Layla Rose Shapiro went from reselling designer pieces she would snag from thrift stores to selling broken nails and pictures of fans’ names on her forehead. Better known as TOOPOOR, the Instagram model, fashionista and style blogger is now jumping into the music scene, dropping her first two singles, “Crazy Girls” and “Lamented.”
Where does the name TOOPOOR come from?
When I first moved to LA, I didn't have that much money and I was living on a couch in someone’s living room for $300 a month. I got kicked out of this house because the landlord died. I got fired from my job, and I left crying like, “My life's over. I have no money. I don't know what I'm going to do.” I went back to the house I was staying in and all of these kids were doing stick-and-poke tattoos. And I was so upset that I tattooed “Too Poor” on my knees, and then that was it. I was like, “My name's TOOPOOR, I'm too poor.” The irony is that name brought me money. I don't know how that is, but that's how it worked.
I love that you had to bribe someone that already had that Twitter handle.
There was an account from some Russian guy that already had it. “Too poor” means something in Russian. I had messaged him for like three years, basically saying, “Please give me your name, change your name to this, change your name to this. Like, I need the Too Poor name.” And then one day he messaged back and said okay. And I was like, “Cool, I'll give you $3,000.” And he was like, “Okay, changing now.” And I don't know if he thought I was serious, I'm not sure. But he gave me the name, everything worked out. I don't owe anyone $3,000. I'm good on that.
Congrats on your first single, “Crazy Girls”. What’s the story behind it?
“Crazy Girls” goes way back to 2016. In 2016 I had tweeted something along the lines of, “He said he likes crazy girls, but he hates when I’m crazy.” When I was looking for writing inspiration, I saw that tweet again and I just started writing off of that. Then the next line is, “It takes two to toxic,” which I heard in a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting. The idea is that you realize that either you’re toxic, they're toxic, or together you guys are bringing the worst out of each other. I just really loved that.
What made you decide to make music?
I always thought that if I were a singer, I would be like Courtney Love and Limp Bizkit, and would roll around in my socks in blood. But I was always really intimidated to make a song. I had been around a lot of musicians living in LA, and I saw how easy it was for some people with just Garage Band that comes with your laptop. So I would try to record myself. I was never successful and I was scared. I had a neighbor who encouraged me to try it again, and I liked how it sounded. Once I heard how it sounded in the headphones with some effects, I was like, “Wow, I could sound like Beyoncé, this could actually work.” Then I started recording and getting in touch with the right people. But I wouldn't say it was a passion my whole life. I wish it was, because now it's a newfound love and new hobby. While I'm on this planet, I think if people are listening, I should put something out there with importance and with the right message.
Who would you say would be your musical parents that would have made your musical style?
Avril Lavigne and Hole. Evanescence is a big one.
What kind of reactions do you get from your face tattoos?
It's more common now, so there is no reaction. In the beginning, I feel like a lot of people looked at me like, “Oh, she's hard.” But when you look closely, they’re hearts and ink that says “Love you,” “Handle with care,” and “Fragile.” So I just looked hard because I had these tattoos, but I feel like tattoos are an addiction used to feel real pain when you're numb. That's how I see it.
What is your favorite advice you’ve received through your times of pain?
That the past does not define you. Who you are is who you are right now, and I feel like a lot of things from the past that I've said or done have haunted me, but that's not who I am. And I let that eat me alive and I feel guilty or I have a guilty conscience, but I think ultimately, you can be forgiven and you can grow. And knowing that that's not who I am and that it doesn't define me, that it doesn't make me who I am. I am who I am right now. That's it.