We speak with Lana Del Rey’s on-screen lover, Bradley Soileau, about working on the singer’s latest music video, “West Coast.”
—CHAD SAVILLE Chad Saville is the founder and editor of Beautiful Savage, an independent magazine devoted to art, fashion, and the creative lifestyle. LA Confidential x Beautiful Savage is a creative partnership between LA’s premier luxury magazine and Beautiful Savage. For more information, visit beautifulsavage.com or @chadsaville.
Third time's a charm. Or so Bradley Soileau would have us believe. The model, actor, and musician best known as Lana Del Rey's on-screen lover just reprised his role for a third time in the singer's video for her new single, "West Coast," which precedes her sophomore album, Ultraviolence. Released last Thursday, “West Coast” is a mysterious, yet artful celebration of all things Californian—including palm trees, sandy shores, and long stretches of concrete that pass while driving up the strip in a convertible.
His rugged good looks and rebellious demeanor may appeal to Del Rey's fans, but Soileau—who’s now appeared in three Del Rey videos including "West Coast," "Blue Jeans," and "Born To Die"—never craved stardom. He grew up in New Orleans and spent most of his time on a skateboard. Life changed in 2011 when Dave Fothergill of RED Model Management discovered him in New York City's East Village.
"Yeah, my [former] agent just stopped me in Manhattan one day and said, 'Yo, you want to be a model?', " says Soileau in an interview with Beautiful Savage Magazine in the spring of 2014. "I was like, 'I don't know.' I never imagined I'd be a model." Since taking on his first modeling agent, he has traveled the world, appearing in videos with Del Rey and in the pages of magazines such as Vogue Hommes Japan, Bullett Magazine, and on the cover of Beautiful Savage; he has also walked the runway for Roberto Cavalli. Soileau, now represented by NEXT Management, recently left New York City for Los Angeles, so it's quite poignant that he's now filming in his home base. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his life, what he's up to, and what it's like to work with Del Rey.
So you've reprised your role as Lana Del Rey's lover in "West Coast," out last week. Can you tell us what it was like working with her again? BRADLEY SOILEAU: It was like we hadn't ever not worked together. We hadn't really been in touch since “Blue Jeans” was filmed. It was like we had filmed “Blue Jeans” the week before.
Did you enjoy filming in LA? BS: How can you not enjoy the sun and the beach? It was lovely.
What’s it like working with Lana Del Rey? Three videos now. A trilogy! One would think that you two have developed a sort of artistic connection. BS: Working with Lana is awesome. She's extremely talented and her vision is so dark and f---ed. And I love it because she's selling such a f---ed idea/vision to the youth in masses. We do have a connection. I don’t know how deep it is. It's weird. Singularity.
A few years ago, before you were discovered walking down the street by a modeling agent, you never expected to be doing this sort of work. Can you tell us what it is you were into back then? What did you originally want to do? BS: It's funny—I was selling weed and DJing back then. And all I was hopeful of doing was making music.
You said in a recent interview that you really wanted to take care of your health and, "Own who you are as a person." Do you feel you've been able to do that recently? BS: Actually in the past year or so, I totally have started to own who I am. And in the past months I've been working really hard on my health.
It's really cool that you're working so much with such an accomplished musician, but how is your own music doing these days? BS: I released a song I produced called “Rebirth,” but since then I kind of put music on a back-burner. I feel like it's not the time. Everything I've been successful in has all been due to timing. So I'm gonna wait, build my image and my following, then I'm gonna hit the world with some crazy music that will have a large impact.
What are you going to get up to this summer in LA? BS: I think I'm cruising out to Europe in June for shows and then I'm gonna spend some time in NYC modeling and DJing.
Anything else you'd like to add? BS: Nothing for now, but keep watch, though. I'm working on stuff that I'll be showing the world soon.