My interview today is with yet another FRONT forum female. I’ve spoken to quite a few on this blog in the past, and today is the turn of a lady called Annabelle (“Princess” to forum users). When I first joined the forum Annabelle was the first person I ever spoke with, and that was the beginning of many years spent there since. Annabelle is a FRONT fan of course, but a model in her own right. The photographs she produces and shares are unmistakably hers; she’s got a vibrant fun style that leaps off the page/screen, with the ability to soften said style and surprise fans of her work also. But it’s her colour filled and personality driven pictures that first captivated me, and were the inspiration behind me approaching her for this interview. In the process of researching and conducting the piece, I uncovered Annabelle’s new foray into photography, and we talk a little about her stepping behind the camera here. For the most part though, I hope this interview will introduce folks to a truly interesting worker, with distinct ideas and opinion on her output and her passions. Please enjoy.
Q: Hi there Annabelle, welcome to my blog. I’ve been itching to feature you for some time, how are you doing?
Annabelle: Hello. Aww thank you! I’m doing really well thanks. A good year I’d say.
Q: You’re one of the first people I ever talked to on the FRONT forum believe it or not, and I was wondering if we could begin this interview by talking about FRONT.
Annabelle: Oh really? I do try and talk to everyone. I’m generally an all round nice person and talkative!
Q: You’ve been a member of and contributor to the forum for a good few years now, but can I ask you how long you’ve been reading the magazine, and what drew you to it’s readership in the first place?
Annabelle: Erm I think I’ve been reading the mag for about 3 years now. I love ink and the alt look, and modelling is a major interest to me so I bought the mag and loved it! I’m not as keen on the music, but each to their own. The girls are gorgeous!
Q: Do you have a favourite FRONT model that you have enjoyed or maybe even been inspired by over the previous years/issues?
A: I LOVE Arabella! She is just gorgeous! Also I’m a fan of Elle Richie. She is such a beauty and I love looking at her work.
Q: I always like asking FRONT fans this next question, so here goes. If you were the guest editor for one month, who would you feature in the following categories?
Cover/main featured model: Stripey of course!!
Full Frontal model: Arabella.
Alt Girl: Chelsea Danielle from the forum.
Featured band: Stooshe.
Q: Moving on to your modelling now if we can Annabelle, I know recently you’ve focussed more on work behind the camera, and we will touch on that also, but I wanted to ask when you first got into working in front of the camera?
A: I had my first shoot when I was about 14. I was invited to a studio in London and paid a ridiculous amount of money for the images. I enjoyed the experience but did nothing about it till a few years ago. I started with the odd TF shoot to build my portfolio up so I could do paid work and earn some extra monies.
Q: You’ve worked with a number of different photographers, and in an impressive blend of styles, but what would you say is your preferred style in which to work?
A: I’m not sure what I prefer, I just enjoy the day and choosing my outfits/themes etc. If I have an idea I really want to do I put a casting out to see if any photographers want to shoot it. I also get messages from photographers asking to work with me on ideas they may have. So it’s a bit of both really. Obviously there’s a few people out there at I would love to collaborate with!
Q: You’ve done a number of sets with Alan Martin studios and they always look like fun shoots from the pictures. Is it important for you that a set is fun to work on? How do you like the atmosphere to be when being photographed?
A: Alan is a lovely guy! Totally recommended. As for the atmosphere, I don’t need it to be a lot of fun, but I have to feel comfortable and be able to have a giggle. As soon as you meet a photographer you know if your comfortable or not. The atmosphere has to be serious yet relaxed, so if you laugh they’re not getting moody with you!
Q: What was the learning curve like for you and your modelling? How are you “learning” the craft, and what has worked best for you in terms of improving your pictures?
A: For me I always ask each photographer for advice and take it all on board. Then when I look at my images; if I don’t think the pose etc is good enough or working for me, I won’t use it. Also if you work with one person a few times each shoot tends to produce better images as you get used to the photographer.
Q: I also wanted to ask about a body paint shoot you did when you were completely painted gold. Could you tell us about that particular shoot, and what it was like working with the paint?
A: Sarah Archer was the photographer. I had never done a body paint shoot previous so I wasn’t sure what to expect, I kind of expected to be sprayed gold, a bit like when you go for a fake tan. How wrong I was! We did standard paint-free images to start with, when it came to painting me, Sarah and her husband got their paintbrushes out and started painting. It was freezing but I just kept laughing! I had to paint my own bits and bobs though! Ha-ha. The shooting was fun, they asked me to be weird and different, and I’m already weird enough so it wasn’t hard! It was so much fun to do and I would jump at the chance to do another one! They offered me a shower before I left but I didn’t want to use someone else’s shower so I left as a clothed gold person and scared a few kids in McDonalds Ha-ha.
Q: Having taken part in a number of shoots, have you got particular favourites that stick out for you personally in your portfolio?
A: My pink haired shot with the games controller has to be my absolute favourite image in the world! I felt so privileged to work with John Farrar.
Q: I’ve also noticed your wig work, and how you enjoy using different styles and colours of hair to alter your appeal and range while shooting. Do you enjoy utilising wigs to give you a different mood in pictures, and do they help create characters from shoot to shoot? How many wigs do you have at the moment?
A: I think the wigs make me feel like someone different, and I have a lot of confidence when I’m wearing one. I love to be able to alter an image or a look just by wearing a wig. I have 8 wigs at the moment and I’m deciding on what one to buy next.
Q: As I mentioned before, you are now gravitating more towards photography, but are you still hoping to pursue your modelling also?
A: If a shoot comes up that I like the idea of then I will definitely do it. I’m not totally ruling it out for now.
Q: Speaking of photography, you’ve only recently begun focussing on it yourself, but have you always had an interest in it? Was it part of the reason you began your work in front of camera?
A: I never really had an interested in it till after I had done so many shoots as a model. I had a lot of ideas running through my head after shoots and I started to feel like I wanted to shoot those ideas. So I would ask the photographers I worked with about it. I bought a cheap camera and started taking pictures of my nieces and nephews, and then recently my fiancé bought me a brand spanking new one and I’ve practiced on him and a friend.
Q: During your experience on modelling shoots, do you think you have learnt anything from the established photographers that have taken your photograph? Who would you say has influenced you the most?
A: I think I have learnt the basics from my shoots and I can easily pose those I take pictures of thanks to my modelling experience. A great influence for me would be Adi Dewey because I love his images. That’s the kind of work I would like to produce one day!
Q: Is there a particular style of image you are looking to capture in your photography work? Are you aiming for alt glamour and portrait work only, or are you happy to play with ideas and find your niche?
A: Erm, I think I’m quite happy to just photograph anything. If I do better in a certain style then I will concentrate more on that. I love kids, and would like the chance to create some nice images for parents etc. I also love inked girls so I’d happily take “alt girl” type pictures he-he.
Q: Another thing you’ve said is that you “love being inked” and it’s clear from your tattoos that you have unique tastes when it comes to what you put on your body. I like your intricate hand pieces in particular, could you tell us about them, and the rest of the designs you currently have?
A: Ah tattoos! Yes! I could get inked all day. Gosh where do I start? Erm I have three pieces for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. One on my hand, one around my wrist and one on my ankle/foot. These are very dear to me as I suffer from the illness myself as does my brother. I have a Princess Tattoo because all my life I’ve always been called Princess by my dad and most of my friends. I have a quote on my side “I Live For Fun, Not For Life” I chose this because I wont live forever but I know I’ll have fun. Randomly I have my full name and DOB around my ankle. I actually love it!! I have my astrological sign on my left hand and when I’m married I will have my husbands on my right. I have a bow on my finger and on my back. I have hearts on my thigh. I have my 2 dogs on me. They are like my babies and mean a lot to me. I also have three pictures of me on my right arm, this is going to be a full sleeve. Everyone has Japanese sleeves etc and I didn’t want that so I chose to have one about me he-he!
Q: Is there a particular reason behind your love of tattoos? Do you enjoy the pain of getting them done, or is it all about the finished product for you?
A: I don’t think it’s at all painful. I’m use to needles. The buzzing sound when you’re in that chair just makes me feel so relaxed. I love it! The end results make me smile too or else I wouldn’t keep going back!
Q: Have you got any plans for pieces in the near future, or areas of your body where you would and would not get work done?
A: I’m getting the outline of my sleeve done soon (its being drawn up) I’m getting a rib tattoo for my Nan done, and I’m getting a cheeky one on my ass cheeks ;) Also when I have kids I plan on getting their names and DOB on my feet. I also what another quote to go on my left arm. I would never get a tattoo on my private parts though, to me it looks a bit tacky. I do love chest pieces but they’re not for me.
Q: You always seem to be busy, not least with a hectic personal life. Where do you find the time for your creative/professional outlets? Where might we be able to see your work in the near future, modelling or photography?
A: I’m always doing something. But as I’m at home a lot I have time to plan things and organise shoots. I have a Facebook page for my modelling as you know. I will always update that. I’m gonna make a page for my photography too. I’m also on Model Mayhem and Purestorm. I post a lot of DIY images on my instagram and twitter. You can find me Instagram @iliveforfunnotforlife and Twitter @PrincessTears.
Finally could we please end with Bernard Pivot’s classic questionnaire?
What is your favourite word? I don’t really have one. Maybe “Totes”.
What is your least favourite word? Cunt – such a horrible word, even if you say it without a vicious tone it still sounds nasty!
What turns you on? A remote? Ha-ha… Kisses generally get me in the mood. Also I have a weird one, if I drink Lucozade I get very horny Ha-ha!
What turns you off? Being watched by a dog! Ha-ha or an unclean willy.
What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of a tattoo gun buzzing!
What sound or noise do you hate? I hate when someone puts a fork in their mouth and scrapes it on their teeth when they’re pulling it out! Yuck!
What is your favourite curse word? Even though I hate the word it’s got to be cunt.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’d like to try fashion designer. I’d love to make clothes.
What profession would you not like to do? Porn star or dustbin man.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Do I really have to let you in? Ha-ha
I have to thank Annabelle here for putting so much into this interview. It was a pleasure to put together, and I loved the personality she got across in her answers. I really enjoyed reading it back, and I hope all of you did to. Hopefully, if you didn’t know already, you’ve been introduced to a lively and fun person in Annabelle, someone with her own ideas and inspirations, who I’m sure will be delighting audiences with her creations for a long time to come. Please check out the links Annabelle included above, as well as the ones I shall list below.
All images above were provided by Annabelle and used with her consent.