Seeds

1 Feb

Today is Imbolc- aka Candlemas aka St Brigid’s Day! Saint Brigid was named after the pagan goddess Bride (pronounced ‘brede’) and her festival represents the beginning of Spring (hooray!) I saw the first snowdrops yesterday, so hopefully the weather should start to get warmer again. I love snuggly days with coffee and a book in front of the fire, but living on a canal boat isn’t the most comfortable in the winter. (Frozen windows, dripping condensation etc etc…) I can’t wait for warm mornings on deck, watching this year’s chicks grow up. (Yes, there will be photos…)
‘Pinch me, I’m dreaming’ has been a common theme these past few months but it finally sunk in that I have somewhere of my own, when I had my best girl Anita De Bauch to stay for a few days. I expected it to be a bit of a squash but while watching a film in the bed-den and surrounded by many forms of chocolate, I realised that we fit perfectly comfortably and perhaps my boat is a bit like a Harry Potter car- it expands on the inside to fit the company!
We spent a few nights onboard, then moved over to the Mothership, split for a few days and met up again in time for a magazine-launch party in a secret bunker. A zombie apocalypse magazine-launch party in a secret bunker… Weirdly, we swapped our usual styles and I dressed as a femme fatale zombie, while Ms De Bauch became “Malibu-zombie-hunter”! Want to see?
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It was a fantastic night, with much dancing and new music discoveries- though I think my neighbours may now be plotting to kill me (or ban the ‘repeat’ button).

Anyway, back to Imbolc thoughts: the festival is about potential and preparation. It isn’t yet a celebration of Spring’s arrival, but of the potential waiting beneath the earth. Historically, it’s why we do ‘spring cleaning': fire and purification are part of a pre-Spring ritual!
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a lazy few hours in bed with a book, then clean and tidy my boat from top to bottom, throw out any sad dead plants that didn’t survive the winter and then burn candles because firstly, tradition and secondly, candles are beautiful. <3 If you’re not yet on my Facebook page *cough* then here is my living room:
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Tim Pile recently sent me a new photo from our shoot among the standing stones in Dartmoor, so I looked through other photos I had from the same weekend. I’ve been thinking about the seasons and about potential, and seeing them all together made this picture emerge:

A seed, an idea, a person. Something developing in the darkness, waiting for its time.
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Growing possibilities. No longer just a dormant seed or a theory, but a living thing realising there’s a world just an arm’s reach away.
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FREE!
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ROSWELL xxx

p.s. There’s a secret I’ve been sitting on… look in the bottom left corner. Why not make a trip to WHSmith on February 3rd? ;)
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p.s. There’s a secret I’ve been sitting on… look in the bottom left corner. Why not make a trip to WHSmith on February 3rd? ;)

Death Becomes Her

27 Jan

I’m not afraid of heights but I’m not exactly thrilled when falling from them. In the same way, death in itself doesn’t worry me- we all have to do it (like that tax return I’ve been putting off). What does frighten me is the idea of dying without fulfilling my own dreams or inspiring other peoples- being forgotten as the world moves on. Still, my goal is not to live forever but to create something that will*. It’s why, when Rebecca Litchfield emailed me and asked if I’d be part of her ‘Underworld’ project (“…and by the way, are you scared of heights?”) I looked a bit like this:
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Rebecca is one of the world’s best known ‘adventure photographers’. She climbs high and jagged fences, lowers herself into deep dark crypts and photographs the forgotten corners of the world few people remember exist- except for security guards, most of whom are adamant they should remain that way! Her book “Soviet Ghosts” documents her travels through the secret places of the former Soviet Union. It went viral and is truly awe-inspiring. Did I mention she’s also a truly lovely and fascinating person? That helps when you’re taking a model on an ‘urbex’ shoot…

Urban exploration photography is getting a lot of attention on sites like Buzzfeed, but they don’t show the phenomenal effort the photographers put in just in order to get inside the locations. Camping in nearby ditches, being arrested and falling through floors are pretty standard! (Hence needing to be a patient and kind person- some models need a little coaxing over fences)! I once accompanied Magpie Photography (another well-known urbex photographer) on a trip around a disused asylum and found it incredibly inspiring as a writer though utterly terrifying, so I expected to be scared to death again (and where more convenient to be scared to death than in a crypt?) :P

I arrived in the morning for a dress fitting (designs by Joanne Fleming), and hair and make-up by Rosie Lee. I’m not sure what brought that cheesy grin out of me but as we’re all crazy pet ladies, it was probably a cat story.
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After a traffic-related spanner in the works and a quest for food, we waited by the cemetery for things to quiet down. No such luck- a few nosey neighbours and a vote later, I watched the spiky fence get smaller as we drove back home, still knowing I’d have to climb it more than once that night. A quick stretch, a fuss of the cat and we piled back in the car for the final we’ll-do-this-no-matter-WHAT attempt.
Outdoor nudes require military precision- I’m used to “wait…waaaaaiiiit… GOGOGO!” I haven’t climbed a swingy rope ladder up a high fence, thrown and passed equipment over, dashed across a cemetery and hidden under another building under those circumstances. After we all made it safely, I watched as Rebecca pulled the grate aside and lowered the rope ladder again- this time into the abyss. Adrenaline shaking my hands and feet, I’d have fallen flat if it hadn’t been for the guidance of Rebecca and shoot assistant Danny, who climbed into the darkness first to check the undead hordes weren’t forming an orderly queue for our blood. They weren’t, so off we went through the underworld lit only by our little torches.
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Behind the scenes- I’m being sewn into a dress. ;)
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While Rebecca set up, I lay out the dresses and went exploring. I’d hoped to find bats but if they were there, they were hibernating somewhere secret.
The asylum had been covered with graffiti. Ivy had begun to reclaim it- like long tentacles dragging the stones back down into the earth. There were parts that clearly hadn’t been touched for decades but others looked more condom-y and needle-y. Every creak and small noise I thought could be a crazed person coming to ‘get’ us.
The crypt could be the stillest place I have ever visited. The air, silent. The quiet conversation, muffled by the thick walls as I moved further away. No breeze, no creaking- and no fear. Even surrounded by coffins, there was an atmosphere of peace. No matter how violently occupants may have died, here they shared the same quiet and beauty in their chambers of rust, leather and stone. This is where I began to understand the appeal of “Dark Tourism”- Rebecca’s current project. (The allure places associated with death hold for some).
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My first dress weighed a ton and due to a zip malfunction earlier in the day, Danny sewed me in. The weight helped keep me warm and the train made the quietest whisper being pulled along the ground. Rebecca shoots the same picture at different shutter speeds to ensue every detail is there for her later on and so I spent a few minutes being very very still.
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Her temple had stood for time unknown and men came in their droves. On foot at first, then later on horseback. In pretentious ceremonial cars and, once, a motorbike. The romantics still brought their horses to rein outside. They saw castles more often than not. Some men saw paradise. Some, a dark prison-like crypt and the damsel within. She endured their silly visions and remained motionless, keeping the smile from her lips.
Sometimes, she wondered what they saw when they looked at her. Mirrors were forbidden- it was the law of her kind. Not that it mattered to her whether she appeared in the guise of an angel, a goddess or a naked succubus. All that mattered was that they took
one…
more…
step…

Close-up:
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We had already dubbed the second dress “the contortion dress” due to the amount of arm bending I did to get in. Halfway through, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get it on but when we finally got it to my feet, it looked like a golden second skin and I remembered a legend about a Greek god who transformed himself into a shower of gold in order to get through the keyhole of his love interest’s rooms…
Posing with coffins is always a bone of contention among some people. (Pun absolutely intended.) ;) I think the difference is, firstly in respect. Writhing half naked on a recent burial plot is, in my opinion, bad taste. The deceased probably has living relatives who may not be ready to see the reminder of their loss turned into art- however, the people here do not have relatives that can reminisce on their living pasts. I do know that the occupants of the coffins here had a very different concept of ‘urbex’! When I was in Ireland, I visited Newgrange (a neolithic monument) and inside was the graffiti of Victorian explorers!! I like to think that our version is a little more respectful to our surroundings. As they say: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
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“I wish you could just understand…”
Alexandra’s parents had died young. The Reverend John Bott had perished in the fire while trying to save his pregnant wife Caroline. The chemist, occasional surgeon and women’s suffrage member was remembered only as “a darling and faithful wife”. That must have stung.
Alexandra had grown up with an almost instinctive desire to make them proud and yet the divide had grown slowly over time- a remoteness she traced back to the moment she was asked the question asked of all children:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Alive!” she had said to her horrified parents.

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It was jarring the first time she learned that the dead could die again, but life under any name had an organised craziness and Jane had got used to it. She had lived, she had died, she had awoken in another world that could not be called Heaven, Hell, Harrods or any of the other H’s, and she had died in that other world. And so on and so forth. Awaking yet again and seeing what lay next to her awoke questions that ate questions, like the legendary serpent forever devouring its tail. Each coffin had her name, age and date of death embossed in the leather.
“Jane Rose. Died aged 87, 1893. Ne’er did a living thing harm.”
“… Suddenly taken from us aged 12, 1905.”
“… Left her pain behind aged 74, 1979″“… Died aged 23, 2002, “Life seemed more sweet that thou didst live”
Wasn’t there supposed to be a blissful escape in madness? She tried and failed to summon a mad thought. Death, then, had a sense of irony- for up until now, she had always died laughing…

By the time we got the third dress on, it was after midnight. I thought of a darker Cinderella story: a tale in which she must get back above ground after dancing all night with the ghosts of her past. The Danse Macabre.
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Dawn did not break this time but crashed overhead. A wave of light and birdsong she would not be there to hear this time. She had lingered too long after the last bows and curtseys and wondered now if she regretted it. This most secret dance took place but once a month and yet she had begun to enjoy the presence of the dancers below more than those above, but this was no place for the living. She had outstayed her welcome. Were they asleep, or were eyes averting, politely giving the last living guest time to leave? She slipped off her shoe and the uneven gait shook the fine earth from her hem. Dust to dust…

We packed in almost silence. Tired, cold and yet exhilarated, we prepared to haul our equipment up the rope ladder again. We turned the lights out, leaving the crypt cold and dark once more. The night was almost as still as the underground and the sound of the traffic seemed unblockable, until the scraping of the grate brought me back to reality. Mid-scurry back across the cemetery, something stirred in the night…
Note to me: Never hiss “fox, fox, FOX!!” at two shaky adrenaline-filled people halfway up a rope ladder no matter how close the lovely creatures are and how excited about it you are. It sounds like “cops, cops, COPS!!” :P
I didn’t think I’d manage to pull my weight over the fence for the final time but, numb and barefoot (my boots didn’t fit the rungs), I did at last with the encouragement of team awesome. An emergency chocolate and cider stop later and we were home. Shortly after that and I was all-of-a-snuggle in bed.
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I asked Rebecca if I could write the beginnings of a few stories to accompany the pictures- stories that I’d leave and finish one day. She very nicely said I could, so the italics under the pictures are my own scribblings.
If you’d like to hear her version of the night, read her blog HERE.

Sleep well, everyone- it’s nearly 5am here!

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. look, I found a stake!
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Tales of a Naked Girl

19 Jan

-⌐garethbyrd.Roswell-II.012
How can I explain the pride I feel in my work? Immersed as I am in my job and its accompanying social circle, I forget that some people see a bimbo or someone with very little self-respect when they learn I’m a nude model. My jokes about public nudity and nitpicky remarks about bondage in films (“seriously, anyone could get out of that!”) aren’t ‘got’, and there’s an assumption that seedier things go on than I let on. The idea of reference checking and talk of ‘levels’ provokes a knee-jerk horror that such talk is necessary. But don’t we all assess the possible dangers our lives bring us? It isn’t that we think trouble is imminent but that we want to be ready in case: to expect the best but prepare for the worst.
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I’m immensely proud of my work! Perhaps even more so because I know that it will not last forever. I have no intention of modelling for the rest of my life and have another career plan in mind, but I cherish the best parts and memories this crazy life is giving me.

My job puts me in touch with creative people on a daily basis. I’ve learned about things outside my circle of interests because almost everyone I work with has a story. My three best ‘industry’ friends are the most different women you could imagine but each of them has taught me a new perspective on life, shared my adventures and brought me on theirs- and I met all three through modelling.
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I see the world! I’ll be forever grateful for the experiences this is bringing me, the people I’m meeting and the independence I’ve found. I’m not afraid to travel alone or not speak the language. If I’m stranded I can always find a way home or at least to safety. I’m confident in strange situations and have a pretty good ‘weirdo-radar’! I love to share my life with friends and fellow travellers, but also enjoy the peace a simple walk in a new place brings me.
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Concerning the ‘naked’ bit, I’m proud to have a healthy attitude to nudity- my body does not bring me shame merely by being uncovered.
More than this, nude figures have been used in art for centuries! I walk through the London galleries and see women like me, who have been immortalised for the world to look at forever, as art. I feel a kind of connection to these women- a hint of the camaraderie I find among other nude models.
In this digital age when something placed on the internet is there forever, I hope that our work will continue to inspire people, and that maybe in the far future when people are creating interactive holograms (!) or whatever, that modern nude models may feel that connection to me and the other old-fashioned ‘photo girls’. ;)
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I’m a huge sci-fi/action/fantasy fan but always meant to write a blog about films concerning nude modelling, so here you go- an extra bit!

Calendar Girls
It’s a comedy with Helen Mirren, Julie Walters and Penelope Wilton, and is based on true events. A middle-aged Women’s Institute group raises money for charity by making a nude calendar- and creates scandal, of course.
The idea that modelling teaches a very linear view of what is beautiful is an easy assumption to make and to an extent, it’s true (you’re either thin and striking or curvy and sexy) BUT visiting galleries and meeting older nude models has taught me to see beauty another way. I know I won’t be able to make a living from modelling forever, but if someone wants to photograph me nude at age sixty, bring it on!
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Mona Lisa Smile
I don’t like Julia Roberts, but I love Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julia Stiles. Kirsten Dunst is there too, with a teeny look at Tori Amos and Jane in Breaking Bad before she went all junkie. :P It’s about an art teacher in the 50s who tries to teach her very traditional students that the ‘lifescript’ is an option and not a necessity.
There isn’t much nude modelling, but there is a scene in which the teacher takes her students to see an abstract painting and says “I want you to consider it. You don’t have to write about it, you don’t even have to like it. What you do have to do is consider it.”
There will always be people who step back from me and my work because it’s outside their experience (and therefore comfort zone). That is what I want to say to those people.
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I Capture the Castle
The book is better and not so bloody soppy  (I’m re-reading it right now) though the writing and interaction between the characters still makes me laugh. Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Rose Byrne and Tara Fitzgerald are a bohemian family of artists living in a crumbling old castle in the 1930s. Bill Nighy’s character has dreadful writers block, while Tara Fitzgerald’s character is a nude artists model who is the breadwinner for the family.
Gorgeous styling- and it makes me want my very own nude modelling castle.
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Sirens
Saw it by accident when I was about eleven. Whoops…
By most accounts it’s pretty dreadful as a film, but there can be a sexy side to nude modelling and the feeling of being in a completely different (and bonkers) world. Hugh Grant (ugh) and Tara Fitzgerald (you again!) visit Sam Neill, who plays an artist living in Australia with his family and personal collection of models (Elle MacPherson, Portia De Rossi and Kate Fischer).
I’m dying to go to Australia and recreate the scene in the last five seconds of the film: four of the models are standing on a high cliff being siren-like while Australia stretches into the background looking all idyllic. On a multi-model shoot, the joking and debates around the dinner table are pretty standard- you have to be comfortable not just with your own body but everyone else’s- though generally we don’t get all sexy to embarrass the new girl. :P
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Mrs Henderson Presents
I love you, Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins (even if I did kill you by accident). It’s based on a true story about a rich widow who buys a theatre and opens a vaudeville production featuring nude women and Will Young (who’s actually pretty good!) Beautiful wartime/vintage styling and costume design!
I watched a mini-documentary about the film the other day- the producers invited the “Millerettes”- the original nude artists from the Windmill Theatre- to be consultants and to tell their stories. Glamourous eighty year old women proudly said that they could still do some of the dances and reminisced over their show days together.
When I’m old and wrinkly and my tits reach my ankles, I want to be able to look back at my nude modelling days and be just as proud, on my sofa surrounded by cats and chocolate and my just-as-wrinkly nude modelling friends. :)
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Roswell xxx

p.s. sneak preview at my next blog, in which I go on an adventure in a crypt with one of the UK’s best known “Adventure Photographers” ;) I’m being sewn into my dress…
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p.p.s. Photography credits (in order):
Gareth Byrd
Rares Pulbere
Jonasbee
Sylvie Blum
John Duder
Artrotika
Gregory Brown (x2)
Max Operandi
Charles Van Trappen
Rebecca Litchfield

2015. Here goes…

9 Jan

Happy New Year!

Well, welcome 2015- you couldn’t have come sooner! Not that 2014 was *bad*, just extremely stressful and life took some unexpected turns. There’s just too much to fit into one post, so here’s my year in miniature, with pictures… ;)

January
I woke up last December and said “I’m going to buy a boat”. So I did.
Between January and March, I lost all of my savings and am still recovering, but at last I have a home of my own, which is making me very happy. :) I also worked with the lovely Joceline in a secret tower (photographed by Lysander). I love being booked alongside friends- this is usually a solitary job and as most of my friends are also models it’s often hard to herd us all together at the right time! It’s a nice surprise being able to catch up while making beautiful pictures.
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February
I went to Lyon to walk in a fashion show for New Rock boots- my favourite footwear in the world- and did an impromptu performance there! Back in England, I hung upside-down in a metal box… (photo by Nic Marchant)
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March
Month of the lingerie shoots, and white wig! I made a very quick trip to Holland to walk for Ardita Fetish Fashion, then zoomed home in time to take my new boat on her maiden voyage!
Left photo by Steve GG. Right photo by Mew-Chiel, wearing Ardita Fetish Fashion).
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April
By this point I’m terribly horribly skint as I found a hole in my boat’s hull after only five nights aboard, and that needed some serious welding! So, very worried, I ran off to Scotland… where I had a wonderful few days in Edinburgh- one of my favourite cities. I climbed the Scott Monument for an artist’s reference pictures, ran around the city in a velvet cloak, visited a magical fairytale ruin and forest, then took myself seal-watching in Burntisland. (No seals, but a heron and an eider made up for it.) I also caught up with fellow models Ivory Flame and Madame Bink in a very English tea shop for scones and mocha.
Photo by John McNairn
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May
I found myself scampering around wild and windy moors in Ireland. The weather wasn’t the best, but models and photographers are pretty hardy (or so I’ve found!) Though the mist got too much and Ciaran Whyte, Lorraine Gilligan and I had to cut our shoot short, we did capture the atmosphere in this shot!
I then did some contortion in a box, ate Murphy’s ice cream (if you haven’t tried it, do) and returned home for my first ever paintballing trip! (A hen night, in fact! Minus the penis headbands and L-plates. Yay!)
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June
Infamy, infamy, etc etc blaah…
I barely worked this month due to the Shaun Colclough court case, which is covered in this blog here. In short, for new readers, I helped send convicted-rapist-turned-photographer Sean Peacock aka Shaun Colclough back to jail for systematically abusing his models. It was a world of stress but I wouldn’t take any of it back.
I then moved onto my boat officially and took the time to celebrate the end of June The Stressful with a picnic on the roof of my boat with one of my best and wisest friends, Anita De Bauch. :)
I did still get some of my favourite pictures with James Beddoes- the first one is pretty close to my everyday style!
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July
I spent a three day booking with friends in a wonderful old building full of secret hideaways. I fell so in love with one of my outfits by Falcieri designs that I reserved one for myself!
I then jumped on a hovercraft (for the first time) to see Luci-Alice, Martin, and Eddie the horse for a magazine shoot, which turned out rather well… so I think, anyway! ;)
Back in London a day later, I watched Shaun Colclough get sent down for SEVEN YEARS. (Plus five years of police watch.)
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August
As the media storm around the case grew, with features in The Times, The Telegraph and various other papers, I was answering around three interviews a day including my unrelated features. I decided I needed a break rather quickly, so ran away to Sweden for a week where I watched an HP Lovecraft musical in Swedish, made new friends, stuffed my face and looked at scenery. Thankyou Belinda Bartzner, Psylocke, Elegy Ellem and Sister Sinister for your sheer awesomeness.
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September
A catwalk show at London Fetish Weekend (three outfit changes in eleven minutes!), a quick photoshoot, and a very impromptu return to Ireland to shoot and stay with Andrew Shiels and his lovely family. It was an un-September-like day and I had some time off, so I took myself on a mountain walk to see the stunning view, watch the swallows flitting overhead and look for wrens (Irish ones are bigger and redder than English ones- and I saw two!)
Another hovercraft trip and evening exploring the Isle of Wight before a Red Sonja-inspired shoot, a hovercraft back and a science-fiction, lycra and latex shoot with Toxic Images in Nottingham!
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October
So many coaches- so many tours! I did mini-tours of both Brussels and Holland (returning to England in between!) and again made new friends, ate much chocolate and took the time to explore, which I don’t do enough of.
I shot all over the place in Holland, caught up with friends over pizza and got to be a tourist for a couple of days with two of my favourite awesome people, who ate bagels and cheesecake with me, explored the red light district and food places, and then went to see the Bodyworlds exhibition while I turned green and ate macaroons instead.
Photos by: Gunther Frans, Taco, Peter VR
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November
I realised I had barely written a word this year, so I decided that in between tours and shoots I’d do National Novel Writing Month. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Well done, Roswell. *slow sarcastic clap* Not my greatest idea, but I got 35,000 words in… and then I lost not only my phone, but my beloved laptop ‘Tales’ in the same week! It was the motherboard (luckily) but it was still a horribly nerve-wracking few days while I waited to hear about the hard drive and my two other novels on it! RIP, Tales. You will not be forgotten. *sniffle*
However, I got a very welcome email: Leather Lovers wanted to sponsor me and could provide wardrobe for my shoot that week with Dirk Glassly! I love this picture. And the harness.
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December
After a few days in Bristol, I rested… then got my new laptop delivered and did my last shoot of the year, which is still top-secret but all will be revealed in March. ;) I was also featured in Sinical Europe magazine alongside just five other models across Europe- with the pictures from August with Belinda Bartzner. :)
Christmas was a quiet one, which was very welcome. I spent it surrounded by cats and chocolate. As so many of you seem to want pictures of Mog (seriously, I had no idea he was so popular until I started getting “how’s Mog?” messages), here you go: His Lordship Flufflepants failing the circle test:
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So, I’m out the other side and this year’s looking awesome already… I’ll speak to you soon. ;)

Roswell xxx

R.I.P. Tales

3 Dec

My beloved laptop “Tales” died. :( I’m relying on a temperamental iPad and phone to get my news across so for now until I can buy a new laptop, I’ll be posting my images and news onto my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roswell-Ivory-model-and-writer/152654844767588
Any millionaire blog followers, now’s the time to speak, lol!

The good news is the hard-drive is okay, so I haven’t lost all my pictures and about five years of writing.

I’ve trawled the internet and my inbox for the various publications I’ve had this past month and as promised, I can show you my feature in Kirameki Magazine (with pictures by James Beddoes and cyborg leggings by Cyberdog) AND my feature in Rebelicious magazine with photos by Luci-Alice and unique custom-made outfit by Dawnamatrix! ;)

It is definitely worth getting the Girl Power issue- some really fascinating people interviewed and beautiful pictures! Just click here!
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And here’s Rebelicious- with some wildcat action and a little bit of bending…
If you’d like to get the whole magazine (which Ii recommend!) then here it is: CLICK!
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I also had a surprise feature in Kultur Magazine!! Here’s the title page, featuring bendiness… If you’d like to read the rest, this is where to click!

Photo by Rowan Murray
Latex by Pandora Deluxe
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I’ve been shooting a lot of latex and am about to go on a more steampunk/vintage trip with my newly fixed phone. Extra pictures coming very soon. :)

For now, here’s one from Henry Murphy, featuring Yummy Gummy latex.
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And here’s another photo from Kultur Magazine, by Rowan Murray

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Got to go- I have a suitcase to pack and my time’s running out at the internet cafe! Hide the naked pics!! ;)
I hope you’re all enjoying December- it makes my day hearing from everyone, even if Ii can’t reply right now.

Roswell xx

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