It’s kind of cheesy, but I actually enjoy looking like a Hot Topic goth.

Chokers are my preferred accessory, and I like the sex dungeon aesthetic:
leather collars, harnesses, handcuffs.

A few years ago, when I was home in Texas, my mom and I went to PetSmart to get stuff for our cat. I wandered to the dog section, and put one of those choker collars on; I remember my mom finding me as I was putting it around my neck.

She was horrified, but I bought it anyway.

Not everyone is into it — which is fine — and it can be a casual thing. You don’t only have to wear stuff like this in a basement.

“I’m drawn to dark things, like this red rubber choker that makes your neck look like it’s bleeding.

It’s awesome.

The black one is from the same place. Instead of blood, it looks like stitches.”

“This PVC collar was the first Zana Bayne piece that I bought.

I have a lot of Zana’s accessories; when I got this two years ago, I loved it, but lately I’ve been drawn to more black or red styles.”

“These are legit; they’re SMITH & WESSON.
I love them. And I have the key.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of stuff online, like this cherry choker.
I’m obsessed with it right now.”

“This is Rodarte. It may be the nicest piece [of them all].”

“I like wearing harnesses, but they can get intense.

This ZANA BAYNE one is awesome; it’s like a halter top. ZANA did a collaboration with MARC JACOBS for Valentine’s Day [2015] and I modeled in the pictures for it, so I got some pieces for trade, which was a dream come true.”

“Sometimes I’ll go into sex or fetish shops [in New York City] and find things.

LONDON, in a basement on Christopher Street, has a whole rack of collars that I love; GOTHIC RENAISSANCE, on 4th Avenue, is good. And there’s a JAPANESE LOLITA store on Allen Street that has a ton of amazing stuff.”

“I have a weirdly high pain tolerance, so sometimes I won’t acknowledge when something is hurting me.

Recently, I wore a new choker to dinner and I couldn’t stop coughing during the meal — halfway through I realized it was because the choker was way too tight.”


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told toAnthony Rotunno

Ali Michael is a model based in New York City.

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