All Eyes On Morgan Lily McGlothan

Morgan McGlothan embodies every single facet of modern beauty. She’s striking, that’s undeniable, but she’s also down to earth, hustling hard to make her dreams a reality, doesn’t settle for second best, and most importantly, she’s refreshingly real. As in optimal bubbles, straight from the refrigerator, glass of zesty Topo Chico on an 105-degree summer afternoon in Texas, refreshing. And, in a world where everyone seems to be searching for validation from somewhere or someone else, Morgan has fully stepped into who she is — a model, a Culver City native, an artist, a teacher, a mean 7UP cake maker — and she owns each title with a fierce pride that simply can’t be replicated or taught. Today, all eyes are on this twenty-something photographer turned actress turned model (peep her on the pages of Girlfriend and beyond!) as she shares a slice of her art-filled world, touching on what it’s like to be homegrown in L.A., size inclusivity, and the films that shaped her as an artist. The advice she’d give to her younger self brought me to literal tears. Without further ado…

Instagram handle:  @morganlily

Location:  Inglewood, California.

Originally from:  Inglewood / Culver City, California.

Occupation:  Model, artist, teacher and soon-to-be local barista!

Tell us a bit about yourself.  “I was born and raised in West L.A. I went to school on the same block in Culver City from first through twelfth grade, then moved to Santa Clarita for college where I studied Film / Video at CalArts. I’ve always been artistic. Even as a kid, I told my parents I’d never work in an office. I wasn’t able to escape office life in my post-college crisis, but I disliked it as much as I assumed I would. Now at 23, I’m back on the West Side and desperately trying to figure out what it means to be a ‘working artist’ while using my Instagram as an archive for my personal growth. And, for selfies too, of course.”

Favorite thing about living in Los Angeles?  “Being close to my friends and family. It’s a little cheesy, but I think that’s what has kept me here for so long. I’d love to move someday, but I’m very close to the people in my life. I’m a ten-minute drive from my parents and childhood friends in Culver City, and I live next door to my grandparents and uncle in Inglewood. It’s really nice. Beyond that, I’d say the access. L.A. truly is a land of opportunity and I don’t think I’d have the same life or opportunities if I’d been born anywhere else.”

What’s one trend you’re currently loving and wish would stay for the long-haul?  “Size inclusivity. It sucks that it feels like a trend in the first place — all brands should be size inclusive. They should have been in the past and they all should be in the future. Everybody deserves to wear what they feel best expresses who they are; the size of your body shouldn’t dictate where you’re allowed to shop. There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing a cute clothing ad, clicking on a product, and their sizing is only small, medium, large. There are so many more bodies out there than those who fit into that very narrow sizing mold!”

Signature look / uniform?  “A well-fitting pair of jeans, a basic t-shirt (white, grey, black, stripes, or pastels usually), belt, one of my many denim jackets, and a pair of comfortable shoes — sneakers, sandals, or low-heeled boots — usually black in color.”

Favorite designers?  “Honestly, I can’t afford (or fit into) most designer fashion currently, but I do have a small collection of vintage Coach purses that I adore. I also have three pairs of Christian Siriano for Payless shoes. Say what you may about Payless, but those shoes are beautiful, and some of the best heels I’ve ever worn.”

Favorite local shop?  “Big Bud Press and Proud Mary Fashion! I’m biased because I model for both of them, but they’re truly amazing at what they do. The Plus Bus is also the only plus sized-centric thrift store I’ve ever been to, and I always find something great there!”

Tee by Big Bud Press.
Tee by Big Bud Press.

Fave online shop?  “Universal Standard — only jeans I wear and they have incredible, elevated basics and workwear. Also, Package Free Shop. I haven’t actually purchased from them, but I use their website for inspiration for sustainable swaps to look for or try out!”

Favorite small brands discovered on IG? Belle De Nuit, Wasil Clothing, and PREMME. I’ve been lucky to discover a few of these brands through having the opportunity to model for them and then falling in love with their product!”

Items on your want list?  “My dream wish list would be a bigger kitchen / kitchen makeover, a trip to Europe, and a new car. But, if we’re being realistic, probably an Instapot, a 90-minute massage, and still a new car! I drive a 1999 Camry, and though she’s done my family and me well for many years, it would be lovely to upgrade!”

Your must-have beauty products?  “Glossier mascara is the only mascara I’ll use right now. Other than that, I’m not picky on brands. I just try to find reasonably priced and functional products. I tend to use oil-based face cleanser, Alba Botanica gel-based moisturizer, drugstore clear eyebrow gel, and a cream blush. Those tend to be the basics I can’t leave without.”

Favorite local boozy drink of choice?  “I love a good sweet and sour drink. Either a house margarita for happy hour, or a cucumber gimlet from the local bar in Culver City.”

Favorite local cafe and menu item of choice.  “I love going to Sip & Sonder on Market Street in Inglewood. They’re black female-owned, super close to my house, and have an amazing environment. I recently had what they call an ‘Inglewood Fog’ — so cute! — which is a spin off of a London Fog. I don’t drink coffee, so a tea latte with oat milk tends to be my go-to anywhere I go.”

What’s the last thing that made you laugh?  “Playing cards with my family on Father’s Day! We’re all really competitive. And, for the record, I won Gin Rummy with a score of 220. I’m very proud of myself!”

Go-to dinner party recipe?  “I love to bake more than anything, so probably a 7UP cake or chocolate chip cookies. If we’re talking holiday season, definitely my sweet potato pie.”

What’s always in your fridge?  “Smoothie ingredients (berries, protein powder, Lactaid), whole milk Greek yogurt (used as both yogurt and sour cream), a Costco-sized box of Kerrygold salted butter, and organic veggies from the farmer’s market I work at.”

Fave late-night snack?  “Cookies and tea! I’m sure I’ve gained ten pounds from when I started this addiction five months ago, and I’m not mad at it.”

Tell us about what you do.  “I’m currently working as a model! I was teaching film at a high school for the past year, but decided not to go back, so I could pursue my creative and career goals. Right now, I’m on the hunt to make modeling my full-time job rather than a part-time one, but I know in time things will fall into place. I’ve also been picking photography and filmmaking back up after a post-graduation hiatus.”

Was it always modeling?  “It wasn’t until after I got out of college that I got into modeling. I was always into filmmaking, photography, and fashion. My love for fashion led me to taking lots of OOTDs in the Tumblr days, which ultimately spilled onto my Instagram. I got a lot of positive responses that encouraged me to think about modeling as a legitimate career, and then in 2018 Big Bud Press gave me an opportunity to model for them. It’s been my main focus ever since!”

Current artist whose album you can’t stop streaming?  “I’m really into playlists, so I’ve been listening to a Tierra Whack mix a lot recently, along with the POSE soundtrack and Tyler, The Creator’s new album IGOR.”

Currently reading? All About Love by Bell Hooks! A book I pick up all the time because I feel like it’s constantly teaching me something about myself. I recommend it to everybody!”

What’s your sign?  “Aries Sun, Cancer Moon, Libra Rising!”

Your Halloween costume was incredible! Why Solange?  “I have a fierce love and appreciation for the Knowles sisters, but I’ve always felt more connected to Solange’s message. She’s someone I feel I can relate to being an artistic black kid who grew up half in a predominantly black and brown community, and half in a version of suburbia. I feel like my personality and interests are shaped heavily around both of those spaces. Sometimes I go into primarily black spaces and feel awkward, like I can’t relate to everyone else. This obviously isn’t true, and creatives like Solange are great reminders of that for me.”

What’s a recent movement (political, economic, social) that you think everyone should be supporting and why?  “There are so many political movements that I believe are fiercely important to be paying attention to. It’s hard to not see the world as broken when anyone who isn’t a straight, white male is being marginalized consistently. When we still have black bodies, black trans women, black women, black men being gunned down, harassed, treated as less than human by police and other institutions nationwide. When rape culture is so engrained in American culture that women are constantly being silenced when speaking out about it. When we have immigrant babies locked up in cages and people being killed in Sudan with no media coverage. When we still have journalists writing harmful and disgusting articles about fat bodies, as if they’re an American epidemic. When there’s an actual American epidemic — homelessness —that seems to continuously get swept under the rug. It’s really disheartening. I don’t think it would be fair to just pick one. They’re all so important. I just try to stay informed and keep my heart open to stories that are different than mine, that don’t affect me, and engage in them with the same empathy I would towards something that does. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Stay informed, listen, speak out, donate, make space for those within a marginalized community to have a voice, and make changes where space hasn’t been made for them before.”

Favorite apps you use on the reg?  “I’m really into games, so I’ve been playing Purple Diver, Love Balls, and The Stillness of the Wind a lot. Beyond that, I use Aloe Bud, which is a self-care reminder app. I’m always in need of reminders to stay hydrated and breathe throughout the day.”

Favorite movie?  “Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett or almost anything made my Agnes Varda. I went to film school and both of these filmmakers were really integral in the shaping of my own film style.”

Any morning rituals?  “I always make sure I take my vitamins. I almost always have a smoothie for breakfast. And, I tend to wash dishes in the morning, too.”

Evening rituals?  “Floss. Every. Single. Night. No matter how tired I am! I also try to avoid using my phone right before bed to make it easier to go to sleep.”

Any words on self-love / body positivity?  “Advice I’d give to my younger self — a girl who hated everything about herself and thought she’d never find love because of the size of her belly — you’re so magnificent. If it’s hard to love your whole body right now, start small. Find the pieces of you that bring you joy and amplify them, celebrate them. Take time to look at yourself in the mirror, and really look. Find people on the Internet who inspire you, not make you feel worse about yourself. Do things that make you feel proud that aren’t related to your looks. Be sweet to yourself; say the things to yourself you wish you’d hear from others. Remind yourself that you’re amazing every single day, even if some days you don’t mean it. My partner and I sometimes do a ‘compliment checkpoint’ when we’re feeling bad about ourselves or saying negative self-talk. The other person will stand by a doorway and say, ‘Compliment checkpoint! You can’t leave or enter until you tell me one thing you like about yourself.’ And, we’ll make each other say nice things about ourselves until we feel an attitude shift. If you have a friend or a loved one who could do this for you, try it out! Or, try doing it for yourself. One compliment before you leave your house, your bed, etc. Every single day.”

Guilty pleasure / necessary indulgence?  “Jackets! I have a whole closet full in my tiny apartment, mostly denim.”

Night in or night out? How do you spend it?  “Out! Dancing with friends or having a nice dinner and drinks.”

Any cool spots in Los Angeles worth mentioning for out of towners to check out?  “My uncle manages a bar and pub downtown called Casey’s. I always end up having a lot of fun there!”

You have a free day all to yourself. What do you do with it?  “If I’m feeling in top shape, I’d start by cooking myself a big, elaborate brunch. Then, I’d go on a bike ride and get myself some lunch. Probably go to Goodwill, a farmer’s market if one is open or a grocery store — my favorite places to shop. I’d come home, cook again, call a few friends while cooking, then watch TV or a movie. I’m really social though, so if I had the choice to not be alone, I’d probably meet up with someone midday or have a friend come over for dinner.”

What’s on the horizon for you?  “I’m in a state of transition since I’ve just left a teaching job that I didn’t feel was serving me to pursue my dreams of modeling and art-making. I’m only a few weeks out and I already have multiple, cool photoshoots coming up. I’m currently on the hunt for a modeling agency, so I can work more consistently. I’ll also be making my second acting appearance by starring in my friend, René Gannon-O’Gara’s film this summer (my first was in the film I directed and starred in with my dad —Transmission). I’m finally starting to make some of my own creative work as well, so far working in photography, but looking forward to expanding that soon! Beyond that, I’m just excited to have a good summer, filled with some travel, some beach time, a lot of time with my loved ones and doing what I love to do!”

Written by: Tiana Gidley

Tiana Gidley is a 20-something Contributing Editor at The Bleu. She binge-watches reality TV on Bravo, throws a mean murder mystery party, and makes her bed every morning.

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