Positivity is a word that springs to mind when describing my next guest on the Alt Girl botherer blog. Today I’m delighted to be able to welcome the wondrous Temptation to my pages. I was first alerted to this magnificent model’s work via my facebook page; such stunning imagery, with powerful themes and emotions running throughout. To merely call Temptation a model would be a mistake, because along with superb images she also has a magnificent message. That message being everyone of us is beautiful, and we shouldn’t be shackled by anyone else’s idea of beauty. Talking with Temptation over the course of this interview has been an uplifting experience. I’ve so enjoyed researching her work, and so enjoyed putting this article together. I hope I am able to introduce some new fans to her work, and share her positive energy with all my readers.
Welcome Temptation. It’s great to be able to feature you on my blog. How are you doing today?
I’m doing great!! It has been an absolutely beautiful day today.
Model, artist, spokesperson, mentor, mother… I could go on and on about your amazing qualities Temptation. You’re a character and personality that I had to feature on my pages. I reached out to you after being introduced to your modelling, but there is so much to talk about in this piece. I’ll jump right in and ask where the “character” of Temptation comes from? Who is this positive and powerful woman in the photographs?
“Temptation” comes from a place where I used to want to be. I wanted to be desired, wanted, yet not in the way most may take that statement. I didn’t want men to drool over me or write me dirty messages, but I wanted to be wanted. I wanted people to look at my photos and be ‘Tempted’ to put themselves out there. I wanted them to be ‘Tempted’ to show off their curves, their bodies to the world. I wanted them to be ‘Tempted’ to be bold and believe in their beauty. As I started to believe in myself and my beauty, I became more confident. I started to believe in the power within myself, the power I had to convey true confidence and self worth to others that may be lacking in those areas.
When did your modelling journey begin? What was it that made you step in front of the camera that first time, and did you have any idea what to expect or where you wanted to go in the industry? My journey started back in 2010. I was feeling down and just really low about myself. I was trying to recover from a really bad eating disorder that I had and was having a pretty hard time. My sister has always wanted to be a photographer and the day she got her own pro camera she asked to take some photos of me. At first, I was a bit standoffish but I did it. I didn’t do it for her, or for me. I did it for other women struggling with the same issues. We looked over the photos and I was in pure shock. I LOVED them!!! They were beautiful and AMAZING! I was so proud of both of us. We continued to do these random shoots to build both of our skills and portfolios; little did I know it was also building my confidence. I started submitting my photos to different places but never thought I’d be where I am now!! Featured in 5 magazines, a few runway shows and a bunch of online publications!!!
You’ve been in the industry for over two years now, what can you remember from those first few shoots? What emotions did you experience in the lead up to your first shoot and how do you think those pictures turned out?
Oh geez!! I was soooo nervous!! It was so scary and I couldn’t really believe I was even doing it. I remember just thinking “Be pretty” “Loosen up” “Suck in your stomach” “Push out your booty” lol So many different things running through my mind. The photos actually turned out alright. They were for the NOH8 movement for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered rights and I had a few featured on some different websites!
How do you feel about them term plus size model? Is it a title that bothers you as you make your way in your career, or is it more a badge of honour you wear that makes you stand out from the pack?
Well, I actually get this question a lot. The answer is simple, I am proud. I love who I am. Unlike the girl I was during my first few shoots, I love ME. I love my curves, my shape, my body… everything. And the fact of the matter is, I AM plus sized. I am curvy, I am a BBW, I am ME. I don’t mind being labelled as any of these things and when people see me doing what I do, they do see me as “That plus sized model, Temptation” and it doesn’t bother me one bit!
You’re as dextrous and agile as any model, and the body positions you’re able to achieve are wonderful. Do you do a lot of work on flexibility and posing?
I was a cheerleader for about 6 years in my teens and I’ve been able to hold on to a lot of my flexibility which is highly beneficial in my shoots actually. But, I do stretch as part of my routine before getting dressed for a shoot, just in case. I guess I never really have an exact plan of what I’m going to do, or how I’m going to pose during a shoot until I’m there and in the moment. But, I love the crazy, different poses that require a lot of skill and flexibility.
I’ve noticed that emotion is an important weapon for you when you’re working. It’s incredible to watch you convey such strong feelings in a single frame. Do you have any performance background at all, any theatre or dramatic experience that you draw on while working?
No, I actually don’t. I am a very emotional person that can connect with any other emotion, feeling or situation presented to me, which definitely benefits me in my shoots. I’ve had shoots that are happy, where I’m literally smiling from ear to ear because of how the setting makes me feel, or shoots where the tears that you see are real because the concept of the shoot is so strong, and I literally feel all of it. I just try to feed off of the photographer, concept and situation.
Such emotion is particularly evident in your “Kiss me to Death” shoot. This set has a real narrative to it, and every shot from it tells a story. Could you tell us a little more about that shoot? Was it a difficult state of mind to get into while shooting? What was the day like for you?
That shoot is very deep and personal for me. Someone that I love very much and was very close to is highly into drugs and is an alcoholic. They have hurt me a lot over the years but have hurt themselves even more. That shoot was to show what those things can do to you. I was drowning in the water, with a bunch of alcohol around me, wilted and dead rose petals in the water, money at the bottom of the tub and white powder on a glass tray. At first I had to take a few minutes to pull myself together because it was so powerful but once I did, my main focus was to save someone. Show them exactly how they could feel if they went down that road and by me actually living through it I was able to portray my own personal story along with these photos. It was a really emotional day, but soooo worth it!
Lush Moments Photography is a company that you have worked a number of shoots with. What is your relationship like with the guys over there? Do you bounce ideas off one another, or are you more their muse?
I have an AMAZING relationship with them. The company is actually owned by my sister and they are my favourite. We have both grown so much in a professional and personal manner. She is an awesome person and her work is ridiculously amazing!!!!! We work together on concepts and she always takes my opinion into consideration when planning shoots.
You’ve spoken many times about how you use the negativity of the world around you to get into certain moods to aid a shoot. The views and opinions within the modelling industry seem to feature regularly in your work. Can I ask what you think of the business today? Do you think there is enough equality in terms of representing different shapes, sizes and people?
Today, things are actually evolving. In the industry plus size women, clothing, shapes, sizes are coming more to the front of things, and people are starting to take notice of them. With that said, society as we know it is completely different. There are definitely people that think like I do, they have the “everyone is beautiful” state of mind but there are more of those that don’t have that quality. There is more hate that has to do with size than anything as of right now and it is heartbreaking but that is the reason I do this. I put myself out there so others can see that it is okay. It’s okay to be you and to love yourself regardless of your size, race, gender, sexual orientation, anything. I don’t know if there is enough equality as of now, but I do think we’re on our way there!
You’ve been featured in a number of publications already Temptation, most notably Very Full Figured Magazine and Curvi Magazine. Publication and celebration is a goal for models today. What is it like for you when you see yourself in print or on sites, how do you feel knowing your work has inspired so many people?
Wow, well first of all it feels AMAZING. It is the best feeling to open a magazine and there I am! lol But, more than just feeling great because I’m showing the world my beauty, I feel great because I’m once again showing girls that look like me that it is okay to be you regardless.
You’re based in Vegas, and as a foreigner over here in the UK when I think Vegas I think showgirls and burlesque. Would you say you have something of the Vegas showgirl in you? Do your surroundings influence your art at all, and what is it like living and working in the neon city?
I don’t think I have the ‘showgirl’ in me that most do, but I do think that Vegas influences and more so inspires my work. It is such a huge place with tons of opportunity and different places to shoot and work. I love it!
There’s a distinctive message in some of your shoots Temptation, and you’re passionate in your dedication to showcasing the beauty in the world. I love how vehemently you appose negativity about appearance and weight. Is it a hard battle to face, or does the positive response your campaign generates help keep you going?
The positivity that I generate from my work and fans is so much motivation and is such a huge push that it cancels out the negativity for sure! Don’t get me wrong, I definitely get my share of hate mail but I rarely read it and I never let it affect or get to me. I love my fans!
Cosmetology is another avenue for your creativity, is it a skill that has influenced your career? Have you ever been inspired to shoot based on a technique or style you’ve created with make-up?
Oh for sure!! At the beginning I did my own make up for every shoot and actually did make up/hair for a few other plus size models. I feel like the creative side of me that loves cosmetology has played a huge part in my success.
Do you do your own hair and make-up for shoots now? Or is it a joy to have it done for you sometimes?
It’s awesome having it done for me for once, since I spend so much time making others beautiful, but I do like to do it myself sometimes! Guess I’m kind of picky.
Another set of yours that I adore is the work you’ve done with Jessica Nichole. Particularly involving the styling and wardrobe choices of Kelley Palmer. In the pictures there is a distinct retro feel, and the style is very vintage indeed. Was that a fun shoot to be a part of; is the vintage style something you enjoy working within?
I love it!! People tell me all of the time that I should have been born in the 50’s because I love that style so much!! It was so much fun and they are both such joys to work with!
From all of your past shoots, is there a theme or style that you haven’t yet indulged in that you would really love to?
Hmm, fetish I think. I just got a few different latex items and corsets in the mail today, so I would love to shoot in those. Besides that, maybe something completely opposite and more commercial.
Yet another thing that impresses me about you and your work Temptation, is your willingness to give back and pass on your experiences. Conducting modelling workshops and speaking about your own trials and tribulations in the industry is something you’re dedicated to. What do you get out of those sessions, and where do you see that classes going? Perhaps a road show?
I get a lot of them! I feel like, if I can pass on my knowledge to another woman and help her get started in the industry, or just help her have a day where she’s pampered and made to feel beautiful, then my job is complete. I would LOVE to take Plus Size Dreams Workshop on tour eventually. That would be so much fun!
I couldn’t interview you without talking about a set of yours I refer to as “the body graffiti set”. These are the pictures where you have words such as “ugly” and “worthless” written on your skin. They are very powerful images, with a strong message behind them. Can I ask where the idea for this shoot came from? I already know it took a lot out of you to shoot, but would you revisit those emotions and tell us about posing with those words on you? The shoot idea came from me, I came up with the concept after I got the worst piece of hate mail I’ve gotten yet. It was horrible and although I am confident and know none of that is true, it made me sad that there were people that ignorant out there that really thought that way. So I pitched the idea to Lush Moments and we started working on it. The day of the shoot as the make up started being caked on to show a black eye, and my hair was ratted, the emotions started. It was painful to see myself look beat and battered but then the words started to get painted on my body and the tears started to flow down my cheeks. It wasn’t because I was hurt personally but I started to feel the hurt and pain from other girls. It was horrific. I felt for them and it hurt. When the second shot came around and I was able to get those words crossed off and the word “Beautiful” painted across my chest, I felt a sense of relief. I could breathe and I looked in the mirror as I have done many many times before and said “You are beautiful and you are worth it”
The complete antithesis of the beginning of that shoot is the tattoos you actually have on your body now. There are some truly beautiful pieces, and inspiring messages. I know you must get asked about them all the time, but could you shed some light on some of your favourite designs, and what they mean to you?
Well, I have my sons name on my back which isn’t the prettiest but means a lot to me because he is my world. I also have a rose with my Mom’s name, angel wings with my baby sisters’ names, and a crown that represents my Mom’s maiden name “Crownover”. But, my favourite is my chest tattoo that says “You may think I’ve changed but I’ve just found myself” it is accompanied by a sparrow on each side that represents freedom.
Lastly, before I let you go. It’s clear that your fans mean a great deal to you. You celebrate them on your pages, and love their feedback and interaction. Do you have a message for all of your supporters out there?
Yes, as I always tell you guys… I love you all. You area all beautiful and I believe in every single one of you. I appreciate the love and support that you have all shown me in the past few years, and I can’t image not having all of you by my side. I love sharing my journey with you so hold on, the ride isn’t over yet!!!
What projects are you working on at the moment? Where might fans be able to see your work in the near future?
I have a lot of different concepts and ideas to pitch but nothing set in stone yet except a wet shoot and a fetish shoot. But I’m always open for fan suggestions!!!
Can we please end with Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire:
What is your favourite word? Inspire
What is your least favourite word? Failure
What turns you on? Strength, Motivation, Courage
What turns you off? Laziness, bad hygiene
What is your favourite curse word? Tehehee, I curse A LOT. Uhm, I say F**K a lot. lol
What sound or noise do you love? My son’s laugh, and my girlfriends voice
What sound or noise do you hate? My alarm in the morning! lol
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Well, I’ve already accomplished Cosmetology and I’m 1 month away from graduating Medical Assisting school, so who knows!
What profession would you not like to do? Hmm… I would hate to be a chef, or maid. lol Guess I’m not the housewife type
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Welcome home, thank you for exhausting all outlets I gave you… Now enjoy your destiny, you deserve it”
It was a real treat to be able to feature Temptation and her work on my blog. I can’t thank her enough for her enthusiasm and help putting the piece together. I’m honoured to be featuring her wonderful imagery and opinions here, and urge everyone to visit the link below for more information: