One to Watch: Harley Quinn Smith Is Making a Name for Herself
Nov 29, 2021
Harley Quinn Smith. You may know her name, but you likely don’t know her. At least, not yet anyway. As the daughter of legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith and acclaimed journalist Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, the torch has now been passed to Harley. With notable roles in Tusk, Yoga Hosers, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (to name a few), the actress was trusted even further into the spotlight with her role in Freeform’s hit series Cruel Summer. But there’s so much more to this LA local than her acting credits, famous parents, and the fact she shares a name with the iconic Harley Quinn. Yes, she is in fact named after the comic book character.
Harley is also the bassist and vocalist of bubblegum punk band The Tenth, which she was inspired to start with her friend Taylor Blackwell after attending a show in downtown LA. We only wish we were musically talented enough to do the same. Additionally, she’s a hardcore vegan who even convinced her dad to go vegan himself. Together, the two host a podcast called Vegan Abattoir, which is dedicated to all things veganism. Very recently, she told Mane Addicts that she was hired as a full-time writer for the first time ever and is working on a project she is “so insanely excited about.” We’re eager to learn more about it as well.
Styled by Mane Addicts’ very own Sienree Du, Harley went grunge glam for our One to Watch shoot in West Adams. We chatted with the multi-hyphenate about growing up in LA, her band, her musical and hair influences, and of course, what we can expect from the second season of Cruel Summer. Get to know this badass babe a bit better below!
Babe in Blue
She may look blue, but Harley is feeling all sorts of electric in this bright blue getup. Given the actress has always wanted to try a mullet, Sienree shares “this was the perfect time to try it out.” We’re feeling blue with envy over those punky strands.
To create this look on your own hair, Sienree says to “use a flat iron to smooth out and polish the fringe. Then, add just the slightest lived-in wave on the ends to keep it effortless.” Don’t mind us sporting this style for the rest of the year.
Mane Addicts: Give us three words to describe who you are.
Harley Quinn Smith: Empathetic, driven, and passionate.
MA: How does it feel being named after Harley Quinn?
HQS: It used to be cool, but after the first Suicide Squad film came out, everyone started to think I was lying about my name. So now it’s just kind of annoying because everyone thinks it’s made up. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, my parents are nerds.’
MA: How has growing up in Los Angeles influenced your hair color/style?
HQS: Growing up in LA had many ups and downs. This city has my heart forever, it’s so unique with its environments and history, but growing up and going to school here was tough. LA and Hollywood are kind of larger than life and, unfortunately, I think that gives people a very distorted sense of reality—especially kids who grow up here and don’t know anything else. It’s hard to find people who are grounded or simply not assholes. So I didn’t fit in at school and I just couldn’t wait to get out. I started dyeing my hair in middle school as a way to rebel and express myself. My mom would help me dye my hair with Manic Panic. I think I’ve dyed it red, blue, purple, pink, black, back to brunette, and of course, blonde.
MA: How has the punk scene influenced your style choices?
HQS: I would say I’m more inspired by grunge than punk, specifically ’90s grunge. My go-to look is a vintage band shirt, a skirt, my vegan Dr. Martens, and a bunch of rings.
MA: Do you have any punk mane muses?
HQS: I don’t know if I would call her punk, but my number one mane muse is Gwen Stefani. She always has the coolest hair looks. Also, I’ve never seen her blonde hair have roots before and I’m not going to lie, I’m really jealous about that.
MA: What about this all-blue look did you love the most?
HQS: It felt very ’80s pop star to me and I loved every minute of wearing it. It really made me want to dye my hair blue and get bangs.
We can’t get over how ridiculously cool this look is. Sienree shares she was inspired by Harley’s duality. “Harley plays in a punk band that is mega badass, but she also is so sweet, kind, and gentle,” she says. “I wanted to bring some punk rock into one of the looks but also keep it soft and fun.”
Want to create your own zip tie French braids? Simply create two French braids and attach zip ties throughout each braid. You can then cut the zip ties to create the length you want.
MA: You’re also in the bubblegum punk band The Tenth. Can you tell us about the origin of your band?
HQS: My friend Taylor Blackwell and I went to go see a show in downtown LA at this little venue called The Smell. While we were watching, we were both kind of like, ‘This seems fun and doable.’ So shortly after that night, we went for it and our first song ever written was about a guy we saw at The Smell that night named Kyle.
MA: What inspired you to play the bass?
HQS: I started playing because of Lindsey Way, the bassist of Mindless Self Indulgence. I saw footage of her playing bass while doing a backbend and I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I wanted to be just like her. I still do.
MA: Who are some of your musical influences?
HQS: My biggest musical (and life) influence is Hole. They’re my favorite band, but I specifically have an affinity for Courtney Love. I think she is the coolest person on the planet and I have so much appreciation for her and the impact she’s made on music and style. Her voice is so expressive and disturbingly beautiful. I love her lyrics and sound so much. Some of my other musical influences are Pixies, The Breeders, Sleater Kinney, and Sonic Youth.
MA: How would you describe your onstage style versus your offstage style?
HQS: Well, when my band plays shows, we wear these brightly-colored bob wigs. Besides that though, my onstage and offstage style is pretty similar.
MA: Those zip tie hair spikes are so cool! How did you feel while wearing them?
HQS: I definitely felt like more of a badass than ever before. It made me look ten times cooler than I actually am.
Our very own social media manager, Cristina Giraldo, was the mastermind behind these adorable hair charms. “This look was brought to me by the team and I loved it,” Sienree says. For Harley’s hair, Sienree accentuates her vibe but remains true to Harley’s style with a little messy grunge wave.
To achieve Harley’s grungy waves, Sienree says to use a “1-inch curling iron and wrap random pieces of hair to create a loose wave. Make sure to leave the ends out to keep it more lived-in.” When you’re reading to add in the hair charms, “pick a place you would like them to fall and create a micro braid close to the scalp. Attach the safety pin to the braid” and voila!
MA: This look with safety pin hair charms is so fun! Would you ever wear anything like that while performing?
HQS: Oh, I would totally wear these even in my day-to-day life. They are so cool!
MA: Which of the looks from the shoot was your favorite?
HQS: The safety pin look felt the most like me. However, the zip tie braids has to be my favorite. It wasn’t a look that I’d ever think of, so I was so stoked when it all came together.
MA: As a vegan, what are some of your favorite haircare brands?
HQS: I pretty much get all of my hair care products from Olaplex and Amika.
MA: What is something you’ve always wanted to do with your hair but have been too afraid to try?
HQS: Bangs. I’ve wanted bangs for so long. There was one time when I got curtain bangs, but I’m not exaggerating, after the first day of having them, they disappeared into my hair and I never saw them again. I got to have bangs for one of the years in Cruel Summer, which was super dope for me. I just need to get full-on bangs one day.
MA: Speaking of Cruel Summer, we’re so excited for the second season. Is there anything you can share with us about season two?
HQS: I think the Cruel Summer team is taking the show in a totally new direction, from what I’ve heard.
MA: What else do you have in the works?
HQS: I’m currently employed as a writer for the first time in my life, which is crazy! I’m working on a project I’m so insanely excited about and I can’t wait to eventually talk about it.