Sandy Young's Got the Look
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Besides being a model and being on camera, you’re also a rock star. Do your kids think you’re a cool mom?
Well, like I said, my kids keep me very grounded. Which, I absolutely love. They’ll hear a song from me and they’ll just be like, “OK, yeah, yeah.” They don’t even want to bother. And they’ll see me on TV doing a commercial, or in print or wherever and they’ll just be like “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” So, that’s what I love about them. They’re real, they’re honest and that’s what keeps me grounded.
What’s the one thing that’s important for you to teach your kids about beauty?
That beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes.
You’re the lead signer of WhoButShe. What did your bandmates think about you doing the show?
My bandmates are really supportive, they really are. Everyone that works with me knows that I am a very, very driven person. That’s what everyone says…that they’ve never seen a person that’s so passionate or so driven about their career. But they’re very excited for me and they’re not surprised whatsoever.
And how is singing different than modeling for you?
I try to combine both of them as far as how I am on stage and in photoshoots for the band…it’s a part of being true to myself because it’s really important to me. There’s a lot of freedom in creating music because I write and produce as well, as opposed to being what the photographer wants you to be and taking direction from the photographer. There’s a bit of a difference. But I try to have fun with both of them. Anything that I do, I try to have fun.
And you write a lot of lyrics for your own songs as well.
I do. I wrote the song “Demolition Girl.” That was about teenage suicide.
What was the inspiration for that?
Well, I write from my life experiences. You know, coming from a foster home and feeling kind of worthless about myself, and feeling like, “What am I good at in life?” I was able to take, once again, my negative with relationships and…put it into something positive. And I found out that I’m a good writer. “Demolition Girl” happens to be about teenage suicide and I try to incorporate my past experience in a way where people can relate and they can listen to that song and be like, “Oh yeah, I’ve been there” or “I’ve done that.” Because a lot of times when I was really young, I had good music and that was all I had. It was, like, my comfort. So, if I can affect one person like that, and they can listen to my music and they can be like, “Yeah, I was there, and I can relate, and I can feel better about myself,” then that’s wonderful.
Can you tell me a little bit more about growing up as a foster kid—I’m a foster parent myself to two teenage boys.
Oh, that’s great that you’ve done that. It takes a really big heart to do that.
I know it’s a really difficult position to be in—in foster care as a teenager. There are so many different pitfalls to it.
Yeah, my situation wasn’t good. I was in a foster home where there was a lot of neglect going on, hence the reason I was left alone so much; that’s when I actually started singing—right when I was able to walk. So, that was all I had. I would sing, I would make things up and sing. Basically, it was a lot of neglect, it was a lot of things that were going on in the house that were just horrible—it was like a living nightmare. But, I take the positive from it because that’s made me who I am today—a better person, someone who really appreciates the little things and stuff like being around good people. Sometimes when I sit back and I kind of analyze my life from where I come from—from a mother that physically beat me, to a foster home where I was sexually abused, and neglected…not having a parent for all of those years and then going into an adoptive home that was very narrow-minded and conservative and being the person I am today, I’m really proud of myself for once that I really didn’t let it affect me and really came out about things, and I’m definitely happy.
And that probably makes you extra cautious to make sure that your kids are happy and cared for.
Oh, definitely, definitely. I mean, I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone. I really wouldn’t.
You’ve seen so much ugliness in your life, what’s the most beautiful thing someone’s ever done for you?
Oh, that’s a hard one. [Laughs] I definitely would say that the most beautiful thing is my children; seeing myself in my children, that’s completely on a different level from anything else. To see them, and watch them grow up, and see yourself in them is like the greatest thing on earth. It’s something that money can’t buy, it’s something—it’s life. It’s unbelievable. And to see my son playing guitar, and he plays it so good, that’s, like, amazing.
That must make you proud.
Oh, it does make me proud. And my father passed away—I found my biological father and he passed away quite young. He had a heart attack and died and he was a very good producer and he was also a great guitarist and my stepmom was very happy that I continued that, because none of his other kids continued that and now I’m sure my father’s really proud that my son is playing it and is carrying it on.
So you tracked down your biological father and had contact with him before he passed away?
Oh yeah. It really upset me that he died. He ended up dying of a heart attack at a young age. I ended up finding him, which was kind of sad because I grew up in an adopted home only down the road from him, 20 minutes. They were searching for years to try to find me and I was right underneath their nose. My father was well-liked in his community, he was involved in the church. What was really upsetting about the whole situation was one thing my father and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on—we were so alike in so many different ways, like with music, and I look just like him—he didn’t agree with me being a lesbian. So, what happened was, we got into a big fight about it and then I ended up saying “OK, you know, I can’t have you involved in my life if you’re going to be like this. This is who I am, I can’ t help it, this is the way I am.” The last time I talked to him he was like, “Well, if you need me, I’m here,” and that was our last conversation and soon after that he passed away and I’ve had to deal with that. That can’t be taken back—that we weren’t talking at that time. But I did get the sense that everything’s OK, after he passed away…just this sense that everything’s OK.