions?

First spring swims in the Barton Springs, summer boozing, fall archiving, winter trips to New York. I guess I'm seasonally oriented.

Which season is your favorite?

Spring, because it is always the most fun.