Free Tits – part three

Networking and experience are also valuable, especially when you are new. But how do you know whether something is valuable to you in this way? You have to use your own judgment. It’s a combination of common sense, research, intuition, experience and good advice. Just because something doesn’t pay cash, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. It often means this, but definitely not always.

So, some things are worth doing, and some are not. How do you decide? It’s worth bearing the following in mind. Again this is just my opinion and I hope it’s helpful.

‘Publicity’

To avoid paying acting extras or agency models for music videos and events, aspiring models are often offered ‘publicity’. Publicity is only worthwhile if it’s the right kind. If you are offered only ‘publicity’ then think very carefully about it.

Will there be any press photographers there? Any TV cameras? Who will they be filming? Where will the photographs and footage end up? What kind of photographers will be there? What is their interest in the shoot? Are they an up-and coming hot-shot, an established professional, a slightly bored local newspaper photographer for half an hour, or some random freebie like yourself? Random freebie photographers can be extremely talented, fabulous people, and they can also be talentless, crappy pervs.

Here’s an example: if it’s a music video for some new, very hyped artist, and they want 100 blonde girls in pink t-shirts, for two hours, for nothing, then you’re not going to stand out. There’s a very slim chance that there’s any point in doing this. It might be a giggle, but professionally, you might as well be a fart in a Jacuzzi. If you’re absolutely rock-solid the leggiest, blondest girl with the biggest tits in the room, then you’ll probably be at the front. That might be all it takes for you. Pamela Anderson was spotted by the cameramen at a sports event. But if you are that person, go see an agency now and screw being free tits.

There may be other things that make it worth your while. You might find it interesting, it might be fun, you could go with your mates and have a laugh…but professionally there’s little point. You could in the future say ‘I was in a music video with P Diddy’s nephew,’ but it’s not going to get you any work. Being one of a crowd doesn’t really cut it with anyone, and has practically no influence on whether somebody will want to work with you or not.

On the other hand, if some unknown artist wants one model for a music video, and it’s you, this might be much better for you in terms of ‘publicity’ than being one of a crowd. Depends how good the video going to be. Depends how well that band does their publicity, or how much the hotshot director is prepared to hype it. Research it. Look at their past work. It might be something that gets seen by thousands of people, or it might just look really good, and you can use it on your website or profile. Being the main model in a video of any kind is a great learning curve, and much more valuable to you experience-wise than being number ninety-nine in a room full of wannabees and randoms. Don’t be a starry-eyed noob. Be smart about it and do your research.

Just being in the same building as a camera crew is not publicity. Standing in the same nightclub as a celebrity sounds more fun than it usually is, so if you’re just being offered free drinks to boost the tit-factor of the place, then unless you really, really want to be there, unless you’d go even if you weren’t modeling then professionally, it’s not worth it.

‘For Charity’

Charity group-shoots, calendars, even car-washing. There are two types of charity shoot. There are charity shoots for the benefit of a charity, and there are charity shoots for the benefit of blokes that want to perv at girls and take pictures of them without having to pay very much.

Doing a shoot for a charity calendar for the first type is a nice thing to do. It’s fun, it’s for a good cause and it’s good practice and it’s networking.

Please, please think carefully about the ‘charity car wash’ type shoots. In the main, these make me do a little vom-vom in my mouth. I’m sure there are some that are good clean fun (no pun intended) and a bit sexy and stuff and well organised, but honestly, there are more dignified ways to give to charity and meet photographers, and get some sexy pictures for your port, than having a crowd of blokes pay to perv at you foaming up a Ford Ka in your tightest t-shirt.

As ever, this works for some people and not for others. If you’re OK with this idea (for example, if you’re going for the ‘SEX SEX SEX’ approach, as some models do because it works for them and they’re comfortable with it) then go for it, but don’t let your standards of what is normally acceptable waver, just because ‘it’s for charity’. This particular type of shoot is a group perv, and you are the pervee. You can’t un-take pictures and un-give people a first impression. I advise you, if you’re new to modeling, to give stuff like this a miss until you are experienced.

I sound like I’m really down on charity shoots now. I’m not. I’m just painfully aware that some people mis-use the idea of a charity shoot as an excuse for a disgusting perv-fest, and that the models get nothing out of it but unflattering pictures and unwanted attention from the wrong type of photographers. The wrong type of photographers are the ones that want to perv at girls for free, and actually believe that their shit picture of a girl washing a car in her bikini is going to ‘benefit her portfolio’. Will it fuck.

Look at the work of the photographer(s). If it’s really awful, give it a miss. You don’t want loads of strangers looking at your badly-lit arse for an entire month. If somebody wants to make you look awful in print, they can at least pay you for the privilege.

‘Kindness of your heart’

Oh, this lonely old man is so interested in photography, and he’s a neighbor of mine, and he’s old and he looks after my cat when I’m on holiday, and he’s ever so nice. Could you spare an hour of your time? I’m sure he’d let you use the pictures.

And so off I trotted, in a modest but pretty dress, to do my bit towards making the world a slightly nicer place.

Arrrrgh. I wish I could say that this usually is a worthwhile thing to do. I wish I could say that it’s always lovely to help somebody out with their photography, without expecting anything in return. I wish I could say that it’s nice to make a friend, that you can maybe call up and ask about technical camera stuff, or to watch someone’s face light up when you have helped them to achieve something creative. I would like to say that it would be great for the older and younger generations to find common interests and reasons to interact. But this particular situation is dangerous territory, for a number of reasons.

I used to shoot with a photography student, a really nice girl that didn’t have the funds to pay for models, and wanted something impressive for her course. She was the sister of a mate of mine, and he was a really nice lad. We had mutual friends, and they all said she was a sound girl, and they were right. We worked together a few times, and I learned a bit about photography from her, and she got the shots she wanted for her course, and learned a bit of basic Photoshop from me. I also got to understand the challenges a person faces when they have to direct somebody for a photo shoot, and this was really useful. And we both enjoyed it. Definitely a win-win. Yay.

But I also shot with a ‘really nice bloke, a friend of mine, he’s lovely,’ and he was lovely at first, but ended up getting jealous of all my other shots taken by more experienced photographers, and eventually pretending to be a model and stalking me on the Internet, saying some very nasty, personal stuff to me and making me wobbly about trusting my lovely friends, for which I felt really guilty and awful. I couldn’t have seen that one coming in a million years, and I was really shocked when I eventually found out who it was. Anything I did to deserve that was purely in this person’s imagination. It was fairly horrible.

I’ve gotten chatting to a random bunch of students on the train, two of which were into photography, and one very sweet alt girl, like a little Souxie Souix with yellow hair that wanted to model, and one of the students had his camera with him. And I’ve sat there from Rugely to Euston explaining the basics of how to sit and stand, and what you do with your hands and face, and how to direct a model. And then they got up and took pictures of their wannabee model friend that was previously very shy, and the pictures were really nice, and she’s going to try modeling over the summer break. That was good fun and we all enjoyed ourselves.

But I’ve also been bored to tears and insulted to buggary by a lonely old man (a friend of a friend, ooh he’s lovely, he’s ever such a nice old chap he takes lovely pictures) who set his camera up, and then spent an hour trying to convince me that I shouldn’t model, because he was a devout Christian and he didn’t approve of it, and then it dawned on me that he actually thought I was a porn star. Even worse, my mate had dropped me off at his house in the middle of nowhere, and wasn’t coming back for two hours.

Can you see a pattern developing here?

The obvious conclusion, and I will probably sound like a cow, but I’m just talking about my own experiences, is that it was the old blokes that I had a less than positive experiences with.

The second pattern from these four experiences is that, on the ones I enjoyed, it was me and the other person or people getting along that inspired the shoot. It was me offering because I wanted to. It wasn’t somebody asking me for a favour.. It wasn’t me doing a Mother Theresa and helping the less fortunate. I wanted to, because I liked the person. Or because I knew the circle of friends this person was in, and I liked them, and I could work out what sort of person she was likely to be, and whether I’d be comfortable with that. And I was right, and it worked.

So if my experience is of any use to you, when you are faced with the question ‘Will you give up an hour of your time to help my friend out and make them happy?’ or ‘Will you do this charity shoot?’ is not ‘What’s in it for me?’ but ‘Is this likely to be a win-win situation?’ even if the only win for you is the pleasure of helping somebody, and not having to deal with any unpleasant bullshit.

My opinion is: Take opportunities. Put yourself out there. Work with people of all abilities just for the fun of working with them. But beware lonely old men that take pictures of landscapes. If somebody asks you to work with some old guy for an hour, be careful that you’re not there to just ‘cheer him up’ i.e. look pretty, be sexy and talk to him for an hour. Yes, people actually think like this sometimes. “Oh he’d love a nice young lady to visit him and take some sexy pictures for an hour,” Bloody well screw that, you’re a model, not an escort, and a bloody unpaid one at that. If you want to cheer up a nice old man by having a cup of tea with him in a cafe and talking about the war, that’s great. That’s a nice thing to do. More people should do that. But not draped over a chair in your Saturday night pulling dress. In other words don’t mix it up with photography. It will get weird.

It is my opinion and my experience that old blokes that don’t have experience with models often get the wrong idea. What idea they might get is a bit of a mystery, but it often involves a dash of wild imagination and speculation, and a few daft assumptions. I’m sure this isn’t accurate for everybody, and I’m sure there are older guys that would love to take some nice shots of a pretty model, and learn how to make people look nice on camera, and aren’t going to get all possessive or disapproving, and would really appreciate this kind of favour. I’m sure there are older blokes that would make brilliant glamour photographers, and take fantastically sexy pictures without getting the wrong idea & being inappropriate and wierd. But I’m personally never going to do this particular kind of favour again*. Which is a shame, because I like being nice.

*Since the first draft of this article two months ago, I did it again FML. My mate asked me to do a two hour portrait/casual shoot with me for her elderly neighbor, with best of intentions. You know, portraits holding a bunch of flowers and stuff. He asked me to do cartwheels with no knickers on amongst other things, and told me nothing would be seen if he shot from ten feet away. I told him I was 32, not 13. Which is a polite way of saying fuck off you old perv. And I’m rubbish at cartwheels. Anyway, my mate was a bit mortified, and had no idea that would happen. Ordinary, otherwise sweet old gents can turn into complete dickheads if they think they can smell free flange. Not everybody can compute the idea that somebody that does sexy photos isn’t a sexual exhibitionist or a nymphomaniac. That’s the general public for you. Don’t ever forget that not everybody gets this.

Another example, just briefly, of a time when a favor was a definite lose for me, was when I agreed to model for a local creative type, who was doing a photography project with a friend. It sounded like a very important project for them, and it appeared to mean a lot to both of them. I thought this person was OK, and had no reason to think otherwise.

They wanted us there all day. I roped in a good-looking friend for this project too, and when we turned up, we were royally naffed around all day, spoken to like crap by the hot-shot ‘photographer’ and they didn’t even get us a coffee.

Professional politeness aside, a coffee or a sandwich goes a long way when you’re giving up a whole day for a shoot, and travelling to the location at your own expense. It sounds petty, but it’s basic, normal manners on a long shoot to offer the idea of refreshments at some point, even if it’s only an 80p cup of coffee from a burger stand.

A shoot that should have taken ninety minutes took all day, and they were trying to get me to act inappropriately with my friend. I looked like a complete idiot in front of my friend, told the photographer to fuck off (which is absolutely not me under normal circumstances), flounced out of the place (again, very much not me normally) and I later found out that this person’s words to his friend were “Yeah, I can get this model down for nothing. She’ll get her tits out and everything,” (I did not!) and I was very pissed off about the whole experience. Lesson learned.

If you want modeling to be your job, whether full time or part time, don’t let yourself be exploited and naffed about. We all have different skills, and sometimes we can use them to help somebody out. But just like the electrician who is asked by a friend of a friend ‘oh, would you mind just looking at my neighbor’s Hoover, it’s stopped working,’ and is expected on their day off to dismantle the thing, sod about with it for an hour, go home for parts, come back and get it working, sometimes it’s a nice thing to do, and sometimes it’s just a bit of a piss-take.

Don’t be put off networking, and don’t be put off being nice. Being generous with your time, your experience and your beauty will bring you rewards in all sorts of ways. But don’t allow yourself to be pissed around and exploited either. If someone gives you the impression that you’re missing out big time by choosing not to work with them for nothing, don’t lose any sleep over it. Modeling, just like life, is full of opportunities. The best and most influential people do not need to beg, threaten, or lie. And never be afraid to ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” even if the answer is just:
“Helping someone out just because I can makes me feel good,”
Be selective, be honest and be true to yourself, and you will find the right way to move forwards.

That’s my bit of philosophy for the day! I hope it was helpful, and has given you some food for thought. Please feel free to leave constructive comments below. All comments, including the challenging ones are read and appreciated. Thank you for reading.

Free Tits – part two

When you’re a model, you get offered a lot of work for no cash. Some people will tell you that you should take every opportunity to model, whether you’re paid or not. Other people will say never work for anything other than cold, hard cash. This is my opinion, and it is somewhere in the middle:

‘Free’ to me means you are getting nothing for your time. No cash, no usable images, no helpful publicity. Unless you are working for a charity, or blatantly and honestly helping somebody from the goodness of your heart because you want to, do not work for free. You are probably not missing out on anything.

Trading your time for some photographs for your port is not working for free. You are being paid in images. But it’s only worth it if they are good images that you can use. If they are not good images that you can use, then they are useless to you. That would be like being paid in Monopoly money. Working with a shit photographer ‘for experience’ is a false economy. You will learn bugger-all, and be uncomfortable with the images. Paying for a proper port shoot (ask other models in your area for a recommendation) or landing a TFCD shoot with an experienced, talented photographer once is better than ten shoots with clueless newbies. There’s nothing wrong with newbie photographers, but if you want to hit the ground running, work with somebody good as soon as you can.

The ‘modeling ladder’ is a myth by the way. Just because you’re a newbie, that doesn’t mean you automatically shoot with newbies first. Try and work with the best photographers* you can when you’re starting out. If they say no, go underneath them, work your ass off and then try them again.

*by ‘best’ I mean well known, well respected and loved by models. Not necessarily always the professionals, and often not the people that pay.

Working a few hours a day at a festival or conference that would cost money to get into isn’t working for free. You are being paid by getting in free. But it’s only worth it if you actually want to go to that festival or event.

If it’s worth it to you because there is a celebrity there that you adore, or you want a different experience for the day, or you just want to try it out to see if you want to do more work like this in the future then it’s worth it to you, so it’s worth doing. But if you’re hazy on what benefit this holds for you, then there probably isn’t one, and you’re just being exploited for free tits. It doesn’t matter what film crew is there, or which celebrities or photographers are there, if you are just free tits then you’re nobody, and sooner or later you’ll be treated as such. It’s often like being employed as a bar maid that the customers can chat up & talk bollocks to all night because you are pretty, but without being paid. It isn’t nice, and it doesn’t make you feel very good about yourself.

If you’re going to put yourself in the role of free tits, you need to be very, very clear about what the benefit to you is. It could be meeting a celebrity, or a photograph of you on a catwalk, or getting over your fear of appearing on film, or something for your showreel if you do acting or dance. And if you can’t see a clear benefit, or if you can sort of see a benefit, but you just can’t be sodding arsed because it’s a ball-ache to get there or it’s going to cost you a fortune, and you don’t think the benefit is really worth the effort or cost, don’t do it.

And then, if you turn up and you’re not getting what you want or have been promised from it, you can very easily walk away.

Thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’ and then walking away if you don’t get it may sound stroppy and unprofessional. But if you’re not being paid, and not experiencing the benefits you’ve been promised, it means nobody gives a toss if you’re there or not. If you’re not being treated with basic respect, or you’re being sodded around, or things are blatantly not how they appeared to be, walk out. Go home. Go and do something interesting and nice with people that do give a shit if you’re there or not. Most people that wangle free tits for an event or shoot are not out to get you or abuse you or deliberately mess you about. They just genuinely don’t give a shit. They’re busy and you’re nothing to them. If you feel like this is what’s going on, the smart thing is to do one. But it would have been smarter to have not turned up in the first place.

Sometimes it isn’t obvious whether something will be worth doing or not. What if Brian Smith, with his creepy naked, drunk girl interview was the next Michael Jackson, and the video became an iconic Internet sensation, and you just happened to be doing a sexy slide up a pole at the beginning of the middle eight, and suddenly there were Twitter accounts dedicated to how wonderful your bottom is? What if the singer’s girlfriend is a model agent, and she likes your look? What if you make a really good impression, and the director decides that when he’s done with this video, he’s going to cast you in something better? What if you got the wrong impression from the email, and everybody was just really nice and professional and lovely?

You don’t know these things, and you can meet the most influential and important people in your life in the craziest and most unlikely of situations. But you can also piss a lot of time away, spend a lot of money and get royally sodded around and exploited, when you could be doing something positive towards your career. Swings and roundabouts really. Be smart and research things. Google people. Get an idea of who they are.

Here’s an example from my life – I was in a horror movie that was unpaid. I was royally screwed over & lied to by the director, and dropped like a stone in the midst of a whole load of unpleasant goings-on. I knew right from the start that I was just free tits. But I knew & liked several people on the movie already, really enjoyed the process & the publicity, and made some great friends. Although I was promised all sorts of bullshit for taking part in the movie (spreads in FHM etc), I wasn’t counting on this. I was excited and then disappointed when these things didn’t happen. Just being free tits, I wasn’t that shocked when I was treated like free tits. But it didn’t matter that much, because I decided to do it because I knew it would be ace, and I wanted to do it. And I’m glad I did, and I don’t regret it. But I went into it with my eyes open, and had a sense of the people I’d be working with. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed or hurt when things didn’t turn out as promised. Just that those pie-in-the-sky opportunities were only 1% of the reason I decided to give up loads of other stuff to do it.

You can’t see into the future, but you can be smart about things. If you’re going into modeling, you are creating an image of yourself that is going to be around for years. You’re also going to have experiences that affect you mentally, both positively and negatively. This is work. This is life. And this is just my experience, so that you have something to compare you own experiences to. It really is a mad bag of marbles, and some are unexpectedly beautiful, and some are cracked from the start. And some are both.

I’ve done lots of stuff for favors, or just for fun, and made amazing friends and met very helpful people. But I’ve also been exploited and pissed around. The rough does come with the smooth, but I wish I’d known when I started out what I know now. And I wish I’d had the balls to just swallow my innate professionalism, and say ‘sod this, I’m off’ at times.

Free Tits – part one

Publicity, charity and being a good Samaritan.

It’s nice to do things for nothing sometimes. I firmly believe in helping people out. I think it’s good for your self-esteem and confidence just to do nice things sometimes, because it’s in your power to do so. I think it makes you a better and happier person, and the world a nicer place. In theory it’s a win-win, and I’m a big fan of those.

I’m also a fan of doing things just for the fun of doing them, or because it’s good for your career or confidence to do them.

But for every well-organized event for a good cause, there is a complete waste of time of a shoot, and the potential to feel cheesed-off and cynical. It can put you off doing the good stuff. How do you tell what’s what, and make sure that when you give up your time, and allow complete strangers to photograph or film you, that you’re doing the right thing for you and your modeling career?

This is a three-part post on doing shoots for anything other than money. I only briefly mention TFCD/test shoots here, because it’s really about:

• Hey, this would be great publicity for you
• This is for charity
• I have this really nice friend that is into photography…

I’m going to start with a genuine message sent to a model. Or rather, loads of models. She just happened to send it to me, with comments along the lines of ‘LMFAO’

It starts with ‘Yo,’ and goes immediately downhill from there. Names, locations and details have been changed.

Yo.

WANTED: Girls who are up for having fun, open minded and wanting to gain GREAT Publicity!

LOCATION: Manchester UK

FEE: No Pay Im afraid, just free booze, etc and TFD.

DESCRIPTION:
Brian Smith is a Cabaret Performer and one of the Best in the World at that. He Travels the Globe Performing BIG shows and he has supported lots of Bands such as: The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Madonna, Etc.
Dubbed the ‘Michael Jackson of Cabaret’ and with a 5 Star Review at The Edinburgh Festival he is ROCKIN out his Life!

A DVD is being released and an extra will be an interview with Brian in which he keeps getting distracted by all of the hot girls around him in his place naked and in lingerie trying to distract him from the interview and questions! The Video will also be well promoted and splashed ALL OVER the Net. Fotos will also be taken one day too for use in your portfolios if you wish. x

FREE BOOZE all day and a takeaway at the end of the videoshoot.
Fun Times.”

If you got a message like this, should you do it?

These are my thoughts on this particular casting, as I would have them as I was reading it for the first time:

• This isn’t being sent to the model personally. It’s being sent to everybody, perhaps hundreds of girls, to see who bites.
• They’re not asking for models. They’re asking for ‘girls’. This makes me think they don’t really care who turns up, as long as they get naked and act a bit slaggy.
• I don’t think this is an opportunity for ‘Great publicity’ at all. I think this is a weird, staged party with loads of naked women, for the benefit of some nobody from nowhere, who wants to pretend to be Mick Jagger circa 1971 for the afternoon.
• If he was that amazingly awesome, he would have a bunch of fans and a street team to choose ‘hotties’ from, that would be more than happy to do this, and his team wouldn’t be contacting random models on the Internet for a free tits.
• Chuck us a web address then, so we can see the people he’s supposedly worked with & supported?
• It sounds very chaotic and unprofessional to me. Proper film crews and directors do not like chaos.
• Beware the words ‘open minded’. It tends not to mean you’d consider voting Liberal Democrat. It sounds like somebody somewhere on this shoot is expecting a blowjob.
• They are offering to get young women drunk and encourage them to take their clothes off, and be filmed naked and drunk. They’re not even asking for ID. And if you don’t leave in disgust when you get groped or get asked to lezz up with your friends, they’ll buy you a pizza. Classy.
• Naked, drunk photographs with loads of other random girls and a D-lister for my portfolio? No thanks, I’m clipping my toenails that day.
• “FREE BOOZE ETC,” does etc mean drugs? If I were offered free booze etc on a ‘let’s get naked & drunk!’ party invitation, I would assume that meant drugs. As the rest of the casting is so dodgy and seedy, and sounds more like a party than a shoot, I’m not giving this one the benefit of the doubt. So, drunken, naked, coked-up girls being filmed? I’m not touching this one with a ten foot pole.
• This is going to be an ‘extra’ on a DVD. It won’t be shown on TV. Which is probably a good thing anyway. But ‘extras’ on DVDs of nobodies that no-one has heard of, tend to be filmed by their mates rather than by proper film crews. And practically nobody watches them. Which is possibly a blessing in this case.
• Ooh but it will be splashed all over the Internet? Well, you’re not allowed tits and nudity on Youtube or Facebook or Myspace, so where the hell do we get to see this video? Porn sites? You can’t put it on Youtube and you can’t put it on Facebook if it’s got naked women in it. Publicity fail.
• Name dropping famous bands to get people naked for free is well dodgy.

I wouldn’t consider touching this with somebody else’s bargepole. Not with my worst enemies bargepole. Naff off.

If you’re a silly cokehead and you want free booze, or you just want to party & don’t care who sees the pictures & video then go for it. But don’t be under any illusions that this is in any way a good or smart thing to do.

I’m going to be diplomatic here, and say that perhaps the person that wrote this message is trying too hard to be lairy and funky, and accidently making it sound like a sleazy drunken orgy, and that the reality of the actual shoot was somewhat different. But I think it would be dangerous to give this situation, as it is worded, the benefit of the doubt. I think there’s a very real chance that any woman that puts herself in this situation, as it is described here, is open to being tastelessly exploited. Or assaulted, or drunkenly doing something really stupid with a camera in the room. So minus 100 cool points to team Brian Smith for coming across in this way. In the recycle bin of any sensible model it goes.

There are many shoots for bands/indie films/experimental pieces that are a load of lairy fun, and do end in a big drunken party, and everybody has a marvelous time. How do you tell the difference? A combination of common sense, instinct, looking at their past work and checking references.

Be very, very wary of any free shoot that appears to involve any combination of nudity, booze, drugs and random people turning up for a party. This is how people get exploited, assaulted, and do really stupid things on camera that they wish they hadn’t done.

“Feet together and swivel!”

Most budding models won’t remember ‘Judy’, the girl’s magazine from the 1970’s.  I found this in a second hand shop the other day.  I didn’t buy it, but the nice lady in the shop let me take some photos.

This is a young lady going through modelling school in the late ’60s/early 70’s (I think, I forgot to write the date down).  Deportment, grooming and getting out of a car gracefully.  Remember girls, feet together and swivel!

Click the photo to see it full size & read the text.

It looks like modelling has changed a bit since the old days – or has it?  Hope you enjoy this cute little blast from the past, and please leave your comments at the bottom.

Thank you!

Model profile – Anansie El-Shig

Model, DJ and self-confessed Crossfit cultist Anansie El-Shig shares her thoughts on nude modelling, integrity, and being whisked away to St. Petersburg to DJ at Soho Lounge.


So you model, you DJ, what else do you do?

I do door security as well as event stewarding as a supervisor/manager at stadiums and other (very…) large events. Currently finishing off my Personal Training qualifications and I sew lycra garments. Mainly premium “zentai” (or “morphsuits” if you’ve been suckered into thinking they’re different) and have done comic super hero outfits. On the fitness thing I’m actively a Crossfitter (a term for people who do Crossfit…people have likened it to almost cult like status (Cultfit)…but it’s a GOOD cult…*ahem*)

How would you describe yourself as a model?

Erm….Truth be told I have no idea. I tend to hover around the words “Organic” and “Nekkid” a lot. Maybe natural is better than organic (but I’m not so much a “naturist” so let’s not go there). Still, I started off as a nude model and continue to do so more for art classes. Be it drawing, painting or sculpture. I find it’s far more rewarding! Having your face or body featured in people’s works in exhibitions or the Victoria & Albert Museum is amazing. 

That said being part of photographic works is equally as rewarding and challenging. For the most part I avoid doing clothed shoots as they tend to be ridiculously ambiguous (and my wardrobe doesn’t cater to anything other than maybe that of a 12 year old Tomboy…let’s leave that one well alone, shall we?). However, my most challenging shoot to date was a “Barbie” shoot. Having to find my inner Barbie with the lollipop smiles and giddy excitedness of being fantastic in plastic is no easy feat when you’re used to your face not being the focus point!

Hopefully before the year is done, I can put fitness model to this whole show.

When you started modelling, what’s the one thing you wish you had known?

Always, ALWAYS keep your integrity and trust your gut instincts intrinsically. When you pick a vibe off a photographer and you don’t like it. DON’T BOOK A SHOOT. It really winds me up when photographers think they’re God’s gift to models and go on saying how it’s such a pitty “they’re losing out on work”. No, no, it’s NOT a pity. What IS a pity is that some of you have this stupid idea of granduer just because you’ve managed to get some “top level” internet models to work for you. La-de-f***ing-dah. Every person’s different, and models especially should remember who they are and why they’re in this from the start.

A little bird tells me you had an exciting gig recently?

Yeah!!!! So random! Hence it taking a little while to get these to you. On the 19th May, I was whisked away to St. Petersburg to DJ a 2 hour set in a very posh bar called Soho Lounge. Only 8 days earlier did I get an e-mail from a promoter who’d been trying to get in touch with me since April through my normal contact in Russia. In that span of time, flights, tickets and visas were obtained and off I went. There’s been a little bit of promotional material like this, I found on Youtube. A radio sketch promoting me at SohoLounge that went live on radio:

It’s the second time I’ve DJ’d in St. Petersburg and the folks are crazy, but perfectly hospitable…really, if life could play me a top card right now, DJing around the world like this would be it!

Totally your choice of: photographer, makeup artist, outfit, location, theme and prop. What’s your ideal shoot?

I’m not really one for names of people (seriously, even as a DJ I don’t know half the names of the tracks I love playing!), but a shoot that involved boxes of LEDs and a designed suit that emulated a living mannequin of sorts would be amazing. I know that basically bumps out MUA’s, but there’s no face or hair so not necessary. I am working on this ideal shoot though 🙂

Thank you for talking to us Anansie!  Where can we find you on the web?

My Crossfit “Famlay”: www.crossfitbold.com
My DJ site: www.defunkto.com

Youtube stuffs:
Defunkto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSXPlGe43gQ
Defunkto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YR26V0Cjfk
Crossfit Bold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0GZ0IoljMI
Crossfit Bold: http://youtu.be/1_9QCqDgVvQ

Happy birthday Sophie Ann Molyneaux

This is a special model profile, because Sophie turns 18 today. Ahhhh, I wish I’d started younger! But at the same time, I’m sort of glad I didn’t.

Anyway, Sophie is much more switched-on and confident than I could have dreamed of being at 18. There is a stereotype of the dippy, young, clueless girl being lured into unsavory shoots. I’m sure that’s not a million miles from the truth in some cases. But I also see girls the same age that are clever, streetwise and grounded. Because I get asked about modelling a lot by teenage girls, I wanted to interview somebody that had just taken their first steps into modelling.

You’ve just turned 18 and there’s a bunch of stuff you’re suddenly allowed to do. Is this going to change the kind of shoots you do at all?

To be honest, I’ve always been pretty set on the fact I wont shoot nude, or glamour, as its never really been my thing, I will however consider shooting lingerie in the future, as long as its tastefully done and classy, although I did once do a shoot where I wore nothing but tape, but everything was covered! I’m always open to ideas though, so if the right shoot came along, and I was sure it was what I wanted, who knows.

How do your parents feel about your modelling?

Well, I haven’t spoken to my Dad for years, I’m sure he’d be pretty pissed if he found out, but I don’t care. My Mum’s really supportive, she likes the pictures I’ve had back from the few shoots I’ve done, so yeah, I think she’s fine with it. Although my Nan is the most ‘supportive’ she thinks its hilarious to ask if I’m going to be naked before every shoot.

What made you want to model?

I don’t know if I’m honest, I think I started wanting to model after a friend of mine asked me to sit for her for a College project, after that I just loved the whole concept of dressing up, wearing things I probably never would, being able to do things with my hair and make up I normally wouldn’t, and having amazing images to show at the end of it.

Who is your favourite model & why?

That’s a tough one, although I personally don’t shoot nude, I’m totally besotted with Mosh, she mainly shoots latex/fetish but it doesn’t matter how she’s posed (all of which, are amazing and wish I was flexible enough to recreate!) or how little she’s wearing, she always looks beautiful. I also love Ulorin Vex, she’s a stunner!

Which photographer would you like to work with and why?

I’d love to work with Amanda Reeves (Ama Lea Photography) her sets are always outstandingly good, her lighting is always perfect, and her editing is flawless. I’d also quite like to shoot with Lithium Picnic! The sad thing is, they’re both based in the US 

Thank you for talking to I/AM Sophie, and happy birthday!  Where can we find you on the web?

www.purpleport.com/cottontail
www.cottontailxo.tumblr.com (if anyone wants to see who I’m perving on that week.)

Getting published VS getting paid

This is an absolute beginners guide to being published and paid as a model.

I’m using professional model Bailey K as an example. Here is a picture of her:

As you can see she’s very beautiful.  I don’t know many girls that can look hot with a string of sausages on their head.  So Bailey is a professional model, and she does a mixture of paid work and ‘Test’ or ‘TFCD’ and shoots for publication, which she doesn’t necessarily get paid for.

I’m using the word ‘published’ here to mean having your photographs printed in a magazine or newspaper.

Being published isn’t the same as being paid. You don’t automatically get paid if your photographs end up a magazine.

You could be published a lot and never paid for it, and you can be paid lots of times for shoots but never published. Most successful models are paid more than they are published, but they still appear regularly in ordinary and online publications.

Why would I want to be published if I’m not getting paid?

• For vanity. Some people just like seeing themselves in print.
• For publicity. The more well known you are, the more work you are likely to get.
• For credibility. So you look like a ‘proper’ model, rather than a newbie.

Where might I be published?

This is just off the top of my head, so I may miss a few things out.

There are lots of magazines and newspapers that use photographs of models. Nearer the bottom end of the scale are magazines like Nuts and Zoo, that encourage girls to send in sexy photos.

Adverts in magazines sometimes use models. The really posh adverts in Vogue for example, are going to feature models from top agencies. But there are all sorts of adverts that feature models.

This is called ‘commercial modeling’. You’re more likely to be advertising a new brand of Cornflakes or a driving school or gym than diamonds and handbags, but it’s the same kind of thing. You generally get paid for commercial modeling.

Photographers may submit photographs to competitions or for publication in photography magazines. This is more about the photograph than it is about you, but you can still count yourself ‘published’.

Sometimes models, designers, photographers & makeup artists collaborate to create a high-fashion style shoot for publication, but they don’t always get paid.  Here is model Bailey K in a shoot for Toni & Guy.

Tip – A scan of a published photograph is called a ‘tearsheet’.  In the old days if you were published you would carefully tear out the page and put it into your portfolio.  Now we tend to scan the publication and put it into our online ports, but it is still called a tearsheet.  

Alternative clothing designers often need models for their clothes. Because there are so many people that would love to model corsets/latex/wedding dresses etc, this often doesn’t pay very well, if at all. But it is a nice thing to have on your port, and you might score a free dress.

And finally, if you’re very, very beautiful and photogenic, and you happen to be in the right place at the right time & have the right attitude, you may do special features for men’s magazines. This tends to be models that have a fan base, or that have been launched by an agency, but it’s not unheard of for an independent model to be published in this way.

And after that, it’s mostly about taking your knickers off.

Pornography is a huge industry, and there is always a demand for fresh meat oops sorry I mean fresh faces. By porn I mean anything from Playboy to a top shelf ‘dirty’ magazine. Most models are paid for this kind of work, but a few will send in photos of themselves just for the thrill of being published.

Who might pay me and why?

Amateur photographers. From absolute beginners that couldn’t light a fruit-bowl, to camera clubs, group shoots and experienced hobbyists that want a particular look or style for a shoot. A lot of independent models work with amateur photographers a lot, on everything from fashion and portrait style up to the kind of stuff you would find on the top shelf.

Professional photographers for their own portfolios. This is one of my favorite types of work. Professional photographers need to stand out from the crowd, and one way they do this is to create an eye-catching & beautiful image with a model. They don’t get to shoot this stuff all day every day, so they tend to really enjoy it, and it always looks fabulous.

Professional photographers for clients. Clients can mean anyone from Vodaphone to a top shelf mag or the local Pilates class. These are nearly always for publication.

Professional photographers for private clients. Some rich guys like pictures of chicks shot to their own specifications, for their own ‘personal use’. They’re usually quite explicit, and they don’t tend to be published.

Porn or fetish websites. The kind of websites that feature specialist content & rely on member fees to make a profit. They need fresh content all the time and they tend to pay quite well.

It sounds complicated, but it’s easy once you get used to it. In a nutshell – If being paid is more important to you, don’t worry about getting published immediately. If you want to be published, you’ve got a bit of a clue about who to approach now. And if you want to be both published and paid fairly soon, approach a commercial agency or do porn.

Thanks Bailey K, for letting me use the photographs.  Here is a link to Bailey’s online portfolio.

This is an off the cuff post, so feel free to add anything I’ve missed out in the comments below.

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