As in every modern story of love or friendship, Anajah Hamilton and Gabrielle Richardson met on Tumblr, double-tapping each other’s posts and sending images and artwork back and forth to one another.
Four years later they’re best friends in the real world too, and have initiated ARTHOE, an art collective where they host gallery nights, workshops, jam sessions and showcase the works of people from marginalized groups. Aside from the serious stuff, they’ve also gotten in and out of countless sticky situations together.
“We rarely do wild things, it’s more Scooby Doo-like situations,” they say while retelling stories of falling over on escalators, being scammed on concert tickets, AirBnb’s and the — still — painful memory of accidentally missing seeing Beyoncé in person at a grocery store.
“We’re best friends for a reason.”
Although they embark on adventures around the world, the backdrop to most of their shenanigans is New York City, especially below Union Square and around Brooklyn.
“I love that New York is a place where you never stop learning, and that it’s all about the grind for everyone — even millionaire and celebrity children will have to work 10 internships,” says Gabrielle.
“And I love how diverse it is! Not just because of people’s backgrounds, but because of the way people think. You find so many different types of thinking here, and there’s always a group you’ll resonate with,” says Anajah.
We meet the girls at one of their favorite spots — Fiat Café in Nolita — which they use as a base camp on weekends to bring all their friends together from Downtown, Uptown and Brooklyn before heading out.
FOR ONE-OF-A-KIND FINDS…
MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKS
“It’s an amazing bookstore. They have a lot of one-off prints, and if you want a book that’s only made in 100 copies, this is the place to go to. We go at least once a month, either for book signings or events. It’s a very typical New York bookstore.”
“Just around the corner from McNally Jackson is Fiat Café. A super-cute restaurant that’s a great meet-up spot for us and all of our friends. It doesn’t hurt that the ravioli is great, and the kale caesar salad, and the spaghetti with meatballs, and the chocolate mousse… We can go on.”
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
“We go here all the time. It’s a favorite because much of their work isn’t just visual — it’s fun, altruistic and they have great performances. This art museum is great at bringing the community together and representing diversity.”
FOR A DATE…
“This independent movie theater shows foreign films, contemporary films and classics. It’s great for a date or just to go with your friends. They have a restaurant and a bar as well, which is perfect.”
FOR EVERY SUMMER DAY…
“This is the Brooklyn equivalent to Central Park, meaning it’s less busy and less touristy. It’s a chiller version! Whenever it gets warm, we go out there to have picnics or just sit in the grass. The most inspiring parts of the city are the parts that are quiet, and Prospect Park is one of them.”
“I always want to be able to run at a moment’s notice. Got to catch that train! Also, I love bags and a big all-carrying one is essential in the city. You always need to have everything with you, ready to go.”
Gabrielle Richardson’s style is inspired by Solange Knowles, FKA Twigs, Diana Ross and Donna Summers. When styling her favorite look from H&M’s spring and summer collections, she opted for a printed swimsuit, white denim jeans, a braided rope tote bag and gold rings.
“I love how a swimsuit doesn’t have to be for the beach or the pool, but it’s nice to always be ready to go for a swim,” she says.
Anajah keeps her essentials analog. Trying to stay away from her phone, the young artist chooses a disposable camera because the pictures always turn out great, and scribbles down notes, drawings and music on paper because it’s tangible. Her other essentials include different lipsticks — because her lips are her favorite feature — and gold jewelry because it’s the accessories that tie all her outfits together.
WHO’S THE BETTER DRESSER?
“I think we dress similarly, a lot of times we’ll show up to events or just meeting for lunch and we’ll be wearing the exact same outfit and shoes or we’ll have on the exact same color!”
IF YOU COULD STEAL ONE PIECE OUT OF GABRIELLE’S WARDROBE – WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE?
“I would totally steal her denim jacket with diamond fringes hanging from the sleeves, it’s gorgeous!”
WHAT MAKES GABRIELLE NERVOUS?
“When she’s trying something new fashion-wise. She tries her best to always step out of the box, but I think the moment she decides to wear something daring, she second-guesses it. But she does it anyway and the execution is always so effortless!”
WHAT’S THE BEST GIFTS YOU’VE EVER GIVEN EACH OTHER?
“Gabby is a great gift giver, I’d say the best gift she’s given me is a Jacquemus bag.”
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF ONE ANOTHER?
“My earliest memory of Gabby is the first time I met her in person. It was at this party, it was really dark and smoky and everyone was having a fabulous time. Gabby appeared amidst all the craziness of the party, and as soon as she saw me she ran up to me, super-excited, and gave me a huge kiss on the forehead. It was, from my memory, the first time anyone had been so excited to meet me. I wasn’t sure if her excitement was genuine, but the closer we got after that, I learned that she was a very bubbly person and it all made sense!”
WHAT’S THREE THINGS GABRIELLE LOVES?
“Traveling with friends, shopping and tacos!”
WHAT DOES YOUR LAST TEXT TO EACH OTHER SAY?
“Will be there soonington haha.”
WHAT’S YOUR DREAM DESTINATION TO TRAVEL TO TOGETHER?
“Honestly, somewhere warm, maybe Bora Bora!”
OCCUPATION: Artist, model and co-curator
ASTRO SIGN: Libra
OCCUPATION: Artist, model and co-curator
ASTRO SIGN: Capricorn