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.
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.
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.
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’. 😉
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!
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!
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. 😛 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.
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.
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. 😛
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. 🙂
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…
p.p.s. Photography credits (in order):
Gregory Brown (x2)
Charles Van Trappen