“I am a child of the corn,” says Massima Desire, a model from Iowa. “A grasping-for-Grant Wood kind of girl with dry corn husks in her step and a queer prairie behind the eyes.”
Massima came to New York City for college ten years ago and never left. She dabbled in modeling as a student, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she started to take it more seriously and signed with Next Management. She’s walked the runways for brands like Coach, Eckhaus Latta, Erdem, and Marc Jacobs, and has been featured in magazines like AnOther, Dazed, and Document.
She also makes all sorts of art — tattoos, little sculptural pieces — inspired by ecology and the people in her life. “I let myself make all kinds of things, and I’m moved by the channels of divinity flowing inside me and every little gift I get to witness.” We spoke with her about sourdough starter, her perfect day, and the friends that have impacted her life the most.
What three creative people have had the most impact on you and why?
My loves Brooks, Melo, and Grey. We all draw from such similar cosmic sources. Seeing their divine inspiration is a reflection of possibility for myself in the world.
Where do you get inspiration for your work? What was the last thing that you saw that inspired you?
Spiral cinnamon rolls, skate egg cases, the split in the trunk of a stricken tree.
What would your Real Housewives tagline be?
Wait, what show am I on?
If you were running for office, what would your campaign song be and why?
“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover,” by Sophie B. Hawkins, because doesn’t everyone want a Scorpio mommy who will consume them?
What kind of animal would you be?
A goat with six legs.
What are you excited about right now?
Sourdough starter and growing wildflowers.
What are the last three songs you’ve listened to?
“For Now,” by Zsela; “The Practice of Love,” by Jenny Hval; and “Please Daddy,” by Sarah Mary Chadwick.
What superpower would you have and why?
My first thought: talking to plants, but plants already talk if you listen closely. My second thought: teleporting, but flights and car rides already feel like teleportation. So maybe: brevity.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Cartwheels, tying a string, taking three naps, laughing so hard and crying.
If you could master any skill (that isn’t related to your current job), what would it be and why?
I would love to develop a deep understanding of herbs and mushrooms, to forage and take care of the ecology around me.
What goals are you working toward at the moment?
Playing a crunchy witch in TV or film, recording music, building a home out of adobe.
Which three fictional characters do you relate to most?
The Log Lady from Twin Peaks, the Gelfling Jen from The Dark Crystal (except I can fly because I’m a girl), Gurgi from The Black Cauldron (the cute and fuzzy Gollum — not that Gollum isn’t cute, okay?)
What piece of advice has had the biggest impact on you and why?
You can always leave. The choices I made to open spaces in my life and relationships have blessed me with the possibility of mutuality and support in ways I would never have believed. Saying no let me become a whole person.