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

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 ( 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 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.