Ilirjana Alushaj, Owner, The Pop Manifesto Records, Publisher, The Pop Manifesto Magazine, DJ, and Musician in Apache Beat, Ille, and Girl Crisis
That’s a lot of gigs, right? But somehow, Ilirjana Alushaj pulls it all off and still pops up at every decent bash, event, or show we go to. Maybe the owner of The Pop Manifesto Records and its attached editorial arm owes it to her similarly busy background (she lived in Serbia, Montenegro, Australia, and Brooklyn before landing in L.A.) Maybe she was just born with it. Maybe she's actually a trio of triplets pretending to be a single, stylish master of the scene. We managed to steal a few moments with the busy beauty to try and figure it all out.
So how did you get into this multihyphenated career?
“During school, I started to write for music publications — it kinda all flowed from there. People started approaching me to throw shows and play parties. I guess being so immersed in the arts made it super easy to start my own publication…and write… and perform. It all came pretty naturally. I just did what I enjoyed most and worked at making a career from it. Also, I've never really thought too much about other people's views on my career choices. I use both compliments and criticisms to learn something new about myself and others.”
And how do you pick people to collaborate with on the label and in the publication?
“I’m inspired by those who are really working toward their ambitions. It's dull when people talk about their dreams and not do anything, so, when I find those that do, I try and support them with all my projects.”
You’re always juggling a lot of things and still managing to pull them off. And, yet, we always see you out at the hot concert, party, or event. How do you do it all?
“No idea how I do it — I just do. I always feel like I’m switched on. I can have fun and still be all business. Sometimes, I work in the day, go to the studio in the afternoon, and then head out to see one of my artists play at night. Personal life blends into work life in a weirdly casual way. All it takes is to figure out which takes the lead at one time, and that can be very obvious. I've definitely had some really weird 2 a.m. meetings.”
Weird…hmmm…can you illuminate that with a few of your favorite late-night stories?
“I have so many, I can’t even decide where to start. A lot involve jumping on things, pools, injuries, and really brilliant outfits.”
And speaking of brilliant outfits, tell us about your amazing style.
“I’m a tomboy who loves dresses! I wear snapbacks with floral minis and heels with varsity jackets. I go from Nike to Margiela, Insight to Coach. I’m really into sports and streetwear, so you'll see me in a boys’ XL jacket or tee. I like mixing everything up and seeing what I can get away with — neutrals, colors, and prints. I can't wear all black. I used to as a kid. Now, I find it dull.”
Lastly, who are your professional idols?
“Jay-Z and Richard Branson! Jay-Z because he’s successfully involved in all aspects of the music business and maintains his personal creativity. Branson because he started his insane career by producing a teen magazine (basically a zine). I've never met either, but I’m confident I will one day...hopefully together so my mind explodes!”
Styled by Danielle Combs; Hair and Makeup by Liset Garza.
Maxim dress, Bul pumps, Agent Provocateur tights.