Mom’s a Supermodel, Dad’s a Rock Star—So Why Wouldn’t Grace McKagan Want to be Both?

When your mom's a Vogue cover girl and your dad's a founding member of Guns n' Roses, following in their footsteps also means doing things your own way

The phrases “cool mom” and “cool dad” get thrown around a lot—particularly lately, it seems, when everyone’s mom and dad harness, to greater or lesser degrees, some kind of cool. 

Grace McKagan, though, probably has you beat. Her sister, Mae, is a college student, a model, and a fashion designer. Her dad, Duff McKagan, is the founding bassist of Guns n’ Roses—maybe you’ve heard of them? Even more impressive: When G n’ R began to implode and his rock n’ roll lifestyle began to get the better of him, Duff reinvented himself with martial arts and business school, wrote two bestselling books, and went on to found a wealth management firm to help musicians handle their money; these days, he’s recording brilliant solo records and—after an extended COVID break—will soon be touring the world with G n’ R again.

Grace’s mom, Susan Holmes McKagan, is a supermodel who has walked runways and shot campaigns with—well, with almost everyone, really—and graced the cover of Vogue and countless other magazines around the world. She wrote her own bestseller, thank you very much, and sends part of her proceeds to the MusiCares Foundation to help music people in various kinds of need. Her COVID project? At the urging of her good friends, models Kate Dillon and Tyra Banks—Dillon has a master’s from Harvard; Banks studied management at Harvard Business School—Susan signed on with their alma mater for remote feature writing classes. (Susan's father was a Fulbright Scholar, her mother an English teacher.) 

“I feel like I missed out on so much when I was modeling and traveling all the time,” Susan says from the family’s LA home, with Grace sitting next to her, “so I’m making up for lost time. It taught me so much about myself—and I ended up getting an A! I was so proud.”

Grace, then, is simply keeping up the family tradition. She’s been singing and performing for her family since she was three, did musical theater after that, and started a band, the Pink Slips, when she was just 15. Now she’s 23 and—when she’s not studying creative writing in college or modeling—striking out on her own with a new sound and some new singles. (Her next one, So Hyper, drops tomorrow.)

When I ask her about why her sound has evolved, her answer makes it painfully obvious that the truly strange thing would be if it had stayed the same.

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Corey Seymour