15 Questions with Candis Cayne: Honey Dijon

I first met Honey Dijon in the early 90s through the incredible NYC club scene that brought so many amazing artists together from all over the world.

NYC was a telling place and no matter what you were there for, it brought the best out of you (it almost killed you but…) It showed the world (which let’s just break it right down, was NYC at the time) what you were meant to be. The same could be said for Honey: she was MEANT to play music and her heart and musicality are second to none. She would slip in and out of our lives laughing and kikiing and working her ass off. And even now, we can see each other after the longest time and pick up right where we left off, talking forever, happy to be in each other’s company. We end up running into each other in the most random places and I love it! I am in awe of her career, talent, and dedication to her music, and now of her fashion line HONEYFUCKINGDIJON. I hope you enjoy my chat with Honey. xoxo

1. Your career has spanned over two decades. How did you start DJing, and what did it take to have such longevity and success in the industry?

I started DJing out of necessity. When I left Chicago, I wasn’t hearing music in NYC that was presented in quite the same way as home, so I just started because I wanted to continue to spread the lessons I learned. Also living in NYC and working in the instability of nightlife gives you a resilience that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s true with what they say, if you can make it NYC you can make it anywhere because you are so disposable to so many unless you have something to offer and assert your voice. It was the perfect training ground for the road to longevity!

2. We want to know about what you’re working on now and how covid is affecting it.

In a weird way Covid has allowed me to focus on what’s important in life (health, family, savings for a rainy day, and a comfortable home) and allowed me to focus on finishing my second artist album and concentrate on my brand HONEYFUCKINGDIJON with Comme Des Garçons. It’s definitely a difficult time for us all but I’ve been incredibly productive.

3. Who are your biggest influences?

Grace Jones is my biggest influence. She is the epitome of a unique, brilliant artist that moves between art, music, fashion, and performance art. She was unapologetic and fierce. Also the East Village art scene between 1980 and 1983. What a magical time in NYC.

4. What are your passions outside of work?

Cooking and exercise. During this pandemic I really honed my plant-based cooking skills as well as intensified my focus on health. The longer you live, you really realize how important health is because you really can’t do anything if you aren’t healthy!

5. Fashion is a big part of your life, how do you explain your fashion sense?

I love chicness and attitude. I’m really drawn to the 70’s and 80’s when fashion was more elitist and had relevance to countercultures be it women’s liberation, the gay rights movement, disco, punk, new wave, and early house music. It was cultural status instead of wanting to look rich. I love that!

6. What advice do you have for someone getting into the business?

The business has changed so much, especially since the pandemic. Everything has moved to personality and celebrity. I entered fashion through music which is not a traditional route. I think the best advice I can give is to really have a clear vision of what it is that you want to say and contribute something to the marketplace that doesn’t exist!

7. if you could pick one song as your theme song what would it be?

Living My Life by Grace Jones

8. Did you have any fear about transitioning? If so what?

Passing was about life or death. When I transitioned, it was at a time with no transvisibity like today. You lived completely in the dark or at night unless you could pass for cis and that brought on a whole other set of concerns. It’s not an easy path, even today.  Kids today have the choice to be non-binary which I think it’s great because there is less pressure to have to fit into society’s narrow ideals of gender.

9. What’s the best part of your work? And the worst part?

The best part of my work is that I am a working artist and I get to share with the world all of the things that I love from music to art to fashion. I feel like I am contributing to culture. The worst part was being broke in NYC and trying to do the things that I am able to do today.

10. What does a normal day in the life of Honey look like?

It varies from day to day. No day is alike. I do, however, work out first thing in the morning every day, and then it’s usually meetings or working on projects such as my clothing line HONEYFUCKINGDIJON.

11. What’s your favorite color?

I want to say black, but I flow between pink, green, and bordeaux! So I have many colors that are my favorite!

12.  When you first moved to NYC, did you feel like you found your tribe?

Well, I was lucky enough to have a good friend in the DJ Gant Johnson.  He was so pivotal in introducing me to the cream of the NYC nightlife. He was even responsible for giving me the name Honey Dijon. I owe so much to Gant. He was a portal for the beginning of what my life would become.

13. What do you feel most proud of?

Survival. As a black transwoman, to survive at all living in NYC at the time I was there is remarkable. Every day I as so full of gratitude that I am still here to tell the tale.

14. What’s the dream thing you’ll do when Covid is over, that you can’t do now?

Sex with strangers lol!

15.  We are living in a kind of trans revolution, but still are fighting for our lives every day, especially trans women of color. Please speak to this? Will it ever change? What do our allies have to do?

I hope it will but until cis people dismantle their antiquated belief systems about gender I feel sadly the cycles of violence will continue. It’s not up to transwomen to do the work for them to understand and accept us, but for them to look at themselves and dismantle their own belief systems about gender. Also get rid of the fucking church! That shit needs to go!

Best regards,
Honey Dijon

Photo: Manu + Pascal

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