Although Ice Spice wasn't always famous, she always felt like she was destined for it. She remembers feeling constantly stared at, even in school where she was one of the most popular students. Her confidence and popularity made her believe that she could be famous one day. Now residing in New Jersey, she listens to her own music and watches her music videos on repeat throughout her house.
Originally known as Isis Gaston, the 23-year-old rapper began releasing music in 2021 while studying communications and playing volleyball at SUNY Purchase. Her song "Munch (Feelin' U)" gained popularity after being played on Drake's Sirius XM radio station and making its way to TikTok. This caught the attention of Capitol Records, who she signed with just a month later. Her debut EP, Like..?, was released on January 20 and features her unique breathy staccato style, which is both relaxed and upbeat. Her music embraces themes of self-love, romantic apathy, and female empowerment. Her personal favorite, "Princess Diana," is a lyrical thirst trap that oozes confidence and self-assuredness. In person, Ice Spice exudes the same level of confidence and assuredness as she does in her music.
Until recently, the rapper split her time between her mother's and father's homes, which were just a block apart. This New Jersey house is the first time she has lived alone, and she says, "I'm discovering a lot about myself — like I love being alone."
She's also exploring her personal style. Before her success, Gaston wore what she calls "cheap shit." "Shout-out to Fashion Nova," she says. "They held it down for a minute." Now she prefers to accessorize with "expensive shit," but she insists that confidence is what matters most when it comes to fashion. As she shows me a photo of a necklace she's waiting to pick up from Benny in the Diamond District, shaped like a talisman with a pseudo Powerpuff Girl with huge eyes and pouting lips, to wear in her "In Ha Mood" music video, I notice that the background of her phone is a photo of herself. "I love myself!" she exclaims when I bring it up. "I'm a Capricorn, but I give Leo energy a lot." Can you blame her for making herself the focus of her own story?
Although her first track, "Bully Freestyle," was successful when it was released in early 2021, the few songs that followed were "serious flops," according to Gaston. "I ended up taking those down. We don't talk about that much." She attributed their lack of success to her desire to fit into what she thought the industry would find appealing. She decided to return to what she felt was genuine to her when she released "No Clarity" in November 2021.
"When I brought it back to the real me and my roots, put my Jordans back on, wore my natural hair, and just really started being authentic to myself, that's when my views started going up again," Gaston says. "I was like, 'Let me just be me.'"
Ice Spice's fashion sense is distinctive and easily copied, featuring crop tops and True Religion jeans that she hopes to bring back in style. Even Lil Nas X dressed up as her for Halloween, which she found flattering. While her personal style hasn't changed much since before she became famous, she now has access to designer clothing and brands that have influenced her choices. However, she always wants to present herself on her own terms, rejecting stylists who don't match her energy. In a recent photoshoot, she wore clothes from brands like Juicy Couture and Ed Hardy that reflect who she is at her core. Although she may appear soft, she is not afraid to speak her mind and defend herself against criticism, as shown when a photo of her outfit for the "In Ha Mood" video was met with negative comments on Twitter. Her fans, who refer to themselves as the Spice Cabinet, Spice Cadets, or Munchkins, have dubbed her "the People's Princess," a title she initially didn't understand but has since embraced. She believes the comparison to Princess Diana is due to their shared shyness and short hair.