In real life, Josephine Phoenix looks a lot like a TV writer's storyboard blueprint of a hippie character. Her waist-length, curly red hair cascades down, mirroring the breezy, flowing fabrics she uses to drape her petite frame. And she's likely to wax poetic about “the feminine divine” and gypsy life.
In “reality” — or, more specifically, on her WEtv reality show, My Life Is a Telenovela, which airs its season finale this Friday at 11 p.m. — the dresses that hug her body are a little tighter, and producers might want her to wear chicken cutlets underneath those dresses to enhance her modest chest, but she remains the steadfast hippie idealist in the midst of a lot of hair-pulling.
“When people start fighting, I just back up and hold my breath,” she says. “I am the only one that didn't have an altercation with anyone on that show. Some of those people are on-board with being the villain.
Hers is less the role of the villain and more the role of the beatnik on the show, and she feels she's been authentic in that role — or at least as authentic as one can be with reality TV’s skewed editing.
On her own projects, she chooses to glean inspiration from life’s darker emotions and convert them into
Reflecting on the dichotomy of the message in her solo work versus the reality show she is a part of, Phoenix says, “I think it's important, no matter what we're doing right now, to create. The temperature in our country is very crazy, and I think as artists it is our duty to create work that does two things at the same time: Be the voice of your environment and [don't] ignore the fact that there's a lot of stuff happening that we're not OK with, but also create stuff that'll help you distract, like an escape. I think it is our responsibility to do both — not only do twerking Pitbull songs and have everyone forget that there's realities out there that are hard for people to swallow, but also to be able to have music and work that gives you solace and hope.”
Josephine Phoenix. 8 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at Wynwood Garden Food and Bar, 168 NW 26 St., Miami; 305-494-8287; gardenfoodandbar.com. Admission is free.
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