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Honey Balenciaga

“I’m not your average model,” Honey Gonzales says, perched on a stool with a printed kimono wrapped around her shoulders, exposing her décolletage. “I’m cunt!” she emphasizes. There’s a pause before she looks at me again.

“Can I say that in GAY TIMES?” Well, we’ll find out. 

Though it’s a dreary Thursday afternoon, Honey’s mug is anything but. Her makeup is being carefully applied (by Tiffany the Artist) for The Center’s annual gala: a who’s who of queer talent fundraising over $1.3 million dollars for the New York City institution. Honey’s invite, and fit, came by way of Jean Paul Gaultier who was one of the night’s honorees. A nude, flower-embroidered dress and asymmetrical coat hangs swaddled in a garment bag in the closet of the Brooklyn apartment where she’s getting ready.

You undoubtedly know her by her stage name, Honey Balenciaga. And if you don’t know her, you’ve at least seen her: likely in one of the many viral videos of her voguing. Or, there’s a possibility you’ve spotted a clip from her appearances in two seasons of the ballroom competition show Legendary on the platform formerly known as HBOMax. Or better yet, you’ve at the very least spotted her dipping in shoddy iPhone footage from Beyonce’s Renaissance tour, or featured in the documentary film of the same name. (If she wasn’t dipping, then maybe she was galloping on all fours as her alter ego Alice.) The figure in your mind is impossibly acrobatic, full of contagious energy, often in boots, and almost definitely blonde. 

“It’s so surreal,” she says of her life at this moment. Coming from the ballroom scene, of which she’s been a part since 2019, houses often borrow their names from renowned ateliers, but now Honey is working with fashion in an official capacity. “I’m using all that I have within me to get where I want to be.” 

Though to be fair, Gaultier is only the latest brand Honey has worked with. She may have started out by wearing pieces inspired by luxury brands, but these days she’s working with them directly. Her relationship with Nike has lasted for years and she’s used it as a way to platform her genderfluid identity, appearing in the women’s ads. That work has also extended to labels like Coach, Savage X Fenty, Gypsy Sport, and now the good graces of Diesel — she shows me a few bags they’ve sent over. 

And so, while Honey is a world-touring dancer, her new era as an unlikely fashion model and influencer is about showing she can be more. 

Tiffany styles the performer’s locks into wet, swirling finger waves. They aren’t the blonde you may remember, but are black, a color Honey chose after coming back from tour to signal the aforementioned new era. It all fits perfectly in line with the darkly sexy persona she’s been cultivating recently. She normally opts for latex or bondage-inspired pieces to enhance that vibe, but the Gaultier, hiked up just a little to reveal a few extra inches of thigh, provides the necessary sex appeal.

When she reaches to unbox her first pair of Louboutins — the Follies Strass suede pumps, if you’re curious — she tells me she’d only bought them a few hours before. 

“Stiletto pumps are becoming my new thing,” she says. It’s a revelation, given her now infamous spat with Law Roach on Legendary when she was given a shoe that wasn’t a boot to perform in. 

“I’m getting into pumps more than boots now. There’s something more classy about them. With boots it’s giving very ‘bangy cunt.’” Later she tells me that after growing up revering the likes of Amanda Lepore wearing red bottoms on the red carpet, she knew she needed a pair after wearing some for the first time in a film for a fashion brand that hasn’t been released yet.

In the Uber to Cipriani’s Wall Street where we’ll rush Honey through the carpet and to her table, Honey applies her lipstick. A fan of her naturally pink lips, she often opts for a color from Kosas that she says reads natural on camera. 

“I’ve always wanted to be in a movie,” she remarks of one of her eventual goals. With her background as a dancer leading to her ascension in fashion, Honey has her eyes set on bringing these talents to television and film. 

“I’m trying to moreso be a chameleon and let people know that I can transform into as many beings, with so many talents, and fit into so many spaces,” she says — it’s the thrust behind her video series “Hidden Gems” which uses dance as a tool of character building and storytelling. “I’m in the process of redefining myself. When I went on tour, I got closer to God. I had never been more sure of myself. So I wanted to use that drive and that energy to transform myself into a different field of art.”  

We chat about how moving to LA gave her a requisite freedom that in turn sparked her love for fashion. “I needed to get out of New York,” she says, but has since let go of her place on the West Coast and is considering whether to go back to NYC or just travel indefinitely. 

“I just want to keep breaking barriers,” she says. “I want to keep breaking my barriers.” After a second, she states it plainly:

“I just want to be a star.”