Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Becoming an art nude model

I'm kind of glad I wasn't born to be a fashion/runway model. Especially after watching a 60 Minutes program a couple of weeks ago, the episode about a former fashion model Jenna Sauers who revealed (anonymously) in her blog how hard and non-glamorous life for most models is. Working several hours one day and getting paid in lipstick, a few slices of watermelon and a dress! Or some photographers taking advantage of models in need of work, getting them to do gross things or something that's definitely not part of a model's job in exchange for a guaranteed modelling gig... Nasty!
I didn't realise that most fashion models live in debt, but then if you are paid in lipstick and a dress...
Here's a link to Jenna's writing:

A former published fashion photographer whome I met a while ago, told me that he quit fashion photography despite the fact that the money was good. He couldn't stand the environment and arrogance of fashion designers and some other professionals working in the industry. This photographer is currently doing portraiture and landscapes and is very happy with that. Obviously he's able to make money that way, too, which is extremely hard, especially in Auckland given the competition.

Recently I've been busy doing fine art shoots. So far I've been very lucky to meet some great photographers who are able to create a fun and relaxed environment for the shoot. I really like when a photographer thinks that a model should be paid for her work. Tfcd is great, it really helps to create a model's portfolio, but then there's a point when you feel you're entitled to financial compensation. I thought that with the recession I wouldn't have much luck getting paid, but so far (fingers crossed) photographers have been happy to pay my rate, which is really cool! Some even offered to give me a certain number of photos on top of my payment, so I'm really happy with that and thank you guys for your generosity! I'm definitely going to place them on my online profile for more variety.

I collaborated with an Italian artist a while ago, too. Here's a link to his blog where he placed his artwork:I'm also working out like crazy now, whenever I can, trying to get rid of some "winter flab". Kung Fu and Qigong are great for that! Really looking forward to summer and all the fun it brings, including art and photography projects :).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guinness World Record - Never Again!

Ok, it's Monday and I'm gradually recovering from Saturday.
On Saturday, July 25 I took part in the Guinness World Record for the maximum amount of people squeezed into a Mini Cooper... Silly? Perhaps, but I gave it a go anyway. Let's call it my attempt to conquer claustrophobia.
It was so cold in Sylvia Park in the morning (for some reason I thought the event would be held inside), and I and 22 other girls plus a cheer leader guy intended to be crammed in the car were freezing out butts off standing barefoot on the concrete in tiny t-shirts and leggings. It may seem like a paradox, but it felt like the icy cold concrete was burning my feet, it was so cold! Those girls who opted to stand on the red carpet next to the Mini, quickly discovered it was damp and therefore even colder on their feet. That wasn't the worst part though.
Anyway, after Mark Ellis gave his brief speech about this World record event, he also mentioned that the previous record was held by a Spanish team. Ironically, I was wearing a cute pink t-shirt with "BARCELONA" written across the front in sparkly letters. My sister-in-law brought me this tee from Spain :). I didn't want to take it off mainly because of the cold and put my All Star cheerleaders black tee over the Spanish one.
We gathered by the Mini and started getting in one by one. The guy cheer leader got in first and Mark instructed him to keep his hands where he (Mark) could see them :). We had a really nice coach, Brush, who came up with the best order for us to clamber into the car, so he chose a reasonably good spot for me since I was one of the smallest girls: between the roof of the car and the second row of girls on the back seat.
Lying (or sort of hanging) there, I thought about how claustrophobic I've been all my life and that I didn't like being stuffed in the car like that at all. My head and neck were turned at a really funny angle and it was hard to breathe... I thought that hopefully when they shut the door noone would close it on my head or my elbow which was also in a rather awkward position. One of the Film crew guys pointed his camera straight at me, but I didn't care, I felt kind of panicky and probably looked like I was playing dead. I started rolling off wherever I was hanging, but a new girl dived in the car and I was pushed back in place. It reminded me of buses in Russia in rush-hour, although in Russia in addition to being squashed on the bus you're also assaulted with BO, opportunistic groping (especially in summer) and garlic or onion breath (especially in winter, when garlic and onions are commonly used as an affordable medicine against colds and flu). Luckily, there was neither BO, groping (the guy seemed kinda camp plus his hands were pinned to the seat), nor garlic breath and honestly, it would've killed me, and not only me, I'm sure :)!
However, I felt I couldn't stand it anymore. I wanted to get out immediately, but then I thought about people on the back seat at the very bottom, they were the ones who were suffering the most with all that dead weight piled on top of them, I don't think my chest would handle that much! So I stayed inside...The guys from the Film crew were poking their cameras in the windows, it was kind of annoying, but they were doing their job while most of us were hyperventilating and generally not feeling that great and wondering why the hell we agreed to do something so daft in the first place. I knew one thing for sure - I would not be taking part in the second or third attempt if this one were to fail.
Luckily, we did it on our first attempt! The doors were shut (I tucked my head and the elbow in as much as I could) , and 24 of us listened as the audience counted to 10 and then started clapping and cheering. The doors on both sides opened and girls (and guy) started literally flying out of the car, gasping for breath. Everyone I spoke to, said they wouldn't do it again, it was too scary being squashed even for a short while. Ever crawled in a narrow tunnel where you can't move freely? I have and didn't enjoy it.
I think most credit should be given to the people (especially the bottom row) on the back seat of the car, they had to put up with so much! They had others feet and other body parts in their faces, they were the most squashed and poked and close to being suffocated...
In four weeks this will be on air. Joanne, a lovely casting director from EyeWorks, will notify us of the time and the channel and I'll post a link to the video later.
Needless to say I caught a cold from the freezing concrete... But I'll get over it :)!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

All hail to Body Painters!

Although petite models are considered unsuitable for the runway, high fashion and quite a bit of commercial work, too, the art side of modelling doesn't have specific height requirements and therefore is available to us, petite girls, for exploring and enjoying it; that makes me very happy.
I personally love the work of Carmel McCormick and also Yolanda Bartram (who is from BodyFX), they are awesome artists!
Anyway, I was kind of shocked today to find this piece of news:

You can see the actual ads here:

Luckily, the great majority of Kiwis in on-line poll voted for this kind of advertising, stating that it was very well done and reflected good Kiwi humour. Naturally, I voted for that, too. It was done tastefully and is not offensive. I actually saw this add many times on the back of the bus, but didn't realised until recently that the pilot pictured had only his black shoes and hat on out of clothing items, the rest was body paint.
Body Painting is an ancient and truly amazing art, and I hope to take part in it one day as a model.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's be kind to photographers

Hi everyone and welcome to the new followers of this blog.
This post is to acknowledge the importance of a photographer in a model's career. Where would we, models, be without photographers? I'm talking here about photographers with a professional attitude to photography who expect the same kind of professional attitude from a model regardless of whether it's a paid shoot or TFP/TFCD.
So far I've distinguished three main problems photographers encounter when working with models: being unreliable, bad skin (and sometimes also hair) condition and having chaperones (especially male ones) at the shoot. Let's talk about the first one, being unreliable.
A lot of aspiring models (based on what I've been told by many photographers) don't take photoshoot appointments seriously. Weekend shoots seem to be the worst for that. The model would text the photographer an hour before their shoot and come up with some excuse like a sick relative they have to visit in a remote town or some other urgent matter to attend to. Some however, are rather blunt and admit that they went drinking or clubbing the night before, so now they've got a hangover and are not fit to shoot. It's good to be honest about your current state but it also demonstrates your immaturity and unprofessionalism. Do you think the photographer would want to work with you again?! 99% of the photogs said they won't deal with a model like that ever again. Please, don't think photogs are dumb - most of them have heard all the excuses under the sun anyway.
Don't forget though, that photographers are human, so they would understand and accept a genuine reason why you couldn't make it to the shoot. It's best if a model gives enough notice, unless it's an emergency. Ring if you can, rather than text, and explain why the shoot will have to be rescheduled. Be understanding of the photographer's feelings : the poor guy spent a decent amount of time setting up props and lighting, especially if he uses his place as a studio and anticipates a good productive photo session and then the model cancels on him. Now reverse the situation: you booked a makeup artist (plus made child care arrangements if it's applicable in your case), got all dressed up, packed your bag with props, shoes and changes of outfits and when you're just about to leave anticipating how gorgeous you'll photograph, you get a text from your photographer saying: "Went 4 drinx w da boys last nite n this hangover is jst killin me. Nxt weeknd ok?" Please, consider that next time you decide to go "4 drinx w da girls" the night before your shoot and get some beauty sleep instead; then you'll definitely look gorgeous at your shoot. Ideally, it's best to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night (which is mostly impossible for models with kids) so your body can repair itself, but if you can arrange it, two nights of good sleep before your shoot will help greatly, too.
In New Zealand since it's a small country we are disadvantaged in the sense that most of the entertainment/creative industries (including modelling) are small, and the competition is huge, even for unpaid assignements (for instance, I've been to Thin Lizzy auditions and saw a whole wall plastered with girls' photographs that were considered for a 2 minute ad) and everyone knows everyone, so if you get a reputation for being unreliable, word will get around and it'll be hard to get rid of that image. Back to Thin Lizzy auditions (if anyone's interested), they rang me a couple of days later and said that I came pretty close, it was a tough choice between me and another girl, but they selected the other girl. That's cool with me, I was there on time, well presented as required and gave it my best. I also understand that it's a casting director's job to select a model that can be best associated with the product so it'd sell, so no hard feelings here. There are other opportunities out there.
Anyway, the important thing to remember if you're starting out as a model: to increase your chances of work (be it paid or TFCD), build up a reputation of being a RELIABLE MODEL.
Now I can go and get some beauty sleep.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Porn and cockroaches

I wasn't planning on writing anything tonight, but a gorgeous and very young model asked my opinion on shooting porn, so here's my $0.02 if anyone else is interested:
I believe that everything exists in this world for a reason, whether it's beautiful or ugly, pleasant or not. Take cockroaches, for example, most people would find them gross, but some ethnicities (not to mention birds) use them as food, so even something repulsive like a cockroach can be useful to someone. The same can be applied to porn - a lot of people find it offensive, but hey, it serves a number of purposes, for instance, gives models and photographers paid work, combats boredom at work (I recently saw a bus driver having a snack and looking through a porn mag in plain view of passengers while waiting till it was time to go) and perhaps porn may even help some men with erectile dysfunction. Shouldn't that make a model think it a worthwhile cause :D? Guaranteed to make her feel important.
Models (I'm talking about adult female models here) shoot porn for different reasons - kids to feed/need to fix their car/pay tuition fees/boost their self-esteem (paradoxically), and it's their choice, it doesn't make them a bad person or a bad mother. If they are happy with what they do and no one forced them into it - let them do it without judging.
Some of the obvious downsides of being a porn model - it'll close lots of doors for you in the modelling world, i.e. it may seriously limit your opportunities for casting. A good model is a versatile model, and how can you be versatile if you only get offers of porn shoots? Except, naturally, to become an extremely versatile porn model :). Another thing for you girls to think about - very few boyfriends/partners (future and present ones) would be happy about that career option of yours...
As for photographers shooting porn - well, everyone's got their own talent and therefore, applies it where they can. Some are good at shooting cockroaches, err... porn that is, and some are gifted with the ability to capture brilliant headshots and graceful poses. I definitely prefer the latter.
Finally, if someone needs tips on help with erectile dysfunction (or frigidity) - read Mantak Chia books and follow his advice. It's not an overnight miracle though. The practices he recommends require real commitment, but your whole body, mind and soul will benefit from them. Mr Chia can't be wrong - he is in his 60s, but his wife is around 25 y.o or at least she looks that young, and I'm sure he keeps her happy :).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My definition of glamour

A while ago I was contacted by a photographer who wanted to do a glamour shoot with me. So we met at a cafe to discuss details (it was supposed to be a paid job). Warning bells should have been ringing, but it was at the very start of my modeling venture, so I put on a pair of skimpy shorts, my favourite platforms and a nice top and went to meet the photographer.
When I saw him I instantly got a creepy vibe, but I decided (as I often do) to give him the benefit of the doubt. After telling me how much money models who work for him earn, I thought it was too good to be true, so I asked him to show me examples of his work. He got a few glossy mags out of his bag - and sure enough it was porn! He said he calls it glamour style shots. Needless to say, I told him I won't be interested in that kind of work. However, I don't judge girls who do it, whatever makes them happy.
Anyone who is interested in a dictionary's definition of glamour, can google it.
My idea of glamour photography involves dramatic/thorough makeup, immaculate hair and nails, wearing fur, feathers, hats, luxurious lingerie and having good props for an interesting composition. "Nice glamour" as my photographer friend Natalie Fox calls it.
So let's shoot Nice Glamour :)!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A slice of reality

Saw this on Model Mayhem (can't remember who posted it, hope they'll forgive me :)), very enlightening. I think every girl who wants to be a model should check out the links to videos below:

Makes you realise how lucky you're not to have those kind of problems.
I'd rather work and do something creative with people who want to work with me, and so far I've been lucky to meet a few of those. I like photographers who find so called imperfections a model may have to be perfect. In my experience, photographers who expect a model to be perfect in everyway, create negative working environment which is not encouraging. Oh, and there are also photographers who for some reason before and during a shoot would go on how they like shooting such and such model, how fantastic (creative, talented etc.) she is and so on. I often wonder in such cases - why the hell they're saying it to me? To make me feel inferior? To make themselves look important? If you are insecure or unhappy, - read Louise Hay's book "You can heal your life". It helps a lot. Not being fixated (very tempted to use a stronger word here (starts with an "a" :)) on perfection helps too.
There's no perfection and chasing it is a waste of energy. Work with what you have and make the best of it. I certainly will and will have fun at that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Welcome to Petite Silhouettes blog supporting Petite Models

Hi and welcome to everyone reading this post.
My name is Anya and I decided to create a blog that would focus mainly on (but not limited to) models that are classed as "petite", i.e. starting from about 4"9' and up to 5"5'. There is a lot of info and resources for models who have the height required by modeling industry, but I couldn't find anything that would support petite girls in any way who aspire to do modeling.
Everyone who aspires to be a model (even tall girls) have to be realistic about the chance of successful career as a model, especially on a large scale like runway or being a face of a cosmetic brand.
When an aspiring petite model asked on the Model Mayhem forum : "I'm 5"1'. Is there any chance of me becoming a successful model?" The responses she got ranged from blunt "Forget about it, unless you want to do porn or glamour" to ones like "Kate Moss is short for a runway model, but she's successful" and "There are always exceptions".
Model Industrielle (she's 4"9' by the way) from Model Mayhem site summed it up very nicely, it was the coolest and most sensible out all the responses to the above:

"Runway - unavailable,
Photographic modeling - available
Art modeling - available
Desk job - also available
Life - goes on"

I laughed when I read it - so simple but so true! Bravo, Industrielle! People should check her profile on Model Mahem, she's incredible!
To me - modeling is a hobby, a fun thing to do, it's my creative outlet that makes me happy. It's not about earning mega bucks, it's about creative satisfaction from the work you do together with another artist, be it a photographer, body painter, makeup artist etc. Success to me in this case is when a photographer chooses to work with me (regardless of my height), simply because he/she believes in me. When I hear from a photographer :"We nailed it!" during or after a shoot, it's very rewarding. TFP work can be great with a great photographer, perfect for adding to your portfolio. When I get paid for a shoot, it's also very special to me.
So, if anyone out of petite models out there would like to share their success stories, or discuss anything in particular, feel free to post your thoughts on the matter.
Cheers and best of luck to models and photographers alike!