1. As a photographer, where do you draw your inspiration?
- It’s the most cliché sentiment by far and if I were the interviewer I may (secretly) roll my eyes at this response but the answer is … (drumroll).. everywhere! I find human beings so interesting and I love to watch people. I love magazines and books and movies. I’ve been walking in the supermarket and had ideas. For my personal work, I’m a really big fan of Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, they’ve created so much amazing work it’s mind boggling in the best way ever.
2. You’ve had two successful gallery showings so far. Tell us about what preparation goes into that.
- There are a few psychotic episodes, a couple days of unparalleled stress levels, a bit of ‘what the hell did I get myself into’ and then I usually get up and start checking things off one by one. Once I decide on the theme for the show, I usually spend some time letting my mind wonder to come up with the different ways I can approach the topic and what aspects of it appeal to me. I don’t block any ideas. I like to think about everything and then think about how I can get them done. I’m not opposed to pissing people off when its suitable, I think people need to be stirred up from time to time.
3. Any setbacks or blunders in the preparation process?
- There are always setbacks, sometimes they open the door for something new and interesting and sometimes they just make you want to drop the proverbial mike and exit stage left. A few days before my first showing all the prints came back wrong, I had a full melt down and then ran around like a crazy person trying to get it sorted. I got it done in time, but that was a real test of patience and really reminded me how to keep calm. I felt like I was balancing on the precipice of losing my shit completely. It all worked out though and that made the show even better, just knowing that I got it all done in such a short space of time. And everyone that came had a great time and the show got great reviews.
4. Being a former model & former Miss Barbados Universe contestant, does that help to give you a slightly different perspective while shooting?
- It does actually, if there’s a particular feel or pose I want and the models don’t get it I usually show them. It’s also pretty useful because I keep up with what’s current and it helps me to hone in on the ‘feel’ I want for the particular shoot. I know what to expect and what can be made better. I also see things in ‘final product’ mode, not just what’s in front of the camera. I’m able to see how the images and poses will translate once they’ve been released. I think it also makes me easier to work with because I know what the person is feeling. Not everyone can turn it on at a moment’s notice and the camera can tend to feel very intrusive to some.
5. Actually, how did you get into modeling & pageantry?
- Funny story actually, I was a complete tomboy who happened to have the long slender body type and a gang of friends who thought I needed an over haul. They basically convinced me to trade my flip flops and baggy jeans for mascara and high heels. Shortly after that they convinced me to get involved with the Mr & Ms Communifesta pageant. That was an interesting experience- to go from zero to ultra feminine in a couple weeks but I had a fantastic time with the entire thing. To this day we still laugh about it.
6. When & how did that transition from modeling into photography occur?
- I’ve always loved the imagery of fashion and the appeal of photography. My first love in the area was dissolving myself in my mothers fashion magazines (she’s a seamstress). I’d spend hours on weekends just looking at the images and how the models presented themselves.
7. Do you see yourself doing any kind of modeling in the near future?
- Yes, because I love every aspect of it. I love that I’m still in my measurements and that I’m still excited about the process. Though I spend the majority of the time on the other end of the equation, I’d still like to work with some photographers as a subject.
8. What was your experience in Miss Barbados Universe like?
- It was surreal. It’s a very intense experience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It definitely wasn’t what I expected but some of the girls in my round were a joy to be around and we’re still friends.
9. What would you say are the misconceptions of models/pageant queens?
- That any of it is easy. It’s not as simple as tossing on a pair of heels and strutting. There’s a lot of personal work to be done as well as physical training. If one wants to do well, the level of dedication necessary is nothing to take lightly. Knowing the business for what it is and realizing what you can get from it is also really important.
10. Being in the industry of the arts in Barbados-and by extension, the Caribbean- for as long as you have. What would you say that the industry can improve on?
- We don’t support our own, that’s our biggest fault in my opinion. We do on paper, but when it comes down to ‘repping’ our people and coming together to produce international quality work to aid in planting Barbados properly on the map, we’re very frivolous as a people. Unless someone from overseas gives one of us a stamp of approval there’s virtually no support.
11.Now, what about your singing talent? Have you been in the studio?
- I haven’t been back to a studio in a while. I’ve been so attached to my camera the last couple years and working to get my business where I want it to be that I’ve ended up putting performing off for a bit. I’m still keeping myself sharp, I spend time with fellow artists whenever I can and I’m always working on improving. Its something I will definitely get back to, hopefully in the near future. Maybe secure some gigs and work up from there.
12. What genre do you feel most at ease with?
- I love anything with a definite jazz feel, or very soulful music. Music that you can feel and identify with will always be at the top of the list with me.
13. Is there possibly an album in the works?
- I’ve wanted to do one for a while, we’ll see how it goes. I’m definitely making the effort to record more in the near future.
14. Advice for aspiring industry professionals or anything you would like to include on a much more personal note?
- The way I look at things “Work your ass off, push hard and when you think you’ve done everything you can do, try something new. There is no ‘Plan B’. If you want something go after it … period. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something.