Words by Erika Ramirez. Photography by Carrie Schechter.
Kitty Cash has had one hell of a year. She’s traveled the world DJing, strutted down the cobble streets of SoHo covering New York Fashion Week for various publications, graced spreads and YouTube channels of fashion magazines, and debuted her final installment of her three-part mixtape series, Love the Free. And, she’s just getting started.
Born Cachee Livingston, Cash has been doing her thing for a minute, but she pressed down on the gas pedal harder this year, after having an epiphany at her birthday party. “It was time to focus on me, and what I love,” she told me over lunch at New York City’s Tacombi. Instead of nuzzling in comfort, she chose passion. She decided to turn her 5-9 into her 9-5. Soon after, she quit her job as Communications and Marketing Manager at G–Star Raw to pursue her creative endeavors full-time.
It takes guts to surrender to fate, and take a leap of faith such as the one Kitty Cash did, but every leap thereafter has landed her farther than the last. Below, the September/October cover artist shares all the feels she’s been sorting out during this promising phase in her life.
How do you know when it’s love?
Love is allowing yourself to be loved. I’ve always been so guarded and in defense mode when it came to love. I was too broken from my childhood to give love a real chance, because before, love broke my heart. I didn’t trust it. From the age of 15 to my early 20s, I had to learn to love myself. It was a real process. I learned to love and accept my imperfections because that’s what made me special. I learned to forgive and build a loving relationship with my mom, which was a void I tried to fill for many years of my life. I learned to love my mistakes because they prepared me for everything I need to be ready for now. That was then.
Now, I let it be. I don’t try to pre-plan love, or guide it. I’m open to being loved. I want to be loved. I want to embrace it. I don’t want to fight love because I’m scared. I’m here, with open arms, allowing it to flow my way.
I know it’s love when I am swept off of my feet. I get tunnel vision. I love hard because I have always wanted love in my life.
“Love is allowing yourself to be loved.”
You recently broke up with someone you consider a best friend. How did you know it was time to part ways, especially with someone you still hold close to your heart?
I literally parted [from] someone who knew me inside and out, and who essentially watched me become a woman. It’s never easy to walk away from a place you call “home,” where there is comfort, time invested, memories, and a genuine friendship. It wasn’t easy to walk away, but I knew it was time. I think we both knew, but sometimes it’s easier to hold on because you think of what you have, as opposed to starting over. Who the hell wants to do that?
But for me, I knew it was healthier to walk away and respect what we built than to destroy what was left. I felt that we were growing at different paces that essentially caused us to drift apart. Through that drift, you really start to see the differences. I realized that when you’re with someone, it’s so important to know who you are outside of your partner. We all have to take time to learn ourselves. What are your hobbies? What is your favorite wine or drink? How do you like your house to look and smell like? All the little things…you need to know these things. You need to develop who you are outside of someone else, so you can then bring that to the table when you do meet someone.
“When it contradicts everything you believe in and stand for, you have to let go. When it hurts more to stay than to leave, you have to let go.”
When do you let go, instead of hold on?
Letting go may be the hardest part of any relationship, but your heart speaks to you. It’s that inner voice or weird tingle–your spirit tells you when it’s time. The thought of losing a friend is more hurtful and unnerving then anything else for me. Knowing that I’m letting my love, my partner, my friend go makes it scary. And, that’s the part that keeps me holding on–the moments that no one else sees, but you remember because they’ve carved [out] an unforgettable memory that only you can feel, hear, smell, and re-create. But at some time, you look at yourself in the mirror, you look into the depths of your fears, your tears, and your smiles, and you ask yourself, “Am I happy? For real, am I happy?” When you have to ask yourself that question and force an answer, you know what you need to do. If you have to lie to yourself or find excuses to stay, that’s when it’s time to let go. When it contradicts everything you believe in and stand for, you have to let go. When it hurts more to stay than to leave, you have to let go.
“You have to truly know yourself, and who you are, in order to be able to be you in your truest form with someone else.”
Do you think you can be entirely yourself when with someone?
Yes, you can, but it takes time, transparency, and honesty. It took me a long time to truly be my entire self with someone. I kept in mind someone’s “entire self” is something that is constantly changing. You have to truly know yourself and who you are in order to be able to be you in your truest form with someone else.
What’s the most recent heartbreak you’ve encountered?
One of my most recent heartbreaks involved my friend who was in an abusive relationship. I may have read articles, seen it on shows, but when you witness someone who you know is strong, beautiful, and deserves the world, broken, battered, and bruised…It made me feel so helpless. I was there, I was present, I was an ear, and a shoulder to lean on which is what she may have needed but…fuck, I was heartbroken. With every word she spoke, I saw her fear, I saw her spirit broken, I saw her face bruised. I’ve never experienced that type of heartbreak. I remember going into the bathroom to cry because I knew I had to be strong for her; it wasn’t about me. I learned in that moment, we all have a weakness and we all can lose ourselves [when with] someone, but you have to find strength and love in others and yourself to [then] build yourself back up.
What does surrendering mean to you?
When I think of surrender, I think of acceptance. I’ve come to the realization that just because I surrender, it doesn’t mean that I gave up or gave in. I’m accepting what is in front of me. My life as we speak is in the “surrender” phase. I feel like I am being pushed up against a wall to accept where I am in life, on every level, and I have to act on it in real time.
How hard is it, or how do you, surrender to love?
I love love, but surrendering to love is hard. Truthfully, there are times where I’m so scared to give someone else power over me…to accept that I am giving them all of me, to trust them with that responsibility. But while on this journey of healing my heart, I’ve learned that I have to let go. I have to surrender, respect, and trust that the person I choose to love not only is open to loving me and wants to love me, but wants it to be reciprocated. I have to trust that they honor the love that I give and seals it in a special space. You can only surrender to loving someone else, when you’ve surrendered to yourself.
Check out Kitty Cash’s ILY photo shoot below, shot by Carrie Schechter.