Cool kids in a small town
The genetically blessed and musically talented siblings Lucky Blue, Pyper America, Daisy Clementine and Starlie Smith have returned to their hometown in Utah. We followed them there, looking to find a fountain of youth and beauty hidden somewhere.
Box-shaped houses in rows, fast food restaurants lining highways, pickup trucks parked on every street, mountains, corn fields and mining sites on the horizon. Welcome to Utah, where the massive mountains encapsulate the childhood dreams and memories of the Smith siblings.
LUCKY: “This place is rad, and I’m proud to come from here. You can have some fun around here if you follow me.”
When the blue-eyed, long-limbed, blonde-, pink- and ebony-haired siblings want you to follow them, you get up and go. We meet the family (mother and grandmother included) on the parking lot of a local diner, full of Elvis memorabilia and famous for its cheese fries.
DAISY: “One Man Band Diner was one of our favourite restaurants when we lived here and we’ve played a lot of shows out here on the parking lot. This is where we learned what it meant to be in a band.”
It’s been three years since the siblings changed Utah for California. In the more than one thousand days that have passed they’ve travelled the globe, shot for some of the world’s most prestigious brands and magazines, starred in movies, written books and a style diary for H&M, and gathered a combined social media following way surpassing the entire population of their home state.
“I’ve happily sacrificed a lot for all this. We’ve shut down two businesses, moved away from our family, moved away from our friends,” their mum Sheridan Smith tells H&M Magazine and continues: “There were weeks when I would take road trips with them non-stop. I would drive for ten hours with one of them and come home just to pick up another one and drive for another ten hours.”
When I lived in Utah I really didn’t appreciate the mountains. I felt like they were just trapping me.
Daisy Clementine Smith
These days the siblings, who are mainly known for their modelling, are focusing on music. Their band The Atomics are releasing a record, which is backed up by industry heavyweights who hope and expect them to start climbing the charts once it’s out. But before going global, they’re going hyperlocal and choose to debut their new songs in Spanish Fork – their home from another home and a spiritual fork in the road.
D: “It’s the same places but everything is different now. I know that I’m at the same spot and I remember what it felt like the last time I was here, but I realize now that I have changed. Coming to Utah is when I see the difference.”
When the siblings left Spanish Fork in 2013 they were still kids. Now everyone is over 18 – and they return into town with an entourage of photographers, stylists, make-up artists, and more. Albeit the entourage, led by fashion and documentary photographer Chadwick Tyler, is a consequence of H&M Magazine’s presence rather than the siblings’.
STARLIE: “This place has a lot of great memories and I love coming back. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it home any more.”
PYPER: “Coming back here is interesting. It kind of feels nostalgic, not only because I have all these old memories here, but because everything is a bit slower and set more back in time. It’s a bit behind – but not in a bad way.”
DOES IT FEEL LIKE GOING BACK IN TIME?
P: “It does actually. I’ll be driving down the streets and see a corner or a park and remember a specific thing that happened to me right there. When I drove here I was thinking of all the memories and how many of them have stuck with me.”
Homecoming is something most of us look forward to, especially when we’ve been away for a long period of time. But the feeling of coming home is two-sided, because you will inevitably realize that neither you nor the place is the same as it was the last time you were there. For the Smith siblings, three years have gone by quickly, and been more than enough time to get rooted somewhere else.
HOW HAS SPANISH FORK CHANGED SINCE YOU LEFT?
L: “I feel the town is getting bigger but people are the same. It’s the same vibe.”
D: “When I lived in Utah I really didn’t appreciate the mountains. I felt like they were just trapping me and kept me away from going to Los Angeles. Then I came back and was amazed by how beautiful they were. I was blind to them before I think.”
ARE YOU DIFFERENT NOW COMPARED TO WHEN YOU LIVED HERE?
L: “Yes, I’m not the same person. Then my life was just about school, football games and driving around. I was super into sports: I ran track, was in the wrestling team, and the football team. I dreamt of playing football in college and studying law. I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer.”
D: “Sometimes when I think about myself living here I think of it as just a weird dream. It didn’t feel real to me and in my head I was always planning to leave this place. I thought of living here as something I needed to get through to be able to get where I wanted to go. To Los Angeles.”
S: “When I lived here I wanted stores and restaurants to open and more things to happen. Now that I don’t live here anymore I respect it the way it is and don’t want it to change.”
The Smith siblings stand out in any crowd and their personalities complement each other. Growing up in a small town surrounded by siblings, parents, friends, acquaintances and extended family, it can be hard to get space for yourself despite the fact that it’s calm and quiet and nature all around.
WHAT DID YOU DO WHEN YOU NEEDED TO BE ALONE?
S: “I had a secret place up in the mountains, an empty lot that had been projected for building houses on. I would buy chocolate-covered almonds and gummy bears and drive up there. Sometimes I would bring someone with me.”
P: “I didn’t know how to drive when I lived here and couldn’t get around as much. Sometimes I climbed up on our roof top.”
I dream about the same thing now as I did when I lived here: performing on stage, walking red carpets, being a star.
After meeting the siblings on the parking lot of One Man Band Diner, they drive us around town, showing us their most important places; a reservoir in the mountains above town, a scenic road surrounded by corn fields and cattle pens, and their old junior high school.
L: “I always went to the reservoir with my friends. It was the hang-out spot.”
D: “The road is named River Bottom road. It’s beautiful in the day but deserted and a bit scary at night. When I lived here I would drive down the road at night, playing scary music really loud. I wanted to scare myself.”
D: “I don’t know [laughs]. I was weird when I lived here…”
WHAT DO YOU MISS?
P: “I miss the calm and quiet and the fresh air and the mountains. And I really miss learning and going to school.”
D: “I don’t miss the city as much as I miss certain feelings with specific people. It will be a few seconds that I’ll remember that, and miss it. But I don’t spend a lot of time missing things because I’m happy where I am right now.”
L: “Spanish Fork has some good stuff but I miss my friends more than the town itself.”
Before Starlie – the eldest – was born their mum Sheridan was a model, and their dad Dallon still spends his free time making and playing music. To say the least, the siblings are following suit.
SHERIDAN: “I want the biggest and best for them. I’m cheering them on and my husband is the one who has taught them everything about music.”
WHAT ABOUT THEIR NAMES. WHAT’S THE BACK STORY?
SHERIDAN: “I knew a girl in high school who was named Starlie, and I thought it was such a cool name! Daisy is my favourite flower, Dallon told me about a girl in his high school who was named Pyper and I just thought it sounded so good. Lucky is named Lucky because he’s the only boy.”
Like most children, the Smith siblings were big dreamers growing up. But in contrast to most children dreaming of fame and fortune, the Smiths didn’t let go of theirs and followed them instead.
WHAT DID YOU DAYDREAM ABOUT WHEN YOU LIVED HERE?
S: “I dream about the same thing now as I did when I lived here: performing on stage, walking red carpets, being a star. I daydream about having my name cheered by crowds. That’s what I dream about.”
D: “I wanted to be a model. I wanted to be a supermodel. I even wrote it down on school papers when I was really little.”
P: “I always dreamt of being in movies and living in California. I took acting classes here.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE LIVING YOUR PARENTS DREAM?
P: “In one way, because my parents dream is for me and my siblings to live our dreams – and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
ARE YOU PROUD TO BE FROM HERE?
D: “I wouldn’t want to change anything about where I come from because I don’t know what I would be like if something was different things. It was a good town to grow up in, I learned certain things about myself and it shaped who I am.”
L: There’s nothing bad here. It’s just a small town.”
LOCATION: Los Angeles
OCCUPATION: Singer and songwriter in The Atomics
LOCATION: Los Angeles
OCCUPATION: Model and lead guitarist in The Atomics
LOCATION: Los Angeles
OCCUPATION: Model and bassist in The Atomics
LOCATION: Los Angeles
OCCUPATION: Model and drummer in The Atomics