Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oddly Specific Modelling Tips

Its reached the point that I have been doing this for kind of a while, coming up on six years, and in my wizened state I have come to be revered as the Methuselah of my people. Or sometimes people ask me stuff, whichever you prefer.
Anyways, I figured it was time for me to gaze down from my illustrious pedestal and give y'all some advice.

How does one get started modelling?
Well, are you 16, 5"7'+ and weigh your local agency standard (Usually less that 110 pounds but there is leniency based on height)? If so, run a quick Google search on local agencies and check them all out. If its a name you recognize put it at the top of your list (e.g. Ford, BMG, Whiliemina). If you don't recognize any, and the listed, you need to do more research. Knowledge is power and half the battle, or something. Be informed about the agency you hope to sign with: the models they sign and the work the do. If you can talk to some former employees you can get the real dirt too, which is important in case your chosen agency, I don't know, does nothing when someone tired to hold you ransom for a spouses visa. Be informed before you go in, be super informed before you sign anything.
Not agency standard? Different height, weight, build, look, age, etcetera? Disregard the above. You will not sign with an agency. You will not. Sorry.
"Oh but Kate Moss a blobloblo!" Kate Moss was picked out waiting for her flight at an airport at age 14 because she had "the look". The intent was for her to grow, but she simply did not. Unless you look like 14 year old Kate Moss, are 14 and fully intend to grow several inches, then by all means. Why the hell are you reading this blog? And tell your friends.
Anyways, if you do not fit the above specifications, its your lucky day. Yes, really. Welcome to the Age of the Iternet, Era of the Independent Model. Welcome to the world where the "but I'm really talented!" motto actually has merit. At last. Yes, not fitting into the agency cookie cutter isn't the end of the world anymore. You can be shorter, heavier, tattooed, mad haired, a polar bear, have a cabbage for a head, all of the above.
You can make a name for yourself.
If you have talent.
If you are willing to make this your full time career, plot shoots daily, shoot nonstop, pay the right photographers, buy professional grade products, learn to do hair, make up, styling, website design, networking, marketing, sales. Or be willing to pay people to do the above. You. Can. Buy. Fame. You can. \
I personally can't imagine why you would want to, I personally pay only for my own liquor, make up and little else but you can buy a portfolio if you lack the means or time to start from scratch. There's nothing really shameful about buying your way in, but its nothing to be proud of either. You are simply making a purchase. Sometimes you may just need help.
But do you notice the key theme here? You have to work your buns off. You have to be the best. Not the best? Work harder. Lots of people still want the agency look from non-agency model. Lots of people don't like tattoos. Or piercings. You will not please everyone. So you have to offer as much as physically possible. I say this so many times, but I will say it again: You are your own product. Offer the best product possible.
Stretch all the time: All the time. Flexibility and fitness are so key to modelling well. There is nothing worse than a very cool pose where the model looks strained and uncomfortable. Well I guess there is, like a boring pose where the model looks strained and uncomfortable. Or, say, leprosy.
Stretch often but more importantly, stretch drunk. In heels.
I am 100% not a doctor so nothing I say in regards to health or fitness should ever be emulated or even really listened to, but as Victoria's resident lush model, I swear by this. Split some vino with your bestie, strap on your most stripperliest six inchers and try to touch your toes. Mosh, for example, can do this. This makes her highly sought after.
Stretching in heels is good practice if you shoot in them, which most fashion, pin up, glamour and assorted other models do. While in heels your leg muscles will be strained differently than if you are in flat feet so this gives you a chance to get used to that and teach your body how to compensate in posing.
Stretching drunk is just sort of fun. Actually, that's probably pretty dangerous because you're likely to strain your muscles. So maybe don't.

Do up your bra straps: I... I don't know why I need to explain this. But today alone I have seen half a dozen glamour and or pin up shots made to look sloppy and amateurish simply because the bra straps weren't adjusted. Its very easy. It makes your boobs look rad. Its easier on your back. I don't know why people don't do this. Also, make sure the bra your wearing fits!

So yeah... I cranked out a blog post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's in a Name?

See, I lucked out. The name on my birth certificate is totally rad. When I was much younger and gothier I was often asked if Rowen was my real name. I have since met several Rowan Darkthorns and Rowyn Von Bloodenstines or other similarly ridiculous self imposed names. I don't need or use an alias, ever Ever. EVER.
But I see a lot of them and it gives me cause for pause. How does one choose an alias? What should go into it? Well, here's some crap what I think.

First, think of something rad. If you're looking for one of those excellent one word alt names, it should be descriptive concise and original. Do a little research, run a Google search. There is already a Scar, a Mosh and several respected Ophelias. Don't make another and don't just slap a Miss, a mispelling or that thing where you frame the word in some Xs or dots on it. Come up with something NEW, (at the time I developed the Miss M.alice character there weren't already a dozen others, one of several reasons why I no longer bother with the role. It should be noted that the current reigning Miss Malice looks like the perfect child of myself and my partner in crime Camilla Dobbie).
Need inspiration? Again, you're already in Google. Look up obscure bad ass goddesses or queen's who kicked butt. Find one you like? Re-google it with "alt model". If there are a dozen others go back to step one. OR if you do love it madly? Take it. Take it and make it your own, take it and take over.
Obviously don't try and be another Raquel Reed, but if there's already an, I don't know Arsinoe or something in the feldging era of her modelling career and you think that suits you to T, then if you can beat her,: join her! Then beat her. At having that name.

If you aren't feeling the inspiration but you are feeling adventurous why not try a name generator? I found this fun Burlesque name generator (I am Silky Jigglejugs). Or for something more-real-less-clever, there's always this generator.

Another thing to consider is: is your name tasteful? Because there's edgy, there's provocative and then there is the downright offensive. I've seen Anna Rexics. I've seen Holly Caustes. A good rule of thumb is if you are making a mockery of severe psychological disorders or the death of millions of Jews then you have probably chosen poorly. People will pass you up for work based on this, and rightly so.

Why do some models choose to shoot under stage names? Why did I?
Well, partly as a preventative measure against future ignorances and stereotyping. My policy for shooting has always been I wouldn't shoot anything I wouldn't show my mother, who, to be fair, is rather liberal. Even so, a lot of people have a problem with nudity or erotic art and in the future this can and probably will effect me in my career choices. Right now my goals are either working in law or with children. Either way someone will probably make a fuss.
It would be nice if we all lived in a world where positive self expression was better received but I know that we do not an my own decision to continue shooting under my legal name is both because of and in spite of this. I don't think any of what I shoot is anything to be ashamed of, and when someone later tries to point at it as a reason to think less of me I want to be able to say "yes, I shot this because I am a confident, artistic, emotive feminist. I think it is a positive contribution to the arts. What do you think? Lets talk about it."
Yep, lets see how that goes over for me.

There are a lot of good reasons to use an alias. For M.alice it was fun and I thought I was being clever. For Noir I was legitimately worried about my work effecting me in the future but then I thought "fuck it. I love what I do and others should too."
An alias could be a form of expression in and of itself, though. Have fun, be creative, do whatever the hell you want. Just think, research and present yourself well.
And now, some classic M.Alice

Monday, January 2, 2012

So You say You Want A Resolution

Happy New Years Everyone! And Happy Birthday to me, I turn 23 today. My plan is to eat a lot of fondue.
Well, 2011 was a great year. I got my first publication, a 6-page glossy feature even. I got to try out the run way, scored some cool features and interviews, made a couple great trips to Vancouver and closed out the year with 50 photoshoots! I also met and started shooting with my now best friend Camilla Dobbie. We have a couple little project up our sleeves for 2012 too, so watch out! All in all it was an excellent year.
I think I can make 2012 even better. How am I going to do this? Well:
1. More publications: My primary goal this year is to spend as much time on the printed page as possible. The big goal? Trying to land a cover.
2. More shoots: After figuring our that I'd shot 50 shoots last year I decided to aim for 100 this year. That sounds like a lot but is a little less than twice a week, which I think I can handle. We shall see, eh?
3. More creativity: I want to start making my own bits and bobs for shooting: accents, jewellery, props, and try to bring something new to each shoot. I'm looking forward to being more creative in my make up as well: I received a breathtaking Sephora kit for Christmas and all the beautiful colours just make me the happiest little girl in the world.

Modelling aside, some of my personal goals for this year are:
1. Draw every day!
2. Write every day!
3. Read every day! There are no excuses for these! If I just spent a little less time on the internet everyday (with all of you, on this blog) I could be so much more productive.
4. Stop hatin': Its easy to get caught up in model-drama-she-said-she-said, exposure-envy and sour grapes. Why bother? Its more important to focus on my own projects and my own goals than comparing my work to others. It take a whole lot of energy which I will instead be directing towards:
5. Getting healthy! I don't have a goal weight or size or whatever, but I do need to start working out. Natural waifishness starts to peter once one hits their twenties and I can no long eat whatever I want and do nothing. Its time to start getting into exercising.
The shot below is the last picture from 2011.

My first shoot this year will be on the 4th

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reappearing for a Quick Rant

Absolutely sick of this:

Some people are built some ways. Others are built others. Get over it, one kind of beauty isn't "better" because its yours. You do not need to single out others looks just to make yourself feel better about your own.

Can't do that? Then maybe it isn't time for you to play this game. Take some time and work on your own body image if you cannot actively contribute with out attempting to tear other people down.
People put a lot of stock into the media for making girls feel bad about their bodies but you know what? The whole girl-on-girl hating plays a huge role as well.

Modelling is competitive, yes, but part of professionalism and maturity is seeing the difference between healthy competition and ugly cattiness which just makes the whole field look vapid and petty.

Honestly, all of us, get over all this. If you stop focusing on making others feel bad, you'll look better and we all will. You are a representative of your field.
Act like it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Check it out! The magazine Suzanne, Leah, Chunyen, Amanda and I shot for is out! Check out the purpliness.

Also, do people like this new layout? I think I want to make another one...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Model's Guide to Group Shoots

In this instance we are referring to group shoots which are meet ups between many local photographers and models rather than single-model-many-photographer-shoot.
There are several reasons for attending a group shoot. You meet other locals in the industry, can get a lot of great shots from a lot of different photographers and just generally get your name out there. Or you can get dolled up, stand around all day shooting trade with photographers you wouldn't give the time of day to generally while waiting to shoot with the photographer you've dying to work with who is of course off with someone else. In the end you see no photos and say "what the frig?"
Here are some hints to avoid the latter! Group shoots can be awesome!

Attract Attention. Attract the MOST attention!: OK, so its not a competition, but you do want people to a. notice you and b. remember you. You are here to network and to shoot. People have to know you're there! Put together a great concept suited to your setting, utilize colour and creativity. Its a good idea to put together an outfit which can be modified easily, to offer different looks to different photographers. You may not have a place to change, so utilize scarves, hats, jewelry: anything which isn't a hassle to get in and out of. Don't forget about hair and make up, and remember when changing make up looks its always much easier to build up a more dramatic looks than to clean down to a softer look.

Print Business Cards: You aren't going to be able to shoot with everybody you want to, it simply isn't going to happen. Contact is important, and unless you're psychically linked with everyone you meet, you're going to have to get business cards. If you're new to the game, you don't need professionally printed image cards, but you can cut a couple index cards in half or chop up coloured paper. These should have your name, an email and an address for your online portfolio, at least.

Bring snacks! And water! Choose mess-less snacks for energy. These shoots can often drag on, and you don't want to be wilting by the second half of the day.

Smile! Well, not for every shot, but between sets make a point of being friendly and approachable, or no one will want to approach you. "Shy" isn't an excuse (or maybe it is), this is your job (or maybe its not) and networking is a part of it. In any case, a smiling girl is a pretty girl and don't we all wanna be pretty (or maybe you don't). I personally have a look I like to call "naturally morose", so sometimes I appear bitchier than I actually am (which, mathematically, is 8.2 rather than a 7.9 on the bitchter scale). Just trust me on this one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Booking Consistant Work

I'm often asked by other local girls: How do you shoot so often? How are you shooting with so and so? Often these comments are punctuated with "its not fair!" So I'm going to address this in the most helpful way I can, explaining how I run this little business I call "Rowen Bellamy Inc". Actually I don't, I've never called it that until this exact minute, and don't really care for the title, but I do try and operate my modeling like a small business.

I advertise: This doesn't mean I take out ads or spam modeling forums daily, but I do keep my work and availability in the public eye. When I have new work I'm proud of I make a point of showing it to the community. As an independent model your main clients are often photographers so making sure that they know you're there and what you can do is very important!

I don't wait for work to come to me: I've been pretty lucky so far to have some amazing opportunities fall into my lap, but only because I was already putting myself out there. I peruse the Victoria and Vancouver casting calls daily and generally respond to all paid work and any opportunities to work with a local photographer I haven't worked with before. I tend to take more chances on TF with a completely new face than someone who's work I've seen a lot before, for some reason. Contact the people you want to work with!

Contact with a CONCEPT: If I am contacting a photographer, chances are they have something I think is missing from my portfolio, but that doesn't necessarily mean I have something they want. So, rather than just be another "Omg I love your work please TFP w/ me, k bye" message sitting in their inbox, I try to bring everything in my initial message. I introduce myself, I tell them I like their work, I tell them what I like about their work, then I get down to brass tacks. This is my concept, I tell them. This is what I think would work well for both of our styles. If I have hair and make up available I mention this as well.
Sometimes this is a gamble, theres always the off chance that I'll come up with a concept I love, bring to someone and have it taken and used by someone else. This can happen, but you can't dwell on it. You can't just buy all your paint under the cover of nightfall just so nobody else steals your colour pallet. No art supplies stores are open that late!
But I digress. Lets move away from that botched metaphor back to my original simile: run your modelling like a small business. The initial contact message is like your business proposal. Lay out all the facts so the photographer knows what sort of product he's being offered.

So what did we learn today, kids? Presence, Proposal, Product. You'll be living off your craft in no time.
And now, an unrelated photo from my most recent shoot.