In ‘Going to Bed with…‘ we talk to the people we’re crushing on about how they wind down before going to sleep.
Hilton Dresden knows a thing or two about building their own path. The artist embodies a gender identity that thrives in ambiguity and refuses labeling, and their signature nimbus of curls, deadpan humor, and wonky illustrations of “people and animals with weird faces and weird outfits” have moved front and center in the last few years. Two summers ago, Dresden created and starred in the comedy web series “5 Things with Hilton Dresden,” produced by Out Magazine. More recently, they designed the illustrations for Nicopanda’s spring ’19 capsule tee collection and hosted a number of enjoyably offbeat red carpet interviews for Out (their Call Me By Your Name red carpet coverage is chef’s kiss a delight).
When it comes time to reboot and recharge, Dresden looks to their friends and being present in the moment. “I’m a pretty extroverted person so hanging out with friends, having a drink, commiserating, and talking it out with people is probably the most healing thing for me. I’m always in my head thinking about why I shouldn’t be happy or don’t deserve to feel good, and I know so many people struggle with that as well. I’m here today to say, ‘Fuck that. I’m going to have fun.’”
When we talked, the Trump administration had just announced a proposal to define “transgender” out of existence. Dresden called the move an “attack on the trans and gender non-conforming communities” that must be fought against. In times likes these, a solid night of rest can be both more imperative and harder to come by. We caught up with Dresden to see how they’re handling the stressful days and restless nights.
All good nights start with Sex and the City
I don’t have a plan for each night or a certain skin mask I’ll do, but when I get home, I like to watch some Sex and the City in bed while eating chips and salsa. I’m a Carrie. I know a lot of people think they’re a Carrie, but I’m actually a Carrie. If you just look at the facts, you’ll see. I have the hair and the insanity and the sort of lack of self-awareness. And I’m a writer, and I dress crazy. There are definite Miranda undertones too.
An essential bed tray
I have this tray I bought at Ikea that lets me eat my meals in bed without as many crumbs and spills. I was certainly eating most meals in bed before, but now, with the tray, my hygiene has marginally improved.
Curly hair maintenance plan
My hair is a very wild creature, so I probably get it wet like twice a week, or once a week even, because it’s so curly and I don’t want to over do it on the curls. I recently got this new conditioner from DevaCurl after visiting their salon in New York. It’s a silicone and sulfate-free conditioner, and it was way too expensive, and I won’t be buying it again after I use up the bottle, but it’s been working great. I’ll sometimes do a mask and wrap my hair in a grocery bag. After I shower I scrounge in a lot of leave-in conditioner and sometimes coconut oil and different oils to help it stay hydrated. Aside from that, I just let it do its thing for the rest of the week. I really don’t know what I’m doing in any aspect of my life, especially haircare.
Beer, wine, or a tuna melt?
I love alcohol. I love to indulge in some beer or wine before bed if I have it. As I mentioned, I love chips and dip, so if I have that around I’ll definitely pull it out. But I don’t usually have that many groceries in my house because I don’t make it to the grocery store as much as I should. Sometimes I have to go out to the deli and get a tuna melt.
A small bit of election joy
I’m grateful that Democrats have taken back the House, and that Wisconsin (my home state) voted out the scum that is Scott Walker. We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m hopeful that things can get better, because they’re so bad right now. I’m also grateful to be working on a new web show, “Hilton Dresden Wants A Show,” with my best friend and collaborator Talia Heller. Look out for it on cakeboymag.com!
Will doodle for sleep
Throughout my life I’ve dealt with insomnia and had a hard time falling asleep. I’ve always found that drawing and doodling in bed while watching TV is the best way for me to calm down. Reading is also really helpful. TV does not really help a person fall asleep. I’m sure the screen is bad for that or something. I’d like to stop rewatching The Office until 2:30 a.m. every night. I think that might help me get off to a better start in the mornings. I just read If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin and that was really good. And I read Big Little Lies kind of recently, after I saw the show. The show was my favorite thing ever. The book is very, very good too.