I’m very excited about this month’s Alt Girl. The feature begins on page 54, and it’s with the divinely unique and vamptastic Abbie Mac. Followers and regular readers of these FRONT reviews might remember I mentioned Abbie in my review of issue 165, in which I said something like “watch out for this girl” or “Abbie Mac is one to watch”. Something like that, I can’t remember exactly. Anyway, I was so chuffed when I saw Abbie in all her glory as this month’s Alt Girl. I loved Abbie’s look in her three photos in the DIY section of issue 165, and pointed out her hairstyle in particular. There was something different about her, and I’m pleased FRONT has noticed this also. So then, on to Abbie’s Alt Girl feature…
Abbie Mac’s set starts slowly, and builds anticipation. On page 54 denim shorts and a checked shirt look a little out of place if I’m honest. I’d love to have seen Abbie in something a little different, maybe along the same lines as her DIY set. But that’s nit picking by me, I just loved her in those suspenders, and really thought it added to her sexy retro vibe. On page 55 Abbie’s strip down gathers momentum, a lovely shot of her at the top of 55 is very relaxed and natural, the checked shirt has gone which is good in my opinion, and the way she’s holding her legs cleverly conveys innocence. That innocence is juxtaposed with a very brave shot at the bottom of 55, when Abbie goes topless and pulls down her tights oh so low! The shirt is back, but it looks good opened against her pale skin. There’s a lot going on in this photo, but I focussed on her face at first, and her smoky eyes looking out from the page are so engaging.
Page 56 gets a lot more playful, and Abbie shows off a bit more personality. While playing with the shirt in the first photo, I love how her hair lays over her breasts. I’m not sure if this was an accident, but it really is a nice touch, and helps with the tease. A very cheeky shot (pun intended) follow that on 56, and Abbie’s arched back, lovely skin and little look over the shoulder work together amazingly. The final shot of 56 is a bit out of character for the set I found. The wink to camera seems a little forced, but I love the positioning, and the cheeky look while taking off undies is a classic for a reason. But I felt Abbie could have chosen a different expression here. Her final shot on page 57 is my favourite, and a contender for next years Alt Girls calendar surly. Again, the thumb pulling down the panties is well used, but I love the dainty positioning of her feet, I love foot tattoos also. Abbie’s face here is also engaging even though she’s not looking at the camera. There’s composure to the stance that just thrills, and the expanse of nakedness shows off Abbie’s wonderful figure, as well as her terrific skin.
I know I always talk about the shots in these reviews, but I wanted to give special mention to Abbie’s interview as well. I loved her answers, and they were very different from the norm. Battlestar Galactica, tortoise, Xbox, she even likes Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a terrific movie. Abbie, I salute you!
The DIY section this month was a bone of contention for me. There were some stand out contributors, mainly Ane, Hannah Laura, Donny and Faye Edwards, but I also thought some girls that were chosen didn’t really belong. I won’t name them because I dislike slating people, but I think a little more consideration was needed in a few choices. As Abbie Mac popped up as Alt Girl this month, I thought I’d name another “one to watch” from the DIY ladies and see if they return. Not that I’m an expert, or have any pull what so ever. Just for fun, I reckon Hannah Laura and Faye Edwards have a good shout at reappearing in the mag (they also both have names I can see printed in FRONT as models for some weird reason). But I’d also like to see Donny, her eyes are wonderful. So my “one to watch” is actually three.
Pages 86 and 87 begin this month’s main feature, and it’s where I first realised that there were two other models involved. That’s a bit bad from FRONT, especially as both Alice and Courtnie aren’t regulars in the magazine, they should have been promoted more I think. The first double page photo is a breath of fresh air for FRONT features. Jay Mawson the photographer is highly regarded by models that have worked with him, and from this shot and others I’ve seen, it’s with good reason. I haven’t seen a shot like this in FRONT before, and that’s not something I can always say. I love the symmetry of Sabine and Alice either side of Courtnie, Sabine’s expression is sizzling, and the way Alice has her legs crossed is cute and a nice little quirk. This shot is all about Courtnie though, and her doe eyed look up at camera is incredible. Sometimes a hat just doesn’t belong in a shot in my opinion, but the massive bobble hat Courtnie has on works with her pose and the camera positioning wonderfully. She’s tiny to begin with, but the hat dwarfs her still further, and it makes for a very sweet image.
Courtnie is the focus again on page 88, and in yet another exquisite photograph. I know the trainers are important to the feature, but I couldn’t care less when they share the frame with such a beautiful lady. Her expression is sexy with a hint of derision, but that works. Her pout is glorious, with a little curl to her top lip. The hand to her left temple is a little touch, but an important one, it’s alluring and very much so! Then you’ve got the trainers, but Courtnie’s bosom and incredible midriff make sure you pay no attention to them. I’m not sure if it’s by design, but the lace of the trainer skimming the nipple is just tantalising.
Page 89 sees Sabine’s first solo shot in the shoot. She’s bent over a radiator with a pair of leggings pulled down to reveal her pert bum, it’s one of Sabine’s strongest shots of the set, and I say that hesitantly. I say hesitantly because I always worry when a model produces the middle finger, and “flips off” the audience. Some girls tend to use the middle finger in the absence of actual attitude, but that’s not the case with Sabine. I love the pose, though she does a lot of facing away from camera posing in this feature. The trainers aren’t as on display as the previous page, but I couldn’t get past Sabine’s face. Again, slightly scornful, but full of attitude, and very sexy.
I wasn’t a fan of Sabine’s double page shot on 90 and 91. You see a lot of the floor radiator and sofa, and with the page crease, Sabine kind of disappears, which was a shame for me. Page 92 was rightfully chosen by FRONT to promote the issue online and with posters and special covers. It’s Sabine’s best photo of the set, and yet another interesting and fresh idea from photographer, model, stylist, or whomever may have suggested it. Vibrant laces in the foreground and Sabine topless eating them like pasta behind is a very fun image, and she works it well.
Alice makes her first and only solo appearance on page 93. It’s a shame because I feel Alice gets a little bit lost in this feature. With Sabine’s headlining, and Courtnie dominating with excellent photos, Alice doesn’t get anywhere near equal billing. Her shot on 93 is a good one though. Alice has a wonderful figure, and I love the arm behind her head, but her expression seems a little spacey to me. I would have loved to see Alice do something expressive with her only solo picture, and I really hope we see her back again in the magazine in the future to see what she can do on her own.
94 and 95 provides another platform for Courtnie to take over this set. She’s been given a lot of exposure in this feature, and I’m very pleased with that decision. In this double page spread Courtnie lies on a bed, Adidas jacket on top, nothing on the bottom, and said bottom is thrust into the air. It’s a perfect posterior I have to say, and I also love what she’s doing with her right foot, just having the trainer hanging off her toes. A good idea well captured. Her expression is once again spot on, the wistful look off camera makes you want to know what’s on her mind, and the sunlight playing on her face adds to an emotional visage. A touch of modelling knowhow comes into play with the placement of a thumb on the bottom lip. Playful and complementary to her full lips.
Again Courtnie takes centre stage on page 96. I think its Alice she’s in front of, but it’s not obvious. This picture is all about Courtnie’s incredible body, like a sexy “s” crouching in front of Alice, with her hands clawing at her model partner’s buttocks. Again, a growl appears on Courtnie’s face, but it doesn’t detract from the image, rather it adds a dimension of aggression. Who cares about the trainers at this point right? This is a wonderful shot once again! Page 97 is Courtnie again, but I think this is a wasted page. When you have Alice hardly doing anything in this shoot, I thought this page could have been used better. We get the benefit of Courtnie’s amazing body again, but her face is cut off and only an Adidas track top is focussed on. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just added in for advertising and funding purposes, but I again feel sorry for the models that could have used this page time better.
The final double page spread sees all three models reunited in one last collective image. They’re lined up on a bed, arms above their heads knees bend. This is a lacklustre ending but a lovely image. Again Alice is somewhat overlooked being positioned in the middle, but all three models look stunning, and the use of red lipstick works well against pale skin and white bedding.
All in all this main feature was a little disjointed. I don’t understand why it wasn’t billed as a three way shoot, and only Sabine was on the cover, and I also don’t understand why Alice was used so little. On the plus side, Courtnie stole the show, and produced some incredible imagery. For me she has to be guaranteed a return to the magazine, and hopefully Alice will get a better opportunity to show what she can do. Perhaps at the beginning of the “Full Frontal” section?
My final mention comes from page 127, and the “Readers’ Ink” section. I have to point out the work of Sophie Butcher right in the middle of the page, the Star Wars decorative skulls. Sophie has featured in FRONT before, and is currently strutting her stuff on the website with a new DIY photo set. She’s also a wonderfully talented tattoo artist, and one kick ass lady. She deserves attention, and I think she should be in the mag again sharpish!
Issue 167 had a lot of highs for me, and you can tell by the length of this review that I had a lot to talk about from its pages. I’m enjoying the influx of new models and talents, but I am wondering when or if the likes of Rosie Jones, Seren and Vikki might return? I think it’s been long enough for each, particularly Rosie and Seren to make a return, but are they still interested? Can FRONT afford them now they’ve been in FHM? I do hope so. If they are out of reach, it’s good to know FRONT still has the magic touch when it comes to finding new talent. I can’t wait to see what next month has in store!
Image taken from the FRONT tumblr, seriously, so check it out.