Candy Ken is the artistic alias of Jakob Kasimir, a twenty-something Austrian guy with great abs and a strong passion for coloured nails, flashy accessories, Hello Kitty and all things Asian. The world first found out about him through Diesel’s creative director, Nicola Formichetti, who discovered him on Instagram and instantly fell for his crazy persona. Jeremy Scott and Terry Richardson soon followed, while magazines like VMan and Paper didn’t take long to catch up. When he is not travelling around the globe spreading pink vibes, Candy Ken spends his time in his hometown, Bregenz, working on new music and ideas for his performances. Just before a session of 69– in Candy’s own words- we caught up with the artist himself to discuss his exciting transition into a Pop icon, his dedication to breaking gender stereotypes and the importance of keeping true to yourself, whoever you choose that to be.
Hello Candy Ken. Tell us, where can one find you these days?
I’m currently in my hometown working hardcore with my producer on my first album.
How is that working out for you?
The whole process has been very exciting and I can’t wait to show you guys. Really hoping to get signed by Diplo soon and I really want to work with CL and Riff Raff and drop a crazy feat with them!
During the last couple of years, Candy Ken has gone from the alias of Jakob Kasimir to a full-fledged persona. What was the transition like?
I was always Candy Ken but society and people limited me and wouldn’t let me express myself. It took me years to be just that and it really feels so good. The transition has been the best time of my life so far. Every day I spend as Candy Ken is truly fulfilling.
Candy Ken loves to work out and show off his masculine body. He also loves painting his nails with fun colours and wearing cute accessories. What is your idea of gender and just how far do you think we’ve come during the last few years regarding the stereotypes that surround it?
Gender roles are over and I’m fighting for that all day – every day. It’s time for everyone to be free to be themselves. While there is still a lot that need to change, I believe that we are on the right track. Individuals like Caitlyn Jenner or Conchita Wurst have managed to open up the mind of many people in the big cities and now there is much more acceptance to be found. Narrow-minded or ignorant people shall always exist and I doubt that will ever change but it is important to keep trying to spread love in the community. I’m all about motivating and inspiring people that are like me and want to be different.
Your current lifestyle is super fun. You did mention earlier on though that the teenage Jakob would have a different story to share. What would that be?
My time at school wasn’t that great. I had to adjust because I wasn’t confident enough to do the things I do nowadays. Some teenage boys and girls at school can become quite horrible and really just beat down any kind of ‘different’. Definitely not much fun then.
We know you have a particularly soft spot for pink and while there are so many sickeningly cute ideas associated with the colour, do you believe there is also a dark side, we ignore?
A confident and creative personality that inspires me all day and doesn’t give a fuck.
Is there ever a time when Jakob needs a break from it all?
No! I’m Candy Ken 24/7- all I want to do in my free time is to be just that!
Asian culture has definitely influenced you for the most part, with Hello Kitty, taking that extra credit.
What has the acceptance been like there?
I never felt more appreciated my entire life– seriously! Asians truly love Candy Ken. Every time I visit it really feels like finally being at home and I can’t wait to go back as soon as I get the chance again.
Social Media have definitely played a key role in the development of your career, having provided the means to connect you with big industry names such as the likes of Nicola Formichetti and Jeremy Scott. At the end of the day, how much do you think you owe them and where do you think you would be without them, today?
As an artist of the 21st century, social media have become my paint and canvas. It is how I choose to present and express myself. Without them I would still be doing my thing of course, but many events including this interview might never have happened. Jeremy inspires me daily. He helped me since day one to be myself and to become confident enough to show everyone while Nicola influenced me so much and really pushed me to the next level. He was the first person that truly understood my art and helped me to get it out there. I love him so much.
You seem to love making vlogs from your many trips and sharing them with your fans. Most of them feature a rather voyeuristic view into your life– similarly to your Instagram feed. What do you want people to get out of it?
My true intention is to open up their minds. I know how creative people feel and just how hard society works on beating down their confidence. We limit ourselves all the time and never dare to dream too big. I want to be a role model for every single person out there who doesn’t wish to be put in a box and get judged daily for his beliefs or looks. I want to show everyone what’s possible when you follow what you love. Being yourself is the only true way to happiness.
Last question. Tell us what you’re going to do as soon as you’re done with this interview.
As featured in Chasseur issue #11 – YOURS WAS THE BODY (AW15)
Candy Ken was photographed exclusively for Chasseur in London
Photography | Tom Wawnik
Styling | Sarah Mughal
Grooming | Dominic Paul
Fashion | Fleet Ilya, Irregular Choice, Culietta, Klaidas Vaitkus