While declaring your desire for revenge in a room full of lipstick-print decorations, burning couture, and an ornate throne may not be how every 15-year-old deals with the end of a friendship, one thing’s for sure: it makes a statement.
Victoria Anthony follows in the footsteps of teenage-angst stars like Billie Eilish, Tate McCrae, and Olivia Rodrigo in her edgy new single and video, “Dirty Lipstick”.
Anthony, who first rose to fame when she was 12 years old after a video of her singing at a P!nk concert in Vancouver went viral, has since been featured on the Grammy’s Reimagined web-series and released her own album, Real Life.
Real Life, which came out October 2020, has since received over 4.5 million streams across platforms and has been celebrated as a cheerful showcase of Anthony’s talents. Even in ballads like “Breathe Underwater”, Anthony carried a message of hopefulness and positivity in her art—everything you’d expect to hear from a young, bright emerging star.
In ‘Dirty Lipstick,’ however, Anthony is switching things up.
“I’m super proud of what I did with Real Life but that was such a different chapter in my life,” Anthony tells the Straight in a phone call interview. “And I’ve tried to really evolve as a songwriter since then. I’ve always heard people say, like, ‘writing’s such an outlet for me’, and as much as I kind of thought I related, I definitely relate more now. Because before I was just sort of trying to figure out even how to write a song and how the structure works and what my sound was. And now I’m just trying to lay it all out there and really challenge myself as a songwriter.”
Praising artists like Taylor Swift and Adele for their honesty as writers, Anthony says she looks to them for inspiration because of the way they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. She’s now focused on developing sincerity in her songwriting and honing into the more visceral emotions that she hasn’t written about before.
For “Dirty Lipstick”, Anthony says: “I just told a story about my life and that happened to be one where I was really angry. And I kind of just grabbed that emotion in the moment and released it all into that song.”
Based on a break-up with a friend, her newest single is the most honest and sure of herself we’ve seen from Anthony yet.
“I remember getting out of bed and I was, like, pacing back and forth,” Anthony says. “When I was writing the chorus of ‘Dirty Lipstick’, I just let it all out.”
The fiery yet grounded work has created an opportunity for Anthony to reintroduce herself to the world as a songwriter who is unafraid to make waves. In the video, we watch as a confident young star steps into the light to express all parts of herself: joy, fury, misery – all served with a healthy dose of teenage rebellion.
Working as a codirector for the video as well, Anthony says she enjoys having a hand in all-things-creative when it comes to her music.
“It’s very important to me to be a part of every process that my song or video or art goes through,” Anthony says.
Working side-by-side indie-music video director Brock Newman, Anthony says developing and shooting the various different scenes for the video was one of the best experiences she’s had in her career so far.
“It’s fashion, editorial, unique, colourful. It’s edgy…. It was by far my favourite music video to film and my favourite music video to watch. Ugh, it’s so much fun.”
It’s not a surprise that Anthony found so much joy in filming the piece, as being able to share one's truth is oftentimes liberating. With a background of Jackson Pollock-inspired bloody red and dark black splattered wall, broken glass, and mannequins on fire, Anthony sings her impenitent chorus: “You’re not sorry for what you did/I don’t need to forgive to get over it/I’m done with all your pretentious shit.”
The lyrics may seem harsh to those who expected the young artist to go on singing uplifting, teeny-bopper anthems; but as any teenager would tell you, she doesn’t really care if you're offended.
At the end, as Anthony spits out “I hope you choke on your dirty lipstick” while sitting proudly on the opulent throne on fire, we’re given a taste of the new, unapologetic chapter that’s just begun.
A chapter, which Anthony says, will be one of exploration and honesty.
“For a lot of the songs that I’ve written and produced so far that I’m planning to release, there are a few that are more edgy, like with ‘Dirty Lipstick’. But then there are a few that are vulnerable in a different way,” Anthony says. “I’m laying out all my sadness…. I’m just really giving myself and my perspective to the world. It’s going to evolve, for sure.”
“That’s the beauty of art—it doesn’t always have to be uplifting,” Anthony adds. “If you feel something—it’s art.”
Watch Victoria Anthony’s latest music video for “Dirty Lipstick” here: