Words by Jasmine Bourgeois
Photo by Jenna Marsh
Inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s take on “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”, Gia Woods’ newest song and video, NAIVE, explores the dark undersides of desire and fame. “While the song was written about a relationship, we took the theme of naivety and pushed it in another direction,” the LA-based pop star explains. “I’m playing this innocent girl who is being tempted at every turn, so the lyrics of the song are sort of a wake-up call to her.”
NAIVE opens with Woods alone, in an elaborate gown facing a red carpet, with a colorful bouquet mere feet away. At first allured by the dancers pining for her, she’s quickly drowning in a cult-like tangle of bodies. Throughout the video, we see Woods dragged in every direction, both seduced and pained by the ever-growing pile of limbs and faces trying to pull her astray as she advances towards the bouquet.
The video feels like a Grimm fairytale. It’s grandiose and tantalizing, but sinister. At points, it’s painful; literally.
“I love the scene where the cult of dancers was pulling me from behind. I was dragged by my hair and even got carpet burn,” Woods says. “It was painful to film, but it was such a release of anger.”
NAIVE is Woods’ latest single from her forthcoming EP, Cut Season. Tom Tom caught up with Woods to talk with her more about the video for NAIVE, as well as her thoughts on being labelled as a queer musician.
TTM: I love the way this is shot. There’s this kind of gothic fairytale vibe to it that makes it feel so playful but dark at the same time. Can you tell me a little bit more about some of the editorial choices made to bring this look together?
GW: We were inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s take on “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” It’s remembered as this kind of ditsy pop song but if you go back and watch the video it’s actually incredibly dark and has all of these sinister undertones, similar to Eyes Wide Shut. We wanted to capture that element of danger as I play the role of this naive ingenue seduced by the glamour of Hollywood.
How do you think this video ties into the concept of the song?
While the song was written about a relationship, we took the theme of naivety and pushed it in another direction. In the video, I’m playing this innocent girl who is being tempted at every turn, so the lyrics of the song are sort of a wake-up call to her.
What’s your favorite shot from the video? Why?
I love the scene where the cult of dancers was pulling me from behind. I was dragged by my hair and even got carpet burn. It was painful to film, but it was such a release of anger. I sound a little psycho, but I’m a Gemini so that makes sense…
As a queer person, I feel like pop music has always spoke to me and been something that feels so comfortable, but I feel like it’s only been in recent years that pop artists have been able to be visibly, explicitly queer in their music. As an artist who is out, how do you think your queerness ties into the way you make music? Do you have any thoughts about being labelled as a “queer artist”?
I don’t think my sexuality particularly informs my work… I write from my heart and my experiences, but I think that’s what any good artist does, regardless of their sexuality.
I have mixed feelings about being labeled a “queer artist.” On one hand, it’s an honor to be a voice for anyone because I didn’t have that growing up! I know that seeing a queer Persian artist would have made my struggles to come out and come to terms with my sexuality a lot less challenging. But that said, I do think that piece of me is emphasized more than it needs to be. I hope people are excited about me because of my music as well.
NAIVE is part of your larger collection, the CUT SEASON EP. Could you tell me more about the theme of the EP, and how NAIVE plays into this larger body of work?
The theme of “Cut Season” is pieces of a toxic relationship that I had been in and toxic traits I wanted to cut out of my life, whether it’s being naive, self sabotaging, or having an ego. “Naive” is kinda the song that started this whole project and sonically how I wanted all the records to sound like. It was the first song I wrote off this EP, and the overall message is that you shouldn’t be naive about the reality of a toxic relationship.