Sasha Spielberg On How Buying Vintage Feels Like Playing Dress Up

By Natalie Joos

The following is an excerpt fromTales of Endearment: Modern Vintage Lovers and Their Extraordinary Wardrobes by Natalie Joos. To join Natalie at Artists & Fleas in Soho, New York tonight to celebrate the books release, click here.

I get a glimpse of Sasha’s acting skills when she shuts the door on me. We’re pretending this is an episode of MTV Cribs and I’m taping my exit. “It’s time to go!” she growls and makes a big scene of shoving me onto the driveway of her Silver Lake duplex. I know how seriously she takes her band, Wardell, and flourishing musical career, but should that ever dwindle she certainly has a splendid comedic talent to fall back on. “I love making people laugh so much,” she admits. “It’s one of my greatest joys. And I think I am a very naturally performative person, but I was in a sketch comedy group at Brown and I felt I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought I’d be. I gravitate more towards the spontaneity in humor. Maybe that’s why I resort to my Instagram for ten-second spur-of-the-moment characters.”

I also get a glimpse of Sasha’s writing skills when I read the hilarious answers to my follow-up questionnaire. Her life of 27 years can be written in a few telling chapters and characters:

Ages three to five were pretty volatile. She adopted a personality her parents called, “Tanya.” She was “a raging, temper tantrum-throwing, possible psychopath.”

Ages six to 12 were more docile: she was a great kid, but not entirely out of the water. She had a lot of imaginary friends. “Most were unicorns,” she writes, “and a lot were fairies, and then I had a really rad dinosaur friend who lived in the basement. Then I had a lot of imaginary boyfriends… A LOT.” This was also the time she started experimenting with fashion. “I would go to my mom’s closet and try on every pair of her high heel shoes and all her slips,” she remembers. “I would put on her dark-red lipstick and attempt to strut around. It was borderline-inappropriate as I was about six years old, but not much has changed since then.”

Ages 12 to 14 are best left forgotten. “Can I say my face was a malfunction from 12–14? No, that’s being mean to my younger self.”

Then the boobs started to come in. “I actually used to PRAY for boobs,” she says. “My mom had them, my older sister had them, all I wanted were boobs. And I got them! I thought I was going to get a perfect set of 34Cs and move on with my life, but then they just kept growing and growing!” There’s nothing inherently wrong with triple Ds — I’m sure her boyfriend doesn’t mind them at all — but there are some instances when they became a nuisance. She remembers a 2014 show at SXSW in particular: “I was in a see-through black-lace bodysuit and the bralette underneath — if you can even call it that — fell down. This entire show was also being live-streamed. So everyone saw my boobs. And my boobs aren’t just like perfect 32Bs that are meant to be seen by everyone. They’re National Geographic.”

They also limit her wardrobe choices. The conventional fashions don’t cut it, but vintage does, she discovered. “It has to be tight at the waist, whatever it is,” she states. “I find that vintage is the only thing that looks good on me because I have a very specific body type.” When I ask her to describe a typical outfit, she has to think deeply, then decides to “phone a friend.” One friend said, ‘Some jumper situation or a colorful short sundress.’ Another said, ‘Levi’s and a vintage tee.’ Another said, ‘’40s dress.’ I wonder if I wear different things with different friends? Oh no! Like split personality disorder with clothing!” she cries.

Buying vintage always reminds her of playing pretend and dressing-up as different characters, much like the actress she always wanted to be. “I think as we get older we lose that side of us, and I aim to keep that inquisitive, imaginative side alive in me forever.” The next chapters of her life will most likely continue to present a continuous range of personalities, but that’s why we love her and we can’t wait to meet them. “I also like to imagine the stories vintage clothing carry with them,” she goes on. “I fantasize that I’m the outfit’s second owner ever, but really deep down I know it came from a hip 20-something who lives in Silver Lake and is a hoarder like myself.”

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