Film, Art and everything in between: Panda Kids

There are many ways to prepare for an interview. Reading articles, interviews and blog posts are the most common among them. But to prepare for my meeting with Laura Cherrygrove and Joost Leliveld I did something every single one of you has probably done before: I stalked them on Facebook.

Interview: Kilian and Poppy
Article: Poppy

"We actually thought we should make our profiles stalkable", Laura tells me when I mention it to them. She has blonde hair and pink eyebrows at the time, but seems to get a new hair colour as frequently as others get new toothbrushes, probably even more often.

Panda Kids are fun to look at and even more fun to listen to. They seem to talk in a never-ending flow, mixing English and German as they go and throwing in the odd Asian language every now and then. "Berlin is the only place you can study art and chinese in combination, that's why I moved here", Joost says. The two met at university and decided to do something together. Among several ideas was the plan to create a new youth movement - Panda Kids were born.
"We have had enough of youth cultures in which all are oh-so-different but in the end look like everyone else[...]. We skip the phase of individuality and are all the same right from the start.", they write on their page.
It started with funny videos and reports on events, a panda party and tumblr page followed. They slowly, but surely worked their way up to some sort of cult status. Being Panda was cool, the pandas were fun and being panda was so easy - all you had to do was to paint on panda-eyes. "We got attention pretty quickly", Laura says. "Yeah, people tended to like the funny stuff. The Lady Gaga video, in particular, was pretty popular.", Joost adds. He's a bit of a YouTube addict himself. "The internet's my home", he jokes.

The highlight of our meeting follows soon after they answered the questions, I had thought of, in a pace, I hadn't even thought possible. Kilian can't think of any more and Laura and Joost start speaking chinese. "Maybe we just talk too fast", Joost says before offering to ask each other random questions. A good move and in a few minutes we are back on track, talking about whatever topic comes up.

This is a short list of 12 facts, we got in the next 40 minutes. Perez Hilton is probably jealous of us for this interview.

1. During the interview, Joost was wearing very old underwear he had stolen from his dad some time and never gave back. He also stole the scarf he was wearing from his mum.  
2. Laura Cherrgrove is not only a tattoo artist, but also a stripper

3. She finds tattooing herself the easiest.

4. They enjoyed making funny videos that made little to no real sense the most.

5. They threw one panda party, further ones are not planned so far, despite the rumors

6. They love Monster Ronson's in Berlin.

7. They never leave the house and have no friends. Everything else is one big rumor, which fuels on pictures they Photoshopped their faces into and backgrounds inserted with the help of green screens. If you look closely you may see that Joost has no ears due to bad editing.

8. Laura is a man.

9. There used to be someone who "even stalked us at events - the only person I am not friends with on Facebook..", Joost says while Laura claims to only have seen him once.

10. Joost suffers from paranoia.

11. They think most people find them cute and won't accept anything else. Anyone who takes them seriously is quite strange.

12. Joost watches everything on YouTube, including make-up tutorials and vlogs. "It's so funny, all these really odd characters sharing everything online. The really sad thing is that I follow these people over a wide time span."

"I saw the greatest video today", Laura adds. "It's some blonde girl talking for over ten minutes about how she is not Taylor Momsen: Guys, seriously, I'm not Taylor Momsen okay!?"

Believe whatever you like.

Laura and Joost are currently working on different projects. While Joost has done some modeling, Laura is opening THE SHIT SHOP Berlin with model/photographer/It-Girl Bonnie Strange in July, where she will have her tattoo studio and Bonnie will sell customized vintage clothes. She also blogs for Bleached Mermaids and The Fabulous Stains.

Before saying goodbye, I want to take a picture, but my camera's battery is empty. Obviously, I'm not doing too well at this interview.

"Great!", Joost exclaims. "Take a picture with your phone and you can pretend you had to take it secretely, because Laura is touchy about being on photos."

pictures 1-3 via, picture above by