Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Confessions of a terrible Goth model

I think the idea occurs to many young Gothlings at some stage, whether it be during the floundering babybat years, or that horrible moment when you suddenly realise that your blue hair and spiderweb tattoos aren't going to go down well in the job market. "I know - I'll be a Goth model!"

Goth models are one of the most common sources of fashion and make-up inspiration within the subculture; I've had the pleasure myself of meeting Lady Amaranth and Nenedhel Absynthium at DV8 Fest and I can tell you that, in person, your 'average' alt model is usually the best-dressed person in the spooky club. Some Goth models are very well-known and have a huge fan base - I'm sure you'll have heard of at least a couple of the following: Razor Candi, Adora BatBrat, Wednesday Mourning, Drastique, Aprella, Donna Ricci, Countess Grotesque, Mistabys, Cienwen Noor, Nephania, Amanda Tea, Laureli Slaughter and more besides.

With these examples in mind, when I turned sixteen I began attempting to break into the world of Goth modelling, under the name Artemis K. Now, there are thousands upon thousands of Goth models, so it isn't an easy task even if you have some knowledge about the industry. Which I didn't. Nevertheless I set myself up a Model Mayhem account, hoping to book some TFP shoots (time for prints; free shoots in which you and the photographer exchange your valuable time in return for, hopefully, some good pictures) and begin building my portfolio. I put up various amateur snaps that Dan had taken to give people some idea of what I looked like - including, aargh, some of the dodgy babybat snaps I posted for your amusement a while back. Well, I told you I was proud of them at the time!

Did the offers come rolling in? Haha, not quite. In fact, the first few comments I had advised that I should do something with my hair (which turned out to be good advice, actually, but wasn't exactly the response I was looking for).

The first offer I received for a TFP shoot was, again, far from what I was looking for. I was underage and not interested in fetish or nude shoots anyway (I know they can be very beautiful and artistic, it's just not something I'd be comfortable with), so I was quite startled when I checked my inbox and received a suggestion for a 'striptease' style photoshoot, starting with stockings and suspenders and ending with, uh, rather less than that. o.O My response, a tad unprofessionally, can be roughly paraphrased as, "Dude, I'm SIXTEEN."

At last a nice chappie (who's name, in a terrible lapse of memory, I can't remember) tentatively suggested that my chaperone (read: mother) and I meet up with him for a coffee to discuss some ideas. I was overjoyed. I printed off a stack of images that inspired me, and got dressed up in what I felt was a cute-but-casual Gothy outfit, and we got on the train to Basingstoke.

We met the photographer at Starbucks. He was a pleasant, quite young man with ginger hair and a very expensive laptop, which we huddled around as he proceeded to show us the images he was inspired by, and a few he wanted to attempt recreating. I was pleased to note that some of the images we had each brought with us were the same. However, I think my downfall was that I was (and still am) shy almost to a fault, so I didn't say much at all or put forward any of my own ideas. Worse yet, my mother had loads of imaginative ideas and comments that she was happy to share! I'm not sure whether I came across as a sullen teen or simply someone with no ideas whatsoever, but after a cup of coffee and a pleasant chat, we went our separate ways and I never heard from the nice photographer again!

The second photographer I met up with was named Andy. I was INCREDIBLY nervous before my first - and as it turned out, only - shoot, not least because I knew we were going to be shooting in public places around my hometown!

My first mistake was to dress down and keep my make-up simple. I'd like to say I wanted to be a blank canvas, but no - I was too scared to walk into the coffee shop where we were meeting in full ubergoth regalia.

And again, my shyness caught me out in a big way. As soon as Andy lifted the camera, the hours I'd spent practising flattering and dynamic poses fell out of my mind - all I could think to do was to look moody and put my hands on my hips. In. Every. Picture. With heavy direction Andy did manage to coax a few decent poses out of me, but I still looked somewhere between sullen and terrified in each and every shot, as well as being half-blinded by the reflectors and unable to change my facial expression. My face just froze!

After I received the four snaps that Andy managed to salvage from the day's work, I didn't hear from Andy again, either!

And I have decided that, just maybe, the life of an alternative model is not quite the right career path for me! Well, at least I got to have my photo taken by a professional... :-)

I regret wearing the white bra... :-/

This was described on Model Mayhem as a 'soft expression on a tough exterior'.
Nope, that's terror.

All photos (c) Andy Stubbs.


The Green Fairy said...

I really like the second one! I'm no professional model, heaven knows :P But I've found these few pieces of info helpful;

If you don't know what to do with your hands, play with you hair, face, clothes or interact with your surroundings if you can. Makes me feel less awkward :P As for expressions..Hmm I guess warm up your face? And think about something that reminds you of the emotion you want to outwardly express.

Desdemona said...

Ahh I did the same thing when I was 18. I had one very awkward photoshoot, with a lack of pose ideas and my mom being more social than me. It was the only shoot I've done. My self confidence was shot for several months after I received the photos, because out of 250 images there were maybe 5 that I found to be decent. I still can't look at those photos, even though I do look quite different now. I don't enjoy getting my picture taken either.

Dirgesinger said...

Hey, you are beautiful. And the pictures are also great:)Once I had a shoot myself but I am not at all a model. Yours are way better!

MissGracie said...

I was never really interested in being a model, I just assume it wouldn't work out. There are quite a few people already doing that, and quite a lot more trying to do it. I would rather just have people modeling my clothing someday, lol.

Unlacing the Victorians said...

Kudos for trying. It is pretty tough to be a model- very few people have the ability to do what is needed for such photoshoots. I hate having attention drawn to me- I would probably freeze up as you did.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Excerpts From Hell said...

I'm personally a model (by no means alternative but not exactly catalog either).....and I think those images look great.

It took me upwards of five years to get to the point that I'm at now (which I consider to be a whole lot better then I was). Modeling is a hard gig and not many people realise it before trying it.....and then apolagize later for all the things they've said about me just having to stand there and look pretty.....

I personally give applause to anyone willing to try it. Because being a shy girl myself I understand that its super hard to get up the courage to look a fool in front of people.....

That would be my most recent ish adventures in case you'd like a reference.....

Tenebris In Lux said...

I also like the second photo and the last photo ^^

Sure, modeling isn't for everyone. I know a lot of people like outfit posts, so I try to do those. But the best way to get a base, I think, is to spread the word. There are several different hosting sites where models have put their stuff: sites like Model Mayhem all the way to DeviantArt.

VictorianKitty (Sophistique Noir) said...

Hey, at least you gave it a shot! I'm willing to bet you could learn the needed skills with time and practice. Maybe hire someone to do a few new portfolio shots, and try again?

Emily Lynn G. said...

Yes, the second one is the best!! Being a model, subculture or not, is rough. I love posing but am never happy with how a camera captures me- my sister is the only one who can get my good face. Wither way, everybody should have &some* professional photos... great for any way going into a business, and a ego booster! ;)

Angel of Darkness said...

I have to say you've got gutts. I couldn't do that, no way! I hate attention on me at all. I much rather be the photographer, which I hope to be one day.

gothicgirl said...

hi amy if you haven't covered it already if you could please do a post on weddings that would be amazing! I'll be getting married soon and i always find your blog a great resource for information and inspiration.

also, never stop what you do. I think all your readers brains, (including myself) would melt if we couldn't get our dose of UGG :)

CNGB said...

I don't think a model of any kind would be right for me. I don't really tend to like being thrown in front of a camera . . . now paper along with writing utensils, yes, but not a camera.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

My singing teacher asked me why I'm not a model. "Too short." I said. "And I like food too much."

I would like to be a goth model, of course, but I'm too realistic - when opening an opera is more realistic than being a model, you know your dreams have issues.

Nox Artemis said...

Yeah, the option of being an alternative model crossed my mind, but for now, I'd rather model for fun with my friends. I do it for the traveling experience too (I might whine about how boring my home area is, but the metro-Detroit area has a helluva lot of Gothic and Romanesque-styled cathedrals as it turns out!). The closest I've come to professional modeling: I'm a member of a Victorian Mourning group on Facebook and I posted a really fancy picture of myself that I took with some friends at a local cemetery. The women who heads the group saw it, and asked if she could have my permission to use it in her upcoming book on Victorian fashion. So me and my photographer (my friend from high school, heh) signed some release forms and presto. :)

Maybe some other opportunities will come up after this, but I'm content to tell my grand-nieces and nephews, "ya see hur? I was a looker back in ma' day!"

Anyway, your photos look awesome. It'd be nice to have at least one professional photo shoot as you did. :D

Fae said...

Has anyone else noticed that Amy is so damn beautiful ???

ultimategothguide said...

@ The Green Fairy - thanks ^^ that's the kind of thing I try to bear in mind when doing photoshoots for fun with Dan. It's much easier when I'm really at ease with the person behind the camera.

@ Desdemona - you have no idea how much of a relief it is to know I wasn't the only one!

@ Dirgesinger - aw, thank you! :-)

@ MissGracie - fair enough! If you ever fancy sending me some samples I'd always be delighted to review *shameless attempt at scoring new stuff* ;-)

@ Unlacing the Victorians - thanks! I meant it to be funnier but I still feel so embarrassed about it that I got awkward and rushed writing the post! >.<

@ Excerpts From Hell - you've hit the nail on the head; I was so terrified of looking a fool that I didn't relax or experiment which ended up... making me look a bigger fool! I agree it's hard work I could never do it for a living... one day was stressful/terrifying/yet awesome enough!

@ VictorianKitty - I'm not as keen on the idea as I was... although if I was ever offered the opportunity to work with a photographer again I certainly would, if only because I love having my picture taken!

@ Emily Lynn - I know how you feel, Dan can get a good shot of me but with everyone else I look either dorky or angry. :-/

@ Angel of Darkness - haha, thanks!

@ GothicGirl - sure! In the meantime, I wrote a Goth weddings article for Mookychick some time ago, you might already have seen it:

Thanks so much! <3

@ CNGB - I'm with you. Stick to what you know!

@ Kitty - I think you should give it a go. Those shots of you and Sary in Berry were awesome. Challenge stereotypes!!

@ Nox Artemis - talk about a Gothygirl's dream come true, being featured in a Victorian fashion book! I has a slight jealous...

@ Fae - I think I love you a little bit ^^

Fae said...


Fae said...

Tha made my day

Phoenix said...

Damn you're gorgeous. I really love that second photo by Andy. Really good read :)

Chloë Noir said...

I like this photos of you. Especially the and the second first one. You really are nice :)

I was always the gray mouse, the invisible and ugly one.
When I "gone goth", I gained some self-confidence.
When I first started posting some of my "selfportraits" on my blog and received some positive reactions, I was soooo happy (but really..some of the photos were....horrible :D ).
I started to be more satisfied with myself (and somehow more narcisstic, too :D ).
I continued with taking photos,I registred on some modeling pages (model mayhem for example), and was so happy when someone commented my photo or profile.
Last year an Italian photographer wrote me on MM, that he will be in Košice.
I didn´t wanted at first, but...I decided to go.
I was a little bit scared (an adult man whom I didn´t know and his girlfriend, a dark evening and an old abadoned factory...and I...:D )...
But it came out great, we had fun and we met two more times that year. I have great photos and I´m happy :D (the first photos were little bit awkard...I´m shy, and it was dark, I didn´t have my glasses, i didn´t know what to do with my hands and it was cold...:D)
But most of my photos are taken by my friend, with my camera (I feel the best by her side and we laugh a lot) because...not many photographer here do photos in this style, and if, than many of them want money..and I´m only willing for TFP :D
I would like to be a model...just for hobby :D I like it :D

Ellen said...

Hi, Amy I'm an. Alternative Model in the U.S. and I was Wondering if you ever thought about interviewing some Alternative Model's. If so I would love to volunteer also if you are still interviewing fellow Goths I'd love to do that too.

Lawren Aycock-Charbonnet said...

My name is Lawren and I work for

Recently I found a profile using one of your pictures and I wanted to know if it was you.

If it is just let me know. If it is not, the site admins require a salute before they will delete any fake. It must be a valid vf salute or a clearly stated salute that mentions you have no vf. is my account, and you can also email me at

Gothica Gothique said...

I've dabbled in modeling, even wrote a little ebook meant for teenagers advising on how to get into it -- ultimately the places where I've lived never had an adequate industry and I wasn't so serious about modeling that it was worth it to me to move to NY where the majority of modeling jobs are to be found.

Probably good for teenagers to be interested in modeling though -- it allows them to get plenty of pictures of themselves while they're still young and probably as good-ooking as they'll ever be.

Delilah said...

I stumbled upon this post while looking for something on google.. and I really enjoyed it. You're so sweet and funny :)

Also, you got an awesome look. Too bad you gave up (for now) :)

Thanks for sharing :)

@WriterSherry said...

I really like the last photo. It looks like a book cover. Hmmm...

If you have a minute, check out my books!

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