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The Hottest Ever: LINUX on her upcoming book, her newest party, and becoming NYC’s hottest It Girl

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Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

Creative Direction, Styling, and Photography by Airik Prince, Interview and Article by Alex Hughes

If you’ve been in NYC for more than 5 minutes, you likely know of Linux. Maybe you’ve seen her walking through the club with a giant light-up Belvedere bottle (emblazoned with LINUX, of course), raving in Bushwick while smoking a light blue American Spirit, or you’ve read her column in PAPER Magazine where she recounts her latest party adventures, like when she locked eyes with Amazon daddy Jeff Bezos at a Met Gala afters.

As Linux tells So.Gay, she’s taken her childhood (and adult) traumas and used them to create a club girl fantasy that is more real than ever. Linux doesn’t take a breath – as indicated by my transcription app that incorrectly strung 3,676 words of our interview together into one run-on sentence – as she shares with me about her Paul’s Dolls festivities, her upcoming new Sunday party at Gitano Island, the book she’s writing, her album… Somehow, she’s doing all this while making everyone at the club have the best night of their week. 

Linux has become a staple in an industry that is incredibly fleeting – in one moment and forgotten the next – that shows she is here to stay. She tells me she wants everyone to hear about her so much that people get sick of her. Despite her already being omnipresent after midnight in clubs and bars across New York, it’s likely we’re going to be hearing and seeing even more of her.

This is why Linux was chosen as the latest So.Gay The Hottest Ever cover star – she is the embodiment of “hottest ever” – stylish, personable, comedic, and frankly, fascinating. Linux entrances you in a way that throws even the most jaded New Yorkers people off-kilter. 

Hear Linux in her own words as she announces several new projects, talks about transforming a small life in Wisconsin to NYC glamour, and what you must do – and definitely not do – at the party. 

Read So.Gay’s The Hottest Ever feature with Linux below.

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

So.Gay: Let’s talk about the photo shoot… the garbage bags… the plastic wrap… I’m obsessed with your long pigtails in the plastic wrap look. Everything you do, whether it’s for a photo shoot or every day, is a full look. Tell me about how you approach your personal style.

Linux: I would say it’s a combination between embracing my authenticity [and] being real, but also expressing myself and pushing the boundaries and making realness that underbelly. That New York vibe – how can you make that still fierce and c*nt. 

We didn’t [use] any clothes for this shoot. We had no designer, we had nothing, it was just me and my friend [Airik Prince] and 20 bucks and a hardware store and we made it work. 

We had five [things] of duct tape, we had garbage bags, and we turned it. You don’t need a big budget – you don’t need all this crazy designer stuff to turn it. It looked better than like any designer stuff would have.

I remember when I first moved to New York nine years ago, I had not a dollar to my name, not two pennies to rub together, and I was so broke but I just loved going out. Nightlife was where I came alive but I had nothing to wear so I would literally roam the streets of Bushwick where I was living and look for stuff to wear.

I thought oh there’s a traffic cone, let me take that home with me, cut it up with this drill, and turn it into a crop top. Oh, there’s a random surfboard that someone left by the garbage, let me carry the surfboard around the club all night and give like surfer Cali c*nt. That [style] was kind of what we were revisiting with this. You don’t need a dollar to turn the look you know completely amazing.

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

So.Gay: It can be common for nightlife folks and It Girls in NYC to be fleeting, but you’re bigger than ever. You’ve really solidified yourself as an NYC staple. Why do you think the world connects with you so much?

Linux: I think people really resonate with my journey of [how] I found myself. I came from nothing, no money, a very abusive childhood, and I just felt this spark within me. It was like, I am destined for better than getting hit and abused my whole childhood, and I’m destined for more than being in this small town in Wisconsin. I’m destined for greater than being a woman trapped in a man’s body. So what I did was I had a dream, I fed that spark that was in me more and more and more. Now I’m finally living my true dream life and I think it’s that journey that really inspires people. They see like oh this little kid fed the spark within them and now they’re just like the superstar.

I think that’s what people resonate [with]. It’s not [that] they’re not gagging over oh, she’s fabulous in VIP at the club. That’s not what it is. They’re gagging over the fact that I came from nothing and I am dedicating every moment of my life to being 110% myself and inspiring others to also, and love themselves completely. 

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

So.Gay: Paul’s Dolls has become very much an appointment party on the weekly nightlife calendar. For people who haven’t been, how would you describe it to them?

Linux: I would say it’s a guilty pleasure house party in the middle of New York City. There’s so many parties that take themselves so seriously and everyone is there to see and be seen. Paul’s Dolls is literally take all those famous, cool, kind industry people that six other days out of the week, they have to be this fake artificial version of themselves to impress everyone, Paul’s Dolls is where they can finally be themselves and just f*cking have a good chaotic crazy-ass time.

That’s what I love about it. It started as a love letter to my community of trans girls, but really quickly the party had its own plans on what it was going to become and now it’s everyone’s guilty pleasure house party vibe. It’s where people can be themselves and just let their hair down.

So.Gay: Besides Paul’s Dolls, what are some of your other favorite parties in New York right now?

Linux: I’m really excited for this summer because I’m starting Sunday nights at Gitano Island. I’m so excited, it’s gonna be every single Sunday, 5pm – 10pm, and it’s going to be like you leave the city. You literally are in Tulum for one night only. It’s gonna be amazing food, amazing people, It Girls, celebrities, fashion models, magazine editors, all coming together to just f*cking be glam and chic and expensive. I’m so excited for that.

It’s called “Cruise.” You have to take a little ferry to get to Gitano Island, so it’s like come on girl, let’s cruise.

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

So.Gay: Tell me some of your do’s and don’ts of partying in NYC in 2024.

Linux: These are so important.

Whenever you’re going to greet someone, never say “nice to meet you” because odds are you probably have met them already and you’re gonna insult them. Always say “nice to see you.” You never say nice to meet you, never ask someone’s name. 

Never sit behind a velvet rope. You may think you look c*nt but you actually look like a c*nt always. It looks unwelcoming.

Always make guests feel like VIP. That’s the only reason the party is happening, is because those guests came there to feel good, so every single thing that you do when producing a party has to be dedicated to making those guests, the general admission, feel like they are the most fabulous VIP people in the world.

Play music that they want to hear, don’t play music you want to hear, because odds are your music taste sucks and no one wants to hear your favorite song.

You always need always need to wear deodorant. Hygiene is most important.

My last thing probably is if you’re not really feeling energetically 100% and [don’t want] to go out but you feel like you’re gonna have FOMO, just stay in. There’s always gonna be another party, you’re not missing anything, and not being there will actually raise your value because people want to see more.

So.Gay: You’re also well known for your column in Paper Mag. Tell me about how that came about.

Linux: It’s actually a very beautiful story. About six years ago I was wrongly convicted for a crime I did not commit and I was put in Rikers mens prison. I was sent [there] for nine days. They held me in the men’s unit of Rikers Island and it was the most traumatizing thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and probably, definitely, [the] most traumatizing thing I ever will go through.

For those nine days, I had no contact with the outside world. I had absolutely nothing except a roll of toilet paper and I took a pen from this guy who was using the ink to give people tattoos in the jail cell, but he let me have the pen and I wrote down every single thing that I was experiencing. I’d never written anything before. I just [was] like I need to write this down. 

The moment I was finally released, I had reached out to my friend Justin Moran, who is the editor at Paper, and I said: look, this happened to me, I wrote it all down, this story needs to be told, because what they’re doing to trans women in this unit is so wrong. People need to know about this.

They were like, oh my God, this is incredible, they published it, and that was my first piece of published writing. For years after that, I just got everyone that would come to me like, oh my God, I read your article, you are such an incredible writer, I love your voice. 

I want to use my talent to uplift people and talk about things I love, not traumatizing experiences I have. So then I thought, oh my God, what if I write about what I love which is New York nightlife and then I can uplift people and I can talk about write little love letters to the city every single month. 

I would have never had this column if I hadn’t had this awful experience in Rikers. I would have never found writing. I would have never known this is something that was inside of me. It’s so crazy how the most horrifying thing that ever happened to me turned out to be the biggest blessing and allowed me to find myself.

Now here I am working on writing a f*cking book. It is basically the story of my life and how I time after time again always managed to make lemonade out of the sourest lemons. Hopefully what it will do is inspire others to embrace the hardships and traumas that they’ve endured and turn those into making their wildest dreams come true. 

It’s nice to work on something that I don’t have a deadline on necessarily and I can just pour my life experience, my thoughts, and my viewpoints into something. For now it’s just for me, obviously eventually it will be out into the world but it’s really cool to work on art on my own pace. 

So.Gay: Which cities have the best parties outside of New York in your opinion?

Linux: So things that make a good party in my opinion are good music and great people. Berlin, the techno scene is incredible. The fashion party scene in Paris is amazing. The celebrity parties in Los Angeles are like none other. In LA you’ll be at a mansion in Hollywood Hills next to a Prince and there’s like 10 A-listers next to you railing lines and it’s 7 a.m. 

So.Gay: What’s on your NYC Pride agenda for June?

Linux: This year for LadyLand, we’re gonna have a Paul’s Doll’s area — it’s gonna be so fun. The local DJs that we really love, that are really integral to the scene in this city, they’re all gonna be at the Paul’s Dolls stage. 

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

So.Gay: What’s your favorite brand of cigarettes?

Linux: Light blue American Spirits. I never smoked before. This guy came over to my house and we had the most incredible sex ever. It was one of those moments that lasted like two full days. The sex was incredible, the conversation was incredible, I was literally like oh my God where have you been all my life? We were laying in my bed smoking the cigarette and I was like this is so good, I love it.

But then he ghosted me after he made all these promises to me that we were gonna be dating, we’re in love. After he left my house, I never saw him or heard from him ever again. It drove me insane so then my way of like holding on to him was that I went to the deli and I bought a pack of like blue American Spirits so I could like kind of feel like I was still with him.

And then later that night, I was so sad and I went out to this rave, and this trans girl was smoking a cigarette, and I was like oh my God, I don’t really smoke, but can I have a cigarette? And she pulled it out and it was a pack of light blue American Spirits. It was in that moment that I was like oh my God, it’s about sisterhood. I’ll find that feeling again with a sister completely.

I reclaimed my light blue American Spirits trauma.

So.Gay: What’s your favorite bottle of alcohol to have at the table?

Linux: Belvedere. They send me these custom bottles that have my name on it. They occasionally will send me the giant ones that light up and it says Linux on it and so I’m very much a Belvedere girl. But they stopped sending them to me, so I’ll get cheap liquor and it’s still that same light up bottle with the cheap liquor, and then carry it around the club and then people just think I have an unlimited supply of Belvedere.

I’m not really picky.

I’m from Wisconsin so cheap liquor does the job and it’s cheaper.

I like to taste it. 

So.Gay: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2024?

Linux: More parties, more writing. I’m working on an album which is going to also hopefully be out at the end of this year, if not early next year. A lot of putting eggs in every possible basket ever until everyone is so sick of me that they can’t stand it. That’s the goal. I want to be everywhere. I want to dip my toes into every medium of art. I want to impact every aspect of culture. 

You can follow Linux on Instagram at @im_linux

Discover more of So.Gay’s The Hottest Ever features here.

Linux for So.Gay, Photography by Airik Prince

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