Tag Archives: model life

Persephone: Welcome to the dark side!

9 Jan

smaugslittlehobbit-persephone-is-the-goddess-of-flowers-and-is-adorable-3911957

Wow- hello, new readers! I had a wave of subscriptions since my last post, so thankyou for the nice messages and interesting discussions I’ve had since then. πŸ™‚

Before I go all mythological on you, I just want to clear some confusion over a particular term and an oversight on my part which I’m planning to fix in a very exciting way. The term β€œstripper rates” has been used for as long as I can remember and (as far as I have ever heard it) refers to rates that increase per hour according to the amount of skin on show. It is not meant as derogatory to models or strippers. I stand by my original point that there should be no rates increase between fashion and art-nude because it places the value on your nudity rather than your skill… BUT… it had not occurred to me that adult models may also be reading my post and that is a different matter.
Adult models (here, meaning models who pose to open-leg and beyond) charge higher rates depending on various factors and as this is not my area of expertise, I’m currently speaking to some well-known, very well-regarded adult models about appearing on this blog! This will be the first time I have asked other models to guest post so I’m very excited! πŸ™‚

As I expected- life’s getting busy and I’m almost completely fully booked for my studio weekend at Joel Hicks Photographic in April! If you would like a place, I still have a little time free on April 22nd/23rd but otherwise, February 11th/12th is my only other weekend there and there are spaces aplenty! I would love to use some of the grey atmospheric trees and surroundings before Spring comes along and re-greens everything… πŸ˜‰ Each hour is just Β£50-all inclusive- get in touch for a place!

As you can see from this photo by Liv Free, Winter is a good time for photo-making…
(Headdress and make-up/hair by Liv Free)
15658165_1185855901522031_998592614_o

There are also just two hours still available on my first ever shibari studio day in March! Click here for more information.
NB: You do NOT need bondage experience- all the ropework is done for you by a trained rigger.

I’ve updated my travel page- some of the ‘possible’ places have become definites and I can’t wait to start zooming around the world again. Do let me know your interest as soon as possible as I’m booking as far into the future as I can- or ask me to add you to my ‘short notice’ mailing list. No need to keep checking back- I’ll let you know if I’m available nearby.

Though I’m definitely noticing the lighter evenings, Winter is still very firmly here- the canal’s frozen over and ducks go skidding hilariously past my window every morning! In Greek mythology, the reason for everything being cold and barren is this (simplified massively*):
Once, the earth lived in eternal summer, watched over by Demeter- the goddess of harvest. One day, her daughter Persephone was gathering flowers in a meadow when Hades, lord of the Underworld surprised her and snatched her off to be his queen. The grieving Demeter turned the earth cold and lifeless and in fear for the earth’s survival, a rescue mission was mounted. The ‘rules’ in almost every legend involving an underworld or faerieland say that you can return home if you don’t eat or drink anything while there and Persephone, apparently, held out for as long as she could but finally ate six pomegranate seeds in her hunger and so when Hades was finally forced to answer to the other gods and goddesses, he used that fact as leverage (or another god ratted on her) and it was agreed that Persephone would belong to the Underworld for six months of the year and return for the remainder. That is why Demeter retreats and freezes the earth for the months in which her daughter is no longer with her and brings back the flowers and warmth when she returns.

I don’t know about you but something about that has always felt ‘off’ to me…
hades-hercules-jpg
(I seem to be replacing Lord of the Rings references with Disney at the moment. I’m not going soft, I swear!)

Anyway, here’s another version…
.
.
.
.

She had lived in the tower for so long she was almost used to the vertigo. She had lived with the imposed fragility until she had almost forgotten her strength. She had lived eternally planting flowers that she had almost accepted she would never wear. She hadn’t lived– and all because the key to her door lay in the hand of her mother, Demeter.

Seeds upon seeds, in pots upon pots, the little girl Persephone had treasured her work. The child planted, the mother grew, and the seeds were sent out into the world to flourish. Decades passed and yet the woman Persephone remained surrounded by the embryos of flowers she could only see blossom from her window. It had become an irritation, a complaint and finally an argument of the kind that tells a mother her child has grown.
Demeter took the key she should have handed Persephone, and turned it in the lock. Persephone smiled an innocent accepting smile and bided her time. When one is pushed to the light by force over freedom, one learns to think rather dark thoughts.Β 

There had been suitors but all had been banished. “When you live alone, you may do as you wish” had been her mother’s refrain. It would be pointless gesturing to her earth-strewn, seed-scattered solitude in the tower. Better, by far, to wait for the retreating footsteps and then lean backward out of the window, balancing and swaying until the sun god (who had already been cautioned about looking at her) couldn’t help but go to her aid. Just a favour, she asked. A quick word with the god of messages.Β 
The god of messages (who had been banished twice from the gate for asking after her) entered through her window. Tell anyone who will listen that I need to get out! The words were on the tip of her tongue but the footsteps of Demeter were already echoing on the stairway.
“Let the earth swallow me”, she had muttered to herself as her messenger fled, but he had heard and prepared to convey the strange request to somebody who could fulfil it.

Her plan shattered, Persephone took the unexpected way out- through the window. It was not as far a fall as she had thought, even without the assistance from various winged forms (who had been snapped at for attempting to talk to her). She came to her feet and ran. Free!

front-corset

Wishes have a habit of granting themselves at the strangest times and Persephone, having made her way across eight fields, a river, one and a half woodlands and somebodys garden, enjoyed the feel of grass under her feet and flowers in her hair for less than a day before her request was honoured.

Fear and flight have been added to every story concerning the events that happened in that meadow, Persephone reflected later. There certainly was none. Perhaps her status as a flower goddess in training had misled people about her fragility. Perhaps it was inconceivable even then that an innocent daughter with blossom in her hair could want anything other than the sun on her skin and birdsong in her ears.
Certainly when the earth opened up before her and he stepped out, she felt many things but fear wasn’t one of them.

holding-flowers

The lord of the Underworld has been painted enough times. Enough songs have been sung about him. Enough people have made up their minds on who or what he is. All Persephone will say is that sooner or later, we all meet him and can judge for ourselves. Only she and the dead truly know, and the latter are in no position to speak on him.

It would be easy to claim that she had merely been picking a bouquet to bring home to her mother when this man split the earth in two in order to steal her but the fact is, when one is forced toward the light, the darkness becomes very, very appealing indeed.
Persephone smiled a smile that made even the lord of the Underworld take a step back. She waited the split second it took for him to recover, waited a second more to enjoy the moment and then descended to the Underworld, shedding her cloak on the stairs. She kept the flowers for she had picked those herself.

Of course, her mother was never going to be happy with the state of affairs. As the earth and stone formed a cocoon around the lord of the Underworld and his new friend, who was learning quickly that flowers could bloom underground if they really set their minds to it, Demeter scorched the sky.

12357946_10153827543767792_1053490198_n

The other gods and goddesses could never agree on whether Demeter grieved mostly for the loss of her daughter or the control she had wielded but either way, people began to die shrivelled and empty as the earth now was. Only Demeter retained a fraction of her former strength and despite threats from the other deities, the earth yielded nothing. The sky remained black.

The sun, who usually saw all, was blind to the goings on below the darkness and had to rely on his hearing and guess at the despair below. It was in the middle of the starless night- which now looked much like the day- that he heard the decision made by the gods council; happy or not, willing or not, Persephone must be found. And he had seen her. Demeter may have cautioned his god, but she had never told the sun himself that he couldn’t look at her daughter- and so he had seen all. Softly, coughing through the smoky blackness, he called Demeter to him and asked her to listen.

13901758_10154448856627792_136860260_o

Had Demeter gone to the underworld herself, it is likely that Persephone would never have been found- the Underworld has its own ways of hiding what it holds. Instead, she sent a man who had once guarded her orchard. He flew through the gates in the form of a black owl and found Demeter’s daughter wearing a black dress and a smile. When he tried to persuade her to return, she asked him simply for a good reason.

The man who was an owl thought for some time and took out a pomegranate he had saved. They were messy and fiddly to eat but he was hungry and Persephone was scary.
“Your mother is, after all, family. Blood is thicker than water…” he offered.
“That saying is incomplete”, Persephone told him gently, taking a seed. “It is ‘the blood of comradeship is thicker than the water of the womb’. But I suppose one conversation with her wouldn’t do much harm.”
“The food up here is tasty when it grows?” he offered her the pomegranate and Persephone ate another seed.
“So is the food down here. But you are right.”
“You would be less lonely up above.”
“Don’t confuse being alone with loneliness. I’d like to catch up with some people though.” She took a seed and looked at it. It was pretty. The man who was an owl almost reached out to pat her arm but thought better of it.
“You could escape and return to the glory of the sun. And lastly, your mother would, I’m sure, let you entertain a better suitor!” Persephone took two more seeds, crushed them between her thumb and forefinger and flicked the sticky juice back into the messenger’s face.
“Let? I chose my own suitor and I don’t need, wish, or want to escape. You have given me four tenuous reasons to return to the above and two reasons to kill you and remain lost,” she snapped at the man who was an owl, who flew from the Underworld and returned in minutes with a guard.

Persephone’s rage was terrible but the old rule stood- taking the food of a world to which you do not belong binds you to that world and she had taken six seeds from the above, which was no longer hers. As she prepared to spend the rest of her life divided, she cursed the man who was an owl to remain jet black and live only in the dark of the night from then on. Don’t look for him- you’ll never see him.
Demeter kept her job as harvest goddess but only just- the summer comes once a year now, and other gods and goddesses have taken greater precedence. She and her daughter still talk from time to time though half of Persephone’s life remains a mystery that even Demeter would rather not know. Persephone still remains goddess of flowers, but these days her tastes have changed….
abandoned-flower-garden-house-building-detroit-lisa-waud-12
Photo by Lisa Waud

Other images by Leigh Eros (who I am greatly looking forward to working with again this year)
Pink corset by Orchid Corsetry
‘Metal’ corset made by me.

I waited a while for the perfect story to write that would go with the images and was cursing my writers block… and suddenly I realised I was stuck because the story had already been written and it fit so perfectly. We didn’t go out intending to illustrate a myth but somehow it happened- even down to the six main balls of light in the last picture.

I’m excitedly writing something to go with the rest of the set by Liv Free so I’ll show you those pictures as soon as I can as well… πŸ˜‰

It’s now 3am and I just poured coffee into my cup of tea. Definitely bedtime…

ROSWELL x

P.S. Is there anything you would like me to write about? I’ve had a lot of flash fiction requests and am making a new website for my non-modelling writing, but anything industry-related you wish I’d burbled about long ago? Let me know.

* strictly speaking, being Greek mythology, there’s a lot of cheating, rape, abduction and incest in the long version.

Upping your game- model resolutions

29 Dec

It’s that time of year again- the time we collectively freak out over our tax returns (hey, it isn’t January yet…) and many of us start looking at self-improvement, myself included. As I have a few big projects on the go, my resolutions are little ones this year but one involves upping my game as a model. The other is setting up a new website for my professional and fiction writing.

While I have a blog in the works about the ways people shoot themselves in the foot when trying to make a living as a model (or any professional really), this one’s about the little things that make all the difference. I asked industry people how they knew they were working with a really good pro model and combined their advice with mine.
NB: When I say ‘professional’, I am referring to attitude and not whether modelling is a full-time occupation.

While I detest the phrase, this is how to “take it to the next level” as Tyra Banks would say…

1) Arrive professionally!
I considered this ‘basic’ knowledge but it came up so often I couldn’t not add it to the list.
Wear loose-fitting clothing and no underwear when travelling to photoshoots- it means there will be no lines or marks on your body that will need photoshopping out. During the photoshoot, work from less clothed to more clothed. Nude to fashion. Same reason- starting in lingerie before moving onto nude means you’ll have red marks from your bra and knickers.
If there will be a stylist, come with no make-up on at all. If not, check in advance how the photographer would like you to arrive- some models prefer to come 100% shoot-ready, others apply foundation, powder and eyebrow pencil so they can freshly do any look required with the basics already in place. This works well for studio days or if the photographer is unsure what order to shoot outfits in.

wp_20141214_010
Arriving “naked”.Β 

2) Remember your fingers and toes!
Hands are often hard to pose. One of the lessons I learned very early on in my modelling career was that unless you are going for the ‘trapped in a box’ or ‘ugly-pretty’ vibe, hands should be made as elegant as possible by:
– Posing with the sides or backs of your hands to the photographer.
– Keeping the wrists relaxed and the elbows strong. Ballerinas already know this!
tumblr_m929rcXJkg1r5csoao1_400.gif
– Consciously paying attention to the way they look and feel, so you’re less likely to get spade hands (picture below), clenched fists or β€œDr Zoidberg hands” (which is when you look as though you’re impersonating a lobster and what I end up with if I don’t remember to relax!)
020508-1421acw1 dsc_0964
Left: way back when! (photo by Gothic Image)
Right: last year (photo by Emma-Jane)

Point your toes- especially when shooting nude.It lengthens the leg and tapers it to a point rather than an angle.

3) Embrace your face
I read the BEST article about the ‘contouring’ craze recently, which mirrored my own feelings on the matter (more in a later post). Learning to do your own make-up is ‘modelling 101’ but knowing when to take some of it off is also invaluable.
Pre-Raphaelite style or very high-end Art with a capital ‘A’ photographs often feature a (seemingly) make-up-free face. Though you may rarely have to do it (especially if you’re a glamour or pin-up model), knowing how to do ‘natural’ properly and having at least one photo showing that style on your portfolio can help you if you want to move away from the more made-up genres.
5752-a1462881502202
Case in point- this is Ivory Flame, photographed by Derek.

I now wear minimal make-up for art-nude work unless the photographer is going for something different- which leads me to…

4) Ask the photographer what they want to achieve.
Your job is to get more amazing shots than the photographer needs- so they are spoiled for choice by the end of the shoot. If they have not already sent you a moodboard or plan, ask them at the beginning what kind of images they would like to make.
If they’re all about going with the flow, then put your ‘muse hat’ on and offer a few ideas along with a wide variety of poses, outfits and accessories. Not everybody has a ‘plan’ so as long as they’re happy, you’re doing a good job!
Also, ask where your light is so you know which direction to look and pose toward.

5) Ask to see the back of the camera
We aren’t judging you, photographers! πŸ™‚ Models understand that the finished shots will often look nothing like what we can see in that teeny screen, but we’re looking so that we can check our side of things- the posing- is working. A model who asks to see their work is a model who wants to know if there’s a way s/he can improve and get a better shot.
Photographers: if your model asks to do something again, or asks to change pose so they no longer have a double chin/foreshortened arm/eye bag etc, they are not full of self-loathing, but working hard to make sure the raw photo is the best and most flattering photo you could possibly get! Learning to criticise our own work is part of improving as a model and a couple of photographers have seemed surprised and maybe a little sorry for me when I have pointed out a flaw I could fix. Don’t be! (Unless I run to the bathroom crying that I look like Mad Madam Mim…. and that hasn’t happened yet.) πŸ˜›
mim
“The magnificent, marvelous, Mad Madam Mim…”

6) Communicate en-route
Make sure you have the photographer’s number a few days before the shoot just in case of emergencies. Though I could definitely improve upon promptly replying to emails (though I do clearly note my constant travelling and 100% reply rate on my profile), I always always, always text the photographer when I am on my way to the photoshoot and again if there are any delays to my journey. This means that if I go off radar en-route (e.g. on the tube) the photographer does not automatically assume I have no-showed.

7) Rewrite your profile notes
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to your profile.
One: keep it concise and invite enquiries.
Two: Tell clients everything they could possibly need to know.
I can’t NOT write so I have a great big burble on my profile, BUT… it is spaced-out, separated, with headlines and font in bold. It may be lengthy to read but it is easy to read. Once you’ve saved your notes, check how they appear on the page- make sure you don’t have a wall of text and that what you’ve written is comprehensible.

8) Lose the ‘stripper rates’
I have never understood why so many models charge according to how naked they are! Β£15 per hour for fashion, Β£20 for lingerie, Β£30 for nude etc etc. How does it even work? If you’re booked for a fashion, lingerie and nude shoot, do you charge a different rate per hour? Divide the rate by the mean and median and consult the calculator? Stop this madness!!
Professionals understand that they put as much effort into a clothed shoot as into a nude shoot. They are posing for people who want to capture an image, not watch a glorified striptease. While the main ‘product’ you are selling is your appearance, it is also your skill at posing, your make-up, the guarantee that you will arrive on time etc etc etc. Therefore, your time should cost the same regardless of your state of undress- this places the value on you, not how much flesh you’re willing to show.

tjm_ri_164_e
“Implied clothed”. πŸ˜›
Photo by GSTim, dress by Falcieri designs

On that subject…

9) Don’t ever (EVER) have ‘secret levels’.
It is completely okay to be selective about who you work with, especially with higher levels, but hiding the fact that you pose nude (or any other level) does not work. People talk and it gives the impression that some of your work is a shameful secret.

There are many ways to be clear on the subject of levels:
– β€œI work up to and including lingerie level and take on very occasional nude work depending on the project.”
– β€œPlease note I only work to art-nude level with a few individuals I select- other enquiries about nude work will be ignored.”
– β€œI only work to open leg level with proven photographers in the genre, with extensive references provided. Thankyou for your understanding”
– Please note that as of __insert date here__ my highest level is now lingerie. (This is a good way to state that any more naked images found are simply old work and not your ‘guilty secret’).

Facial recognition software is now scarily good- photos of you are online to stay and just like celebrities who protest through lips that have tripled in size overnight that of course they haven’t had surgery, trying to hide the obvious is an exercise in futility. Post your levels honestly and people will stop obsessing!

10) Stay pro.
Leave your photographer a reference after the shoot if everything went well! Hopefully, they will do the same for you.
If your photoshoot was TF*, you are being paid in images so make sure you receive those pictures. If it’s been a while, send a polite follow-up message. Communicating well is everything.
If you have been paid, but would like to post images on your blog or facebook etc, ask first!! Some photographers are perfectly happy for you to use the images. Others are not, so always check even if it seems obvious. If you have permission to post the pictures, credit the team if there was one. (The whole team- make-up artist, stylist, etc etc- nobody likes to be left out.)

Bonus point:
Don’t nick the photographers pasty. That’s just not acceptable… πŸ˜›

______________________________________________

I couldn’t decide which pictures to share (as per usual) but as this awesome set from Dirk Glassly show me as the polished lady who has it all, it had to be this set! πŸ˜‰
Outfit by Lady Allura’s latex
Hair and make-up by me.

3l1y5787
3l1y5863
3l1y5872
3l1y5839

Assorted meows!

10 Sep

As this blog is mostly about the relationship and camaraderie internet models have, how better to start it off than with a crowd of us off-duty and celebrating friendship and love? (Uh-oh- hippy Roswell’s out again!) πŸ˜› A few months ago, I had the honour of being a bridesmaid for photographer, blogger and plus size model Kitty Morris (formerly Wood). Meow. Kitty. See what I did there? πŸ˜›

Kitty has been writing a fantastic series of blogs about different aspects of her wedding which are really interesting and beautiful- click here for some purple dress and cactus action….
For me, it was not only a chance to see someone I love dress up like a mermaid rockstar and marry a besuited Dothraki but also to make new friends and catch up with two other models I hardly ever get the chance to see. (It’s Jess and Liv Free, who also did Kitty’s and my hair and make-up, and rocked it.)
You may remember them from previous blogs!
407394_236584209764007_100002372901356_530784_586322832_n
Jess and me

img_0326a
Liv and me!

I actually took far fewer photos than I expected as I just wanted to enjoy the moment- and photographer Click Click Bang was already on the case and considerably better at photography than me!
Here are a couple of mine:

Gurning again with Liv… we are just the sexiest! πŸ˜‰
wp_20160604_08_33_02_pro

Look at Kittys mermaid hair!
wp_20160604_10_04_30_pro

What happens when three off-duty models get in a photobooth
wp_20160604_20_21_36_pro

And here are some much better ones from Click Click Bang
13516609_10154495773497985_2783742398058544898_n
Look at that bouquet. LOOK AT IT!!!

13920576_10154612059532985_5943997276916764352_n
Happy (and nervous) bridesmaid!

13529152_10154495767092985_659185083131621905_n
“…that’s when love walked in...”

13475135_10154495770037985_1970772064934548669_o
L-R: Fal, Jess, Kitty, Me, Liv

14206137_10154701152757985_2296994027015882423_o 14225383_10154701152852985_5720467799264824917_n
The cakes. The one on the left is made of cheese. It is a literal CHEESE CAKE!!

Seriously, read Kittys blog for extra awesomeness. πŸ™‚

On to some more meows…

Photos by MattB
Outfit by Yummy Gummy
Kitty ears by Lady Allura
11079-835248511 11079-1741185407

It’s been my experience that there’s always a little drama in any environment but if you believe the media, the modelling industry has it in disproportionate bucketfuls. Watch Top Model, watch a documentary- hell, watch Zoolander- the model stereotype is about 30% eating disorder, 20% pouting and 50% cattiness. While just like any stereotype there is a grain of truth to it, my experiences among fellow internet and travelling models have been almost entirely positive and supportive.

Though the majority of us look different and of course we all work in our own ways, theΒ  lifestyle of any travelling model can be remarkably similar no matter the genre or country! I never thought I’d know two models who have lived out of their vans while travelling with their dogs, for example. πŸ˜€
Late cancellations on tour, expensive train fares, shoots you weren’t expecting to be just so damned awesome, a once-in-a-lifetime publication or booking, sad news while out of the country, loneliness, happiness etc etc etc. It’s no wonder that the community spirit is often so strong when we’ve all experienced the same very specific situations! There are even facebook groups for stranded models who need urgent hostel or airbnb recommendations. We have no agency to find work for us. We work our butts off to get jobs and contacts- posting castings, applying for castings, updating our portfolios and contacting photographers and designers directly. Our reputations as both skilled models and professionals are what puts food on our tables (yes, we eat!)
Though as I’ve said, we’re a friendly bunch, one thing I’ve seen bring out the ‘inner bitch’ in both models and designers is lazy networking. It tends to be a newbie model crime- I’ve been guilty of it and so have most people I know so maybe it’s a rite of passage like cheesy poses or mixing up your measurements- one you can look back on and see how far you’ve come both in terms of skill and professionalism. Either way, let me explain…

Most of us are more than happy to help other models network. I’ve had messages from photographers whose model has had to cancel but recommended me as a replacement. I have recommended other models to photographers who have a certain project in mind. On request, I’ve given honest feedback on portfolios in exchange for the same honesty about mine. Model networking is a two-way street. What really grinds my gears is receiving a message asking simply for a list of my photographer or designer contacts. I’m more than happy to give advice to newbies regarding how to find work or make contacts but simply asking for mine is lazy and rude. (“Please tell me who pays and who lends corsets.” Well how about I just cut out the middle man and give you money and corsets?!) The same goes with models asking to be recommended to a designer- if I don’t know you, I will not risk my reputation vouching for you.
Designers get some especially ludicrous messages from chancers which produce amazing rants online! (“please lend me this exact latex dress for a hen party in three days time- I’ll take pictures of it on my really good cameraphone.”) I’ve explained how to work with designers in this blog here: https://roswellivory.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/what-do-models-wear/

Another thing we don’t like is when people (and this can be anyone) pay us a compliment by insulting other models! We all know that a huge no-no for models is misrepresenting yourself by overphotoshopping, lying about measurements, shaving your head with no warning etc. Photographers have every right to be annoyed at that and every right to have an aesthetic preference. We all do- but if I am booked for a job due to my curves, that is great for me so please don’t ruin it by telling me that certain other models were passed over because they look like a bag of spanners. That could well be my friend you are talking about.

Of course, stereotypes being what they are, I must say (again) that the vast majority of my experience working alongside other models (and women in this industry!) has been fantastic. This includes things I have witnessed – like models in trouble who have posted online for help and got it within minutes, even at 3am. Like having/seeing the level of help and care offered in comparatively minor but scary health situations- a panic attack or hypoglycaemic meltdown for example. Like the way people rallied around to help me find extra work when I had a frighteningly large number of bills come through at once (yet again, thankyou for that, from the bottom of my little black heart.)

I’m off to be a tourist next week (for the first time in what feels like years) so I’ll blog again in a couple of weeks (the big one…) πŸ˜‰

For now though… adding some ‘cattiness’ to the modelling world. Prrrrrr… πŸ˜›

ROSWELL xxx

Photos by Luci Alice
Outfit by Dawnamatrix
dsc_0258
dsc_0362
dsc_0372
dsc_0430
DSC_0433.jpg
dsc_0486

What do models wear?

17 Feb

Also:
– Why we look like bag ladies on the tube in the morning
– How we get designers to lend us stuff
– Why we often look nothing like the way you imagined us!

Well, as you seemed to like my ‘what models eat‘ blog so much, I decided to address another few questions I get asked a lot! πŸ™‚

If you don’t care, scroll down for some insane outfits in incredible locations. πŸ˜‰
123A3253 copy.jpg

Glamour models often arrive fully made-up because as the preferred ‘look’ can be very samey, she knows what the client wants and can arrive ready to shoot immediately. Otherwise, most models are told to arrive as blank canvasses, whether we’re agency-represented or freelance. This means that the sleepy make-up free, scraped-back hair-ed, baggy-trousered suitcase-dragging creature you see at 6am on the tube may well be a model in disguise!
No matter whether we’re fashionable, alternative, pretty and girly or any other style you can think of, the professionals (especially nude and lingerie models) will arrive in baggy outfits because they don’t leave marks on the body, saving the photographer time in photoshop.

Before and after… SIX YEARS AGO!!! I was modelling for the gone but much-missed HMSlatex.
31505_439732471368_661126368_5490428_5110821_nΒ GFB150510TM_9333

You know when you walk straight past somebody because they aren’t in the place you associate them with? (e.g. walking straight past your karate instructor because they aren’t in whites with a black belt?) I’ve found tying my hair up is the perfect disguise! I’ve lost count of the people who have mailed me saying “I thought I saw you but wasn’t sure…” Another model friend swears by the “Felicity effect”- wearing glasses = incognito! πŸ˜›
This is Felicity Smoak in Arrow. The glasses are to show you she’s a geek because all geeks on TV must wear glasses. πŸ˜› She takes them off and- boom- different person. Apparently.
felicitys-pink-split-neck-dress-camel-coatΒ kes18l9b

This is why we look different to the way you imagine us:
It’s funny how often I find that photographers know models from one particular style we shoot, with no idea about the others! (It seems the art-nude and fetish worlds rarely cross paths.) As my art-nude pictures are often ethereal, classically beautiful and pre-Raphaelite inspired, some people can expect a long-skirted romantic to come skipping along.
*sound of New Rocks stomping down the train platform*
The same happens with many of my model friends known for certain looks they do very well- it’s a facet of their personality that they love to express and they’re not only versatile on camera but choose another facet to show off in their everyday world.

Instagram models are a different story as they mostly make a living from their sponsors and advertising. (I wrote a whole blog about the way that works here) That means they have to keep things as consistent with their projected image as possible. It seems like a very easy lifestyle, getting paid simply to take a selfie, but in my opinion there’s far more pressure on Instagram models than freelance models, as even their personal lives have to remain ‘on brand’. Often, what they wear is what they’re paid to wear- and that’s why they’re usually more recognisable in the street than other models.

I’m currently sponsored by Yummy Gummy latex, Orchid Corsetry and Louise Ferdinand Lingerie. Pictures below are Yummy Gummy and Louise Ferdinand- you’ll see Orchid Corsetry later in this post. (Yes I’ve lost weight- the bottom picture was a few years ago, the top was a few months ago).
DSC_7557done.jpg
Photo by Proteus Photography
250Alico - Sin Bozkurt-_.jpg

I once read a rant from a very famous and now retired fetish model, who was sick of new models contacting her asking which photographers pay and which designers lend clothes for free.
“You know what they’re saying to me? I don’t want to work for anything so just give me money and clothes!”
It’s hard as a new model to know where to start and I can understand the temptation to ask more experienced models for all the information but professional models build up working relationships over a long period of time. If you’d like to work with a designer and work towards sponsorship, this will give you a good chance:

1) Prepare your portfolio
Have a lot of good quality pictures that would persuade a designer you are worth working with. If your first shoots are all basic fashion from your own wardrobe, that is no problem at all as long as you look good in them, but think about who you approach. For example, a lingerie designer is unlikely to offer you work if you have no lingerie pictures.
Treat it like a job application. No “hey bayb, wanna shoot?”

2) Stick your neck out
Apply to casting calls for fashion shows and photoshoots. You’re more likely to have the trust of a designer if you’ve actually met them in person! If they have no castings, offer to pay a deposit (and pay it!) This shows you’re serious about taking care of the items. Though I have built a good reputation, I still offer to pay deposits.

3) Be reliable
Give designers your correct measurements. I’ve seen a true fashion show horror story or two! If they need the outfit back by a certain day, make sure it gets sent back in time. If the outfit is damaged, let them know straight away. Accidents happen, but pretending they didn’t and sending back a broken outfit is not cool.I’ve had mishaps myself and the designers appreciated honesty.

It’s always worth an ask- the least somebody can do is say no, and you could have a new and lovely working relationship! πŸ˜€

It takes a hell of a lot of trust to allow your model to not only borrow your outfit but take it out of the country and into a lot of grimy overgrown places covered in dust, so thankyou so much to Orchid Corsetry, Dead Lotus Couture and Cyberesque for letting me do just that last year.
I worked with photographers Magpie Tommy, James Kerwin and fellow model Jade Stacy Maria in Belgium on an urbex tour. You’ve already seen the nudes, so here are the rest of our shots! Photos are watermarked with the credits.

123A3226-3.jpg
I love the way different photographers can produce totally different images in the same location. Tom’s is above, James’s are below. Jade and I are wearing Dead Lotus Couture.
54263-593518975.jpg
12249851_1619522074967775_309527479254239164_n

We didn’t think we were going to manage this incredible castle location but after a couple of adventures and an uphill scramble, here we were! I’m wearing Orchid Corsetry with a veil made by me. I haven’t forgotten to tell you the thrilling tale but for now, here are some pictures… πŸ˜‰
123A3364
123A3371

123A3376.jpg

We were running out of light and I really wish we’d had more time at the location below as there were so many more things I wanted to do! Another time perhaps… πŸ˜‰ Outfit by Cyberesque.
Apparently this bit is called “the rhino” but I think the structures look more like catfish…
123A9384
And my favourite shooting location of all! I loved the different places for very different reasons but as you all know my love of nature, this was an amazing place to be and to shoot. While Tom and James were shooting Jade, I sat taking close-ups of my own and pretending I was in another strange world. πŸ™‚
123A3573
I’m on a few new adventures this year and can’t wait to see where life takes me next. As for today, it’s been a productive one!
– I painted my doors
– Made a lovely smoked mackerel and beetroot salad
– Blogged (yay!)
– Recorded a short story I’m working on
– Am trying my hand at making chia seed pudding for the first time. Wish me luck! πŸ˜›

More adventures coming your way…

ROSWELL xxx

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…

WP_20160127_19_00_22_Pro.jpg WP_20160127_18_55_32_Pro.jpg WP_20160127_18_56_41_Pro.jpg

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.

WP_20160123_16_24_58_Pro.jpg WP_20160122_15_49_35_Pro.jpg

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

1 copy.jpg 4 copy.jpg
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.

3 copyΒ 2 copy
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…”

5 copy.jpg
6 copy.jpg
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…

7 copy.jpg
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