We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”
“When I took this interview, I thought I was gonna have to embellish, but I thrift a lot…” says Laci Mosley, with a laugh, as she comes to a realization about 20 minutes or so into our conversation. “I’ve named every thrift store in L.A. Let me call my accountant… Wow, what a way to realize I have a problem.”
But the actor, comedian and podcaster actually does have a very close relationship with fashion and style — and not just because she personally loves a “statement” outfit, as seen on her Instagram. Professionally, Mosley joined the Paramount+ revival of late-aughts Nickelodeon series, “iCarly,” as Harper, a charismatic It Girl, who, like Mosley, is bi. She works as a barista by day and chases her dreams of becoming a fashion stylist. In her shared apartment with Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), Harper has a “styling station” on-the-ready and understands the logic behind a “tiny little purse that couldn’t possibly hold anything” and the power of “a tux moment.”
Mosley also brings the laughs and wisdom on her popular podcast “Scam Goddess.” And, let’s be honest, fashion is full of scams, as discussed in a recent episode with “iCarly” co-producer and co-writer Franchesca Ramsey. (Side note: Their episode, titled “Doctor DoRobbery,” is the perfect example of how “Scam Goddess” provides a mix of ultimate snort laughs, practical advice — especially for women and WOC on how to not be swindled by our broken healthcare system — and insightful commentary on American capitalism and social justice. Join the con-gregation!)
“I don’t like when people steal from fashion designers who are up-and-coming,” she says. “There are some brands that I will not mention that literally will buy things from up-and-coming fashion designers and then take them apart [to study] and then recreate them or sell them for more money.”
But back to “iCarly,” which closes out its first season on August 26, with season two on order. With the titular influencer maturing into a new stage of technology and life, of course she’d expand her circle with a new best friend and roommate. (Also, Jennette McCurdy, who played best friend Sam in the original, quit acting years ago.) Mosley’s casting announcement brought out the vile racist trolls on social media, with Paramount+ and the show’s producers vocally standing up for her in response.
Behind-the-scenes, Mosley felt supported by Ramsey, who ensured that Black hair stylist (and three-time Emmy nominee), Cora Diggins was hired as part of the team. Back in February 2020, Mosley, along with fellow industry multi-hyphenates Natasha Rothwell and Taraji P. Henson, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about their experiences dealing with the industry’s long-running issue of not hiring hair and makeup artists with an understanding of working with natural hair texture and a spectrum of skin tones.
“There’s been so many moments where we cry in our trailers, and we don’t want to offend anyone and do too much to fix it. But like, we’re not protected, we’re not taken care of,” she says. “When I need my braids refreshed, [Diggins] braided my hair. I took a video and I posted on Instagram, because I was like, ‘This is unheard of.'”
She recounts bringing her own supplies in her bag, from a curling iron to eyelashes, to set with her, just in case. So Mosley feels especially proud to work with Diggins in creating such an inclusive space and on stunning, headline-making hairstyles, for the new generation of young talent, like Jaidyn Triplett, who plays the adorably precocious 11-year-old Millicent.
“This is such a special experience to see a young Black girl come up and not have to deal with what we dealt with. It makes me so proud to create an environment where a young Black girl can come up and not have to have stuff in her little purse, you know,” she says. “And, at the same time, all the Black actresses who came before me who have made life easier for me”
Ahead, Mosley — who’s currently filming a time travel comedy “Scroll Wheel of Time” (which looks really amazing) — shares what she still wants to steal from Harper’s closet (I sense a scam … ), how she treated herself after becoming a series regular (spoiler: Chanel) and where to shop the best vintage gems in L.A.
“I would describe my personal style as ‘eclectic hoochie’ — well, ‘very eclectic hoochie.’ I’m a hoarder when it comes to clothes. The one thing that I wish I was better at is getting more classic pieces that I could just keep and wear with different things. My style problem is that I love weird pieces. I love a moment. I have a lot of pieces in my closet that are very much, if you photograph it once, you cannot wear it again for a few years. I’m very much into having statement pieces.
“When it comes to fashion, I think that I’m a little lazy, because I know that people love to combine things and make outfits, but I love a dress. I love a monochromatic moment. I love a jumpsuit. I love a two-piece that matches. I have them in sherbert, rainbow, neon pink — so many different colors. The only thing that’s unfortunate about that is you can’t really re-dress it and make it look different. They’re all statements. That’s why I love Harper, because [costume designer Bramli Knauf] gives me the coolest statement pieces all the time. Like, in the meme episode [‘iFauxpologize’], I wear a red-and-black checked top that has this black-and-white gingham frill on the side. It was a one-of-a-kind piece [from Dope Tavio by Octavio Aguilar] made for Janet Jackson [to wear in her 2018 video, ‘Made For Now’]. There’s only one that exists. I got to wear it and that was so cool. The frills with the colors, I really love that kind of flair. So Harper and I share that.
“There was a multicolored Balmain dress that I wore and wanted to steal so badly. I still want to steal it. When I put it on, I was kind of insecure because I have a fibroid, which is a benign tumor in my tummy that I have to get removed. A lot of Black women have fibroids and it pushes my tummy out. So I was a little insecure when I put the dress on, but then when I saw it on camera, I was like, ‘Oh, wow, I love this dress so much.’ Balmain makes clothes for women who have curves and shapes. I’ve always loved their stuff.
“I told myself I would book a few series regulars before I would buy my first Chanel bag. I’m trying to be frugal. There are certain high-end vintage spots that I don’t really fuck with, because they’re just reselling things at the same price point. Honey, the Boy bags — all those bags [resell] for $4,600 or $5,500, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I’m on the Chanel website and you’re all talking about $200 less than [Chanel is charging for new]. I’ll just go to Chanel to make sure that the authenticity is confirmed.’ Chanel doesn’t depreciate and that’s what I love about my Chanel bag. Like if you’re selling vintage, honey, somebody wore this, used this, probably went to places in this; you should have a discount on it. And if you don’t, I’m gonna go to Chanel to get some champagne and sit down and get the real thing.
“I went during Covid, so I didn’t get the champagne. I was fine. I don’t need that champagne when I buy things. I don’t need to be cloudy-headed. I went to the Chanel in Beverly Hills and I bought a gray Boy bag, which is very rare.
“I love my gray Chanel Boy bag so much, but then I hate my classic black Chanel bag so much. I wear it a lot, but I hate it. The reason I hate it is because it’s the finest leather, so if you have long acrylic nails and you fucking graze it, it scratches. It’s the most delicate leather I’ve ever dealt with. And I’m not a bitch who is good at taking care of nice things.
“When I was a kid, my mom always said, ‘You ruin everything! I get you new shoes, you just put them on and then you destroy them.’ Listen, I have classy ladies in my family, and my Aunt Mary has had a white sweater for 20 years and it has no stains on it. There’s some people who are just very classy people, who can wear white and aren’t going to get a stain on it. I’m not that girl. I’m the girl who’s gonna get stains on it. I barely own any white clothing because I know that I’m just not mature enough to keep up with it. So I know now that if I go back to Chanel — which I will, because I’m an addict — I’m not going to get a similar Classic bag because I can’t keep up with it.
“I love thrifting. I love to go to Goodwill or wherever and find things that you just wouldn’t see anywhere else. I’m a fast shopper. [With thrifting,] I just walk into the store and if something calls to me, I get it. Instead of spending a lot of time at a store, I’ll just frequent it pretty often. Because then I’ll walk through real quick. Before Miranda and I took Jaidyn to Disneyland, I walked into a thrift store in Studio City and found a beautiful red Valentino fanny pack. Obviously, we’re going to Disneyland, so I’m gonna get some ears, honey. I found that fanny pack, took it and ran away. Sometimes you get lucky.
“I love to go to Goodwills in expensive neighborhoods, and I recommend this to everyone, because if the rich girls are donating their things, that’s where they’re going to donate them. I love to go to the Beverly Hills Goodwill and see what the girls are giving away. Then, obviously, I love Wasteland. They have one in L.A. — that’s fun, but I love the one in San Francisco, in the Haight Ashbury district. It just can’t be beat. It has the coolest weird things and artsy people giving away cool stuff. I love to go to Out of the Closet and get tested and donate my stuff. Sometimes you’ll go and buy a bookcase or something, if you want kitschy, cool home stuff. What’s that one where they judge you? Buffalo Exchange! I found this pair of really pretty white flat sandals at the Buffalo Exchange in Studio City. I was looking for something that was comfortable and was cute because, honey, Louboutins hurt my feet. I’ve recently been getting into hats; I have my own merch, like hats that say ‘scammer’ and ‘scam her’ in parentheses. I love hair jewelry and stuff.
“There’s a vintage store called 2nd Street USA on Melrose Avenue. They authenticate all of their vintage clothing, so you know it’s real. They organize it by designer, but it’s not just expensive vintage clothing. One time, I got this really cute dress — it was $2. They have a lot of diversity in price range.
“What I didn’t realize about vintage shopping until my friend Kirby Howell-Baptiste made some posts about how she loves to vintage shop [is that it’s] better for the environment, instead of buying stuff that’s freshly made. It does also make me feel good that I’m buying clothes and reusing things and repurposing them, instead of consuming things. Especially in America, everyone’s always striving to be unique — what’s more unique than finding pieces that probably can never be found again on retail and wearing them?”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.