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With a gorgeous aesthetic and career aspirations through the roof, Kelsey Waters, or MoodyMoth, as she is known on Instagram, is in her own words a “grumpy goth”. I spoke to her about what made her want to go to into surgery as a profession, why she loves insects so much and her style inspirations…

Talk me through your average day

I’m definitely not a person who finds comfort in daily routine, therefore it’s difficult to describe an average day. Truthfully, my weekdays are fairly boring and uneventful, consisting mainly of work and school (when it’s in session). I stay pretty busy during the week in the evenings with mundane tasks such as running errands, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc.

Time management and daily rituals have always been a struggle for me because I have a terrible concept of time and I tend to get lost in whatever I’m busy doing. If I’ve had a stressful or particularly busy day, I do have a wind-down ritual however. I like to have a glass of wine in the tub, soak in my eucalyptus & spearmint bubble bath, and listen to something calming (my go-to album is Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake).

Who or what are your style inspirations?

I can’t think of a single person my style most “emulates” or is inspired by.

I would have to say that it is a culmination of every little dark thing I come across, filter, and incorporate in my own personal style. Most lately I’ve been reading a few books on Victorian mourning culture, so that’s had a strong effect on my style. I am also very drawn to modern minimalism, and I think my personal style tends to reflect that as well.

I find inspiration everywhere though; in the patterns of insect wings, catholic imagery (I am non-religious, for the record), icicles, human anatomy, paganism, renaissance paintings, gothic architecture… I find myself being very drawn to anything conceptual, with layers of meaning and purpose. I find myself drawn to symbols and stories.

You have a beautiful, dark aesthetic on Instagram – does this come naturally to you or did it evolve?

Thank you! I’ve always been attracted to all things mysterious, dark, and bizarre.

My favorite holiday has always been Halloween, and I’ve always loved dressing up and playing with my look. I get bored easily if I try and box myself into one certain style or aesthetic too strictly. I can say that I have always had an affinity for the dark and beautiful though, and I feel that because of this I try and surround myself with as many dark and beautiful things.

My aesthetic does tend to feel slightly different every day though, and changes with my mood or what I’m studying/reading at the time. I would say that my aesthetic is continually evolving.

What’s your favourite go-to outfit?

Most days I am at work or school so I tend to go for a very minimal and comfortable look.

Typically this is some sort of black dress, sweater, tights/leggings, and boots. I try and give my face a rest from makeup during the week, and usually will only wear makeup on the weekends or if I’m feeling like playing around with makeup after work.

On my days off I love to get dressed up and do extreme makeup. I have a collection of faux fur coats and I love wearing black lace, mesh, costume jewelry, and accessorizing with unique pieces such as my human teeth necklace or my Victorian mourning jewelry inspired hair locket- which displays small locks of hair from my best friends.

I wouldn’t say that I have a go-to outfit, more of an either simple or extravagant aesthetic, depending on the day of the week and what I have going on.

What brands do you love?

I can’t say that I’m very picky when it comes to brands, with the exception of makeup.

I am obsessed with the Kat Von D Beauty collection, and I’m always buying their new products. I really love the quality of their makeup and the gothy colors, plus they’re cruelty-free and vegan! Their packaging is beautiful as well. The first product I ever tried from them was their lock-it foundation, and I’ve never looked back. They even have a white concealer now (perfect for ghost-pale goths) which I think will be my next purchase from them.

Other than that, I can’t say that I’m very brand loyal. I do love Demonia shoes, but I only currently own one pair. I like to find and collect items that speak to me and seem to convey an aura of mystery, so I find my clothing and jewelry from all over, whether it be the mall, an online artist boutique, or a vintage store.

Do you ever struggle with body image? If so how do you deal with it?

I think most women struggle with body image at some point in their lives.

I had an eating disorder in high school, which has forever impacted my self-image and the way I see my body. Recovery from an eating disorder is a life-long process, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can monitor myself and recognize when I’m having unhealthy and dysmorphic thoughts about my body, and work through them.

I haven’t had a relapse in several years. I think it’s important to get help if you are struggling, and it also helps to talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust and who understands what you’re going through.

Why are you so fascinated with insects?

To tell you the truth, I was terrified of insects as a child. Even ants.

I think that as I grew up and developed my scientific mindset, my terror started to turn to curiosity.

My love for insects truly started, however, the first time I put a housefly under my microscope. I’ve always loved drawing, and I was looking for new subject matter for an ink drawing, so I scoured the house in search of something delicate to draw. I found a shriveled-up fly on a windowsill. I picked it up with a sheet of paper, brought it to my pocket microscope, and took a look.

I was fascinated.

The thing that most intrigues me about insects is the amazing detail of them. Just looking at them in a normal, macro sense they appear to be black buzzing nuisances. But under the microscope you can see the small intricate patterns of their wings, the textured appearance of their compound eyes, and the delicate hairs on their small segmented legs. It’s beautiful.

After looking at my first fly, I was hooked. Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to find insects where I live this time of year, but I’m excited for spring when I can look for them again. I had a pet praying mantis I named Victor a while ago, and kept him in a small heated reptile terrarium I bought at the pet store, but he died after a few months (a typical mantis lifespan). I buried him in a small wood coffin I purchased at the craft store. I would like to have another insect pet in the future.

What drew you to surgery as a profession?

In high school I was in all AP and Honors classes, an experience which, in a way, was very confusing and discouraging once I got to college.

I was interested, and slightly knowledgeable, in everything.

Did I want to be an artist? A chemist? A biologist? A writer? Some career involving calculus? I was lost.

I changed my major every semester for the first four semesters I attended. And then I took a break, which was the best thing I ever did for myself. It gave me time to really think about the subjects I was interested in. I have always been a voracious reader, so I began reading books on physics (string theory, outer space) and engineering (women in engineering, bioengineering), etc.

I was very drawn to the technical and challenging aspect of bio-engineering and the biology aspect as well. I thought that was maybe what I wanted to do. I wasn’t, however, drawn to the tedious mathematics (I can do calculus if forced, but I don’t enjoy it) and also the fact that it didn’t deal directly with humans. That’s sort of when it clicked for me. I wanted a career that was technically challenging and also one where I got to interact with and help people. Surgery!

I started reading books about surgeons, different types of surgery, surgical tools, medical ethics, vintage surgery, etc. I was obsessed. I was in love with what I was learning. So far I’ve taken two semesters of Anatomy & Physiology and I can say that they have been the most fascinating college classes I’ve ever taken.

I still have a long way to go (I’m only an undergraduate pre-med) but it’s what I would love to do for a living, and it’s a field for which I have strong passion and interest to learn. My advice to anyone who is struggling with their career path would be to take time off from school, read about subjects which interest you, and take your time finding out what stirs you up and excites you.

If you had to pick three (famous) people to go on a goth road trip with, who would you take along?

It would be difficult to choose just three… but I suppose I would pick Edward Gorey (my favorite artist since I was a child), Charles Darwin (for the scientific and ethical conversations), and Marilyn Manson (because I’m also just a hopeless goth fangirl at heart).

Tell me something really UnGoth about yourself

I watch an embarrassing amount of reality television. Some of my favorites are Keeping Up With the Kardashians (obsessed), RuPaul’s Drag Race (also obsessed), Hoarders, House Hunters, Extreme Couponing, America’s Next Top Model… if it has drama, meltdowns, transformations or all of the above, then I’m hooked.

Thank you Kelsey! Follow her on Instagram here.

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