Iconic, feminist, and fabulous, Ashlynn Malia takes BS from nobody. Today, the 19-year-old pop sensation channels her inner Cher with a glamorous new music video for her latest single, “emergency.” On a plush retro set, we find a jaded Malia lounging in bed and strutting around her bedroom, rolling her eyes at yet another good-for-nothing guy making excuses on the dial phone. Flitting between glitzy nostalgic getups—50’s film star, 70’s pop icon, Mean Girls’ Regina George—Malia sings into the telephone the timeless and relatable refrain: “Love me like it’s an emergency, kiss me with a little urgency / Don’t look like you can take anything / Don’t you know I’m not afraid to leave?”
Embodying female autonomy to a T, Malia empowers women to stick up for themselves and not put up with selfish men in their relationships, friendships, or life. Flaunt asked her about the inspiration behind the music video, the role TikTok has played in her artistic work, and about what’s coming next for the budding star.
What’s the inspiration behind the video, “emergency”?
I was inspired by women in the entertainment industry throughout the past decades who have been absolute icons in their own right, and furthered the narrative of girls living for themselves and not centering their lives around other people. One quote that stayed on my mind for the whole filming process was that clip of Cher in 1996 saying “I think men are the coolest! But you don’t really need them to live”—later referring to herself as the “rich man” her mom told her she should find someday. That’s the exact energy I felt while writing the song, and wanted to keep for the music video.
Does TikTok play a role in your videos?
Yes I think it does. At this point, I’m on that app so much that it’d be hard to deny its influence in my life and on my art. I’ve been inspired by a lot of the aesthetics that I’ve stumbled upon through TikTok, as well as the whole idea of everyone having the platform and opportunity to turn their life into something much more cinematic being the “main character.”
I see the video was shot in various sets. Explain the process of in the making of this video?
Oh my god, I’m still recovering. We shot the whole thing in a day, in 4 different sets. The cinematographer only had one available day so we had to make it work. It took a lot of planning shots in advance and trying to be over-prepared in order for us to get the shots we needed in the limited amount of time we had on each set (2 hours, for a couple of them). It was definitely exciting. The sets and shot concepts I came up with were each so different and I got to become a new character in every scene. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone on my team, we all worked so hard to make this come together.
What’s next for Ashlynn Malia? Is there an “emergency”?
YES! I have an EP coming out in June! It’s titled rather be alone. “emergency” is on it along with my already released songs, “open” and “desperate,” and a few more unreleased originals.