May I present to you my latest interview for your enjoyment. This piece is the result of sharing a few words with the lovely Kae Bambi, and alternative model from Western Australia. Kae was first recommended to me by another of my interviewees, who suggested I check out her work and get in touch. I’m so very pleased that I did, as I discovered a woman with a delightful attitude, helpful and enthusiastic with a terrific portfolio of very emotional and alluring work. She’s a brave model, who has made some wonderful choices both on set, and in the people she has collaborated with. I hope this piece will open up Kae’s work to a brand new audience, as well as reminding all those that already love her work, what a personality she really is. Come take a look…
Hey there Kae, how’s it going? Welcome along. I was first directed to your blog to check out your wide range of modelling work. I was wondering how you got into modelling, and how much of your life it takes up?
Hi. I got into modelling through working with friends who did photography and through sites like model mayhem. I guess it just went from there. It’s kind of like a part time job, since I have to take time to go shopping for props/accessories, organising shoots etc as well as shooting. It would be nice to become a full time job, but I still have studies to complete.
You regularly produce very character driven pieces within your body of work. Each different image you’ve come up with depicts a different character is seems. Do you yourself get into a character when modelling depending on the shoot, or do you let the outfit do the explaining and just focus on posing aspects like body positioning, expression etc?
I always try to be something other than myself when I model, so I take a lot of time in creating a character or a scene. The creation process is very fun for me. I let the outfit speak for itself but I also create poses to match and generally create a theme or particular mood. I always try to get the most out of a shoot so I work 100% with poses and facial expressions.
I always ask models about the “alternative” label. What do you think of the term alternative? Can it be correctly used sometimes to describe artists trying to create something different? Or has the word been overused and lost some of its original meaning?
I’ve always thought of alternative as difference, but in that same way, alternative culture breeds a lot of similarities. Nevertheless, difference is accepted if not begged for, and the most unique person given the most attention. I get easily bored with normality because I see it everywhere so I always try to do and be someone different, not for attention but I just couldn’t stand being a sheep like that. Plus difference is beautiful, it allows people to become unique as a person, and in doing so creates more self worth.
You’ve shot implied nude in the past with other models and solo. What are your thoughts and feelings about shooting revealing material? Are there a lot of nerves on one of those shoots for you?
Oh I don’t get nervous at all. The photographer has been more nervous than me before! I don’t have any issues with being naked, it’s not as if it’s unnatural, it’s just my body and I’m not ashamed of showing people the beauty of the human body. The first time I shot nude was my alien shoot with Hex, and I wasn’t scared at all. I do remember being a bit cold though with gloop being poured all over me and it being in winter!
I have to say that your work with HEX photography is truly inspired. Your set alongside “Paranoir” is excellent. Could you tell us about working with HEX, and shooting your white inspired collaboration with “Paranoir”?
Thank you! Working with Hex is simply amazing, the ideas that we come up with together are really unique and also a lot of fun to do. I love nothing more than becoming some sort of creepy, scary creature and getting a bloody or gooey mess everywhere. It’s a lot of fun to work with her and her photography has become so beautiful over the past year it’s an honour to be one of her ‘go to girls’ when she needs a hard shoot pulled off. Paranoir is a really nice girl and it’s always fun shooting with other girls. We got some really good shots together and since Paranoir is the other ‘go to girl’ for Hex’s creations, some really beautiful shots came out.
Having been involved in various different styles and concepts of shoot, from latex and fetish to cosplay and costume. What have been some of your favourites, and are there any ideas or themes you’d like to explore in your modelling career?
It’s hard to choose because I love creating all sorts of different styles. I love doing conceptual work and I would say that would be my favourite, but I’m also wanting to get more into latex fashion as well. Some styles I want to do just for the sake of saying ‘I can pull this off too’. I don’t want to be an alternative model that just sticks to one style and that is their niche, I want to create art in styles.
How do you feel about the work you have produced thus far? You’ve got a lot to be proud of already, do you ever take time to appreciate your previous work, or is it all about the future and the next shoot?
Ha-ha, I do try to, but I am prone to being a bit pedantic about things and how I can improve, so there is always something higher to achieve for me. I always think about new shoot ideas and how I could make it work so I am thoroughly entrenched in the future, but sometimes I look back on my past shoots and get a bit surprised at myself.
During my research for this interview, it became blatantly clear to me that Japanese culture and entertainment is a big influence on you. What is it about the culture that attracts you so much?
Yeah I do have a bit of an obsession :) I really love Japan, the nature, the history, as well as the current culture. Japan is different from all other countries in terms of their culture, they are also the creators of anime and some really good horror movies. They just take things to the extreme, and I love that. Since I also have an obsession with cute things, Japan is a good provider for my addiction.
As well as Japanese influences, what else would you say has influenced your style on a day to day basis? What kind of thing do you usually wear?
I dress kinda cutesy, with pastel colours or just white and black. I never really wear bright colours, or yellow, I never wear yellow. I own a lot of blouses and skirts so I wear them a lot. I also own a lot of black, which is my goth side coming out. I have a lot of jewellery and accessories which are either cute or interesting (skulls, diamante encrusted rings etc). I have a very full wardrobe and I keep on buying more things so now and again I have to sort out what I have to keep or else I run out of room.
As for other forms of inspiration, what have you been watching, listening to and playing of late? Do you go to many gigs and live performances at all?
I’m really getting into sci-fi lately, I’ve been re-watching the Alien movies as well as being addicted to Stargate SG-1 (right now I’m getting through the fourth season). I listen to a lot of pop music mainly, or really ‘depressing’ music like Radiohead and Ministry. Right now I have a lot of Korean pop music and Japanese pop music on my mp3 player. I do enjoy seeing bands that I like, which all happen to come around the same time so it’s terrible for my wallet. I’m really looking forward to seeing Aqua, as well as going to the Soundwave festival and seeing Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and Sisters of Mercy.
I remember the last time I saw Devin Townsend as being a simply amazing night, I had so much fun. His music is really inspiring and I’m awe struck whenever a new song is released. I also loved seeing Rammstein when they came over with a festival, I was so impressed by their performance, there were pyrotechnics, bloody costumes and a big pot which seemed to be cooking the keyboard player!
You come across as a very confident and accomplished individual in your photography. Does this translate to a confident and accomplished person away from the camera? What are you like when you’re not being photographed?
Thanks :) I think I’m more of a shy person actually, but I get over it when I have to do my modelling. I have to get rid of any inhibitions I may have so I can properly work effectively. I am really friendly though, I don’t hate people as I think it’s a bit improvident really. I have a really happy-go-lucky attitude and I’m a bit of an optimist so I get through life okay :)
As for accomplished, I wouldn’t say that but I’ve almost completed a degree in psychology and counselling (have one semester to go!).
You also have some tattoos and piercings about your person. Could you tell us a little about those, what inspired them, and where did you go to get them?
I don’t have as many piercings as I used to, I had a lot more on my face and in my ears but I’ve gotten rid of them since. I still have snake bites as well as my size16 tunnels, and second ear piercings. I get nearly all my piercings from either ‘Exotic Body Piercing’ in Perth city or ‘Off Ya Tree’, I rarely have had any problems with my piercings, I take care of them quite well :)
I got my tachikoma tattoo from the ‘Black Quill’ in Perth as well. I got it because I really love Ghost in the Shell, which they are from. Tachikomas are spider tanks that are my favourite characters in the show. It’s also my tribute to anime :)
Do you have any future plans for tattoos or piercings? Is there anywhere you wouldn’t get tattooed, or would you ever consider how a piece of ink would affect your work as a model?
I plan to have more tattoos, and I would like to get a few more piercings as well. I wouldn’t get my hands tattooed however much I love them because of work, but everywhere else I could probably cover up. I also wouldn’t mind getting a neck tattoo but that would also be bad for possible work. I plan to get a lot more anime tattoos and some other of my favourite characters from shows. I want to get some poems as well, but all in good time.
What is next for Kae Bambi? What projects can we expect to see you working on next?
Probably more conceptual work as always but I’m also delving into more fashion work to expand my portfolio. Currently I have a few shoots in the works involving latex, promotions, a quirky/cute shoot, more lingerie shoots and a shoot involving body paint or airbrushing, haven’t decided yet! But I know it’s going to be fun!
Could we please end on Bernard Pivot’s well known questionnaire?
What is your favourite word? Probably the word omniscient. Not sure why but I love the meaning as well as the formation of the letters.
What is your least favourite word? The word chicken, because I’m pretty scared of chickens.
What turns you on? Good food.
What turns you off? Arrogance, there is really nothing worse.
What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of rain, and the smell of it, and seeing it…I just love rain all round!
What sound or noise do you hate? I really…really…really hate the sound of Styrofoam being cut. I cannot stand it, I run away when I hear the noise.
What is your favourite curse word? I actually don’t like saying ‘real’ curse words, so I substitute them for much funnier ones like “frick on a stick” and “motherfrick”. I also picked one up off my boyfriend which is “Jimminy Christmas”, which I think is a substitute for Jesus Christ!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I wouldn’t mind giving massage a go, or nutrition. I also wouldn’t mind becoming a Buddhist monk, but I like my hair and materials too much to do that.
What profession would you not like to do? I would hate to be a factory worker, they destroy minds.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well if I believed in God, I probably would like him (or her!) to offer me some complimentary champagne and gift package for living a hard-working life.
I can’t thank Kae enough for her fantastic work on this interview. I found her so eager to help, and she really helped to produce an engaging piece. I wish her all the very best, and I hope readers of this will go along to her blog and show her some support. If you do happen upon Kae’s blog, you’ll find one of the liveliest tumblrs around. Go see for yourself.
All images used here were taken with Kae’s consent.