Tag Archives: corsetry

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…) πŸ˜›
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… πŸ˜‰ 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?”Β 
“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

Dangers Untold and Hardships Unnumbered

19 Jan

I’d planned to post this blog another time but then we lost David Bowie and the title couldn’t be changed- it was too perfect. This is probably the worst time to admit I hate the song Space Oddity, but I did love Labyrinth even though I didn’t actually see it until I was eighteen. I watched it in a friend’s paint-splattered mystical box-room in art school halls of residence, where I was sleeping to avoid hearing the Bedspring Symphony next to my own room.
Why didn’t Sarah just leave the wailing baby and stay in Faerieland with Bowie??Β  (And could we have him back please, Death? We’ll give you Donald Trump…)

Anyway… I was in London a few days ago and I saw this genius advert for the Tate Britain.
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What a way to advertise an art gallery- no actual art, but an intriguing backstory. So much for a picture being worth a thousand words! Then I realised I not only knew the picture but had posed for an interpretation of another of Bacon’s Triptychs! I just didn’t know what they were about.
Here’s the one in the advert:
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And here’s the one I posed for, with the result underneath. The painter is Nelson Aquini.
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I found the original pictures creepy (that’s not a bad thing) but didn’t like or dislike them. Looking again and knowing what inspired them… I wouldn’t hang any on the wall but can appreciate the achievement as art: Bacon managed to paint what being consumed by horror and screaming grief feels like. Now, if only I could do that with words! πŸ˜‰

Another piece of art I like because of its backstory is “Rock Drill”, by Jacob Epstein, and it used to look like the picture on the right. It had begun as a celebration of the industrial age… and then the First World War happened. Epstein ripped the sculpture apart and worked in a more classical way from then on!
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I started thinking about some of my favourite pictures and the effort, pain and strange stories behind some of them. There are some I’ve blogged about before (check out “Death Becomes Her“, “Welcome to Rivendell” and “Adventures After Dark“) but of those remaining, these are probably my top three:

1) Girl on the Moon (photos by Calvato)
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Calvato had warned me that this spectacular several-storey gutted warehouse was full of dust. Not a problem at all- I had fun pretending to be an astronaut stomping in slow-motion sending up clouds around me (nobody ever said I was cool, okay?)… BUT as I was coming down with the flu, I was feeling like the lovechild of Gollum and a wet blanket. Yes, I wanted the desolate hunched-over look here but I’m not usually a fan of method-acting! I absolutely love the pictures even though I was bedridden, shootless and delirious for the next three days. I then realised an hour before my coach left for Berlin that I couldn’t find my keys. Cue lurching to the train station with a bad drawing and a “have these been handed in?” sentence courtesy of google translate.
MIRACLE: They were in the station and I got my coach. πŸ˜›

2) Face-Off (photographer is Chicproduction)
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This photo is from one of my first ever photoshoots!! I was nervous and my face was a little sore from a make-up artist’s insistent scrubbing at me the day before. When the (different, nonviolent) make-up artist for this shoot touched my face with her brush, my cheeks swelled up like a hamster’s!! Being new to modelling, this was the most catastrophic thing that had ever happened to me at a shoot. After a pep-talk from the very understanding photographer, we carried on and got THIS! Looking again, there is some Bowie in there, I swear… πŸ˜€ (and I learned not to let people scrub at my face.)

3) Miranda. (Photographer is Magpie Tommy, designer is Orchid Corsetry)
I’ll blog the whole set soon…
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I’m going to tell you the whole story in another blog but it entailed a 5am start, an army-style crawl through the bushes, two ticks, some broken French and the threat of capture. πŸ˜‰

Other times of course, shoots go as smoothly as possible, even outdoors in the cold. I was amazed that photographer Digital Caress had not only a Plan A, but B and C too when I worked with him during a trip to Holland. Plan A (a wildlife sanctuary and ruin) worked just fine though!
As usual, a story came into my head (another to add to the archive of plots) as soon as I picked the final shots to post here: A story about a person who had hidden from the end of the world. On emerging from the space she’d lived in, she found everything was dead and at a loss what to do, turned her back on the cold deadness around her and made the ruins beautiful in her own way until she felt the sun on the stones. Turning around, she saw one tree still in green and made her way to it, farewelling the rest of the world. She’d stay there, unmoving until something grew again…

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As my ‘flash fiction’ blogs tend to be very popular with you all, I’m writing some more. Stay tuned for mini-tales to accompany some of my pictures… πŸ˜‰

For now though, it’s 1am here in England and my hot water bottle calls!

Goodnight!

ROSWELL xxx

Samhain onboard

1 Nov

Happy Halloween to all and Blessed Be to fellow pagans.
For the first time in a few years, I am not working on Halloween weekend so have had the chance to chill out onboard my boat drinking spiced apple tea, reading spooky stories (there are some horrors in Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things”) and burning the green skull candle I’d been saving. I even found a “Day of the Dead” page in my colouring book. (Yes I have a colouring book. Actually, I have three- and they rock.)

I had loads of errands to run in town so braved the scariest thing of all- Saturday shopping in Milton Keynes. BUT, as I get phone reception there, it turned out to be a good thing I did- I accidentally visited the Gothic Manchester festival while on tour last weekend and entered a raffle in aid of S.O.P.H.I.E. to win a knitted Cthulhu. As I want my bathroom to be sea monster themed, I’ve wanted one for ages. Well, I got a phone call and… look!!! The white one is mine!!! ❀
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Also, the reading rooms at Manchester’s library are amazing. There has to be a secret portal in here. Right?

Samhain (aka Halloween) is the pagan new year- marking the end of the ‘light’ half of the year. The Celts believed that days began at sunset and so the new year begins now, at the dark half of the year. It’s a time for remembering the dead and celebrating the lives of ancestors. Though I love a good party and making costumes, I also find the season a time for being still and meditative. Especially losing someone at this time, it was even more important to me that I had my alone time.
As I know very little about my ancestors, I thanked them for the fact that I’m alive thanks to them and lit an extra candle, and wrote messages to the friends I have known who have died. (Luckily, there have been few.)
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One of these friends died while I was at school, still living with my mum. That night, I stuck this little plastic stained-glass-effect butterfly on my bedroom window for her. It sat there for fifteen years and after I left home a decade ago, my mum tried to remove it. It resisted all attempts at dislodging it and now that my mum is moving house too, she assumed it would stay there but had one last try at pulling it from the window. It practically fell into her hand. ❀
Looking at it now, it reminds me very much of some tattoos on another very close friend. I don’t know what that is supposed to ‘mean’ but things seem to have come full circle in a way, like so many things in life. All I can do is hope that in the same way, we’ll be reunited with our loved ones who died first.

My little space on the hearth, with candles, tea, notepad and snuggly carpet. See the skull candle?
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I didn’t dress up this year but as I dress up every day (even when I’m naked, I’m being a wood sprite, goddess or strange sculpture), that’s fine. I have some beautiful photos from an Autumn photoshoot with Shannon Swift and Orchid Corsetry, in which I think I look rather vampiric! πŸ˜‰

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It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo, which I’ll tell you about soon- so for now, I’m going to get writing. πŸ™‚ Wish me luck!

ROSWELL xxx