Artist and entrepreneur Rachael “Steak” Finley shares honest thoughts about
her life and working hard.
So the story goes: Rachael Finley got the nickname “Steak” after her parents—concerned about their poor college kid—kept sending her steaks so she wouldn’t starve to death. She received so many steaks that she had to invite people over regularly to help her put a dent on the ever-increasing supply.
You might know her husband, Blake Anderson, from the show Workaholics, but it’s Steak we wanted to talk to. Finley—a momma and all-around boss lady—is the artist behind her and Blake’s “Teenage” clothing line. Her latest endeavor, a woman-friendly line called “Hot Lava,” is on fire.
All photos by Joshua Zucker.
Finley is always keeping followers and fans in the loop—not because she bathes in her millennial fame, but because, via her online presence, she’s found a way to truly be herself. Check out our discussion on her work, motherhood and what it’s like being so honest online.
What brought Hot Lava to the surface?
A lot of hard work from my awesome staff and a notice in the gap of well-fitting garments, or really just anything without an emoji on it.
“It’s hard having a company that isn’t based on seasonal cycles or even trendspotting. We literally just make whatever Blake wants to wear that week…
that’s putting a lot of trust on his taste.”
“Bored Teenager” seems to be having a growth spurt and opening a lot of doors for both you and Blake as entrepreneurs. How has that ride been so far?
Oh man, have we learned a lot. It has strained our relationship to levels that we almost quit, quit it, quit each other. But for as wild as it’s been, we have just an awesome and devoted customer base. I can’t sit on tees, people snatch them up so quick. We are so grateful for that, it makes the work worth it…It’s hard having a company that isn’t based on seasonal cycles or even trendspotting. We literally just make whatever Blake wants to wear that week…that’s putting a lot of trust on his taste.
Self-care; How do you practice it?
I am currently in Florida in my hometown, and I’ve been here for two-and-a-half weeks. I plan on going home after another two-and-a-half weeks. I’m spending my hard-earned cash on myself at a resort that the door opens to the beach and having my high school friends over for low-key hangs. Self-care isn’t about spending money, but it’s knowing when to take a timeout for a minute. I put myself in a timeout because I needed it. Self-care is also getting right back to work once your allotted time is up.
I remember seeing you two pop up on Mishka’s Instagram as friends of the company—you even had a collab with them. Do you plan on assembling with any other brand?
We have a lot of collabs coming up this year. In 2016, we are doing the first ever legal epe tees. That’s right, Pepe the Frog hit us up and said, “I’ll give you my face if [you] can make something cool.” I’m excited for that one.
“I never have a plan, but the way I’ve lead my life so far is try everything until you decide it’s not for you. That’s what i’m doing here… Living this way has never done me wrong.”
Granted you had your start in fashion as a model and began designing as a way to keep yourself sane and keep Blake fly, did you think this is where it would take you? Did you have any other kind of plan?
This interview is so thought out, thank you for that. And no, I had no plan. I never have a plan, but the way I’ve lead my life so far is to try everything until you decide it’s not for you. That’s what I’m doing here…Living this way has never done me wrong.
How has it been being a full-time mom and full-time leading lady of, now, two of your own brands? Upsides? Downsides?
I am so tired. I am wiped out. But neither of those two things allow for slacking…So it’s kind of a rodeo right now. I’ve been traveling a lot this year for work—I’m trying to pedal the metal now so I can ease up later in the summer and from there on out. We’ll see. I’m structuring two things: a business and a child.
I miss seeing Smog [Finley’s pet lizard] pop up on your social media and blog.
I miss her like every day. My friends who are crafty have sent me things like handmade pillows and trinkets and stuffed animals. She’s still “present” in our home, but she doesn’t sleep in the bed with us anymore. I like to think she’s hoisted up in some Palm Springs coconut tree.
As a female-empowering internet babe, do you feel you have a louder voice than others? Your following is loyal and you’ve got a famous hubby who sheds additional limelight on you, but you don’t really seem to have changed.
Thank you for the compliment. My best friend says that, to a fault, I am the exact person that I have been since high school, even down to the way I dress. There was a year or so there that I thought I had to dress differently; I started trying to look at celebrities and what they were wearing, and I wore dresses that I find so hideous now it makes me wanna burn the photos. I’m sure during that time I might have tried to channel a mindset that wasn’t my fault too, not that I can recall, but I can imagine that being true.
Realizing that I like myself the way I’ve always been better than trying to reach up to this weird level has been such a weight off my shoulders. I wish I had never questioned that…but it’s probably natural to.
We’ve been talking lately about the world outside of the “curated internet bubble.” How do you surround yourselves with positivity IRL, too?
I’ve been practicing, this year especially, telling friends when they’ve hurt my feelings. I’ve also tightened that friend group. Not kicking people to the curb, but just understanding what a “bar friend” is vs. who you’d call if you have a flat tire is a huge deal. It helps you step away from dramas and obligations that aren’t “true” from you. Having chill sessions at our house instead of hitting every show/party we can get into has been the focus of our house this year, too. Granted, we’re parents, and even though you can go out once the kid is asleep, we’re usually so tired, it’s easier to do that. I like sports seasons—basketball and football—because everyone comes over and sits on our big, pink couch, and I can eat snacks with my real people all day.
“I am very aware of things, and not just memes on Tumblr…although I’m aware of those. I was an early adopter of AOL in 7th grade, mIRC chat rooms. I am helping my dad install a graphics card in his computer so he can play World of Tanks next week. “
What has your experience been like “growing up” on the internet? How do you think it translates into your work?
Well, I am very aware of things, and not just memes on Tumblr…although I’m aware of those. I was an early adopter of AOL in 7th grade, mIRC chat rooms. I am helping my dad install a graphics card in his computer so he can play World of Tanks next week. As far as work, this knowledge has been endlessly valuable. In the heyday of having a personal space online, you had to learn HTML and Photoshop. I taught it to myself in 8th grade when Adobe Suite had just came out. Now I find both of those skills so valuable in the clothing industry, even if it’s just because I don’t have to hire an in-house web dude, or I need to maintenance our site, or even animate GIFs. I can change a graphic that Tom draws in three seconds. Even when you have a graphic or web designer…sometimes explaining what you need by making a quick mockup for them to expand on is necessary so they don’t waste their time missing the mark because of a misunderstanding. Time is money.
Do you ever feel as though you’re losing touch with your fanbase because of how busy you keep yourself?
I’ve had to take a step back from the advice column to work on personal projects. I don’t think I’ve lost touch, but I’ve lost traction. It’ll come back, though, as soon as I have more time to nurture that outlet.
You also started working with Vice’s feminist channel, Broadly (fuck yeah). How did that opportunity come about?
I was there during the conception of the idea. One of my closest friends works at Vice and is its brainchild. So, naturally, she started trying to involve as many friends as she could when they launched.
What’s something you miss about Florida that LA can’t give you?
The beach, I hate the Pacific Ocean. The wildlife. The Cuban food.
What are some morals and attitudes you plan to teach Mars as she continues to grow up in this fast-paced world?
Sense of self.