Q&A

Stylish With Jenna Lyons Winner Mike Grady on His Favorite Philly Things

The South Carolina native is a freelance art director, a stylist, and the winner of a new HBO Max’s new docuseries/competition show. Here, all the things he loves about his adopted hometown.


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Freelance art director and stylist Mike Grady. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Favorite Things

Item I wear every day: A cloud of fragrance. Currently, it’s Maison d’Etto. I find that certain fragrances lower my anxiety level and help me set an intention of peace for the day.

Prized possessions: My grandmother’s emerald ring, the patchwork stuffed dog from my childhood, and a contact strip of photos that Andy Warhol took of Paul Morrissey in the 1960s. Paul was the first director to cast a trans woman as the lead in a major film. I won it at an online auction.

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Mike Grady’s grandmother’s emerald ring. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Recent purchase: I’m obsessed with oversized paper lanterns in the style of Noguchi. I recently purchased a more affordable option from the Finnish Design Shop online.

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Oversized paper lanterns are one of Grady’s favorite things right now. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

What I collect: Literally everything. My current obsession is vintage ceramics. I just bought a ’70s-era Harvey Craft ceramic brown paper bag, and I smile every time I look at it.

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A Harvey Craft ceramic brown paper bag. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

At Home

Currently reading: It Didn’t Start With You, by Mark Wolynn. It’s about inherited family trauma and how to heal from it.

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Mike Grady loves the R+Co’s Television shampoo and conditioner. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Hair essentials: R+Co’s Television shampoo and conditioner and the Spotlight Circle hair mask from Davines. Also, never underestimate the power of a good paddle brush. My long-hair queens will know what I’m talking about.

WFH uniform: Todd Snyder track suits. I also stan a jumpsuit. Working from home doesn’t have to mean sweatpants — put a fuckin’ dress on, and some lashes. Get gussied up for you.

Out and About

Current freelance project: I’ve been working with another designer on a capsule collection of home goods, my favorite being a coat rack I designed after the manner of Jean Royère.

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Andorra Meadow in the Wissahickon. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Go-to pandemic hang: Andorra Meadow in the Wissahickon. We’ve taken up mushroom foraging, and there are tons of oyster mushrooms and chicken of the woods in that area.

Favorite local Shops: Yowie, Omoi Zakka, Jinxed, Vagabond, Moon and Arrow, Black and Nobel, Harriett’s Bookshop

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Vagabond. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Philly places that inspire me: The Rodin Museum and Laurel Hill Cemetery. But honestly, driving home after working in NYC … I love the way the interstate takes you straight through the city. Philly welcomes you into her heart, and driving in feels like getting a big brotherly-love hug.

Published as “Better by Design” in the January/February 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.