Loan Tran

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While dancing freestyle on the streets of Manhattan, dressed in her elaborate feathered and chain headdresses, Loan says that she feels like a bird perched high above the pains of the temporal world. Like her parents, who escaped from Vietnam with nothing, Loan has a heightened sense of appreciation for the freedoms that life is “supposed” to offer and in particular, places like NYC, whose melting pot is “supposed” to offer a place for anyone to feel special. So when the tiny but powerful dancer approached the clubs of the Big Apple and was confronted with flat-out rejection due to something called a “face policy” (that is coined “models and bottles”), she put on her headphones and performed in the street. Congruent with Loan’s belief that negative events push you towards the positive, the accountant by day has grown into a performance artist by night, dancing wherever she is celebrated. Loan’s experiences have rendered her a case study in what happens when one expresses themselves with abandon, she has been closer to being publicly lynched than to feeling the love.

Loan has found that if she is in costume, people tend to accept her, but if she’s in her everyday clothes, she is passed off as a drug addict. It is ironic and fascinating that Edie Sedgwick became Loan’s style icon when someone told her that she resembled the Factory Girl. During our interview, Loan recited the “Poor Little Rich Girl’s” famous quote that highlights the similarity between the two women in ways beyond cropped haircuts and floppy hats. “I want to reach people and express myself. You have to put up with the risk of being misunderstood if you are going to try to communicate. You have to put up with people projecting their own ideas, attitudes, misunderstanding on you. But it’s worth being a public fool if that’s all you can be in order to communicate yourself.”

If you love Loan, you may also like Angela Grossi, Rachel Trachtenburg and Emily Bartley.