Shayna McHayle came up with the name Junglepussy to use as her Twitter handle in 2009—long before she knew she wanted to quit studying fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology and pursue music full-time. Although the Brooklyn-based, half-Jamaican half-Trinidadian rapper has put her dreams of becoming a stylist on pause, it’s clear from her brightly-hued, “too tropical for America” wardrobe and ever-changing hairstyles—bantu knots, box braids, afros, twists, weaves—that she still has plenty of fun with fashion. Even the moniker Junglepussy references the layers of leopard print she was wearing that fateful day, an employment of the colloquial term for “cat,” not her body. “We have Dick Clark and Dick Cheney, but people still feel really uncomfortable saying the word pussy,” she says, referring to the crude responses she received from men on the Internet. “I want to write an extensive paper on it because the word can mean so many things, but it’s just their way of trying to strip me of my womanhood or femininity.”
Oozing wunderkind maturity, the 24-year-old is on a mission to empower young women through self-love—specifically when it comes to what they put in their bodies and whom they let into their hearts. Since the debut of her first track, “Cream Team,” which received a shout out from Erykah Badu on Twitter and Facebook in 2013, she has released two well-received rap albums, Satisfaction Guaranteed (2014) and Pregnant With Success (2015), both stacked with sharp-witted lyrics dismantling the patriarchy.
For her next album, Junglepussy wants to stop complaining about men. “What about us?” she says. “What about our own success? Our own love for self, despite the way [men] have treated us, which forced us to love ourselves even more?”
We recently caught up with Junglepussy to learn more about how she defines her signature style. While incorporating bright pops of color for fall and romantic laces, her picks exude the same strong level of confidence and self-love as her music. Read on to shop her favorite styles at Barneys.com.
The Window: How would you describe your personal style?
Junglepussy: My personal style varies from sexy, comfy to chill, glam using references from the island waters or Brooklyn streets. I’m a tropical rockstar.
What items are you most looking forward to wearing this fall?
Boots, coats, glasses, and hats! I appreciate accessories and how adding them can be such an important element of one’s signature style.
Any fashion rules you live by?
I must always feel comfortable enough to walk with my head held high.