I’ve got to be careful how I type the beginning of this interview post, a slipped keystroke could be a catastrophe; here goes. The CULT of Abbie Mac has been all-consuming for me since her debut in FRONT’s DIY section (issue 165), and while this tremendous young model would never describe herself as a cult figure, I’ve enjoyed pursuing her career to date as such. When I first turned to page 59 of FRONT issue 165, Abbie’s DIY inclusion jumped from the page, and her images stayed with me. I implored FRONT to feature this unknown lady in a full Alt Girl shoot, and to my sheer delight they decided to in issue 167! I felt like someone who sees a band in their local, before they get their record deal, and it spurred me on to find more of Abbie’s work and approach her for an interview. I was very happy when she obliged, and during our conversations I found Abbie to be a unique, ambitious and down to earth woman, with a geeky side that’s out of this world and an incredible sense of humour. She’s a fascinating model, with her career in front of her. I feel very lucky to be able to feature Abbie at the beginning of said career, and am look forward to following her work closely in the future.
Q: Welcome Abbie, it’s wonderful to have you on my blog, you’ve become a bit of a cult hero for me since your first appearance in FRONT magazine. How are you doing?
Abbie Mac: I’m doing really well thanks, just got over a ridiculous 3 weeks of having every illness known to man so I’m finally fighting fit again and it feels awesome!
Q: That’s good news. Would it be correct to say you’re relatively new to the modelling game? How long have you been doing shoots, and how did you first get involved with the biz?
Abbie Mac: Yeah, I’m only a baby in terms of modelling really. I’ve been doing shoots now since about January - not a long time but I’ve been cramming them in wherever I can! Modelling was never something that crossed my mind for a long time - I didn’t even really wear makeup until I was 18, I’m not the girliest of girls. At the beginning of December I honestly don’t know what came over me, but I decided to send some photos into Front on a whim. I didn’t think anything would come of it but quite soon after I got an email saying I’d made it into the magazine and it all kind of went from there really!
Q: Would you say you’re looking at modelling as a career for the future? Or a hobby that you’re enjoying at the moment?
Abbie Mac: It’s definitely something I’d love to progress in - a the moment it’s a hobby and I’m really enjoying it, I love transforming into a different person for each shoot and I’m learning a lot. It would be great to make it into a career but I’m realistic and I know that the industry is saturated and it’s a very difficult thing to pull off. But if I can pull it off, it would be an amazing path to go down!
Q: That’s terrific, I applaud you for having the conviction to say you actively want to pursue it as a career. You’ve voiced strong feelings in the past, particularly about the glamour side of modelling. What are your views on the industry as someone just beginning their journey? Did you have any expectations going in? Is it a welcoming industry would you say?
Abbie Mac: I’m under no illusions, I know that it takes a lot of hard work and I’m not going to be booking so many shoots that I’m turning down offers this time in 6 months, but it’s a fun journey to go on and if I get there I get there, if not then I’ve not lost anything and I’m having a great time trying! I didn’t really have any expectations to be honest, it’s not something I thought long and hard about to be quite blunt - everything I’ve done so far has happened pretty quickly but I’m glad to say that I’ve not had a single bad experience with it, I’ve not had any negativity either and everyone has been nothing but supportive. I’d say that yeah to a degree it is welcoming, there’s the obvious downside of being rejected when applying to casting calls and such but I knew about that already and didn’t really expect to get every shoot I put myself forward for. I’ve met some lovely people so far, which is more than a lot of people can say in a regular job… believe me, I used to work in sales!
Q: I first saw your work in issue 165 of FRONT, those photos being the DIY shots you sent in (in December). Why did you choose to submit to FRONT Abbie? You must have been a fan of the magazine previously right?
Abbie Mac: Yeah I’ve been a fan for a while, I love that you can tell straight away when a photo is from Front and they always seem to come up with really great, fun ideas for their spreads. I like the humour in the magazine too, and I’m a big fan of lasses with tattoos, as is my boyfriend, so it’s a good one for us both to read!
I toyed with the idea of submitting photos a couple of times but brushed it off, I didn’t think I’d stand a chance of getting in the magazine itself. But, this probably sounds a bit daft, I tend to get bored and send my boyfriend daft photos of me in my underwear wearing pig masks and things when he’s away, and one night while we were at the pub he brought up Front and the Alt Girl thing and suggested I sent some photos in… and the next day I thought… well, I’ve got nothing to lose, why not!
Q: Underwear and pig masks. Lucky boy! Why pig masks may I ask Abbie? Those first three photos you sent in really did make you stand out from the other DIY entries that month. I was so impressed that I singled you out as someone I thought should definitely return for an alt girl feature. How did it feel when you got the news you had made it into the mag?
Abbie Mac: Haha I’m not sure, I have quite a collection of latex animal masks and they look pretty hilarious paired with frilly knickers or a nurse’s outfit, and I like to get a laugh or two where I can! Awh thank you, I was a bit sceptical when I sent them in because I didn’t think I was what Front usually goes for, so getting the email was definitely a surprise! I was absolutely chuffed though, it was definitely a boost because I didn’t expect to hear anything back at all!
Q: I couldn’t help but comment on and compliment your unique look in the shots. I likened it to everything from cabaret to vamp. Your hair in particular is a fabulous style and coupled with your black suspenders and raven hair on pale skin, it was an impressive debut. Could I ask what inspired your look?
Abbie Mac: Thank you so much! It was a number of things really. This time 2 years ago I had a short a-line bob that would be blue one week, then pink, then purple… which was good for a while but it killed my hair so I decided to grow it out, and the only way I could keep it healthy was dying it black and sticking to it. I’ve always been a fan of the Bettie Page look and gothy pinup ladies in general so I decided to go down that route a bit, I’m white as a sheet anyway so it wasn’t exactly a huge leap haha. The Vulcan fringe was born purely out of boredom (it’s very hard to resist going back to bright hair) and a love of all things sci-fi! And I’ve always loved suspenders and corsetry and anything with a bit of kink… who can say no to a bum caged in suspender straps eh?
Q: I know I can’t! The Vulcan fringe is a total winner, I’ve never seen it utilised so stylishly. Except for on Mr Nimoy of course. It’s clear you’re a geek to the core Miss Abbie, does it impact a lot on your fashion/style choices? Ever done the Princess Leia?
Abbie Mac: Haha thank you, it’s such a little change to a standard fringe but it makes a lot of difference I think! I’d say being a bit of a nerd does influence my style to a degree - I can’t abide those faux-geek oversized plastic rimmed glasses, but I have a wardrobe full of Star Wars and Batman t-shirts, Xbox controller necklaces (a gift to myself for hitting 10k gamer points…I’m very sad!) and things like that. Haha I’ve not done the Leia yet, but I’d jump at the chance to ooze around in that slave outfit! It’s a classic for a reason!
RubberMonkey has just made some Avengers themed latex outfits, and good god, if I had the money I’d be wearing every single one of them right now!
Q: YES, thank you, those thick black rimmed glasses are a bugbear for me as well! I’ve seen those Rubber Monkey Avengers outfits and they are awesome. Have you seen the Avengers by the way? What did you think? Loki fan or Downey Jr fan?
Abbie Mac: As a glasses wear myself I am frankly offended by their popularity, haha. Yeah I went to see it recently, what a film! I can’t say no to a bit of RDJ, he’s in my favourite film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but for me Thor stole the show. There’ll always be a place in my bed for Chris Hemsworth, baby or no baby! Haha!
Q: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, what a film. Val Kilmer is hilarious in it. That bit when Downey pees on that dead girl, it kills me. Anyway sorry, back to FRONT. You were in the magazine again two issues later for your full Alt Girl shoot, when did you find out about that, and could you fill us in on the process Abbie? How was it all set up etc…
Abbie Mac: Somewhere, right now, an all you can eat buffet is losing money on Val Kilmer! haha. Well, shortly after my first set was in issue 165 Becca contacted me and asked for another set, which is on the website now. As we emailed back and forth she sent a bit of a cryptic “Just checking, where are you based? I’ll contact you soon” which I responded to and didn’t hear anything of for 2 or 3 weeks, so I kind of assumed she was just double checking for my online profile. But about 3 weeks before issue 167 came out she emailed me and asked if I was free the following Monday for a shoot at home, and put me in contact with Nadia King (Scarlett Studios). I exchanged a few emails with the photo guys at Front where I sent them samples of about 8 outfits, and they chose what they wanted me to wear for the shoot. After faffing about swapping my shifts at work we settled on a time for Nadia to come round, and the shoot went really well. It took a few hours and we got a lot of shots all over my house - jumping on my bed, crawling up my stairs, on the table in my dining room, melting off the sofa in the living room..! At one point while I was posing in front of my window in nothing but my knickers I caught my next door neighbour’s eye… slightly awkward! Nadia was absolutely lovely, really funny and very helpful with direction which I appreciated because it was my first proper shoot. After that it was a nervous 3 week wait for the mag to come out, hoping they wouldn’t put my painfully terrible winky face in!
Q: It was a fantastic shoot, and one I rhapsodised over in a review. I really loved what you did in your photos, and they came out wonderfully. You decided to go topless and semi nude in some shots, was this a tough choice for you?
Abbie Mac: Thank you, I really appreciate it! To be honest… no, it wasn’t! I’m of the opinion that you’re only young once, and the human body is a beautiful thing not something to be ashamed of, so why not? I used to have very low self esteem and I was bullied a lot while I was at school for the way I looked and the music I listened to etc etc, as is the case with a lot of people in secondary school, but the past few years I’ve come out of my shell a lot more and I’m proud of who I am and my body, and if someone wants me to show it off (in a non-sleazy way) then who am I to say no, haha!
I’ve not done a lot of topless work since, purely because I want a wide range of images in my portfolio and it’s very easy to fall into just getting topless shoots, or just getting nude shoots, and while I appreciate the human form I don’t want to pigeonhole myself just yet.
Q: Very well said. Everything with FRONT seemed to happen extremely quickly for you, it’s an experience I’m sure you’d love to do again, and to work with Nadia must have been a thrill. She’s the queen of the Alt Girl shoots, and would you say you learnt something from having her take your photo?
Abbie Mac: To be honest I was surprised with how quickly everything went, I remember reading stories on the old forums of girls not hearing anything for months then suddenly being told they were going to be in the magazine! I’d absolutely jump at the chance to do it again - I’m actually planning on doing another DIY set when I get some time to myself this week. I absolutely loved working with Nadia - I was a big fan of her work to begin with and she was full of brilliant ideas, I learned a lot from her definitely. She was really friendly and fun to shoot with which relaxed me a lot, I hope I get another chance to work with her in the future, it really was a great experience.
To be continued…