CLOSET CASE: Rachel Samples & CJ Taglione
By Joelle Hyman, Video by Annie Pettinga, Photographs by Cassie-Lee Grimaldi and Annie Pettinga
You've felt the guilt of mumbling, "I wish my life looked like a J.Crew catalogue." When we first met Rachel Samples and CJ Taglione, we were convinced that any hint of shame about joining J.Crew's recently formed conglomerate of cool should be thrown to the curb–and fast.
The duo, a television, radio, film junior and advertising sophomore, respectively, shared their stacks of clean-cut basics and quirky additions (see: Rachel's "dead celebs" t-shirt collection and CJ's array of watch straps). As if being the physical embodiment of brand loyalty wasn't enough, they're also quick witted and thoroughly entertaining. We sat down with Rachel and CJ in their safe haven, Grant Auditorium, where they perform with improv group Zamboni Revolution in all of their comedic glory. So if you've ever wondered why you can't have it all, it's because they've been busy having it for you.
Your wardrobe is an illegitimate love child. Who are its parents? Rachel: This is hard! I'm going to say Jackie O and Pharrell Williams. CJ: Everyone who's been inside Marilyn Monroe. I don't know if my style really reflects that, but James Dean and JFK, they were great. It would probably make me a lot cooler.
Who was your first style crush in comedy? Rachel: I was a huge Evens Stevens fan, so when Shia LaBeouf would wear Hawaiian shirts, I decided I want to wear them also. I had a really long phase from age 10, that I think I'm still kind of in, emulating Louis Stevens. CJ: I was a very serious kid, actually. I started liking Cartoon Network in middle school. I was really into Johnny Bravo, that whole black t-shirt and jeans kind of thing. I also knew my dad's role model growing up was John Travolta, so I felt like that look–maybe a high school badass type–drew some kind of parallel for me about being cool. I don't know that he's necessarily a comedy icon but more so funny that I thought that's what cool was.
What's your go-to stage outfit? Rachel: Bright pants, Sperry's, and a button-up shirt to conceal sweat. CJ: I go for dark colors, because pit stains are usually my main accessory on stage.
How would one of the characters from GIRLS describe your current outfit? Rachel: Hannah would call it "like, color-y without being too color-y." I have Marnie's style if Marnie didn't have such a stick up her ass. CJ: Marnie would…she wouldn't say anything. She would have a look on her face. And then she would just know we're meant for each other.
Name three songs that would be on the soundtrack to your wardrobe. Rachel: "How Will I Know"–Whitney Houston "Valerie"–Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson "Step"–Vampire Weekend CJ: "Mirrors"–Justin Timberlake "Breezeblocks"–Alt-J "Frank, AB"–The Rural Alberta Advantage
Hypothetically, J.Crew is going out of business. Do you panic and loot every store or find a new crutch? Rachel: I think I would become a Madewell person, which means I would have to get over my fear of denim on denim. I would use H&M as a space-filler and mix with Salvation Army finds. CJ: J.Crew is a pretty big staple for both of us. I would go on eBay because people probably already looted it and it would be much cheaper. I would rather stop by a couple of auctions and buy-it-nows.
Childhood memories are usually a big inspiration in any act of creativity. Tell us a horrible childhood story and how it affected your approach to comedy and fashion. Rachel: In 2nd grade, I was going to school in my uncle's car and I picked up an air freshener he had in the back seat. The liquid in it dumped all over my lap. I smelled awful but I didn't want to change my outfit because it was our dress-down day at school. I waited all week to wear my new Pokémon t-shirt, baggy jeans, and Reebok sneakers. I walked into the classroom–and for some reason 2nd graders have a million more allergies than the average person–and a kid had a physical reaction to my presence and started wheezing and broke out in hives. It was horrible because I had to sit in the hall and my Pokémon t-shirt never got its time to shine. CJ: You can ask any guy, no one really teaches you how to use a urinal. You just grow up and it's there so one day you're like, "Oh, ok. That's how you use it?" One day in elementary school, I walked into the bathroom and some kid was taking a shit in a urinal. I just remember the image of his pants around his ankles. It's a good memory about understanding the importance of simplicity and how basic things function. I can only imagine what that kid did with a glass of water.
I have more ________ than friends. Rachel: Sperry's CJ: Pairs of underwear
It would be an honor if _________ told me my outfit was hideous. Rachel: Tina Fey CJ: Justin Timberlake
I saw _______ wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops. Rachel: Beyoncé. CJ: I've never seen anyone wear army pants and flip flops and thought that was cool. But if I had to choose someone, it would be Barack Obama.
For more of Rachel and CJ check out @ZamboniRevolution. Let us know what you think of their style, @jerkmagazine!