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An Interview with Annalyn Fortunato


"Growing up, my parents always taught me the value of persevering."

Annalyn is sprawled lengthwise on a linen daybed imported from Los Angeles, her chin resting thoughtfully on a handmade Balinese throw pillow. Honesty hour: We've been fans of Miss Fortunato's blog since forever, and the sneak-peak of her apartment in a post entitled, A D U L T I N G, is bookmarked on the editorial team's Mac. "Dad bought me this place just last month, actually!" Her entire condo unit is the stuff Pinterest wet dreams are made of--all at once boho chic and industrial minimalist. Quarters like hers bear the telling signs of one whose wanderlust is always indulged. Travel, according to Annalyn, should not be seen as a luxury but a birthright. "Leaving home to explore new cultures and going away for a while to find myself... It's as essential to my being as air."

#Goals? A trendsetting independent spirit of Annalyn Fortunato's type is all about that life and more. When one's got at least 2k followers on all accounts, the upkeep required for relevancy could only be taxing. "I'm a tastemaker. I pretty much invented succulents."

If you thought Annalyn Fortunato's just like any other Internet-popular kid, think again. She constantly reinvents what it means to be a social media influencer, "I'm launching a non-profit foundation for the environment, we'll sticker-bomb the entire city with my illustrations inside out, that's the hot new thing now." Under the harsh sun you could almost see Annalyn's skin smoke and sizzle. "I mean, literally."

The night bleeds into day
Like my soul turn bright from gray

It's the chapbook launching of pen name Annie Lee Fortune at a new co-working space downtown. Annalyn clenches both eyes upon delivering the hardest-hitting of her heart-wrenching prose. She always performs her spoken word poetry with a theremin, her tattooed hands floating haphazardly over the instrument like a tone-deaf shaman summoning the gods. "There's, like, no science to it... I just feel my words and feed off of the energy of the crowd." It takes us a while to have a moment with Annalyn after her piece, especially with a satellite of adoring fans and approving mentors around her. On how she feels being heralded as the local literary scene's Next Big Star despite being around for only two open-mics, "It's something I always knew I was meant to be."

This was no ordinary celebrity profile. Our contemporaries are satisfied with interviewing their subjects for a day to flesh out enough of one's personhood. Not us, though. In this Annalyn Fortunato case study spanning months, we document the life and times of a generation's poster girl.

See, what has really transpired since is that Annalyn failed her Fine Arts thesis project one too many times so her parents finally cut her off and told her to get a job. What preceded this was a t-shirt line, an acting stint in indie movies, a pop-up restaurant selling fusion Korean pizza and a role in the national elections as youth correspondent. The common denominator? All short-lived and abandoned once the going got tough or something else became cool. We wish we could gloss over with a filter the point when the affirmation of Likes and Retweets dwindled the less she posted about a curated lifestyle everyone wanted. No more trips abroad, no more superficial involvements in vague community efforts, no more sidelines to add to the slashes in her name. Nothing for her readers to aspire to be now that she's planted root-feet and decided to be constant for a change. Annalyn is now a part of the family business, a pest control company.

This load of patronizing BS over the average achievements born from bourgeois flights of fancy would have been a waste of space had any of it been true. You know though, Annalyn Fortunato may not exist but you and I do. We are Annalyn in our glorification of Busy, in the bloated sense of self-importance we allow our accomplishments to make us feel. There's that Fortunato flair in us all when we want to dip into everything without committing to perfecting any one thing. From the still-shitty poetry of Annalyn Fortunato herself:

Self-love okay
Self-loathing necessary
Self-awareness best

Words by: Mariya Lim

Illustration by: Kolown

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