We’re all seeking some form of divine intervention to help us navigate the human condition, the latest lockdown measures, or just to get through that 8:00am Zoom meeting. Check anyone’s phone and you’re sure to be met with the latest astrology app to bring us daily reassurances from the stars. The truth is, each of us is Winona Ryder, living our own version of Reality Bites, looking for the next best thing to a psychic hotline where we can confess that we “can’t even take care of a chia pet.” Now, meet Millie Sykes, the 25 year old mixed-media artist, stylist and drag performer from Sydney, Australia, who is bringing us the psychic hotline nostalgia we all deserve in this short inspired by the 1-900 craze of the ‘80s and ‘90s, during which one could rack up thousands of dollars while chatting about nothing.
In her video, Sykes delivers with a glamorous spin on hotlines à la Latoya Jackson and Miss Cleo—promising us an authentic psychic astrologer with good advice on love, relationships, romance, money and career.
“As a lot of the work I do is very character-driven I often find I’m tracing back strings of subconscious inspiration to the initial source once I’ve completed a project,” Sykes tells us. “I’ll see the final result and be like, ‘Oh my god of course…I’m cosplaying Matilda’s mum.” In this video, she’s giving us Lady Miss Kier, Debi Mazar, with a nod to Absolutely Fabulous’s Patsy Stone.
Sykes is onto something real though, and lets us know that for now, indulging in nostalgia is, “a thing of picking and choosing which parts of the past inform my present identity, and remaining hyped around whatever that is.” Hotlines were precursors to many of the digital services we use today, and represent the beginnings of learning to connect with people and celebrities alike outside of the physical space. Think QuestChat dating line, advertising the ability to meet local singles over the phone. Calling back to hotlines is a playfully nostalgic interpretation of apps like Tinder and Bumble.
Here, watch Sykes in all her glory tackle money, power, and success all while delightfully clad in faux fur and shiny metallics.