“You’re allowed to have interests outside of the goth scene. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely the most boring person on earth.”

Kaya Lili Toxic Tears

I’m very excited about this month’s Goth Life interview (yes, I’m going to try and make this a monthly occurrence in 2019!) and it’s with a person who basically needs no introduction. For those of you who don’t know, Toxic Tears is an Irish goth YouTuber named Kaya, and I was lucky enough to meet her last year at LondonEdge and asked her for an interview.

What does “goth” mean to you?

Goth in its simplest form is a music based subculture that formed in the 80’s, but to me its so much more than just that. Of course the music still plays a big role, but to me goth is also about art, literature, fashion and self expression, and finding beauty in the things that others may consider dark or scary. I feel like the rise of the music that ended up being the start of Goth as we know it today, tied together the kinds of people who were already interested in those things and made it a movement, a community, a place to find and connect with like-minded people and feel less alone in a world that can be so aggressive to anything that’s out of the ordinary.

A woman with black hair and black clothes with yellow contact lenses stands in a garden

You’ve spoken extensively on elitism in the goth community – why do you think that it’s so prevalent? 

It’s honestly hard to say why elitism is so rampant. The internet has definitely given people like that a larger platform, because there’s very little consequence for sitting behind a keyboard and spreading hate. I think in some cases it’s people wanting to feel superior to others, which is something you see in just about every subculture and community. There’s a lot of gother-than-thou nonsense for sure.

Sometimes it may be people who were bullied by elitists themselves when they first found the scene and now they recycle the same nonsense they heard because they think thats how you have to be to be goth. Occasionally it’s likely comes from a well-meaning place of wanting to protect the subculture, but honestly it does the exact opposite. Elitists are the first to cry “goth is dead”, when the only thing that’s going to kill goth is them. A newbie not understanding that Manson isn’t actually goth music isn’t the end of the world. Raging at them won’t save goth.

Young goths need time to find their footing in the scene. It’s a simple fact that most goths these days find the subculture through the fashion first. We’re simply not exposed to the music unless we go looking for it, so to expect new goths to immediately be huge fans of goth music is naive, and pouncing on them and making them feel bad for their music taste will only push them further away. 

I remember people telling 12 year old me that I wasn’t allowed to call myself goth if I liked metal, and that I had to listen to specific bands to be goth. Do you think it made me listen to those bands? Nope. It was years before I found out I actually enjoyed a lot of the music, because of course I wasn’t going to listen to people who were being nasty and telling me what I could and couldn’t listen to. Gentle encouragement will do much more than trying to force it.

Woman in clown-inpsired pink makeup and outfit

What’s your favourite go-to outfit?

I wouldn’t say I have a real go-to outfit, but this summer I definitely feel like a lot of my outfits were built around a cute crop top and a high waisted skirt with a lightweight shrug – It was such a hot summer and that was honestly the easiest way to be comfortable and not burst into flames haha. I ended up really loving that combo. On lazy days I find it much easier to throw on a comfortable and simple outfit and then style it up with lots of accessories.

Which brands are you loving at the moment?

There are so many brands that are constantly impressing me right now. Killstar of course is a huge favourite, as is Punk Rave. I also love Necessary Evil, Banned, Hell Bunny, and so many more. I’ve also been stalking etsy a lot recently for cute pieces, as well as doing as much DIY as possible.

How did you get into YouTubing and what advice do you have for people starting out?

Honestly YouTube was just something I decided to do quite randomly. I’d gotten into watching a lot of videos and they motivated me to start myself. My advice for starting out is always be yourself. Being authentic is so much better than putting on a persona for the camera, and its never nice meeting a YouTuber who seems super nice in their videos, only for them to be a totally different person in real life. And its SO important have a thick skin, which sounds easy, but its surprising how rough it can get. The internet can be wonderful, but it can also be incredibly cruel. People love to tear others down, and no matter how tough you think you are, there will likely be some hard days.

Goth woman posing in telephone box

What do you do when you’re in need of a little bit of style inspiration?

I find a lot of style inspiration from TV shows weirdly! Or I’ll browse pinterest, or even look back over pictures from when I was feeling more inspired and try to recapture that motivation. We have so much content available to us these days, you can always find inspiration somewhere!

What does your average day look like?

My average day is honestly so boring. Some people assume being a YouTuber is glamorous, but in general, its a lot of me sitting around in my pyjamas editing videos, planning future projects, replying to emails and trying to keep on top of social media. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house when you work from home, that’s definitely something I need to work on! I’m really bad at sticking to any sort of routine and that’s something I really want to improve in myself. I’m such a scatterbrain and it makes it really hard to get stuff done.

Tell me something really “ungoth” about you

There’s so much honestly! I’m always being bitched at for not being a “real” goth, whatever that means! I love pink and yellow, I’m a sucker for anything cute like Sanrio characters, I love stupid cheesy pop music and clubbing often makes me really anxious! Honestly though, if you purposefully limit your interests to only “goth” things, you’re missing out. You shouldn’t ever have to TRY to be goth. Its not something you purposefully try to be, its just something you are. You’re allowed to have interests outside of the goth scene. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely the most boring person on earth. Be yourself and have fun. If you’re not having fun, whats the point of any of this?!

Follow Toxic Tears on Instagram here, and her Youtube Channel is here. Thank you so much Kaya!

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