Friday, May 18, 2018

Modelling Pics

While I have yet to get any professional modeling or acting gigs (despite two auditions and one callback), the photographer who did my head shots sent me a ton of the pictures from the shoot I did with him. Now, I don't love them all. Quite frankly I'm still a little annoyed that he kept making me put my hair out of my face. Dang it, man! I like my hair in my face. Otherwise I look like I have a giant pumpkin for a head. Ah well. Despite this there were some beautiful shots. So I thought I would share some of my favorites. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gender Rebels Podcast: Intersex Lives

Also big news! The Gender Rebels 100th Episode is only two weeks away. Be sure and tune in for our Super Extra Super Special Event!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Going Goth Again (Regothulating)

When you're in your teens or early twenties your life options are often limited. You're broke, you often have adults in your life telling you what to do, and you feel out of place. So it's no wonder that a lot of people in that age group are drawn to subcultures. I found myself drawn first to punk and then to goth.

In my suburban town there were a good number of us dissected young punks, goths, and others. Maybe there were seventy of us total. Maybe. We all hung out in a dilapidated downtown where at one intersection stood a coffee shop, a a tiny punk rock venue, and a record store. It was our space and our spot. Every Friday and Saturday I'd be down at 8th Street, as we called it. 

Every time I hung out there I remember always feeling jealous of what the girls wore. They had short plaid skirts, fishnet stockings, cool boots with tons of buckles, garter belts, thigh highs, and wonderfully dark makeup with loads of black eyeliner. I longed to be one of them. But it was the 90s and I didn't think it were possible. 

And so, when I moved to NYC after college I finally started presenting female whenever I wanted. Able to express myself however I wanted, my style naturally went towards the goth/punk/cyber style. On Myspace I was friend with tons of alternative models, fetish models, and Suicide Girls. I finally got my own boots with tons of buckles. I finally had my own fishnets. I finally had my own short plaid skirts. I could go as crazy with the black eyeliner as I wanted. It was fun. 

But, when I started getting older, into my late twenties and early thirties being goth started to seem juvenile to me. I began to associate it with those younger years of my life. At that time I was struggling to try and take myself seriously as an adult. Adults had careers. They wore business casual clothes. They didn't shop at Trash & Vaudeville. If you wanted people to take you seriously you threw away your fishnets. So I did. 

In fact, when I started full time my wardrobe was downright mousy librarian; cardigans, business skirts, clothes with flowers on them. My clothes even had colors like beige, red, and green. And it was fine. I was an adult. I was adulting. Adults in a business setting dress in a boring way. Because being an adult is boring, right? It's all about work, 401Ks, and ensuring that your kids get to soccer ballet on time. 

But now I'm in my late thirties. And I've come to realize that being goth and punk wasn't a phase for me. No, being a serious adult was the phase. Careers, jobs, none of this has ever really interested me. Yes, of course I have a job. It's not like I would ever want to be a gutter punk or anything. But to me a job has always been a means to an end. It's a way to make cash so I can enjoy the non-work parts of my life. I don't ever want my job to be my identity. Unless I happen to get hired as some sort of space spy. Is that a real job? 

So I've decided that it's okay to go goth again. Now I don't have to go too crazy. Most days I'm still going to dress for work. But when I need new work clothes I'm going to go for all black. I'll add some nice gothy jewelry and accessories. And I'll do my makeup just a tiny bit gothy. And on the weekends I can go full darkness. But that doesn't mean you can't still be silly. 

So now I'm trying to find a new style; subtle goth. It's kind of like the business goth style I discussed a while back. I've purchased some new stuff like my killer Demonia leopard boots and I'm not going to shy away from the style that makes me feel good. Life is short. You shouldn't spend it trying to be something you're not. Which is why I love embracing the goth girl I've always known I was. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

First Photo Shoot (A Preview)

A you may have read, I recently signed with a modelling agency. But, in order to get cast I needed head shots. Not sure where exactly to get head shots (even though there are ads stapled up to street light poles all throughout the East Village), I went with one of the photographers that my agency recommended.

Now, I've been in a few photos before, but in general they were taken by me or a friend or partner. I am not, despite some Instagram evidence to the contrary, an experienced model. The photographer had an option of head shots for $200 or three or four looks for $325. What's a "look?" I had to look that up. It just means hair, makeup, or outfit change. The four looks option seemed like the best since I wanted something more than just head shots.

The week before the shoot, the photographer emailed me a list of outfit types to bring; solid tops for the head shots, a cocktail dress, two more casual brunch type outfits, sporty workout clothes, and a good variety of heels, sandals, and sneakers. The night before I tried on a bunch of outfits and did a little fashion show for Kath. Thankfully it wasn't too hard as I have a closet full of plenty of fun choices.

So that I could look my best, I made an appointment to get my makeup done at Sephora. They have a deal where you can get a free makeover if you spend $50. At Sephora that's like one thing, so I figured I would get an Urban Decay palette. I love the Urban Decay Electric palette that I have. It's wonderful; bright, colorful, and super high pigmented.

The artist who did my makeup used a special light meter or something to read my skin tone in order to pick out the foundation. What she ended up using was wonderful. For years I've used Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse. While effective, it is pretty heavy. But I loved what she used so I picked up a bottle of that. It's better than Maybelline but at $50 a bottle, I'm not sure if I'm quite ready to replace mine just yet. Beyond that she did a really light, no makeup look and I loved it. My brows have honestly never looked better. And it was a lot of fun. The next time I want to buy some fancy makeup, I'll just get the free makeover why not?

Though I was at least a little bit worried going over to a strange guy's apartment (like anyone should be!), the photographer turned out to be super friendly and nice. I didn't get robbed or murdered. So that's good. The photographer had a small studio set up in his apartment with his bathroom as the changing room. First, we looked through all of the clothes what I had brought. Picking out a dark green tank top, he suggested that we do head shots first. I had actually brought the tank for a workout look, but clothes are clothes I guess.

I had brought a wig along that I thought looked too curly and big, almost like big Eighties hair you'd expect see matched with some shoulder pads on the set of Dynasty or something. But, it's not too bad if I keep it clipped in the back. Unfortunately, the photographer wanted it unclipped. And even worse, he kept wanting to push it out of my face. I happen to love having hair to frame my face. It keeps my face from looking like a giant round Charlie Brown head. But, I went with what he wanted. After all, I didn't want to spend $325.00 to get unusable photos. This guy knew head shots and plus he knew what my agency wanted as well. So, we got some giant pumpkin head photos.

There were actually a couple fun new photography tips I learned from him. Firstly, he told me to keep my mouth just barely open in the shots. Apparently closed mouths don't look as good. It reminded me of something I once learned on a Muppet documentary; Muppets keep their mouths open just slightly when not talking in order to look more alive. Guess it works for people too. Plus the photographer told me to move my forehead and chin out in one motion. He said it would feel like doing a turtle impression but would make your jawline and neck look better. I like good jaw lines, so I happily agreed. Also, he had me do 3/4 shots rather than straight on. Apparently, my left side is my better side. I didn't know this. It's good to know.

After about forty five minutes of head shots, he recognized the studio setup, and we moved on to some other outfits for full body shots. First up we did my black Guess cocktail dress with my favorite heels. He gave me a lot of direction to create negative space with my body. This went against my natural inclination to make myself small and compact with my legs together. But, he explained that negative space makes you look better and thinner. So I did a leg up, hand on my hip, one leg sticking out at the knee, and lots of other poses to create negative space around my body. I mean, who doesn't want to look thinner right?

After that I switched into a my red, black, and white patterned dress. I had wanted to keep wearing my Coach heels, but the photographer suggested that we switch to my regular black heels for some variety. Getting photographed for me was quite fun and I thoroughly enjoyed getting directions and following them. It made me feel like a professional model. I jumped, I posed, and I even pretended to take selfies.

After we got a few hundred full body shots, we proceeded to head outside to get some lifestyle photos. It made me happy to hear that my agent had actually reached out to the photographer to specifically request lifestyle shots. It made me feel like they actually cared and wanted me to succeed. Of course, they don't get paid unless I get paid, so I guess it makes sense.

We started by walking around Manhattan's Upper West Side as the photographer tried to spot suitably grungy backgrounds with good light. We were busy shooting in a doorway when an drunken asshole came up. He tried to get in the pictures with me. Then when the photographer asked him to leave, the drunk said "I want a picture with the transvestite."

Fucker. I looked damn good. The last thing I was expecting was to be clocked! But I think the issue was that the photo shoot was drawing too much attention to me. Plus with heels I'm like 6'3". Still, I don't ever want to get clocked. It's awful and makes me feel like I'll never pass in a million years. I start to wonder if maybe everyone clocks me all the time but they're just too polite to say anything. Sigh.

Our last shots were actually taken on the grounds of the Natural History Museum. There are some tables on a terrace and the photographer wanted to get some shots of me just casually hanging out there. He brought his laptop and an empty coffee cup like I was just enjoying a nice cup of a coffee while working on my laptop. He kept telling me to type on the laptop. But that's something that's always bugged me in movies. People don't type that often on computers. They use the mouse pad. But, he wanted typing so I typed. And I had to struggle to not take a sip of coffee out of habit! 

The whole time the photographer was worried about getting kicked out since apparently you need permission for commercial photography. Thankfully no one spotted us so we didn't have to run from the security guards. Though that might have made for some fun lifestyle shots, right? 

As I packed up my stuff, the photographer let me take a look at his iPad where he had downloaded some of the pics from his camera. That's where I got the photos for this blog post. I literally used my phone to take photos of his iPad. Hence why a few of them have some distortion and lines. He said it would take a week for him to get me the pictures. Then I can pick my favorite fifty to seventy photos. He'll pick some of his favorites, then send them all to the agency. Then they'll decide which ones will end up on my profile and on my comp cards. I'm super excited to see them all. 

After four hours of modelling, I am not kidding when I saw that I was exhausted. Modelling is work. It really is. The next day myy back and muscles were sore from stretching into various poses. But it was super fun and I look forward to my next photo shoot. Hopefully I'll get paid for that one. :) 

Gender Rebels Podcast: Am I a Chaser?