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Grace and Mae Mckagan: On Sisterhood, Fame, and Support

By July 19, 2023July 28th, 2023No Comments

Punk rocker Grace Mckagan, taking on her solo career just recently released the single “K-Town” featuring Boots Electric in August and “Baby That’s Rock n Roll” back on February 21, 2022. In 2016 she began a punk band called Pink Slips following her right of passage to rock stardom. Starting her solo career in 2021 has gained recognition and success on streaming platforms. An influencer on the rise, the absolute breathtaking Mae McKagan began her journey as a designer, releasing a stunning capsule collection back in 2019 and was recognized by Vogue and featured on their website alongside her father, former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. The self-titled capsule consisted of a punk-inspired clothing line. She’s taken off in her modeling career working with brands such as Fenty, Calvin Klein, and SKIMS. Both Mae and Grace reflecting on the influence of their parents Duff McKagan and Susan Holmes have crafted incredible career paths and we can’t wait to see where they’ll go.

Happy: Both of you have been so successful in life… And I think when people see siblings that are both making their dreams come true, they, kind of, wonder what it is that is instilled in both of you that led you both to where you are now. What is it that you think you both have in common that has been the cause of your commonality to go after what you want?

Grace: That’s a fun question. It’s a fun getting to do this with Mae, too. I think we’ve actually never gotten to do an interview together.

Mae: Well, I’m glad that you answer the questions first so that I can piggy back off of yours.

Grace: [Laughs]. Thank you, Happy, for saying that I’m successful, because one doesn’t think that they’re successful. I feel like I have so much more to do… But to answer your question, I feel like there’s probably a lot of different things. Like, the culture we live in. Also, when you’re so passionate about something, you want to be successful at it. With music, not everybody gets to make a career out of it. So that’s my goal… To not have music as a side thing. For so many people, their dream in life is to only do music, but they have to also do another thing. I’m really trying to fight hard for me to have the opportunity to be able to only do music. I don’t want to have a business job and sit at a cubicle. I just don’t want that for myself. So I’m trying to just follow my passion and follow my dream, so I don’t have to do that. Hopefully, I’m lucky enough to, one day, not only get to do my music, but to be able to only rely on that. That would be amazing. But also I think I live we were grouping our lives surrounded by so many creative people that it’s more encouraged while being in that environment.

Grace: Just meeting so many like minded, passionate, creative people definitely adds fuel to the fire. And of course, I feel that our parents… They were successful at a young age. At times it’s daunting, but it makes me really motivated to make them proud and to make myself proud.

Happy: That’s awesome. And I’m sure your dreams will come true because you’re so talented. It just can’t not happen.

Grace: Thank you.

Mae: I feel like I would say authenticity is like a main factor in it. Like, it’s important to build a brand and an image for yourself, but making sure that it maintains what did I just say? What’s that word I just use?

Grace: Authenticity.

Photo by Stolen Besos
Mae: Yes. A brand and image that is authentic to yourself because people really connect to the authenticity. Also, just being kind to everybody because kindness will take you way farther than being an a**hole.

Happy: That’s amazing. I definitely agree with that. And I can tell that you definitely have both of those things. So that’s so great.

Grace: Thanks.

Mae: Happy. You too.

Happy: Thank you. So, Grace, one thing I think everyone should know about you is the fact that you’ve actually been releasing music and performing and have kind of had a large following since you were about 15. So what advice would you give to young people that are just beginning their music careers?

Grace: I would just say to keep writing music and keep performing. Because the more you do that, the more you’ll find who are as an artist. And of course, through those young years, you evolve and change so much every year. Like, 16 to 17 is so different, like 18 to 19 is so different. You’re changing so much all the time. But, the more that you practice your craft, the better at it you’re going to be and the more you’re going to discover yourself as an artist and what you want to say and what you stand for. Also just being open minded to other types of music. Don’t just put yourself in a box. Be open to listen to and check out other bands or acts that are like, doing different kind of music because it’s kind of fun! You never know who you can meet, or what kind of music you’re going to like. And just watching and learning so much from people that came before you is so inspiring. I mean, just watching documentaries, any little YouTube clips. There’s so much out there. Reading books, biographies.

Grace: You can learn so much the more knowledge you acquire. It’s just limitless and is the catalyst for just the best version of yourself as a musician performer.

Happy: That’s so awesome. You can definitely tell that you know what you’re doing. I know that you do read and do your research on everything, so I believe you. That’s so awesome.

Grace: That’s nice. Thank you, Happy. I don’t feel like I have a huge following. Sometimes you just say that it’s always just think about building and falling and of course, following this come and go….You’ve just got to keep staying authentic to yourself is what Made was saying. And those people that resonate with your voice will find you connect with that or your sound.

Happy: Totally. That makes sense. And I feel like so many people would find that advice so helpful because I think a lot of people when they’re first starting, don’t really know where to start. Yeah, so I think that’s very cool of you to share.

Happy: So, Mae Mckagan, last but never least, I have a question for you! You started also modeling in your career at a very young age, too, and have already worked with legendary artists and brands like Calvin Klein, Ellen Von Unworth and SKIMS. So what has it been like to kind of arrive to such an amazing place in your career?

Photo by Stolen Besos
Mae: It’s been pretty unbelievable. I just thought I would never even work with these people in my life. So it’s really amazing. And I guess it’s reassuring that my career is going on an upward trend, I guess, and it just makes me proud.

Happy: That’s awesome. And you have so much to be proud of. The things you’re doing are so iconic.

Mae: Thanks!

Photo by Stolen Besos
Happy: Anytime! So… To both of you. A lot of people with parents that are celebrities kind of try to hide the fact that that’s the case in whatever way they can for many different reasons, I’m sure. But I think you both are so good about being proud and open about your love for your parents and where you come from. And I know that letting people know those things comes with a lot. So what do you think it is to you both that has given you such an acceptance and confidence and honestly, bravery to be able to be so open about that in that way?

Grace: i used to go under grave because I didn’t want to have my last name associated with the music. I also do shy away from that stuff a lot. But at the same time. I feel like I’ve just learned over the years. Like. The more that I try to repel it and say ‘I’m my own person,’ The worse that makes me look, in a way. Because I am so grateful. And I don’t want to come across like I am ungrateful because I’ve had times when I’m like, ‘I don’t even deserve any of this’. It’s like, oh, my God, what do I do to deserve this? There’s guilt. For me, at least. But I don’t know. I feel like I do love my parents, and I am very grateful for them. I feel like if everyone can post, ‘Happy birthday, dad!’ Why can’t I? ‘Have a good birthday, mom?’ And why can’t I? So with that part I’m trying to be authentic to myself. I just think, ‘what feels natural and right to me?’ I don’t go a day in my life, specifically when I got to music, where people didn’t say, like, ‘oh, your dad!’, or he just is brought up or, just plain comparisons of me to him every single day.

Grace: I don’t know what life is like without that. But there’s so many worse problems to have, of course. So I’ve just accepted it as part of my life.

Happy: That’s awesome. And I loved when you just said that you can also post, like, birthday posts and acknowledge your parents in the same way that everyone else can.

Grace: Yeah, and some people don’t. As I got older, some people don’t even have parents and stuff. So why would I want to be embarrassed and shy away from my beautiful family when I should just celebrate the time that I have with them now?

Happy: I love that.

Grace: I don’t know. I just realized some of that stuff as I’m getting older.

Happy: That’s so cool.

Happy: so what is the best thing about being 25? Grace.

Grace: Feeling 25 honestly feels weird, I’m constantly dreading and afraid of aging and the perpetual burden that women (especially in the music industry) carry. Some days I feel like I know who I am, and some days I am still learning about myself, 25 feels like a crossroads.

Happy: It is.

Grace: Twenty – five isn’t old, but if you just think of 25 and you’re like a little girl, and I thought I’d be engaged. Do you know what I mean? It’s just, like, so different. I don’t want that for myself right now because 25 is so different than when our parents were 25.

Happy: Completely. Yeah, I get what you’re saying. I think that when we’re super young, we think there’s, like, a timeline for the headlines of what we have to hit by a certain point.

Grace: Yes! Through movies and society in general. Like, my mom had me when she was 27, so she would only be two years older than I am, to which I’m like, ‘girl, the hell? I’m not ready for that.’

Happy: It is so different. Completely. But that’s so inspiring that you know what you want and you’re set on what you’re going to do.

Grace: Still figuring it out, but I just feel like our timeline with our generation is a little bit different than it was a couple of decades ago. Like, I don’t know. Obviously, I do want to get married, and I don’t have children, but I don’t want to do them anytime in the near future.

Happy: Yeah. Which makes sense because its a huge commitment, I think.

Grace: Yeah. I’m not in any rush. I’m just focusing on my career right now, getting that ready to go.

Happy: Well, that’s amazing. I know you’re going to continue to do great things.

Grace: Thanks Happy.

Happy: Do you feel like trying to do that is, like, fun, or how do you feel about it?

Grace: I think it’s fun because I’m allowed that opportunity. My job is to be creative, essentially, and there’s other stuff that comes with the job, but I think it’s, a really fun job and you get to do what you love. Like, tomorrow I’m going t to Seattle for the weekend. I’m going to be recording music with my band. I have to work, but it’s so fun. I literally can’t wait. What an amazing experience. I get to just go be creative with my best friends and make music. Like, so fun.

Happy: That is so fun.

Grace: Yeah.

Happy: You have to take so many pics.

Happy: Mae, what is the best thing about being 23 for you?

Mae: I just graduated from college, so finally having the time to fully dedicate myself to my craft (design), without always having one foot in school is super freeing and fulfilling.

Happy: That’s so cool. Do you have any feelings about graduating or just like, it’s happened?

Mae: It’s strange because I’ve literally been in school for 20 years, I guess, like, 18 years. So that’s strange. But it’s also exciting because, as I said before, I finally have the chance to dedicate my time to the multiple things that I have been throughout my life, but I just haven’t had enough time to fully dive into them.

Happy: Yeah, totally. It’s like so hard to balance school and everything else.

Mae: Totally. It always kind of holds you back a bit because you’re like, oh, I could do this, but like, oh, I have school, I don’t have enough time to do that.

Happy: Right, totally. But that’s so exciting that you’ve graduated!

Happy: So I think this is to both of you. I think that sometimes when people see two siblings, especially sisters, who are kind of well accomplished, they kind of wonder if there’s competition or jealousy or if there’s any kind of animosity because of these things. And they wonder, like, how it’s possible for this at least to stay close and kind of function normally. What would be your response to someone making that assumption about the two of you?

Photo by Stolen Besos

Grace: I don’t know, I feel like for me, I’ve never felt that way with my sister because it’s just like, my sister and I’ve always just felt really protective over her, especially as one older. Also, we do like really different things. So she does fashion and I do music. So there really isn’t competition in that way. We’re both creative, but she’s like visually creative and I’m like sonically creative. More so and may like, love something that was like video ideas and creative concepts. I feel like we’re just generally supportive of each other. Like, when I started doing music, not that I know, she was like, wait, I want to do it too. So just kind of it’s different. It’s not like we’re competing for the same job or stuff like that.

Happy: Totally. That makes sense.

Grace: A win for her is a win for me.

Mae: I think we’re just genuinely happy for each other and want each other to succeed. As she said before, we really can help each other in our different fields. For example, if I needed a song for a campaign or something, like I could use Grace. I help style her sometimes… We really make a great team.

Happy: That’s amazing. I love these answers. Well, that’s good that you have that sistership.

Grace: Yeah, I feel like having a sister makes life easier, at least for me.So I feel like I understand female friendships. It’s really easy for me to form them.

Mae: Also, I feel like we just have the same vision on a lot of things. When it comes to style, music, whatever, we have a lot of the same preferences, so we can just talk about that and help each other out endlessly.

Happy: That’s amazing. That is super sweet. So what would you both say is the hardest thing about being so young and being in the public eye?

Grace: I didn’t grow up with cameras in my face and stuff like that. Even though I wanted to! I really wanted to be an actress when I was younger, and go on auditions, but my parents would not let me. And I was very upset about that.

Grace: The thing that makes me the most upset and it’s the most triggering is, like, when people speak for me and see my feelings for me, like, ‘oh, she’s just a brat. Like, she’s just a bitch.’ I just always think, ‘well, you actually really don’t know me.’ And that’s actually really hurtful because it’s something that I really know to be true, is that I am a good person and so is my family. So I don’t like when people throw around that narrative. That’s what’s most frustrating to me.

Happy: Yeah, I definitely understand that. Yeah. It’s hard to get, like, judgments from people you don’t know.

Mae: Yeah, it’s definitely made me more sensitive to celebrity commentary to the point where I’m saying, ‘why are you saying this about this person? You literally do not even know them. Why do you care?’

Photo by Stolen Besos
Happy: Grace, what is your favorite thing about Mae?

Grace: That’s a fun question. You’re so many I can’t even answer. But I guess my personal favorite thing about Mae is her heart. She’s just such a good sister and friend. Like, all of her girlfriends… She’s been friends with them since she was five, and they’re still such good friends. I feel like that really speaks to her character. She truly is a great friend and a girl’s girl and just, like, a fun time.

Happy: This is so cute.

Grace: My sister and I have a connection I don’t have with anybody else on this planet. I feel like she can give me a look, and I can read how she feels, which is so special because not everybody has that in a sibling or in a sister or even in a friend. So I’m really grateful.

Mae: I would say all the same about Grace. Additionally, I would say, I mean, I really love how she doesn’t give a fuck what other people think. Even back in the day, with the invention of Instagram, I remember Grace posting really kind of cryptic, random pics because it was, like, cool. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was cool. And she was literally onto that before anybody else was onto that. And I was like, that’s so weird. Why are you posting this shit? But it’s because she doesn’t care what anybody fucking thinks about her. She’s also such a great leader, which is really respectable. She can really lead a pack and lead a stage, lead a room.

Mae: Well, I feel like there’s, like, good alphas and bad alphas. There’s, like, bad alphas that totally take over the whole conversation, are rude. And then there’s, like, good alphas that include people in the conversation and are just, like, funny and outgoing.

Happy: Okay. This is for the both of you. If the world ended tomorrow, what is it that you would hope people would remember about you?

Grace: I guess I would just say… My heart. I always try to be kind and act out of love. It’s cheesy but I got this tattoo that says “True Love” because I want to try to remind myself to always act out of love and kindness.

Photo by Indiana (@indiana420bitch)
Mae: I would say I hope to be remembered by all the small, kind gestures I’ve made towards people I love. And the amount of love I’ve spread throughout my life.


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