If you’ve spent any time with celebrity-endorsed mobile games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Demi Lovato: Path to Fame, you’re familiar with the seductive power of virtual stardom. So is Elizabeth Harper, aka synth-pop artist Class Actress — but in the app-inspired video for her new single "GFE," she’s taking a different route to fame. Think less appearances and staged dates and scrounging around for "energy points," and more petty theft, late-night trysts, and under-the-table favors. If "GFE" was an actual game, it would be sticky, sordid, and totally addictive.
"GFE" traces the ascent of humble trailer park denizen Kiki Hayes, a girl with big dreams and bigger scholastic issues. It only takes a few minutes for Kiki to become Katherine Beaumont, glamorous star of stage and screen with skeletons in her closet. The world of "GFE" is deterministic: Kiki’s fated to become a star, and she just happens to take the dirtiest possible road there. "That’s the reality of the Class Actress game," says Harper. "You’re forced into stardom through all the bad choices, but they also lead you to yourself." (It’s a little like the Kim Kardashian game in this respect: no matter what, you have to let Kim into your boutique. Stardom is your destiny.)
Characters throw up and lift their heads from drivers' laps, and it's all custom-made
Harper worked with the team behind game creation app Episode to make the game and video, a process that took months. She met writer Rachel Maude through the app — Maude is one of the app’s paid professional writers— and they built the game together, Maude writing a story from Harper’s concept. They turned Kiki into "this classic Marilyn Monroe character," says Harper, "who has to rely on men for so long to get to where she’s going — but in the end, she relies on herself." Episode created some custom animations for the game, too: when characters in the video throw up or lift their heads from a driver’s lap, you can rest assured those aren’t part of the app’s standard portfolio.
Harper’s not done experimenting with tracks from her recent EP Movies, either: with a traditional (though thematically similar) video for "More Than You" and the clip for "GFE" in the bank, she’s looking to explore other parts of the lusty, fame-driven character of Class Actress. "I have so many alter-egos," says Harper, "and all of the characters inside me want to do stuff."