Ivy Miller's "Romantic Comedy"

The air’s thick. Traffic on the 10’s clogged and humidity coats the smog. Welcome to early August in Hollywood, where in the penthouse apartment suite of a downtown hotel, the air-conditioning hums and the only thing heating the room is the lovely Ivy Miller. 

We met Ivy in the lobby; she floated over the tiles in denim bell-bottom overalls, the straps hanging below her waist to reveal a white lace top. She’s exceedingly pleasant. Her brunette roots and beach blonde strands bob happily behind her shoulders. She’s a modern throwback, young and full of carefree 60s brightness. The elevator doors slide open, we light the circle for the top floor and ascend, Ivy’s buoyant mood intoxicating our little group more with each floor we pass. She’s just returned from Miami Fashion week, followed by the Splendour in the Grass Festival in Byron Bay, and life for the 20-year-old surfer/model from Encinitas, California is a dream. “Splendour was amazing,” she tells me. “It’s like going to a big festival here, but without the stupid rave kids with pacifiers and bandanas sweating and shouldering through the crowd while you’re having a good time.”

In the suite, heavy drapes hang from the cement ceiling, offering to shut out the bustle of downtown Los Angeles. Afternoon rays illuminate a tub in the bathroom, but the golden faucet doesn’t bounce off the black water we’ve filled it with.

Ivy stands bare, next to the tub, a fox fur rug on the tiles beneath her. She is physical perfection, courtesy of genetics and surf, and bubbles with intelligence and wit, perfectly breaking the ice: “Well, now that we’re all in one room, can we agree to no nipples?” She smirks and lifts her legs over the bathtub’s brim, submerging into the dark water.

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“Don’t hit me up on DM,” she laughs. “You can’t recover from that."

Photography Captain Barto

I ask if Ivy’s her birth name. “Yes, my mom’s in love with plants, hence… Ivy,” she says, posing with her hands on her chin, propped on the tub’s oval crest. “In the house I grew up in, my backyard was an explosion of plants.” She rolls over on her side while her dear friend and photographer, Cpt Barto, rapidly captures her shapes. It’s easy to forget how incredibly Ivy works foam and fibreglass, given her comfort in a portrait situation – she has the relaxed disposition of an experienced, full time model.

“I’ve been doing a few QS events and local contests,” she says. “But, really I just love exploring, being in warm water, having the ocean as a playground and smiling because there’s waves. I love everything about it: Beachbreaks, reefs, hot sand, getting super sunburnt.” We talk of 10-hour bus rides and seemingly endless lefthand points south of Pasquales, among other things. But, Ivy constantly surprises.

“When I was in Melbourne I did an open mic night,” she tells us somewhere between the tub and bedroom. Music or comedy? Yeah, comedy. I’m curious: She’s certainly been entertaining during the shoot, pop-lock-and-dropping when the camera’s down and flower child-spinning to psychedelia as the shutter snaps (she throws on King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard), but it’s hard to imagine her on stage, mic in hand, rattling off jokes. “I just told stories.”

“About what?”

“Bad first dates, mostly. I have a few.” 

“Tell one.”  

She doesn’t skip a beat. “I was 16, and this guy took me out; I think he was like 24 at the time,” she rolls her eyes. “We went out on a Kayak with a few fishing poles, a packed lunch in a dry bag and it seemed sweet at the time. So we get about a mile out, he starts setting up the hook and lines – all wrong, mind you. I’d been fishing my whole life, knew how to do it, but he was taking me out and I didn’t want to kill his ‘manliness’. He gets the poles just about right, and I throw out a line. A few minutes later I look back and he’s sitting in the kayak, sleeping with his mouth open. I was like, well, fuck it. I redid the line and threw it back out. Then, we started taking on water. We had a couple of cups, so I started filling them with the water in the kayak and throwing it overboard while he slept…” Ivy’s delivery is perfect, and we’re all smiling and listening, intrigued. “He woke up in a panic; I swam to shore to get help. I was training to be a lifeguard at the time. When I got to shore, I was out of breath and crawling, like some creature from the deep. I look up to see feet, then legs, then the lifeguard chief’s face smiling and slow clapping. I turn around and see my date, riding in the back of the lifeguard boat, quivering. The kayak sank.” 

When the laughter dies down, I ask her what the most unattractive thing a man pursuing her can do. “Don’t hit me up on DM,” she smiles. “You can’t recover from that. But, I do appreciate the creepy, yet somewhat clever message. I’m still not gonna respond to them; people are just funny. My favourite was ‘If you ever get tired of running around my head all day, you have a place to sit on my face.” 

“Then I get some weird ones that are like ‘hello, if I send you some toe rings will you post photos of your feet, I would love that very much…”