Q. How and why did you get into alt modelling? Who are your heroes or your inspiration?
I got in to it by accident really, I was working as an artists subject at a local tattoo convention earlier this year and was approached by an amateur photographer who said he liked my look and wondered if he could arrange to take some photos of me some time. I was a bit suspicious at first as nobody had ever said anything like that before, and had no idea why he would want to take pictures of me, I'm nothing special in my own eyes! But I did the shoot with him, and set up a profile on ModelMayhem, and the offers for TF work started flooding in. Before I knew it, I was having 2 or 3 shoots a week and being offered paid work!
Since May this year. Not very long, but long enough to have established myself in the area.
Q. Is the industry like you thought it would be ? What surprised you about it?
I came in to the industry with no preconceptions or ideas on what it would be like, so I wasn't surprised by anything really. If anything it is a lot more tame than I expected!
Q. Did you start off as full-time, or did you start modelling part-time?
I started off part time and am still currently doing it part time. I have a 2 year old son, and he comes before work, so I only have a few free days a week in which to shoot, but most people are happy to work around that. If not, then they have to look elsewhere.
Q. Was it difficult to build a portfolio, and what did you learn about the process - meeting photographers, make up artists, wardrobe people, etc ...
Not really, I had enough offers to get myself an okish portfolio built up first, then went on to work with more established photographers who knew what they were doing. Not that the first ones I worked with didn't, but the quality of my portfolio has increased greatly in the last few months. Meeting photographers was always scary for me, I would be anxious about it and always arranged to meet for a coffee or something first, that way we had the chance to get a bit of a rapport going before we worked together. If I feel I am just not getting on with them, it shows in the results, although I do try my best, it is harder to get what you want from a shoot when the people you work with make you feel awkward.
In all honesty, my first shoot was a huge disappointment. I felt really out of place, and was given no direction. I brought loads of different types of clothing, and we did an outdoor shoot near a waterfall. I took a chaperone so not to feel too worried about it all (remember, it was my first time), but all the photographer did was spend 15 minutes fiddling with the lights and then told me to "do something". I never had any feedback and he just kept sighing the whole way through. You would think it would put me off, but it just made me more determined to work with someone better, they couldn't all be like him! After the shoot I only got a couple of the images back, small copies of them that he had edited the hell out of and emailed over. Needless to say, I refused to work with him again.
Q. Did you join an agency? What was your experience with working with agents?
I am yet to join with an agency, there is one I am looking at joining but their books don't open until November, so will hopefully be able to sort something out between us when that happens.
Safety is one of the most important things to me when shooting. If you don't feel safe, or sonething's not right, you should probably go with your instinct. I've had a couple of shoots go wrong when I went on my own, and on one occasion I was doing an artistic nude shoot and the tog actually tried to cop a feel, then had the cheek to tell me it was expected when working naked! I left straight away and made sure everyone knew what he had tried to do, it was disgusting.
Keeping yourself safe is as easy as taking a chaperone. It can be anyone really, you don't need a bodyguard, just someone you know to make you feel safe and happy to work to your personal limits.
Q. Have you found your own style within alt modlling, how did you decide on your 'look'?
My look and style just come naturally. They have changed since I started, I'm a lot happier dressing how I want to when in town and things, which was a bit of a concern for me before I started, the area I live in is pretty much run by a community of ASBO bearing burberry-mad ciderheads, and so when they see me walking down the street I was an easy target for their verbal abuse. It doesn't matter to me in the slightest now as I don't need them to like how I look so long as I like it myself, it all just stems from ignorance and the dislike for difference.
Some of them still don't know, but that's more because they don't ask, so I don't tell. My parents are happy for me to do whatever makes me feel good, so long as it's safe and I'm not going to end up regretting anything, but for the main part they like to stay ignorant to it. They don't mind me doing it, but it's not for them.
Q. Is the alt modelling life a glamourous one like a lot of people imagine? Do you keep your modelling life seperate from your private life or do they always mix?
There's not a lot about it that I can call glamourous really! It's just a job, but you get to dress up and get your picture taken instead of sitting behind a desk day in day out. I love what I do, but I wouldn't say I feel like a star, or anything along those lines. People recognise me on occasion from sites they've been on and seen my profiles, which is cool, but that's as far as it goes, My home life seems to get caught up in it sometimes, but always in a good way. I have made some amazing friends from doing what I do, and I wouldn't change that for anything! My private life doesn't suffer because of what I do, and my son seems to think I am insanely cool because he sees pictures of me all over the place, which is great!
I'm not too sure really...I guess I would tell anyone that wants to do it to be prepared for what it can bring along with it. There is a lot of travelling involved in it sometimes, which is great, but takes a lot of free time away from you; be prepared to spend money, at least at first, because you won't get anywhere unless you can put into it what you want to get out; and just do what feels right for you. If you are told you have to do something because 'it will get you better work', or 'it works better for your look', or anything like that, don't listen. Do what it is that you want to do, not what others say you should do.
Q. Is it a very competative industry and have you worked with other models?
So far I have had no problems getting work, but I am aware that it is a cut-throat business and a lot of people will step on you to make their own way up, but there's nothing wrong with that, it's like any other job; you have to make yourself noticed and have more to offer than others in order to get where you want to be with it.
I've worked with some amazing models already, I had a group shoot in August with the Apocalypse Girls, all of whom are absolutely amazing! We had great fun and have kept in touch ever since, and I've worked with one of the models since, and am arranging things with another at the moment.
I've also worked with friends to improve my work, who have since decided to see what the industry has to offer them as well, so I guess they're classed as models too!
I would love to get more published work, magazines, clothing, stuff like that. More paid work is always a must! But right now I'm happy to just travel about and work with as many different people as possible, I love getting out there and metting new faces, you make some amazing friends in this business!
Q. If you had one piece of advice to give people who want to become an alt model, what would it be?
Stick your chest out, keep your head up, and take the good with the bad. There is always someone out there to criticize faster than they can blink, all you can do is smile and thank them for their input, move on, and keep going.
People are waiting to help.