Updated: May 14, 2019
A few weeks ago, London photographer Lenara Choudhury and I finally met and created a shoot together.
I had so much fun just playing myself in front of the camera.
Styling is my own and the creative direction was collaborative.
C-Heads Magazine loved our photo's and have published them on their platforms with an interview where they asked me about my role as an influencer and views on the fashion industry and life in general. See the full story here.
You state yourself as a role model, aswell as an influencer who is revolutionising the beauty industry by redefining beauty. I am a bit curious as I don´t fully understand…. I believe you would have been called beautiful in all decades everywhere in the world. So what exactly do you want to redefine?
I’m glad you asked me this because I’m sure lots of people wonder the same thing. When I say that I am ‘re-defining beauty’ this is what I have done within myself. I had a lot of struggles with self-confidence and body-image issues from adolescence up until my early 20’s and eventually I had to work out what was causing the stress. For me it came down to thinking that I could only be beautiful, socially acceptable, desirable to romantic partners or able to get modeling work if I was extremely thin and appeared to be carefree and confident all the time which is what the fashion industry depicts beauty to look like. But this isn’t actually the truth of what I’ve experienced. The first major thing I had to re-define for myself was that there are specific size requirements for beauty. It may sound trivial but a big step in this was deleting my old Pinterest moodboards that were full of high fashion models and beginning to think- okay if beauty isn’t just what the fashion industry has told me it is then WHAT IS IT? Without these restrictions, my board began to fill with actresses, artists and change-makers- Georgia O’keefe, Audrey Tautou, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Beyonce, Barabara Palvin, Charli Howard, Emma Watson and models like Kate Moss and Abbey Lee were still in there but the body size range was broad. This allowed me to see beauty in a new way- Beauty now looks like radiance, aliveness and strength to stand confidently in one’s unique expression- whether it’s through art, music, style or words. This has allowed me to focus on cultivating these qualities within myself rather than putting so much energy into trying to stay thin, which has been incredibly empowering and way more fulfilling. I now choose to share a more honest and authentic range of expression on social media, in my modeling work and in all of my life.
I think that anyway there is already a lot happening out there promoting imperfection, including big companies, brands and celebrities, so “imperfection” has become just another marketing tool as well. In the end it´s about selling products and numbers. Don´t you think?
Yes, I agree that ‘imperfection’ has become another marketing tool- but if it is helping people feel more comfortable in their skin naturally then I think it’s a positive one which is especially important when we look at the effects of the old ‘flawless’ advertising trends which made people feel uncomfortable if they have ‘imperfections’ or blemishes which are normal and unavoidable human things.
This questions might get a bit philosophical. Last week I was watching a very interesting documentary that was about the 60´s, than later the 70´s etc, and first of all I was wondering how come the young generation has always been so political in all decades. And furthermore, if everything that the young generation is changing is so great, why then again the next generation wants to change things around and tells the previous generation that they got it all wrong? So by implication it means then that our generation is doing things wrong as well, right?
Haha I love you’re questions! And this is something I have thought about a lot. I think it’s all part of human evolution, we will always keep growing and changing, it’s how life works, so from that perspective I think it’s important to just do the best we can in the moment, make the most of it all and not get attached to anything as being a ‘final’ truth.
I love questioning opinions and even questioning my own opinions. Do you ever re-think the things you spread to the world or you are completely convinced about all you say and stick to it and repeat it?
I think my opinion on this came across in the last question, I also love to think and re-think and re-think. My best friends are people with whom we can challenge each other and keep learning and growing together. On the topic of what I am spreading to the world- I let it change with what feels true for me and I think this is why a lot of people like my content. It is real and raw and ever-changing which is not something I see a lot of on Instagram.
What inspired you to be in front of a camera?
I’ve loved modeling since I was a little kid, it’s fun to dress up and play different characters and feel beautiful. The lifestyle of a model always appealed to me too, the adventure of it all, the travel, money and creativity which kept me motivated to keep doing it. What inspires me now is expressing truth in-front of the camera in an artistic way- not just the ‘cool, sexy’ poses that we mostly see in advertising but the ‘less seen’ truths too, like vulnerability, confusion, frustration, playfulness, curiosity, wildness and ecstasy, the full spectrum. My experience with mental health is that the more I feel comfortable in my authentic expression and the less I feel like I need to hide ANY parts of it, the more genuinely happy and confident I am. I know that modeling has a powerful effect of ‘glamourising’ things and I am inspired to use it to encourage and normalise honest and authentic expression. I believe this will help people who are still struggling with mental health issues like what I have been through (anxiety, depression, eating disorders)- the hardest part is feeling alone and no-one should feel alone in their darkness- we all have light and dark if we are willing to look at it. By the way- this is another part of how I consider myself to be ‘re-defining and revolutionizing beauty’ (smiles) If the next big marketing trend is to have models being REAL and seen in their vulnerabilities too and letting people know that it’s beautiful to be honest, I think this will be a GREAT thing.
And what was the first professional shooting you have done? Can you remember an interesting detail?
My first campaign shoot was for a fashion brand in Australia called ‘Somedays Lovin’. So many interesting details hehe.. We drove to out to a little country town and there had been a murder at the motel we were shooting at the night before and so there were police and crime scene tape around. I also loved the styling and mood and got to pose with a beautiful male model, it was such a fun adventure, I still love the shots!
How many selfies do you take in a day?
Hehe depends on the day, but I’ll say an average of 3 and I take selfie videos at the moment too as a form of ‘journaling’ which feels funny to admit.
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
I would have said I’m an introvert for most of my life and I am definitely re-charged by time alone but as I find ‘my crowd’ more and more I am feeling energised by time socialising too. So right now I’m somewhere in between and it depends on the phase of my hormone cycle and the people around me.
Which song makes you cry when you hear it?
Dancing to Glory Box by Portishead or Without You by Lapalux
What book character are you most like?
I’ll say the movie character Amelie Poulain
Red Silk Slip is Vintage Leather Boots by Sandro Leopard Print Jeans by Zara White Silk Shirt by Victoria’s Secret Vintage Hoop Earrings Pink Dress by Michael Lo Sordo