Rigel Gemini and Aaron Valenzuela tell the story of their new song “After Midnight” in a seductive and editorial photoshoot by Magnus Hastings
Rigel Gemini (Rigel Cable) is a musical artist, Instagrammer, YouTuber, blogger, and content creator from Atlanta. He has collaborated with celebrities and drag artists including Alyssa Edwards, Gia Gunn, Arika Sato, Heidi N Closet, Plastique Tiara, and Ts Madison. Rigel is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ and queer/trans/gender non-conforming communities.
Fresh off his new album, music artist Rigel has released a stunning set of editorial images with music artist and model Aaron Valenzuela, shot by renowned photographer Magnus Hastings. The imagery tells the story of Gemini and Valenzuela’s new song “After Midnight”, which is a gay summer song that celebrates music and nightlife in a Madonna-style dance ballad. Hastings, who is known for his photography of famous drag queens including Gottmik from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13, created magic in the moment. The photoshoot offers an elegant and campy twist on a poolside scene, with a cocktail of androgyny and sculpted body.
The song After Midnight, which included powerful vocals by Cameron Neilson, is full of carefree attitude, and gives glimpses of a wild night at the disco. Gemini and Valenzuela both deliver spoken verses that portray a tangled web of romantic connections, and the self confidence it takes to stay true to ourselves. The song was produced by USJR Productions, a producer that both Valenzuela and Gemini have worked with extensively.
According to Rigel, it was important the song came to life visually too. “When Magnus Hastings agreed to do this photoshoot with me, I screamed! I have seen his photography for years, and admired his artistry. I knew with the gorgeous Aaron Valenzuela next to me this shoot would be a hit,” said Rigel Gemini. “My husband, Cameron Lee, thought of the idea to do something poolside, and with the dusk lighting it came out perfect.”
Shot at dusk with perfect golden Los Angeles sunset light, the dramatic effect of the sunset and bronzed skin resulted in striking visuals. These poolside photos show a steamy scene of avant garde fashion and unexpected combinations. Styled by Marissa Motley, the gender-bending looks donned by Rigel Gemini evoke regal poise and playfulness. The viewer is immediately struck by the juxtaposition between Aaron Valenzuela’s seductive masculine gaze and Gemini’s bold makeup and colorful nails.
“We wanted to play on masculinity and femininity, show something fun, and still convey an element of seduction. It was a really fun shoot, and we feel like they really show the whimsy and beauty of our song,” said Gemini.
YASS met Riguel Gemini, Aaaron Valeenzuela nd Magnus and here is all the tea you need.
So, Rigel, how do you identify and how would you describe yourself?
I identify as non-binary, queer who is of a mixed background. I use he/they pronouns, and I hope to redefine male gender and also push the boundaries of gender with self-expression. As a total Gemini, I love to explore duality and play up different facets of myself.
How did everything start?
In terms of social media and content creation, I have been creating content and partnering with brands for 7+ years. It all really started for me when I lived in LA and was meeting other influencers and even got to be an ambassador for LA Fashion Week. With music, I just started releasing music in the last year. I have always loved music, was a musical theater kid, and grew up playing a synthesizer and using the very early music editing software on my computer to create songs. Life really comes full circle and now I have worked with some amazing producers like DJ Telly Tellz to create some fun songs.
What is your music style?
My music style is fun, super gay, super campy, and full of attitude and upbeat moments. I gravitate towards dance music so most of my music has a fast tempo and is meant to get you dancing. I am really inspired by other queer artists, who have taught me that music is all about self-expression, and music has a unique power of connecting people in unexpected ways. Hearing people’s reactions to my music and meeting people who discovered my music and loved it has been such a fun experience. I feel like I’m being embraced by a whole warm community of fab queer folx!
Do you feel like you’re an advocate for the LGBTQ+ and queer/trans/gender non-conforming communities?
Yes, this has been a common thread in my life. From testifying in state court for “same-sex marriage” (as they called it) at a young high school age to now being on the Board of Directors of Georgia Equality, fighting for my community is a passion. Trans and gender non-conforming communities, especially people of color, experience the most inequality globally, and I am proud to stand together with my community.
You have worked with a lot of drag queens in your music videos. Which is a moment you will not forget?
Yes, this has been one of the greatest joys of music – being able to collaborate with some amazing queens that have admired for years, like Gia Gunn, Alyssa Edwards, Plastique Tiara, and Heidi N Closet who were in my music videos, and Gia Gunn even featured on one of my new songs. Plus the trans icon Ts Madison appeared in my music video for Coffee In My Cup. Moments I will never forget, are when both Alyssa Edwards and Gia Gunn, on separate occasions told me that they respect my hustle and they recognize my hard work and thought that I should be proud. To hear those words from people that I have so much admiration for, and who I know have worked extremely hard to get where they are, that was really validating and affirming for me.
Talk to me about your new song.
My new song “After Midnight” with Aaron Valenzuela from my album “MELT” which is now released, was produced by USJR Productions in Los Angeles, and includes amazing vocals by Cameron Neilson. It’s a seductive song that tells the story of late night dancing, tangled romances, and empowering confidence. Aaron and I wrote the song together and were really inspired by some of Madonna’s ballads, especially her references to the power of music. Music is healing, energizing, and seductive. This song is about how music brings us all together and our performance together was really proud and queer!
How was it working with Aaron and making music together?
Aaron and I had a really easy time collaborating and riffing together. We had the same love for disco and house music, and the track that USJR created really lended itself to a dance ballad. We spent time writing verses together in a shared note on our phones and we would just start playing with verses and sending voice memos. I really love where it landed, and I feel like both our verses really represent who we are as people – lots of attitude, full of free flowing energy, and always ready for fun.
What was the idea behind the photoshoot? How was the collaboration with Magnus?
I knew I was going to be in Los Angeles and wanted to shoot something with Aaron for our song, and I really reached out to Magnus thinking it would be impossible to get his attention for this shoot. My husband, Cameron Lee, who does a lot of my creative direction, But he was immediately down to collaborate and that really made me so happy. He is someone whose photography I have followed for years, and most recently really admired all his photography of Gottmik. His artistry and vision are something that I knew could bring a really fab and gay song like this to life. Magnus was such a professional, lots of fun, and totally got the concept we were going for. We are so happy with how the images turned out!
What are your future plans?
Well I have a few more releases coming up from this album, that I am really excited about. The album was a year in the making, and it is a months-long journey to share it with the world. It has been a wild year, where I have really doubled down and focused on some of my creative passions, and I am excited for what’s next.
Now it is time to get the story from Aaron Valenzuela:
Aaron, what do you like most about working with Rigel?
Rigel and I met each other in the underground club scene of LA. We’d always be at A Club Called Rhonda and I think that really connected us from the start. It’s easy to work with Rigel because we come from the same place and get a lot of each other’s creative references.
How would you describe the chemistry of you two?
As I mentioned we got to know each other first on the club scene. I was a dancer and he’d always be there with Cam, so it’s always been about self expression, sexual liberation and most of all having fun. We both love the chameleonic qualities of fashion and it’s a sweet little glue that binds us.
We could not do this without speaking with the iconic photographer Magnus Hastings.
Magnus, how did Aaron and Rigel inspire you and what was the concept of the photoshoot?
I was contacted by Rigel and asked to shoot with Aaron and him to promo their new collaboration … I listened to the song and thought it would be fun to shoot and I could make it super gay to match the song. So that is what we did!
What upcoming projects are you excited about?
I am about to work with Alaska on her new Album and I have my own secret project I am working on both of which I am excited about.
Artist – Rigel Gemini – @rigelgemini
Featured Artist – Aaron Valenzuela – @aaronvalenzuela
Photographer – Magnus Hastings – @magnushastings
Rigel’s Makeup Artist – Luna – @lalunavela
Rigel’s Stylist – Marissa – @marissa.motley
BTS Videography & Photography – Gordon Glamzy – @gordonglamzy
Photography Assistant – Hunter Shirley – @hcshirley
Creative – Cameron Lee – @cameronleeart
Red look: suit Kimia Arya Silk @kimiaaryasilk, top Helen Anthony @helenanthonyofficial, slides Laines London @laines_london
Floral look: floral pink and blue pants Mystique Beach @bemystique, gold leather jacket Alabama Blonde @alabamablonde
Fur jacket @spirithoods