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Hollywood Fairytales

28 Jan

When you’re freelance, modelling isn’t the endless game of dress-up that films and magazines like to show. (Hollywood? Glittercoating something? Surely not…) On a normal day in Roswell-land, with some notable exceptions there’s no stream of caterers, make-up artists rushing in to fix hairs out of place and designers adjusting the diamonds attached to me. There’s no fairytale whirlwind from which I emerge a princess, and usually I like it that way. (I prefer to be a knight…) 😛
This is not to say that a full team (make-up artists, designers, assistants etc) cannot be fantastic to work with, just that it isn’t the norm for freelance models. We often have a greater hand in the creative process than agency models*. Of course we can work to a brief; there are plenty of shoots in which the photographer has a very clear idea of what s/he wants the final image to be and it’s our job to bring that idea to life- but for many bookings we do our own hair and make-up, pose freestyle and bring our own ‘shooting wardrobe’. “Just showing up and looking pretty” is not an option.
* If you want to read a hilarious account of life as an agency model, go and read Elyse Sewell’s old blog. She was the scientist in the first season of America’s Next Top Model.

I’m sponsored by a latex designer, a lingerie designer and a corsetiere so regularly have new one-off outfits to wear (in fact, I have some now…) but I have also updated my entire shooting wardrobe for 2016! If you’re a photographer and would like a booking or to enquire about what’s new, just send me a message here. Here’s a sneak peek though…

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While the Hollywood game of nothing-but-dress-up is mostly an illusion, I almost always get to play characters when I shoot- even if they’re only in my head. Until recently, I was mostly known for my fetish and art-nude work but in the past year or so, I’ve noticed an increase in my fashion and beauty bookings. Being freelance, this means I usually do my own make-up and styling in collaboration with my sponsors.
I’ve been working with Orchid Corsetry for about six months now and spent last weekend in Shrewsbury with designer Beth, being fitted for the next pieces! I love looking around other peoples studios and Beth’s is a luxurious sweetshop of material and trimmings.

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What Beth’s currently working on is a secret but we’re combining fashion and mythology as we both have a love of fairytales… 😉 In fact, I’ve just finished a written tale of my own for submission to an anthology called “Damsels in Success”!
I promised some more flash fiction blogs so to accompany the pictures below (that I’ve been so excited to post) so here are some Once-Upon-A-Time-s for you. The more I looked at the pictures, the more I thought of characters you might find in Hollywood.
The photographer is Shannon Swift, who is one of the most inspirational and interesting women I have had the good fortune to work with.
Would you like to work with her? She’s running a photoshoot giveaway right now! The deadline is the 31st so get your applications in quick.
NON-WHITE MODELS OF ANY COLOUR OR RACIAL BACKGROUND, please listen up! Shannon is shooting a photo and video project featuring models from different racial backgrounds so if you’d like to work with her, drop her a message.

Corsets and lingerie: Orchid Corsetry
Crown, hair and make-up: Me

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The Rising Star.
A thousand times upon a time, a young and beautiful woman made her living by pretending to be other people. This she did well, even in her own life. With every word said or movement made, she played a character as compelling as any whose shoes she stepped into for the sake of the camera. At first she gripped the crown she wore as though it might turn to smoke or slide off her head- it was borrowed, after all- but over time she learned to hold it as though she was certain it would remain hers forever- there would be no other girls afterward and people learned to believe her. Away in a locked room untroubled by the cameras, she shrugged off her character and laughed:
“It’s as simple as that! If we all just played this game, we’d all be fucking immortal!”
She laughed as though there would be no girls after her. She laughed like a fool.

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The Fading Star
Once upon a time in a strange land, there was a woman who was thin. Much too thin- and yet there was more, for she was fat too. This woman was free, talented, troubled, disfigured, stunningly beautiful, disgraced, risen, repentant, not sorry in the slightest, and thin again. In fact, she was each of these things at one time or other- and all at once depending on who was telling her story. The only thing that the storytellers could agree on was that now she was fading.
There would always be options until the day came when nothing she could do would seem interesting. She sucked an ice cube and tightened her belt. Fruit, it had been decided, was an ornamental decoration only. Sugar was for other people. And so the golden apple sat in plain sight- a trinket for visitors to notice and her own private joke. She picked it up. It had been the only thing recovered from the accident and kept out of the media in exchange for a sum even the richest would mentally stagger over. For a whole ten minutes she told herself she was merely considering telling, but her mind had been made up for days. What was it they said? “If you can’t be famous…”

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The Confidante
There are a lot of pets in Hollywood, but these ones aren’t the kind you want to get to know. They seem quiet, subdued, even a little skittish- but that’s just compared to their owners. Peacock-bright and beautiful, they are the ones you want to meet and touch. The pets fade into the background and nod yes.

“She’s lovely isn’t she?” 
“Yes.”
“May I speak to her?”
“Yes”.
Here, pets manage their owners lives while thinking on their paws as they run to keep up. They know everything there is to know. They watch- some pets are guardians too. They understand when nobody else does, so they are told.
There are, of course, good owners and bad owners. Whether or not there are bad pets is not for me to say. But I’ll tell you this; when a pet turns on its owner, it is quite a thng to see…

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The Spectator
The statue had been there for as long as the house had stood.
“Built in the nineteen-twenties!” she had heard a tour guide say, as though that was a mark of true venerability.
It was her good fortune, the statue supposed, that every one of the houses inhabitants had either found her charming or lived mostly in hotels, seldom visiting their own home. Still, things had crept in- palm trees, crystals from a famous medium, a pair of pink flamingoes that she scowled at but would miss if they were to be removed.
It was a bizarre state of affairs, the statue thought, that she should live in the place fairytales were manufactured and fantastical things happened every day but know better than to ever move.

Goodnight…

ROSWELL xxx

A Tale of Two Captions.

11 Nov

Isn’t it odd sometimes how something that had been personal to you becomes a subject of discussion overnight!?

I found out today that Essena O’Neill, a young “Instagram Model” with a huge social media following but who I had never heard of, has also quit the ‘numbers’ game and is drawing attention to the faker aspects of the ‘Instagram lifestyle’- a brave thing to do when “real” has been the buzzword of the past few years! (see rant here)
Essena had made a living from posting on Instagram to her million followers tagging a designer or company, while charging the company $100+ per photo. If you’re business-minded and have a lot (and I mean a LOT) of followers, you can make a living this way.) The problem is, it takes a hell of a lot of time and fakery to keep up the illusion that the photos are natural candid shots. No business involved- this is just your life.

As I realised back in September, judging the quality of your life on how many followers, likes and comments you have is no way to measure your happiness. And I don’t even make a living from my social media! I can only imagine what it must be like to spend fifty hours a week carefully constructing your facebook ‘persona’. Knowing that you are no longer being cast for your personality or talent, but for how many people have clicked ‘like’ on your page is soul destroying and it *is* happening.

So why the hell do we obsessively watch the numbers?
Perhaps it is harder to trust our memories these days- maybe we feel a hundred likes on a photo reminds us that we had a good time at that moment instead of merely remembering it, no photos taken. Has the joke “pictures or it didn’t happen” become the truth after all?
It’s easy to play the numbers game in the short term but in a few years I want to remember the things I’ve done, not the things I’ve done to get ten more followers. The adventures, the joy. Whether I can quantify it or not. Respect to Essena for learning that at eighteen- it took me a decade longer! 😉 ❤

So I have the perfect shoot to illustrate my philosophical rambling! Kitty Wood is an awesome photographer and there’s not much I wouldn’t do during a shoot with her. Including, it turns out, jump into an unheated outdoor swimming pool in October…

BUT… this is what I’d say if I was a “social media model” (this term is used throughout this post and is not meant in a derogatory manner):
Just chilling in the pool in a unique latex/lace bra and samba pants by Lady Allura.” (hashtag “ilovemylife”)
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Now, if you don’t know already, I’m more road warrior than screen siren but one thing I love about modelling is still getting to play in the dressing up box as a grown-up! BUT… the caption implies that this is what I wear on my days off… and that the pool is warm! (and mine). The closest thing I have to a pool is the canal and I’m not going in there for a shoot. Not even for Kitty. 😛
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Despite the inevitable discomfort, I loved this shoot. I always get into crazy adventures with Kitty and also got to work with Alivya Free– a model/designer whose work I have admired for a long time. We got on like a house on fire so I hope she’ll make an appearance on this blog again!

“Being Ophelias together with a beautiful model friend. I love the water…” (hashtag “waterbabies”)
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We were clinging together for warmth while trying not to smudge our make-up. 😛

“Nothing like a palm tree and a poolside photoshoot to get you in the mood for SUMMERRR! (hashtag “blessed”)
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*cough* October *cough*
Seriously though, I love this behind-the-scenes shot.

We warmed up with hot chocolate and snacks, then as Alivya is a similar size to me and had brought two outfits from Kaori’s Latex Dreams, we did a latex set together! Then while Alivya switched outfits, I put on another Lady Allura bra and brought sexy back. 😉
I actually can’t think of a silly status to put here as what you see was what happened. With girl chat and gurning in between. 😛
p.s. The red lips on Alivya’s dress are 3D rubber! Mwah!
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I often work with Louise Ferdinand– designer of lingerie for curvy girls like me. This time, I’d been sent a set to photograph with a natural look.

“I guess I should get up but my bed is just soooo comfy!” (hashtag “nomakeupselfie”)
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This is indeed a comfy bed but it isn’t mine. 🙂 We also picked this room as the pretty jewel blue bedcovers would contrast nicely with my hair and the background was cool and minimal. I took my make-up down to a natural look so that the focus is on the lingerie not my honking great bazookas. Being curvy, I have to think ‘soft’ rather than ‘sexy’ on this kind of shoot, otherwise things can get a bit “lads mag” and we don’t want that here.

The headdress was designed and made by Alivya herself!
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After all three of us had shot all we could shoot and were worn out, we plonked ourselves on the bed for gossip, jokes and general awesomeness before Alivya headed home and Kitty and I went pet-snuggling, pizza eating and disturbing documentary watching.

That’s a wrap, folks! Unless you want m ore? In which case, check out Kitty’s video of the shoot!

Obviously, I do not mean to imply that all of us active on social media (myself included) are faking everything about our lives- just that there is often a lot of work involved in even the most natural-looking and effortless of photos. I’ve seen a lot of bitchiness towards Essena for her lifestyle choices- remember she’s eighteen! Besides that, social media models don’t sit around all day taking a spontaneous selfie or three of their idyllic lives- there’s a hell of a lot of branding and time spent on what is, after all, a business. No matter what the caption suggests. 🙂

Now, I just hit 10,000 words on NaNoWriMo but I’m still behind so I’m going to slam into the writing for an hour, then it’s bedtime (6am call time tomorrow- eek!)

ROSWELL xxx

p.s. I’ll leave you with this…
Who watched America’s Next Top Model, where the girls had to be celebrity couples? This is Melrose Bickerstaff doing Donald AND Melania Trump. And here I am doing my impersonation. Maybe we can start a trend? 😛
HASHTAG TRUMPFACE!!!

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