Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Relationships for nomads

Being transient forces to you change the ways in which you interact with people. I don’t get the luxury of feeling shy, or taking time to warm up to somebody as we slowly run through the getting-to-know-you dance. If I take my sweet time in growing friendships, I’ll have left town before we even get around to having a real conversation. So I dive in head first. I rarely bother with concealing any aspects of my psychology if they’re relevant to the conversation. I am candid with my thoughts and beliefs, and I’ve found that others often return my openness.

Somehow, I’ve honed the ability to form a genuine connection with people I’ve just met. It is not at all unheard of for somebody that I’ve only known for an hour or two to inspire, challenge, or enlighten me. This isn’t to suggest that this happens with every single person that I meet. It doesn’t. But it happens reliably enough that I rarely am struck by a feeling of loneliness or isolation. I am often in the company of people I enjoy, and the magic of text messages, gchat, and unlimited long distance keeps older friends readily accessible.

People often comment on how open I am, and I believe that it is an accurate perception. My life has been enriched because of it. I’ve had so many wonderful conversations as a result. I’m consistently impressed by the thoughtfulness, the complexity, and how downright amazing the people I meet are. And were it not for my rather unconventional lifestyle, I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn the value of putting myself out there as simply and honestly as possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Recently a question was propsed on the MM forums asking what a model required in a photographer.
My first answer: Cookies.

I'm sitting on Titania's desktop, with a pint of Ben&Jerry's Half Baked. I just realized how serious I was.

Chocolate Chip. Snickerdoodles. Peanut Butter. Sugar frosted. Almond. Whatever you've got.

Being a traveling model was one of the hardest and most stressful things I have ever done. I honour every minute of it after. But traveling as a model is different from traveling on vacation. You don't save up and go and relax and see the site. You just go, and hope that everything pans out - and it never does.
I might not have slept in my own bed in a week, a month, 14 months - I might not have slept in any bed lately at all *points at burn on my arm, from sleeping on a floor too close to the radiator*
The art is worth it when I see it, or when I can take some time of and reminisce about it. But at the time of traveling and shooting, its those little things.

Almost everything went wrong during my last trip in NYC. My last shoot before leaving New York was with this very sweet man named Zoltan. He greeted me with a smile as he drove me to his studio and made me fresh Turkish Coffee before ever picking up his camera. Along with being wonderful to talk to, that was exactly what I needed at that moment.
This was only one of several much needed moments to pause, and only one of the people who made me smile along the way.

All the artists (and their wives, lets not forget) who have greeted me with cookies, fruit salad, coffee, lattes, brownies, crackers and hummus, genmai cha, homemade blueberry pancakes, really delicious wine, hot chocolate, boba tea, sandwiches, warm fuzzy blankets or robes, a smile, a good sense of humour, the common sense that Tricky, Massive Attack, and Depeche Mode are the best fucking bands to play during a photoshoot, The option to take a hot shower after our shoot, a big hug . . . They are most often the first people that I ever recommed to anyone, and I will never forget them.

You are beautiful. <3

Cookies. Don't forget the cookies. *makes mental note for when actually hiring models when I get back into figure drawing*

-image on top by fellow Traveling Lovely, Velocity. image on the bottom by BlueRiverDream, life saver that she is.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Titania answers some fan mail!

I got an awesome message today from a beautiful model in Montreal- http://www.modelmayhem.com/phylactere

She wanted to know some things about me and modeling. She had some great questions, so I thought I would answer them here (as well as post them on my solo blog). Bonus- some never before posted by me pictures for each question! YAY!

-Usually photographers, mostly in Montreal where I live, think that it is normal to exchange "time for print", When I say that I just accept paid assignments, they sometimes get very angry! So, do photographers really pay for free-lance models, from your own experience?

Yes, "time for print" is normal in some circles (especially among hobbyists), but they shouldn't be getting angry with you when you tell them that you only accept paid assignments. It took me a while to get a polite wording down as to not irritate anyone. I often respond with something along the lines of "Thank you for contacting me. However, I am not accepting trade work at this time. If you would like, I would be more than happy to work out rates with you."

Photographers do pay freelance models. There are quite a few photographers that will kick and scream saying "I don't pay models- the client pays models!!", but they refuse to accept the fact that sometimes the photographer IS the client, especially for nude work.

-Do you really spend a lot of time answering castings and calls for models? Or do photographers ask for you most of the time?

At first, I spent a lot of time on responding to casting calls. After I started becoming more visible in the internet modeling circles, I started doing more advertising of myself and the locations I was traveling to and less answering casting calls. I still check casting calls on MM everyday. I'll check craigslist on occasion if I don't have much to do that day.

-When you were a semi-pro model, at what moment did you consider yourself as a professional model?

The day I started doing modeling as my only job is when I began to consider myself a "Professional Model", which was about a year into pursuing modeling seriously. However, it was always my goal to behave and conduct myself professionally. Some people will argue that the minute you get paid you're a professional- my first shoot was a paid one, so I do tend to disagree with that. I feel that when you as a model are confident in your skills and ability to go and do what is necessary to get the job done (paid or not) you become a true professional.

-What do you think makes you special? Is it your mind? Creativity? The way you move?

I think my commitment to my work is my strongest trait. It drives me to create new art at every shoot and always seek new inspiration to continue to do so. My body awareness and movement are very much a selling point me as a model as well. Years of dance, gymnastics and cheerleading have given me that. I was blessed with the look I have which is what got me into modeling, however that can only get an art model so far. Drive, passion and commitment will keep you working for the long haul.

Thanks so much for the message, Phyli!

(Photographs by- JP Dawson, J Henry, Wet LTD and Mobius Photo)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Little Things

To the artists who pick me up and drop me off transit stations or the place I'm staying when I'm traveling carless- thank you. To the artists that feed me after a shoot, or kick in an extra twenty bucks for food- thank you. To the artists that share images with me even if it wasn't negotiated- thank you. To the artists that keep a space heater on hand in the colder months- thank you. To the artists that tell me how much they appreciate and respect what I do- thank you.

I expect none of those, but I am so incredibly appreciative for them. It's the details like those that keep me in love with my job. So thank you, to so many of you, who take care of the little things that make all the difference.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Note to self: Check the weather

Through the magic of social networking sites, blogs, and text messages, I manage to keep tabs on friends and acquaintances scattered across the country. Passe as it might seem, the weather is sometimes worth comment. This past week, it warranted comment from quite a few people as the entire continental United States was simultaneously thrown headlong into autumn. Though I'm sad to see the end of summer, I suppose it's just what comes with living in a region with seasons varying beyond "wet" and "dry."

I had an additional problem with this abrupt seasonal change, though. I had just departed on a tour through Chicago and Detroit, and neglected to pack much in the way of warm clothing. Whoops! This was exacerbated by the fact that the only jeans I had which were loose enough to leave me clothing-mark free are all ripped to hell- there are tears under the back pockets and giant holes in the knees. I'd intended to bring another pair that would be suitable for wearing pre-shoot, but those were forgotten in Indianapolis. Double whoops! Suffice to say, my time exploring Chicago during my downtime was not nearly so pleasant as it might have been otherwise.

So, fine, lesson learned. Even if I'm not going far, I will take the time to check out what the weather will be when I'm on the road. And in the meantime, it's time to start preparing myself for a winter of chilly studios and even chillier outdoor shoots.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Planning my first real road trip

I'm going to New Orleans for Halloween, to see my fellow redhead on meds (we're an unnofficial club of about 6 fantastic redheads). I'm booking for my way down there, while I'm down there, and my way back.

I have an itinerary. Loosely. I have a travel path:
Des Moines, IA
Davenport, IA
Peoria, IL
Nashville, TN (overnight)
Birmingham, AL
New Orleans, LA
4 days in the beautiful catastrophe that is, so far, my favorite city ever, with the perfect catastrophe Erin, that is, so far, my favorite person ever.
New Orleans, LA
Jackson, MI
St. Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Des Moines, IA

So far, I have one shoot booked for sure. Several possible shoots and sessions in New Olreans.

I'll have my piercing gear, and my fancy new boots will arrive Monday, so they'll be broken in by the time I start my drive.

I'm really excited to be going. I hope the trip is profitable, but if nothing else, it will be lots of fun, because I get to stop and see a lot of friends on the way there, while there, and back.

I've travelled to shoot before, but it's never been a multiple city thing. Here's to my first real, on the road, long, modeling trip!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My name is Aubrey and I am an art model from Buffalo. I primarily tour the East Coast, spending two weeks on the road and two weeks in Buffalo. I've been modeling since I was 19 (I am 27) and have been doing this professionally for about two years. Due to touring a very specific geographic pocket consistently and working with many of the same people repeatedly; I've always considered myself to be "under the radar" of anyone outside of the North East (although lately I've found more people may know of me than I realize.)

I can easily say that there is no standard life of a touring model. The way we tour, where we go and how we live varies depending on the model. What works for one model may not work for another model. In this blog, I will be contributing my accounts of what it is like for me on the road.

That's me. Taken by House of Light.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

This is the first time I've spent a prolonged amount of time at home in a while. To be honest, it feels weird. My room feels smaller than the last time I was here for a while. DC seems smaller and I feel suffocated. In the last three months, I haven't laid in this room longer than 3 days, it's now been 4 days and I don't leave again for another week or two.

Most people wouldn't understand the itchy feeling I get when I'm home, others get it clearly. I've never been one to stick around in one place too long. I like to move, I like to see things, I like to be around different people. Being a traveling model allows me to cater to this habit. I get to see everything I've been dying to see since I was little. I get to meet some of the best people and I get to scratch that itch. I love it. Being home for me equates that I'm not doing anything in my mind. I could have a week of work here and yet I still feel like I don't belong here. The comforts of home are here, but my heart hasn't been here for a long time.

At the same time, this job also has it's repercussions for not allowing me to stay in one place for too long. I have people who constantly worry about me. My family's always calling to check on me. I could be two hours away and they still worry. I hate putting that kind of stress on them. I want to be able to make them worry less, but I can't. There's nothing in the world I can tell them to make them feel at ease. In another way, I've also excluded myself from a lot of friends and "normal" people. When everyone wants me home or to see them on their birthday, I can't sometimes. It gets hard and strained on all my relationships to explain why I'm not around as often. I can't be the shoulder like I used to for my best friend to cry on and I can't always have someone to hold me at night when I have nightmares. These are the sacrifices I make to do what I love and it's ok.

I find myself weighing the pros and cons frequently sometimes of this job. Sometimes the cons outweigh the pros and other times it's flip-flopped. That's just how it goes and I can't change that. I did manage to fit in a family vacation for next weekend. My dad asked and shockingly I had the weekend free, so I agreed. However, those 4 days are rare for the next few months. As soon as I get back I pack back up to o to the west coast. I'm just glad I found a little moment to reconnect and put my family at ease, even if it is short-lived.
Photo by: Keith Allen Phillips, San Diego, CA

Skeezeball in the Coffee Shop

Kari Marie, here, writing from the road.

When I'm living out of my car, I have stretches of time when I don't have private internet access. It might be because I've been sleeping in my car, or it might be because the people with whom I'm staying have really touchy wireless that won't let strangers connect. Either way, there are times when all of my interneting happens in coffee shops, cafes, or libraries. And, when you're me, this poses and interesting problem.

Societal norms dictate that you don't look at nudies on your computer when you're in public. Some establishments offering free wifi specifically block sites where nudity abounds, though many do not. It's just not something reasonable, decent people do. And yet, that's often a big part of what I do on the internet. Whether checking out the work of a photographer who has contacted me, or the work of models and photographers I admire, or just poking around blogs like this one, there are a whole lotta nipples that flash across my screen.

To be fair, this is something I could avoid. I could refrain from viewing images sent to me from recent shoots, and delay actually viewing the work of a photographer requesting a shoot. I could avoid any and all sites aside from those which I know to be "work-safe." But doing that would, at times, throw a big wrench in what I do. Being a nude model but not looking at any nude work simply isn't practical for extended periods of time.

So what do I do? I find a comfy chair in the corner of the coffee shop, plug in my laptop, and hunker down. Sometimes I wonder if the sort of folks who would be offended by art nudes would find it more, or less objectionable when I'm looking at nude images of myself. I haven't decided, and I haven't asked. I try to avoid stepping on others' toes in this regard. I make efforts to keep my computer out of eyeshot of others, and adjust my positioning if necessary. But inevitably, carrying out these precautionary courtesies makes me think, "Ahhh, yes, and now I get to be the skeezeball in the corner, looking at nudies."

This was written, in case you were wondering, at a Starbucks in Colby, Kansas.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Joys of Travel

Today was the trip where everything went wrong, however, it worked out better than I had planned in the end.

Start with a flight at the ass crack of dawn. Blarg. I wish cheap flights were at a normal time of day, so that I'm pulling into ticketing with the sun up already instead of it being inky dark outside. I had a feeling I'd forgotten something. I can't seem to figure it out...

Anyway, I get through security and everything, and at the gate I find out that the flight is delayed due to mandatory "crew rest". These are the little things about air travel that boggle my mind. (just like the fact that a flight from Milwaukee to Toronto is $200 higher than the flight from Madison that transfers onto the exact same flight in Milwaukee to Toronto) If this crew rest period is mandated by law, one would think they would simply figure for it in the schedule. Apparently not. The woman at the gate insisted that I would have more than enough time to make my transfer in Detroit.

If you have ever been to the airport in Detroit, you know that you will land at the VERY farthest gate on concourse A, and your flight will be departing from the VERY farthest in concourse C. This is easily a 20 minute jaunt, even if you are running most of the way and no Tibetan monks or fundamentalist Christians with strollers get in your way.

At this point, you've probably guessed what is coming next. Of course I missed my flight... oh did I miss it. It took off before we even landed. I got to the gate, they gave me a new flight time, which then would make me miss my bus in Buffalo to get to Toronto. So I call Megabus to see if I can get pushed to the later bus. Megabus is cheap, thus, Megabus is cheap. Their customer service blows sometimes, but you get what you pay for. I get a woman with a very thick accent asking me if I have more than 24 hours before my departure. No, I say. She says, "ah, too badah. weah cannotah do anythingah." She didn't even offer to sell me a later ticket. I ask about it, she then proceeds to ask me what date I would like to travel. Today. PLEASE.

I decide that I am NOT going to sit at Buffalo Niagra Falls International airport for 8 hours waiting for a bus. There had to be another way. *cue lightbulb*

It wasn't my fault or even weather that caused me to miss my connection thus missing my bus. I went and found the closest, least stressed, least busy looking gate agents. "Excuse me, I have a question and I was hoping you'd be able to help me..." and I explained how I was going to Toronto, but because of the crew delay pushing my itinerary back, I would be missing my bus to Toronto. "Would it be possible for me to be put on a flight to Toronto instead of Buffalo?" She smiled and looked at the guy working with her. She tells him that she's got some new things for him to learn about re-routing passengers and their baggage. Jamie and Adam at NWA in Detroit, you are fabulous!

After about 30 minutes of phone calls, urgent messages and the like, I get sent on my way with a shiny new ticket to Toronto. WOOT! Titania 1, God Chaos 0.

So now I've got about 3 hours to kill at the airport, and I'm hungry, so I stop at Einstein Bagels. Lox is possibly one of the few foods that I will never ever turn down. I love the stuff. I thought I would treat myself to a toasty lox and creamcheese bagel. After ordering and paying, they call my name to tell me that they are out of lox. She asks me if I would like to order something else or if I would like a refund. I ask for the refund because I really just wanted lox. The manager comes over with my refund, and then offers me a sandwich on the house for the trouble. Titania 2, God Chaos 0.

Sometimes, everything goes wrong. Sometimes, everything goes wrong and you end up with a ticket to Toronto and an egg and cheese bagel sandwich.

(photograph by Sean Ryan of Toronto, also published at titanialyn.blogspot.com)

Friday, August 21, 2009

in love with leaving.

i keep telling myself and casually mentioning to others that i don't want to model for a living for too long. i've started to question whether that's me speaking, or the parts of me that are sympathetic to my lover who doesn't see me for months or the part of me that craves a consistent set of friends.

the truth is i love leaving places, people and things.

much of this comes from the knowledge that i'll be back eventually, and the reunion will be sweeter the more i take my time, but i think some strange fetish for goodbyes speeds me on my way as well. heather's post made me think quite a bit about this.

i feel it's impossible to do this any way but alone.

i spent 13 hours in my car yesterday between rochester, NY and nashville, TN with no companion but mary jane and my jumbled music collection. by the end of it all i was giddy and hallucinating. not in an anxious, tired sort of way either, i just saw dotted white lines in my dreams last night. the open road is more intoxicating than any drink you can pour me.

the truth is i am so in love with what i do, and how i do it, that it scares me a little.

the negative aspects of the industry bother me quite a bit as well, but i think it's my comfort and abandon that cause me to want to seek my bread and butter elsewhere. i'm sort of a damn fool, aren't i?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Your worth.. and how you look..

It is entirely about how you look... in some opinions.

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.” -Bertrand Russell

The truth of the matter is, it is about how you look, yes, but it's more about how others look at you, and how you see yourself.

There are numerous older & very continually successful models... whatever genre you look at. Fashion and Commercial genres are much more strict in some ways, but only sometimes.

Here are (http://www.zimbio.com/Supermodels/articles/t7CvTGDqynx/Supermodels+Without+Makeup) your supermodels... all of whom are in their later 40s (ish) and still working. They're still famous, iconic, and amazing because people still see them that way. They still see themselves that way. They've got saggy skin, droopy boobs, stretch marks, etc... but are still the unequaled & unmatched top supermodels. You don't have to be young and amazing forever.. just amazing.

There's also a goodly number of older fetish models, art models, and you-name-it models that are over 30 and still going quite strong.

There's no reason your world ends when your hips are wider then they used to be, boobs a little lower, or skin a little less resilient. Your world as a model simply then needs to be redefined.

Yes, for a good amount of time, you can coast your modeling based upon your youth & general appearance together, but the fact of the matter is, whether or not you've the skill and determination to retain your beauty and develop your skill enough to be in demand as your youth is slowly lost to time.

There are a number of models who will burnt out hard and fast. They party too hard, drink too much, hurt to much, and don't care enough to take care of themselves, emotionally or physically. They ride the world of youthful immortality. Shit catches up, and they learn lessons and life the hard way. Some learn enough to re-try, a new way. Some don't learn and fade away, run away, or go out kicking and screaming and cursing the world to the very end of their days.. constantly clinging to the lost yester years of their lives.

Some models age gracefully.. focusing on enhancing their skills and widening their abilities while caring for themselves. They get those lovely lines from decades of laughter and tears.. stretched skin from giving life, losing life, and loving life.. and there's something lovely about it still. They work, well and often, because they embrace their time in this world, and flourish in it. The world continues to see them as powerful, strong, beautiful women.. and desires to continue to see them as such.

You can not gauge your worth by your age, measurements, experience, etc. They're all factors in it, yes.. but in the end, you gauge what you're worth by what it's worth to you, and to those who observe, admire, desire, and are inspired of you.

My rate, Anna's rate, Cindy Crawford's rate... are all relative to each of us. Our appearance, skills, ages, sizes, etc.. are small factors in the over all whole that each one of us is.

As Raelyn stated.. you can choose to work with someone for the love of it. For lunch and a bus ride.. for garments you enjoy, shoes you obsess over, cash you need.. but in the end, each and every single individual arrangement and transaction is a variable of what it's worth to you and the person you're arranging with.

I've made $1000 in the same amount of time, doing the same amount of work, in the same genre, as I have in doing it in exchange for cookies, lovely work, and a hug.

It's all case by case. Take the dreams of art you make, the dreams of sex, the dreams of style, the dreams of torture.. and put a price tag on it. Then look at that dream again, as it changes for each shoot, each artist, each job, each day.. and tell me that it doesn't change.

Price tags are simply starting points. Pick yours.. but don't be afraid to sometimes forget that it's there. Sometimes, prices aren't worth the cost... and sometimes the cost is greater then the price tag.

Re-posted from the original location by request.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A weekend together

I got into my car at noon on a Saturday. As usual, it was a spectacular mess, suitcase of props and clothes in the backseat, "Vagina Dentata" (my piercing supplies toolbox, the box of sharp things) in the trunk, make up case on the floor. One motorcycle boot, 3 books on varying subjects, and a couple of cds floating in the undefined areas with my purse and a backpack full of normal people clothes and shower supplies. Filled up my gas tank. And off I went to Kansas City for GingerCon.

This is an entirely made up and unofficial convention, by the way. A group of MM models and photographers made their way by plane, car, and megabus to Kansas City from Texas, Philadelphia, varying points in the Midwest, and even the West Coast to hang out for a weekend, starting Friday (which I missed), and ending sometime Sunday-ish, though the last to leave didn't go until Wednesday or something. We were there to celebrate the loverly Ginger coming out of retirment as an art model.

My 3 hour drive turned into 4 as I drove through the hellish construction that overtakes the entire Midwest from the first day there is no snow until about 3 weeks after snow starts again in October. I stopped for cigarettes (they're $10 cheaper a carton in Missouri than Iowa, though still fire safe), and finally made it to Mary Wano's apartment to meet up with everyone. The assorted lovely ladies and less lovely but still awesome guys all hugged me, despite my disgusting layer of sunscreen and sweat, and we mobilized to go shoot.

6 models and 1 photographer (the group I was in) took off towards the middle of fucking nowhere, and ended up on the farm of a very nice lady. Stephen Melvin (photographer) went up to the house, while the ladies- JayElle, iMonstrosity, Stephy C, LauraT, Poses, and I all stripped down and started covering ourselves with sunscreen and bug spray. Stephen and the property owner arrived while we were all naked and oiling ourselves up. Luckily, the woman had been warned and was perfectly cheerful about a bunch of naked chicks wandering her property and climbing around on her stuff.

We spent about 2 hours molesting antique farm equipment, scrambling around on hay bales, and splashing (or attempting to stay dry) in a koi pond, before heading back to our cars (I'll edit this with pictures when I get them), and taking the drive back to KC for dinner with the rest of the group.

Dinner at Buca di Beppo, reserved and ordered in advance, bread, salad, 2 vegetarian dishes, and 3 meatetarian ones... 30 minutes of rearranging tables to fit all of us around one table where we could all move around AND talk to each other... Various conversations, professional, casual, and/or wildly innapropriate, and then there was cake (Thanks Larry and Ginger!), before we aimed ourselves back to Mary's house. Jess, Stella, and I made the liquor run, and returned to realize...Stella had the keys the whole time! The entire party was sitting in the hallway of the apartment, holding their booze, cameras, or wearing bandleader hats...

We made it inside, Ginger and Larry shot (with cameras, not projectiles) some secret peektures in the bedroom while Tia read passages out loud from a book of homo-poetry iMonstrosity gave me, and we all compared gory stories of piercing, fetish modeling, and dominatrix stuff. People piled on top of or petted other people. I pierced Stella, Laura, and Stephy. We drank more. I called the toolbox of piercing "The Vagina Dentata". Corwin was totally creeped out by that. It's now and forever going to be known as The Vagina Dentata - the box of sharp things. All day in the sun shooting and driving, on top of eating enough to put us in food comas, and a healthy dose of booze put us all to bed by sometime between 2 and 4 a.m.

I know. It's not the orgy you expect to hear about from a group of nude art models and photographers. There was nudity, but that's because we're all comfortable with it. Mostly, it was a lot of people with high stress, fast moving, jobs...Just relaxing together. There are pictures, and you may be surprised if you see them, because mostly...We're just scattered around a room talking, until we all went to our various spots to hide out and sleep.

I got up the next day around 9, made myself pretty for Ginger, and had the ladies assist me into lacing me into a corset. We shot. It was good times. I did a few more piercings. Stephy C is painfully adorable! Didn't get to spend nearly enough time with anyone that was there. Drove my 4 hours home.

And that...is what traveling art modeling is to me. Not nearly enough time for everything. Hello to artists I adore. Lonely shoe lying forlorn under the seat of my car. Possibly for weeks at a time. Minutes of splendid artistic collaboration and seemingly seconds of quality time with awesome people...And then the car. The plane. The last hug from a good friend before you turn the key in the ignition or board your flight. The trek home to try to untangle the fishnets that have wrapped themselves around your corset, stuck inside one of your knee high boots, because you didn't have time to re-pack properly.

**This is posted in two places**

I feel like such a...Photographer: g.Hansel

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Get on the bus. Fall asleep. Wake up and you're there.
Greeted by an old friend. A new friend. A complete stranger. A business partner. A lover.
Each city has its own flavour. Its own scent. Its own style.
Break bread over the table. The people you meet, you work with, you get stupid drunk with - for the time being, they are your family. To love, hate, dance with, tear apart, create with.
To hug goodbye, and get back on the bus, read the notes they left in your bag. Fall asleep. Wake up from the dream.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Am Me

Who am I? LT Smash. Traveling model. Glamour model. Crazy person. College student. The new kid on the nlock. I just started traveling this past year. I figured why not see the world and make some pretty peektures while I do it. I was always shy growing up so art and writings were my outlets for the things I couldn't say out loud. I needed an outlet. I found one. I was good at it. I continued to do it.

I'm originally from San Diego and now live in DC. It's much easier to have my dog taken care of when I live in a home with my dad. It also makes the trips that much more enjoyable. Now, if I could convince him to live on a beach I'd be set. I think this is why my trips are so frequent to CA because it's my home away from home.

This has given me the confidence to believe in myself. It's given me a set of friends from such different backgrounds I couldn't ask for more. The opportunity to travel and do what I love is something most wish they could do. Online classes also give me the opportunity to travel and get my degree. How long will I do this? I don't know. Who exactly am I? Not sure. All I know is that this is what I love to do and I'd love to share my experiences with anyone who is willing to listen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bleed for me.

Traveling [insert noun here]. Model. Sideshow performer. Piercer. All at the same time. None of the above.

I model as a hobby. I model to express myself. To get out of the skin I've so painstakingly designed and poked until it's somewhere close to fit me. To put my outsides on display. To show you my insides. To share the unrelenting, dangerously obsessive love I have for art. Especially the kind in flesh. Also, it looks cool on myspace.

I travel intermittently, often for piercing conventions, mostly limited to the midwest, and while I'm out, I usually model for someone, even if it's for 10 minutes when we meet for a drink while I'm in their town. I get to work with new photographers, old photographers, people who are better than me, people who are willing to push down the gag reflex to hold the camera, people who turn me into the kind of frozen storyline I want to be, and, on a good day at least, artists of the highest caliber.

I think I have very little to contribute, besides acerbic wit, and the kind of experiences you only get when someone is bleeding and/or naked in a public place.

I also fail at introductions, so I leave you with one of the first times my two artforms violently collided. Suspension by Leo Zeibol and Wayde Dunn. Body Paint by Lara Bullets and Emily Svec. Photo skillz by Mel, of Live Boulevard

I have no idea why this picture won't be small.

Notes on travel and trust

I’m Kari Marie, and for the moment I’ve got more to say here about traveling than modeling. I promise I’ll get to the naked part next time around, and I hope you’ll forgive me in the meantime. I've always been a fan of traveling. Even before I fell into modeling, I had chronic wanderlust. New places bring new adventures, and new adventures make me a happy girl. But adventures don't just fall into one's lap. More and more, I'm finding that my travels and life become richer the less fear I hold.

We live in a culture of such fear- fear of strangers on the street, fear of strangers on the internet, fear of new places, fear of boxcutters, fear of unpredictable Bad Things which, without constant vigilance, will surely destroy all which is good in our lives. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a call to throw all caution to the wind. Let me emphasize that- the world is not all rainbows and puppies, and there are some truly ill-intentioned individuals out there. This is, however, a suggestion to really evaluate exactly what those risks of which we're so afraid are.

Time and time again, when sharing stories, I'm asked, "Aren't you afraid?" Am I afraid of hitching rides in rural Ecuador? No, it's practically a form of public transportation through the area. Am I afraid of moving by myself to a place where I know no one? No, I'll meet people once I'm there. Am I afraid of working with photographers found on Craig's List? No, the skeezy ones tend to make themselves obvious within the first few e-mails exchanged. Am I afraid of staying with folks I've never personally met, but found on low-budget traveler networking websites? No, I'm on those sites too, and I think I'm pretty nifty- I've no reason to believe there aren't others like me. Not only am I unafraid of these actions, but my life has been enriched immeasurably by doing all of them. I’ve met countless wonderful, inspirational individuals simply by stepping off of the evenly paved, handrail-lined, clearly marked path.

The funny thing is, the more I put trust in others, the more self-reliant I become. I'm no longer confined to a safe, sterile bubble, isolated from any and all chance of the unexpected. As it turns out, the unexpected tends to be pretty nifty. Things can and will go wrong, but I can handle them. I am not helpless in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Had I spent my life playing it safe, I would not have the confidence in that statement that I do today. So go forth, travelers- get your hands dirty, make friends with a stranger, and let the adventures begin.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'm Raelyn Monstrosity. Self-Dubbed Naked Vagabond [of doom]. Everything sounds better if you add the word "Doom" to it.
Lately I've been a homebody, which means I'm getting boring, but ya know. I'll get back on with the traveling modeling when the time is right, and until then . . .

I get messages occasionally asking me stuff. So . . . Random travel advice. Cause I'm not doing anything tonight and feel like typing.

1) Make sure you can afford your trip, before you ever start out.

1a)Money is tight, and it gets even tighter when your income isn't secure. If you can't afford to get where you are going, you might arrive screwed. Don't count money before its in your pocket (I find myself doing this all too often). Have back up plans in case you get canceled or flaked on (this happens often, be prepared). If money becomes a focal point, it will stress you out and make you angry at people who can't afford your rate (no fault of theirs, money is tight for everyone), whereas if its a footnote, you will have the chance to love what you do and it will show.

1b) Driving is good if you have multiple people or really good gas mileage. I don't drive, so I can't tell you anything about it. I took Greyhound everywhere. You know a lot of Greyhound routes, you can get cheaper if you buy in advance. Because I liked being flexible, I rarely took advantage of this, and now I feel dumb. Also, take Greyhound often, and they give you 'Road Rewards' if you sign up for the club. This makes it even cheaper - much like airmiles. Megabus and Bolt bus are also really really cheap travel modes, for the regions they cover - particularly if you know where you are going weeks in advance. My kid brother just booked a trip from Ann Arbor to Chicago in a couple weeks, for $28.50 roundtrip (he used my debit card. Gah!). And some areas (like New England) have a Chinatown bus, it costs like $10 and comes and goes every hour or two.
The sooner you buy your plane/train ticket, the less expensive it can be as well.
Also, traveling on Monday-Thursday is best. Weekend travel is usually hiked up in price, and you deal with more people due to weekend traveling. So if you're attempting to book a weekend someplace head out Thursday evening and return on Monday.

1c) Start out small. You don't want to begin with something 2000 miles away from home. Try a city that is a couple hours away. Slowly branch out. Chances are, you'll book better your second time in a city, and you'll book better in locations where people know who you are. Financially, its better to work your way out.

1d) Many photographers and artists will feed you. Many won't. I like people who feed me. I'm more inclined to like photographers who feed me. Sometimes, I'll ask for it as a part of my slightly reduced rate, so that I know I am eating, because I may neglect to get food if it means dipping into money I know I'll need for the bus. Photographers, even if its just a peanut butter sandwich or some vegetables, try to feed your models. And models, see what you can do about ensuring that you are eating.
I've met some really awesome cooks while traveling. And eaten at some pretty cool places. <3

2) Get to know people.
If you take the time to interact, travelers help each other, and share experiences.
If you know people in different cities, you'll find yourself with more places to stay, and less of the need for hotels and hostels. You can crash on a friend's sofa. Or if you don't have a place to stay, hotels offer privacy and a shoot location, whereas hostels are less expensive and offer you people who are willing to help you out at any point of time. When I was at Music City Hostel in Nashville, one of the staff ladies came to my door and offered to make me tea. In Montreal at Le Gite du Plateau Mont-Royal, everyone helped dig each other's cars out of the snow. And the Adelaide in San Francisco, many employees also lived there, so it felt like one big family.
If you're getting bored with the books you have brought with you, talking to other travelers could result in an exchange of books, or music. Some will help you carry your things. Sometimes food if you've both packed some with you. There was a guy in Denver who swapped books (Asimov for Machiavelli FTW!), food, and great conversation for hours while waiting for the bus.

3) Always keep a collection of interesting reads.
You may like Harry Potter, but it won't make a good travel companion.
Find books that read slowly, but make you think. Some of the best books you can find for the road are books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig, or On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Cater to suit your interests.

4) Research the area you are going to.
Before you arrive, you will want to know a bit about the city. Chances are, if its a big city like NYC or Chicago, public transit will get you everywhere, and be cheaper and more convenient than driving. Have an idea how to get to and from everywhere you plan to go. In cities like Los Angeles, the public transit isn't very good, so you'll want to know how you are getting around without it. Discuss it with anyone you'll be meeting up with who is local. They may be willing to give you a ride, they may just expect you to show up.
Know a few cafes or diners, just in case you have to meet up with someone or will want a place to sit down for a bit. Sometimes you just need some energy. Having a location in mind helps, and you could find a quaint little cozy artsy place instead of a Starsucks. If you're interested in the local food, you might want to look up that as well.
Also know where the clinics, hospitals, and emergency dentists are on the just in case factor. The day before Valentines Day this year, my left front tooth exploded in my mouth in Philadelphia. Fortunately, a 15 minute walk away was a 24 hour emergency dentist. Saved my butt.

5) Know where you are going.
The sooner you know where you will be going, the sooner you can make plans for travel and places to stay, and the sooner photographers and artists can plan to have you in their studios.

6) Take breaks.
Modeling is hard work. Unless its something you have done full time yourself, its kind of hard to comprehend. But modeling wears very heavily on the body and spirit. Constantly physically pushing your body, constantly being subjected to criticism, constantly trying to find and network to new people, trying to keep contact with people you already know. If you push yourself too hard, you will break down or become jaded. Don't let this happen - give yourself some time to breathe once in a while.

7) Talk to other models.
Many other models travel. Many of them know who is good or not good to shoot with. Many of them know neat locations. Many of them will help you out. Talk to other models, traveling models and local models in your field of interest. In exchange, share your knowledge when you can. Karma baby, make it a community.

8) Telephones
Have one on you everywhere all the time. Make sure it has plenty of minutes and unlimited texting, and emails. You could be on the train back from a shoot, and get a last minute booking from someone who's model flaked. They'll appreciate you coming in, and you'll benefit too. You could lose your internet, and need another way to get a hold of your photographers. Make yourself constantly available for communication.
Cellphones can also now come with GPS, MP3s, internet, IMing, maps, alarms, calenders, and all sorts of other useful tools.

9) Barter.
Sometimes you may not have the means for something. This is where barter is good. Photographer pays your plane ticket in exchange for a half day shoot? Awesome. Don't charge them, go, shoot your half a day with them as top priority, book more shoots while in town. Hungry and cannot afford to eat? Sometimes photographers or artists who cannot afford your rate will gladly give you a meal or two in exchange for an hour or so of your time. Want a guide around the city and cannot find one? Need shoot clothes? Barter.

10) Pack food.
You never know when those peanut butter cookies or the granola bars will come in handy. They're small and can be shoved anywhere.

11) Big cities are awesome and full of people. Little towns are awesome and probably don't get a whole lot of models. Find out where you would do the best going to. Many locations don't get many traveling models for a reason, and many locations get lots of them for a reason.

12) Learn local laws
Because you're going to break them. Certain areas of certain cities, you can be topless or nude in public. Certain other places will charge you for sexual offenses if they catch you topless in the woods. You may break into abandoned buildings, trespass. Know what you are up against.

13) Have a slip dress, long coat, or tube dress in your suitcase. Bring it to any shoots that have the potential of being outside. They are quick to get on and off, and usually don't leave lines. Make sure it looks casual, and not like something for posing.

14) Don't
Flake. This makes models look bad, angers the photographer, and just is drama for everyone.
Bring your boyfriend/mother/sister/ whatever. Yeah. Just, no.
Demand that you get paid, just cause you think you should be. You don't decide if you are worthy of it. Artists do.

15) Camera
Bring one. There will be lots of cool things you'll run across. Taking pictures, even snapshots will be fun and keep them with you. You could even post them on your blog.

16) Keep a blog.
Blogs let people know about you. You can post more pictures of you. You can tell about all your adventures. You can show off the images you take of landmarks and such. You can write poetry. You can express your political beliefs. You can do just about anything with it, and many photographers will feel more connected to you after reading it, and more inclined to want to meet/shoot with you.

17) Websites.
Be on as many websites as possible for networking. OneModelPlace, ModelMayhe, ModelBrigade, ModelInsider, Musecube, PaidModels. . .
Network and promote like crazy. to find shoot offers.

Let people get to know you on myspace or twitter. Whatever. Respond to and post ads on craigslist. Make a wikipedia entry about yourself if you deem it useful.

But also, read up on travel websites. Examples are:

18) Trusting
Trusting in people and communicating will take you further- by opening yourself to people, you receive any help or advice they can offer.
Trusting yourself to make things work will give you confidence to make things flow. Don't despair, just tell yourself that you will make things happen. Always do what is right for you.
Trust the universe, god, karma, FlyingSpaghettiMonster, whatever you believe in that you will be on the path you need to be, and everything you experience is a step to help you grow.

19) Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long. . .
A good friend of mine likes driving around a lot at night. Sometimes when we hang out, he just circles the area, around Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Toledo. One day he was talking about driving. How, when you go down the highway, there is nowhere to go but forward. You can't just park your car in the middle of the fast lane, and expect it to be okay. Its gonna get crunched quickly. And hurt someone along the way. You've got to keep going. Sometimes, you'll hit an exit or a fork in the road, and you'll have to decide which way to take. Sometimes you know already. Sometimes you're uncertain. But once you've picked your lane, you can't just change your mind. Keep riding it to see where it goes. The highway has hills, sometimes mountains or tunnels. There are areas that are a bit bumpy, or that have not recently been repaired. But they still get you there in the end.

20) Travel light.
You may want every outfit you own to come with you. But how the hell do you expect to carry all that? Find one big suitcase that you can easily carry, and keep no more than what fits in that. Mine is a giant duffel bag with wheels and backpack straps. That thing is a life saver. Holy crap. Before that I had two medium sized hand help suitcases that equaled 60 lbs that I had a hard time carrying. I'd have to get a taxi for 6 blocks of walking to the subway, Now I can move about on my own again, free!

21) Get a passport.
You can't get out of the USA or travel internationally without a passport. If you want to travel internationally, you're going to want a passport.
Learn what to say at the border. No work visa? No working, got it? Work visas take time to get and may cost money. So either try to finagle a way around it, or find a way to make getting one profitable.

22) Itinerary
Have one. Know where you will be. When you will be there. How you will get there. Who you will be meeting up with. Content you are shooting. Phone numbers, addresses, etc. This will keep you organized, and serve to make sure you know all the details of what you are doing.
Keep it either semi-public (like an online calendar with the photographer's names) or send it in full to a friend. This will provide a last known location should you disappear.

23) Carry a notebook. Write down everything. What you're doing. What thoughts come to mind. What you're eating. Your health. Anything that crosses the mind.

24) Keep a list of what photographers in what city want to shoot with you. Contact them when you know you will be in their area. Sometimes they will contact you saying 'if ever in my city', so make sure you know who they are for when you come to their city.

25) Let your photographers tell you what they will pay you until you know what you are worth to them. Some models easily can charge $150 an hour per shoot and some can barely hope to make $50 for a half day shoot. You don't determine what an artist will pay you. They do. You don't outright deserve to be paid, you earn it.

26)Have fun.
Its an adventure after all. If you aren't fully enjoying yourself, you aren't doing it right.

Add your own. :)

(Photo by Jennifer Ilene)

If you're coming my way...

... I promise we'll have a good time!

I'm Titania Lyn, naked nerd. I'm from Milwaukee, and I've been modeling as my main bread and butter for almost two years now. Most of that work is booked while I travel. Sometimes, I'm only home for 4 days out of a month! My work consists of mostly nude (art and glamour) images. Sometimes I'm just really goofy. (SOMETIMES?? whatevs, Titania, whatevs)

Anyway, seems like one of my hobbies is hosting traveling models when they come to Milwaukee. I love making sure that my favorite people are picked up at the airport, fed, and feel at home. I know how much it sucks to have to stay in sterile hotel rooms by yourself, or with people who just don't "get it". It's great to be able to bring these top-notch models into Milwaukee so that the photographers here that I've become friends with have the opportunities that photographers in the bigger cities get to work with true professionals who rock each shoot.

My list of lovely boarders (and sometimes drive-by location shooting at my house) includes: Raelyn (my new roomate!! YAY!), Engel, Iona Lyn, Victoria Vertuga, Model Sarah, Xclrmoon, London Andrews, and soon Kimberly Marvel, Susie Belle, Betzu and Carlotta Champagne. All of these girls are like sisters to me! We share stories, share meals, swap wardrobe, go out, have fun.

You ladies are spectacular.

(photograph by Asher Love from Chattanooga)

Friday, July 24, 2009

An idea...

I know I, as well as other models, often are asked about our experiences when we travel.

I'm horrible at remembering to blog, I admit it. But as part of my attempt to do better at this, I'm inviting other models who travel full-time or regularly, or simply just often.. maybe just once in a while.. to contribute as well.

This is a space for your experiences, adventures, anecdotes, etc. This is for the good, the bad, the ugly, and the silly. Photos, poems, stories, haikus.. whatever you're moved to contribute about your life as a traveling model.

I ask that there's no negative outing in submitted posts. If you have a bad experience, leave a contact email address in your posting, so that others may request full disclosure at their leisure.