When I met with Lennon Stella at the uptown Annex Hotel in Toronto early in October, the weather had not quite caught up to the season, and the outdoor patio where we sat together was doused in a syrupy golden hue. That afternoon, I got to peek into the world of Lennon Stella, where we chatted about lip liners and drug store favourites under the basking sun.
Stella, along with her sister Maisy, first charmed audiences as children, performing pop hits on YouTube. Poised for the spotlight, she later graduating to the role of Maddie Conrad on the show Nashville until 2018. Today, Stella has embarked on her own projects, much like her well-known radio hit “La Di Da,” a collaboration with pop favourites The Chainsmokers. With an ever-growing fanbase and a promising first full-length album in progress, Stella is a rising star eager to share her sound.
Stella gets her style inspiration from rock royalty of the past, taking inspiration from the late 60s and early 70s, naming Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks as her go-to muses both in fashion and music. With Pinterest as her guide, the pop starlet uses the inspiration board website to search for new cues and insights on her personal vision. “When I was a little younger, I loved the Almost Famous sixties vibe. Now I feel like seventies – collars and buttons – I’m very drawn to,” she tells me. Her inspiration also comes from a more nostalgic, special influence – “My mom is very much into hat and has always been a thrifter, and put me onto that from a very young age.”
Stella takes notes not only from the era’s style, but also its embrace of creativity and individuality. “It feels more free, I think the problem now is everything looks the same to me – super trendy. I think that time was more creative. Now we have Instagram, you can just click and buy the whole outfit!” Reminiscing for a time pre-social media, she laments, “I find it more confusing now (post-Instagram) but I find it easier in general. Now I find there’s too much in my face all the time.” Her advice on finding your own style inspiration emphasizes originality and personal taste, and that the best way to explore your fashion sense by thinking back to what one was interested in as a child. “Before they were told what they should be into,” she explains.
A seasoned thrifter, she has many recommendations for unique finds all over the world. “In LA, I love Wasteland, American Vintage. In Nashville, all of 8th Avenue has interesting thrift stores, and in Camden, in London. I love boutiques like that!”
Simple and sweet, her go to makeup products are a mix of beauty lover’s classics and new renegades. “Lip liner is big for me – Cork by Mac and Coconut – Kylie’s new one. I love Becca blush! I like it to be dewy with lashes.” As far as skincare, consistency is best. “There’s certain products I use consistently,” she says. She swears by Sanitas Brightening Peel Pads, pausing and asking a friend for their name, insisting she tell me – and the world – about these pads. “They’re literally life-changing and everybody in the world needs them.” Aside from the pads, she uses tried and true Neutrogena makeup wipes and Kiehl’s nighttime oil with moisturizer, which she swaps regularly.
As an artist, vision means everything to Stella. Her entire production, from sound to stage, is perfected. As a musician, she takes her audience and her honesty to heart. “I’m saying an emotion I feel and if someone understands themselves a bit more then I think I’m doing a good job.” Uninterested in restricting her sound to a genre or style, room for experimentation is essential to her process. “I don’t wanna lock myself in. I’d like to keep that freedom forever.” Between her commitment to her vision and her faith in self-exploration, Stella is sure to be a shooting star above an age that at times feels more conformity than “free, forever.”