Q: I began this piece talking about your modelling, due to the fact that
it is how I was introduced to your creative world. Further
investigation though reveals quite the artist within. Have you always
been an artistic person Rachel? Do you have any idea where this side
of your personality comes from, or where it developed?
R: It definitely developed from my father. He was a hobbyist
photographer when he was younger. And I’ve always been into art. I
took it VERY seriously in High School. I was in AP art and pretty much
all I ever did was work on pieces and sleep. I didn’t even eat in the
cafeteria… I lived in the art room. I can give a super big shout
out to my AP teacher. She pushed me to develop my art into something
different and unique. She was straight up about weather something was
good, finished, unfinished, overworked, shitty; whatever. She would
tell us flat out if it was good or not. I LOVED that about her. No
other teachers have ever given me as “real” of a critique as she did.
I may stop modelling someday, but I will NEVER stop creating art. It’s
just part of my being.
Q: You have a particular passion for photography, and I think your self
portraits are very special indeed. You seem to treat yourself as a
resource expertly, again, it may be hard to answer, but how do you
view yourself as the model, when you are the photographer?
R: I just see myself as someone I can mould directly into what I’m
thinking of in my head. Or at least try. Sometimes they come out
great, sometimes not so much… but that’s the joy of self portraiture
- you never know. I like the gamble.
Q: May I ask what photographers have inspired you n the past, whose work
do you enjoy personally?
R: Anna Gaskell was a huge part of my initial inspiration as a
photographer. I got hooked on everything she produced. Her work is
mesmerizing and stirred something deep inside me. Especially because
her photos were in colour!! Ha-ha I had only worked with black and white
film at that point. Philip Warner is a close second. He portrays women
in such a way that is dark, but soft and sexy at the same time. Miss
Van, Jeremy Fish, Sylvia Ji and Stuntkid will forever be some of my
favourite artists as well…
Q: What sort of a photographer are you when working with other models? Do
you like to give direction if you have a strong idea in mind? Or do
you like models to bring their own ideas and improvise?
R: Both. If they are new to modelling, I try and work them into just
being themselves. Movement is a HUGE passion of mine. A lot of models
just stand still, but I love it when girls just let themselves go…
throw some music on and let them sing and dance. I’ve gotten some of my
favourite shots just from that alone. I also love to hear any ideas
from anyone else as well. I have so many going through my head constantly
that I really try and take a break from them whenever I can and just
let the model come up with something. I did that recently with a
model. We were going to wrap her in wire and she had this giant pine
cone in her car! She said we should put it on her head. I fell in love
with her after that.
Q: Have you got any projects in mind that you are particularly looking
forward to indulging in? Is having this artistic streak running
through you a good outlet for ideas or themes that you might not
necessarily want to feature in yourself, but create from behind the
R: YES! I would love to create a series of some kind. I have many ideas
but I’m trying to really dig deep and make it worth something, as well
as be unique. I’m probably going to be using more film than digital as
the year goes on. I’m so tired of digital. Plus I’m not good at photo
shop so I just like to capture and image and leave it. With digital
there’s always that idea (for me anyways), that, “oh, that would look
better if I just did __”. With film, I’m usually much more satisfied
with the initial result.
Q: Speaking of art, I couldn’t interview you without mentioning your
unique and ever so interesting tattoos. Please forgive me, and I won’t
dwell on them as I’m sure you always get asked to explain etc. But
your pieces are extraordinary, and some of the most intriguing designs
I’ve come across. Could I ask who your chest and your key in
R: Oh it’s fine. If a day went by without someone asking about my
tattoos it meant I didn’t go into public that day. The key was done
when I was 18 - it’s from a Lamb song, “Cotton Wool”. The lyric says,
“If the key fits, just open the door”. It’s kind of an inspirational
thing for me to remember to keep going if it feels right and to follow
your heart. My chest piece is my favourite. Tom Yosenick at Fine Line
Tattoo in Garland, TX is the artist. I became obsessed with Phi when I
was in high school and ended up getting a nautilus with the Fibonacci
Sequence (or Golden Ratio) permanently on my skin! Weee! There’s a
really cool video on youtube called “Nature by Numbers” that sort of
explains it in a nutshell. There’s much more to it than just that…
but it’s a start.
Q: I’m forever fascinated with different people’s relationship to tattoos
and in particular getting them done. You have very distinctive
placement of your pieces, is there a certain reason for that? Would
you briefly tell us a little about what the experience of sitting in
the tattooist’s chair is like for you Rachel?
R: I do enjoy getting tattooed but I got all of the ones I have before I
was even 20. Honestly, I’m probably going to be covering my back
tattoo of the lotus. It will have to be a special day before I’m ready
to go into that project… But honestly, I didn’t even know
where I was going to get the key. Just kinda happened and I’m very
pleased with the result. And my chest piece - I didn’t feel like it
fit anywhere else on my body besides on my chest… I dunno. They
kinda just pick their own places. Its subconscious I think too.
Q: Do you have any plans for more art work being added to your body?
R: I am going to get the back tattoo covered. Other than that, I really
don’t know. I’m really for thinking through my tattoos and as much as
I want to get something goofy I just can’t bring myself to do it…
which is kind of strange considering how goofy I am… I have been
kicking around the idea of getting the planet that was bullied out of
our solar system, Pluto, with RIP under it. I realize they still
call it a dwarf planet, but it’s still kinda funny to me.
Q: I was wondering if you could shed a little light on some of your other
creative influences also. For instance what music are you enjoying at
the moment, or is there a particular book, movie or anything else that
is grabbing your attention right now?
R: Music is my life line. I really don’t think I could have survived
this long in my life without it… I listen to LOTS of different music.
Right now I’m really into Sea Wolf, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pinback, Dandy
Warhols (because I’m about to see them soon!), PANTyRAiD, Depeche Mode
(always ha-ha), Primus, John Lee Hooker… there’s so many more too. I
can’t just stay on one thing for long…
Q: It’s only my opinion, but I think the standard of work you produce is
inspirational and aspirational for others in the industry. I know it’s
very different from person to person, but have you got any advice for
aspiring models today? What do you wish someone had told you starting
out, or what advice has served you the best in your career?
R: Thank you! Advice I have… be on time, communicate, be positive,
have fun, and let go! Art is about letting yourself go, I think. I’m
super good at that when it comes to a pencil and paper, but I’m going
to start working on that with my modelling as well.
Q: Before the questionnaire, I appreciate so many of your shots Rachel
and would love to own some to display. Is there anywhere people can
buy prints of your work? Or will there be in the near future?
R: I don’t have any for sale really right now except for at the GreyDUCK
Gallery in Austin, TX - there are prints from William Hundley and
Hector Hernandez’s show FUGUE STATES. I’m going to be working on an
edition soon. Although if you just message me about any you’d really
like, I can probably talk to the photographer to get a print for a
price they are comfortable with. You can also buy prints from these links:
Finally, could we please finish with Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire?
What is your favourite word? Carcass or banshee.
What is your least favourite word? Hussy.
What turns you on? A good sense of humour.
What turns you off? Someone trying to be dominant when they just aren’t.
What sound or noise do you love? I’m going to be cliché and say the
rain or the ocean.
What sound or noise do you hate? People grinding their teeth in their sleep.
What is your favourite curse word? Fuckhead.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Psychology and/or printmaking.
What profession would you not like to do? Nurse.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive
at the pearly gates? I really don’t know… He’d probably be speechless
that I was even there in the first place.
I’m sure you all took from this piece that I was humbled to feature Rachel here. There are a handful of women that I have described on this blog as “cool as fuck” and Rachel fits effortlessly into that group. I have to thank her for working tirelessly to get permission to use all of the images you see in this piece, as well as being open and willing to answer all of my questions. She’s someone I am overjoyed to have worked with and someone with which I’ll always have a desire to collaborate with again. I wish her every success in the future. For more information and examples of her stunning modelling work, head over to the link below.
All images used were taken from Rachel’s blog with permission for use sought by Rachel herself. Credits follow in order of appearance:
2) Hector Hernandez