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Alana O’Herlihy
Alana O’Herlihy
Cou Cou Talks is a series of multidisciplinary conversations on philosophy, literature, art, culture, ecology, film and perspective-shifting ideas. Director, photographer & mixed-media artist Alana O’Herlihy talks on freedom, rebellion & being unapologetically yourself.
Where do you live?

Los Angeles, CA.

What’s a struggle you have overcome?

Too many to count. I think being grateful in the face of unrest and danger can do more wonders than you know.

What do you love?

Jack Nicholson. Living life to live longer. Media. *Pop* culture. Good movies. Old magazines. My back massager. 

Something I love about myself is…

I’m fearless when it comes to the things that matter.

What are you passionate about?

My work, telling subversive stories.

Who inspires you?

Eartha Kitt. Cher. My mom. My sister. Honestly, my partner. If I could have one ounce of his positivity on a daily basis I can’t imagine how much brighter the world would be. David Lachapelle, duh. Meryl.

Happiness is?

Being in my bed at home watching a good picture, with less than 99 worries on my mind.

Love feels like…


What project are you most proud of?

The retrospective of my work and life & really the sheer amount of work I've created is what I’m most proud of.  My self portraits are my real true art.

What thoughts currently occupy your mind?

"How I’m going to get today done. My shoot tomorrow. My back hurts. I’m tired. I love my job."

A piece that really impacted me is…

Demian by Hermann Hesse. The fight between personal identity and societal expectations is never ending, though [this book] allowed me to ditch the notion of fitting into societal expectations at an early age. In the end, being exactly who I am has hurt me in ways YES, don’t get me wrong… There's a lot of old white men/ angry people alike that don’t like the way I do things who still unfortunately call the shots. But, being me completely has benefited my life in ways much more important. My work is good because I have a point of view that's mine.

Did you take anything else away from it?

Bad people are usually dressed as good people and the best people might be dressed up as bad people.

Some other pieces of writing you’ve loved?

This Side of Paradise – F Scott Fitzgerald
Notes on Camp – Susan Sontag 
Acid for The Children – FLEA

“I live in my dreams — that's what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That's the difference.”

― Demian, Hermann Hesse 

My Cou Cou Talks piece is...

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981 documentary). It delves into the challenges of “subculture.” A word I'm not so sure needs to exist. It starts a conversation on the impact of music on a society and the pursuit of authenticity. A subject I am obviously very interested in. If you live a life in fear of the way others perceive you, I don't think one will truly ever be FREE.

Favourite director?

John Waters.

Who’s a character in film that you find inspiring?

BELLA BAXTER (Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos). She’s a fever dream of everything that could be for a woman if we weren't told how to be, what we can and cannot do, where to dress, how to talk etc….. A fantasy of how society (women in particular)  could be better in a broader sense, it's almost as important sometimes to unlearn things as it is to LEARN them.

My feel good movie is...

The Wizard of Oz… or Superbad. 

“Bella goes through her life without shame, discovering what she feels she needs intuitively, which is heroic in a world where you're constantly told how to be or what's right. It is an act of bravery to make your own path.”

― Yorgos Lanthimos on Poor Things 

A couple sounds that have inspired me are...
  1. Smartless (podcast) – Intellectual conversations of a world I admire is almost like homework, it’s vital. 
  3. “Pure Imagination,” Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971) –Gene Wilder
    (Pro tip: If I’m ever in a rut *artists block* this helps every time without fail)
Favourite album?

Something/anything? by Todd Rundgren 

Favourite song?

Right now it’s “Know Who You Are at Every Age," Cocteau Twins 

Lyrics I love…

It seems things are indicative to,
A distinct desire to observe such, heal such
Behave such that makes this hard for me
I'm not real and I deny, I won't heal unless I cry

“Demian by Hermann Hesse was the first book I’ll never forget that changed my perspective on a lot of things… It kind of allowed me to realize that being who I am is cool.” 

― Alana O'Herlihy on Demian

the picot tank regular
White | Pointelle
the picot tank regular
Black | Pointelle
the cardigan
Black | Pointelle
the cami slip
Cherry red | Pointelle
the thong
Cherry red | Pointelle
the high rise
White | Pointelle