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! ;) <3
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”)
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. :P
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!
“Nothing like a palm tree and a poolside photoshoot to get you in the mood for SUMMERRR! (hashtag “blessed”)
*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
p.s. The red lips on Alivya’s dress are 3D rubber! Mwah!
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”)
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.
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!)
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? :P