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Junglepussy’s Latest Style Icon Is Her 16-Year-Old Self

“Not just because of Throwback Thursdays, but I’m always looking at pictures of me in high school,” says Junglepussy, aka Shayna McHale, the Brooklyn-born rapper who recently released her third album, JP3. After years of living in New York, and out of a desire to remain somewhat neutral when it came to her wardrobe—“I didn’t want anybody to see me,” she says—McHale naturally gravitated towards a more stripped-down color palette. “I was like, Alright, black hair, black, black, black,” she says, but it was only after she spontaneously dyed her hair recently that she felt emboldened to explore some of her earlier looks. “After looking at pictures of me in high school, I’m like, Shayna, come on, just do that again,” she says. “Through my quarter-life crisis, I’m going back to 16. That was a good year for me—let me just get back to what I was doing before everyone was watching. I was really free—I’m still free, but back then, I was really free.”

McHale’s newfound sense of freedom has translated to colorful rhinestone-studded jean vests and Nirvana-referencing crop tops that look plucked from those adolescent days, and it also seems to have seeped into the content of her new album. She raps about everything from grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s to cooking Jamaican food for a love interest to, yes, her sense of style—“Every time I wear clothes / I’m stopping traffic,” she raps on album opener “State of the Union.” And while the production sounds laid-back as ever—it’s easy to imagine riding around in a car this summer with these songs blasting from the speakers—the lyrics evoke a certain sense of hard-earned clarity when it comes to love. “I know how to tell guys what they did wrong. I do that, but I didn’t want to make this project so woe is me,” she says. “Just because guys don’t know what to do with me is not my fault. It doesn’t mean I’m going to dedicate my career to their grief, so this new music is me in a lovable light.”

Judging by McHale’s Instagram, this optimism extends to her wardrobe—she appears in everything from plunging metallic dresses to neon floral lace-up sets and custom Anna Pierce corsets (there’s even a “Junglepussy” chain on the back of that one). McHale has a special affection for such custom garments—she even has a Junglepussy thong. “I am just so grateful that people are inspired enough to create something for me,” she says. “My mom wants to curate an exhibit one day of all my custom pieces.”

Until that happens, fans can luxuriate in the colorful throwback ensembles she posts online, now that she’s leaned even further into her outsize style inclinations. “I was like, Shayna, you know you’re poppin’, that’s not just it. It comes with responsibilities,” she says, talking to herself yet again. “I’ve always wanted to be poppin’ in peace, I’ve always celebrated my stuff in peace, but I realized, you need to take all of it. Bitch, especially when you’re as poppin’ as you are!”

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