Kim Ann Foxman: From Miss Teen Filipina to LGBTQ Icon

Kim Ann Foxman recounts the friends and places that have shaped and inspired her career as a Hawai‘i-bred, New York City-based DJ and record producer.

Text by
Mitchell Kuga
Images by
John Hook
ニューヨークと世界中の 音楽祭を往来しているDJ兼レコードプロデューサーの キム・アン・フォックスマンについてご紹介します。自称「アイランドガール」の彼女は、常にスーツケースを持って生活する多忙なライフスタイルの中にあっても、子供の頃育った故郷のオアフ島に帰る時間を作ることは忘れません。

Self-proclaimed island girl Kim Ann Foxman landed in the international spotlight by accident. In the mid-2000s, before she was a globally renowned fashion model, singer, and record producer, Foxman sang on demos for her friend Andy Butler’s to-be-determined project intended for other artists. “I never considered myself a singer,” Foxman says. But when the transgender singer Anohni—then known as Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons—heard the demo for “Athene,” she told Butler that it sounded like Foxman’s song.

Suddenly Foxman was in a band, Hercules and Love Affair. The group’s eponymous LP felt like a queer revelation when it debuted in 2008, and their critically acclaimed disco-tinged pop thrust Foxman in front of massive crowds. “I was super petrified at first,” she says, “learning to swim with the sharks at sold-out festivals.”

Growing up in Hawai‘i was marked by a different kind of accidental success: winning Miss Teen Hawaii Filipina at 13 years old. “I wanted to be Johnny Depp, not Barbie,” she says. “I tried so hard not to win.” After processing years of shame about the experience, she has embraced it. A few years ago, she used a dolled-up picture of herself from the pageant for the cover of a 12-inch record release. Her sash, reclaimed, reads: “Energy EP.”

Since leaving Hercules and Love Affair around 2010, Foxman has launched her solo career, releasing the vogue-inflected single “Creature” and starting her own record label, Firehouse. It’s named after her loft, which is housed in an old fire station in East Williamsburg and has a fully equipped recording studio in the basement. This is where she teamed up with two friends on Pleasure Planet, a project they launched in the summer of 2018. “It’s really trippy,” she says. “I’m really proud of it.”

Foxman spends more than half the year traveling, mostly spinning at festivals and nightclubs throughout Asia, Australia, and Europe. But amid the chaos of new projects and living out of a suitcase, the 42-year-old always finds time to return to the islands—like in 2018, when she flew home to Hawai‘i to deejay the grand-opening party of ‘Alohilani Resort. “I need to check in there once or twice a year, just to feel lucky that I grew up there,” Foxman says, recalling barefoot walks to Mānoa Falls nearly every weekend as a child. “If I don’t go there, it feels wrong. I start to go crazy if I don’t get the food or the nature.”