Strike A Pose

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fashion, although inspiring and seductive, can also be downright ridiculous.  The avant-garde clothing. The obsession with youth. Now one artist is drawing attention to fashion's love for impractical mannequin-like stances.

When you flip through your favorite glossy, I'm sure you ooo and awe over the latest Louis Vuitton ad or fashion spread.  But we rarely stop and think, why are the models in these contortionist positions draped in couture?  I don't have know the answer to that, and I'm guilty of doing it myself.

I get annoyed when I see girls posing for photos with their hands on their hips, so this video really gets under my skin. Seeing normal women striking these poses seems funny at first.  But the more you watch the video, the more you see the message the artist Yolanda Dominguez is trying to convey.  These are the images we are putting out there for ladies around the world to emulate.  It's unrealistic and unattainable. 
 But isn't the allure of fashion the fact that it is fantasy? What do you think? 


Curly Love

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kim Coles and Curly Nikki
Nicole author of "I Love My Cotton Candy Hair"
My girl Angel of KisforKinky and myself.  Photo courtesy of
Cassidy of Natural Selection blog and Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl

I am still basking in the glow of natural hair love.  Last weekend Kurly Bella and I made our way to the Kim Coles Grow Out Challenge Celebration.  This was the first time I'd actually attended a natural hair meetup let alone in LA.  The turnout was fantastic!  
Not only did I get to meet Kim Coles and Curly Nikki, I was also introduced to so many lovely ladies with to-die-for hair.  On a sidenote: Kim and I actually met before, but every time is just as exciting as the first time. These women were all glowing with love and excitement as we celebrated our kinky and curls. 
What really touched me the most was getting to meet people that I've influenced and didn't even know it.  Nicole the author of "I Love My Cotton Candy Hair" told me that she has shown my pictures to her daughters to encourage them to love their skin color and their beautiful hair.  Another woman told me how my story has helped her on her natural hair journey.  I was speechless. 
Going to that natural hair meetup allowed me to connect with some of the most beautiful souls who have been influential in my personal exploration.  And somehow I've done the same for others. It makes my heart skip a beat. 


Dear Fairy-Model Mother, I've Got A New Hair Cut

Last week, I answered a question for Christian who just wanted simple advice as an aspiring model.  I recorded a little something in response, and totally thought that was the end of it. Boy, was I wrong. Once I got to my computer and checked out Christian's blog, I noticed something she conveniently forgot to mention.  Christian recently chopped off her curls!  She's been toying between long straight her, loose coils, and a tight crop.  Now she's got a fade! Girl, we've got to talk.
As a model, cutting your hair is a big deal.  It may not seem like it's that important, but it can potentially be career changing.   In fact, most modeling contracts do not allow talent to "alter his/her image" without consulting the agency first.  
A haircut can completely change your look and your marketability as a model. Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but you should proceed with caution. Let's take a look at the pros and cons.
  • A new cut calls for new pictures.  When you're just starting out, having to redo your entire portfolio can cost you more time and more money.  You've got to pay another photographer for a test shoot.  You've got to pay to print those new photos out for your book.  Sometimes, it's just not worth it.
  • Remember when your favorite celebrity or model decided to chop their hair off, and it was a disaster?  The gossip blogs and fashion magazines were all buzzing about the new cut, but not in a good way. Then low and behold, weeks later that same person magically has their old hairstyle back.  Why?  Because their new image was costing them work.  That celeb may have lost out on campaigns and endrosements because they got a buzz cut.  Let's learn from someone's else hair faux pas.
  • That new cut may not frame your face well.  Instead of opening up your eyes and accentuating your cheekbones, it just makes you look awkward. 
  • Your old hair could have been weighing you down.  If you were going to open calls, and the agencies said they loved you but something wasn't quite right. Maybe it was your hair.  A big chop can open doors that were closed to you before, and instantly give you that edge agents love.   
  • A fierce cut can take you from plain jane to scoring a big campaign.  You've got a fresh look that totally in for the season.  Who knows, maybe you'll start a trend.
Video of Christian talking about her new cut. 

I'm saying all of this to you because I've been there.  I was super nervous about transitioning to natural, and just as nervous when I cut my hair for the summer.  Sometimes you never know what the reaction will be until you take that leap.  
The moral of the story is, think long and hard before you do that big chop. Talk to your friends, your hairstylist, and even potential clients. If they think you'd look good with short hair, then do it.  And if you're like Christian and you've already done, rock it! 


Make A Statement: The White Blazer

Photo by C. Shorter

It's so easy to look really put together in a crisp white blazer.  This Liz Claiborne jacket is double breasted with huge shoulders pads, so you know it's left over from the 80s.
Styled with a bright v-neck from Forerver 21, jeggings by Future Heretics, and necklace by Melody Ehsani, this outfit is Miami Vice fresh!

P.S. Yeah, it's the same shirt I'm wearing in another pic.  We all pull repeats.


It's a Fash Mob!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Backstage Photo courtesy of Modelwire Network
Before the strip down

Shirts off!

Hitting the runway

Photos by C. Shorter

You've heard of flash mobs, right?  A group of people practice a routine, plan their attack in a public place, and at the stroke of the clock they burst into dance.  Well, the same can be done with fashion.  And thanks to Kelsi Smith of Dedicated Follower and Two Point Oh LA, this concept is now a reality in  sunny California.
A few days before the event,  Smith asked me to jump on board.  I didn't know very many details other than we would be wearing bikinis. Yikes!  Eventually she sent out an email to all the models with the schematics of her plan, and we promised to keep everything hush-hush.  
The morning of the Los Feliz Fashion Fest, where we would kick off Smith's fash mob, all was eerily calm.  The other models and I were pretty tight-lipped as we sat through the rehearsal and then hair and makeup.  None of us knew quite what to expect, and neither did Smith.  But as we put on our bikinis and our coverups and prepared to face the crowd, we all got a little nervous.
SHOWTIME! Check it out.

As you can tell from the video, we worked it! What a great first run to a movement I hope will continue to grow.
Gooooooo Fash Mobs!


Dear Fairy Model-Mother, What's Been the Modeling World's Response to Your Hair

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bre of ANTM fame with long, straight tresses and with natural hair
Since I've had a long week without any posts, I decided to double up today's advice.
A few readers asked " How old you were when you made the decision to go natural, were you already modeling at that time, and what's been the modeling world's response to your hair?" What a mouthful! So here's goes nothing.
During the late summer of 2008, I decided to cut my hair. I still had a relaxer, but I was getting a touch-up every seven to nine weeks instead of every five. I figured a new short cut would work wonders for my modeling career. Well, that $200 hairdo grew out in a month, and I was back in the same position I'd started. I kept telling myself I was going to get off of the creamy crack, but my new growth kept convincing me otherwise.
Over the next few months of traveling and working, my hair endured a lot of abuse. Clients were never quite sure what to do with my hair even when it was straight. My tresses were often being styled by someone who was not familiar with black hair. Even though it's thick and can withstand the elements, I knew that my hair needed some R&R.
In December 2008, I got my last relaxer. And months before my 29th birthday, I transitioned into my natural state. I was very concerned if I'd still get work while I was transitioning. But there was no need to fret. I booked a couple of runway gigs, and the designers loved my funky do. ( It kind of looked like Lisa Bonet's short cut from the Cosby Show.) When clients wanted a more "polished look" I would just curl it.
When it was finally time to cut off the rest of my relaxed ends, I was so ready. I saw my curl pattern and fell in love. After that, there was no turning back. The fashion world was just going to have to accept me for me. And you know what? They did! I've only done one job since my big chop/transition where the client wanted to straighten my hair.
The benefits of short natural hair as a model:
Short hair frames my face well. It draws attention to my unique features, instead of away from them.
My kinks and coils are always runway ready! Having short hair means there's no need to fuss over how to style it for a shoot.
The clients don't have to think outside of the box, because what you see is what you get.
And best of all, my short, natural hair won't get damaged from all the pulling and tugging of styling.
Seeing natural-haired models encourages me not to alter who I am to fit other standards of beauty. And I hope my story can help you do the same.

The last question comes from Christian who is a jewelry designer, blogger, and aspiring model. I had to answer her question while on a quick lunch break, so you can check out my audio response.

That advice was sincere and brief, but I've got more for Christian coming up next week.
If you've questions or need some advice about modeling, your Fairy-Model Mother is here.


Making Moves

I'm ready for you, Orange County. 


Inspiration Board

Sometimes I dream in black and white...
From top: Cindy Crawford by Terry Richardson, Kanye West, Frances Bean Cobain by Hedi Slimane, and Zoe Saldana.


Dear Fairy-Model Mother, Should I Do Stock Photos?

Friday, August 5, 2011

A few years ago, I was trying to build my modeling portfolio and earn a little extra cash.  I found an ad on Craigslist that seemed to fit the bill.  "Photographer looking for models for a stock photo shoot" the ad read.  I submitted my pictures and stats, and waited for a response.  In less than a day the photographer called to book me, and I was thrilled.
When I arrived to the studio, I met the photographer and the incredible glam squad.  They explained we would be shooting a few different looks for a beauty story. I knew that the goal was to get enough compelling images for the stock photo collection. The photographer thoroughly explained to me the usage and my rate, so I knew what I was getting myself into.  
Sitting in the hair and makeup chair in front of that huge mirror with those bright lights,  I felt like a star. When it was finally time for me to step in front of the camera, I was ready to shine.  Four hours, three wardrobe changes, three hair and makeup looks later, it was a wrap!  I knew we'd gotten some great stuff, but it would be months before I would know the fate of the images we created.

Stock photography is a catalog of photos that are licensed for a specific use. Instead of hiring a photographer and models,  a company can just search a database to find pictures needed for a project. Just agree to the terms, pay the fees, and boom, you've got photos!  
Fast forward to nearly two years after I did that shoot.  I get an email from an old classmate telling me that my spread in a well-known Black magazine looks fabulous.  Wait, what?!  She must have made a mistake, because I did not shoot for the magazine.  I hit up a newsstand, and start flipping through pages. Low and behold, I'm right there on pages 37 and 38.
I was speechless.  How had this happened?  Ah yes, these photos were from that stock photo shoot.  I guess I'd expected the photographer to alert me to when and where the images would be used, but it doesn't work like that. Once I signed the model release and the photographer gave the images to the photo agencies, that was it.  My direct involvement was done.  
Over the next few years, more and more images from that stock photo collection began popping up around the world.  My photos were used to sell makeup, teach women about protecting their hair from heat damage, and encourage corporate companies to get a makeover.  My face was even used by a racist blogger to demonstrate what happens when races mix.  There was nothing I could do to stop it, because I'd signed a release that allowed anyone to purchase my image. 
Before you decide to do stock photography, consider the consequences.  Yes, it can potentially be great exposure.  Early in my career, I needed those tear sheets for my portfolio.  The downside is that for the rest of my life those photos can be used online and in print, and I don't get paid every time.  Is it really worth it?  
My rate as a model for that stock photo shoot was $250.  Being able to say "Hey Mom, I'm in Cosmo South Africa!" is priceless!

P.S. Thanks to Leila of Black Girl Long Hair for encouraging me to write this. 


Model on a Wire

Fun in the Modelwire photo booth

Shana of Modelwire Network and I.  Photo by C. Shorter

Weeks ago, I decided to join a new network for fashion professionals and aspiring talent.  Why not connect with people within my industry in an effort to create together, right?  I signed up for Modelwire Network, uploaded pics, and voila!
It could not have been more than a day before I got a message from Shana, the community manager, requesting to feature my blog on their site.  I was so psyched!  She said that my story is a good one and she wanted to share with their network.
It really makes my heart go pitter-pat when someone says I'm an inspiration.  Initially I didn't get into this business to help others, but I've found my calling.  Whether it's posing for photos, dishing out advice, or encouraging you to love yourself,  I enjoy doing what I do.  
If you're looking for representation or just trying to connect with fellow fashionistas, sign up for Modelwire Network.  And don't forget to check out my interview for Modelwire Network's blog here

Thanks for the love and support!


Got Questions?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting started as a model is tough.  You're "discovered" or you have to do the leg work to "get discovered".   It's rarely ever cut and dry or easy breezy.
Don't fret, lovelies.  I'm here.   Once a week I will give advice to aspiring talent about the modeling industry.   If you've got any questions about how to get the ball rolling, I've got answers.  Just call me Fairy Model Mother.
Start leaving your questions in the comment section, and I'll get to work.
Hit me!


To Tumble

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hey y'all!  In an effort to further expand my horizons, I've decided to start tumbling.  
Model Liberation will continue to focus on fashion, advertising, and my opinions about the modeling industry.  My tumblr will branch out into discussions on popular culture, news, and overall pretty things.
As a multi-faceted person,  I need different avenues to express myself.  
To follow me on Tumblr, just click the photo above.

Model Liberation