From left: Cody Simpson and Tinashe are the new faces of Denu. Photography by Ashley Barhamand
What happens when Tinashe and Cody Simpson meet Jimi Hendrix’s ghost? Apparently, a series of rock-infused Denim & Supply ads for Ralph Lauren.The stars are the faces of the new campaign which is out today and was photographed at Hendrix’s former home base, Electric Lady Studios, in New York.
“I was so stoked to be there, because my music and style is taking on a more rock n’ roll vibe,” Simpson told Yahoo Style. “Jimi Hendrix is such an iconic figure—I grew up on his music, and he’s definitely an influence—and Ralph Lauren is such an iconic brand. When we were shooting the photos and recording the song for the campaign, I was like, ‘Is this even real?’”
The same question could apply to Simpson’s own career, which started on YouTube and skyrocketed—virtually overnight—to global stardom. “I honestly have two different lives now,” Simpson says. “I stay in Venice Beach. My close friends are surfers. They don’t give a f— about the entertainment industry. They’re my haven. In Hollywood, people can be so creative and so inspiring, but the gossip there, and the people who judge other people—make themselves feel better or figure out ways to be better than everyone else—that’s what I don’t like. When people ask, ‘How can you be friends with this person? They dated this person, didn’t you know? Oh my gosh, are you dating this person now?!’ I’m not, by the way,” he laughs, vaguely referencing the rumor that Selena Gomez is his latest love. “I’m not dating anyone. I haven’t moved onto another celebrity girlfriend. And just because I haven’t tweeted for the past ten minutes doesn’t mean I’m dead. Seriously,” he sighs, “I hear a lot of weird stuff about myself.”
Cody Simpson at the Denim & Supply store. Photography by Ashley Barhamand
His campaign co-star Tinashe—who collaborated with him to remake the 1970 hit Express Yourself for the ads—has a different take on fame: “When I was on tour [with Justin Bieber], it was more people I’d ever performed in front of in my entire life… I like to write songs by myself, in my bedroom. Even the collaborations I’ve done with other artists start with me on my own… To be in front of crowd that huge, you had to feel their energy… it was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt. And when Bieber came onstage, it was madness. Watching his fame was motivating for me. I want to have a big influence on the music industry.”
Spoiler alert: she will soon. To date, Tinashe has worked with Calvin Harris and Nick Jonas, sat front row at a Chanel show, and been embraced by music blogs as R&B’s future. The New York Times compares her to Beyoncé… and US Weekly reports that Kylie Jenner wants to make “Tinashe-type music.” (The singer is diplomatic, saying, “Anytime someone loves your music, and wants to create their own thing because of it, that’s very flattering… but I don’t think she’ll necessarily be able to sound like me. She can try, but why would she? People like her so much because she’s herself.”)
Tinashe and Simpson weren’t the only famous faces in the ads: Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid, a.k.a the little sister of Simpson’s ex, Gigi Hadid, also appear (though sadly, they don’t sing). “I’ve known Bella for a couple years, because of Gigi,” Simpson said. “She’d always hang out with us and I always liked her, because she’s chill. She doesn’t care what people think of her. She’s more of a badass [than Gigi].”
Tinashe struts her stuff. Photography by Ashley Barhamand
Simpson admits he and his ex are no longer texting buddies, saying, “We talk every now and then, but people grow in different ways and separate, you know? We’ll never have any animosity between us, as it should be, and I want to be supportive of her. We’re just on different paths right now.”
For Cody and Tinashe, that path leads straight to every Denim & Supply billboard in the country. Oh, and YouTube, too.