Today I’ve got an interview with a distinct European flavour. It’s with Finnish alternative model Tiina, whose work first caught my eye during a visit to the modelmayhem website. I was so taken by the striking imagery on show that I delved deeper into her portfolio, and had to get in touch to request an interview. To my delight, Tiina was agreeable, and we got started. Tiina’s photographs capture a suave demeanour and an accomplished air, but she’s worked hard at her craft, and we’re all now reaping the benefits of exquisite work. It was so kind of Tiina to take time for this interview before a working trip to Italy, and getting to know the lady behind the pictures has been fantastic. I hope you’ll enjoy this introduction to a very talented woman.
Q: Hello Tiina. Welcome to my blog. What have you been up to recently?
Tiina: Hi and thank you very much. Pleasure to be on your blog. I’ve been up to loads! My life has been bit of a rollercoaster this year. Everything is changing and I just moved back to London from Essex.
I’m travelling to Italy this week for modelling and then touring Finland so keeping busy!
Q: Speaking of Finland, you’re a Finnish born model working in the UK and Europe. I’ve always been interested in Finland as a country. I wonder if you could share with us what is was like starting out as a model in your homeland, and what the alternative scene is like there?
Tiina: I went to a modelling school there when I was about 15. I learnt catwalk, posing, etc. I loved it and wanted to become a model and they said to go back when I’m bit older… I didn’t go back, but still wanted to be a model. The only modelling work I did in Finland was hair fashion shows and I loved it. It was the best days of my life then. Just what I wanted to do!
I don’t know how’s the alternative scene in Finland because I left to move to England when I was 18 and I didn’t go to any of those places then. I know some people online who are in the scene.
Q: On the subject of the beginning of your career, could you tell us how you got involved with modelling? What was your big break into the business, and how did your first shoots go?
Tiina: I tried a few agencies when I first arrived to London but they just wanted to take my money. I didn’t know anything about how it works so I paid loads for a portfolio. I didn’t get any work from those agencies so I was going to give up, didn’t think I looked like a model, and was too busy working so didn’t have time anyway. Then I moved to Essex and left my job as a security officer so I had time to do anything I wanted. I was going to get a ‘normal’ job but same time was looking for modelling and TV extra work. I got some TV extra work through Starnow first, but wasn’t till I joined Purestorm when it started. And I don’t think I’ve had any big break into the business. Just started to get busier and busier. I do my best and work hard. I hope I will get my big break soon :)
Q: You’ve worked with a number of different photographers, and in a number of different styles. What genre of photo shoot do you most prefer? Is it the fetish side, or the beauty and glamour side?
T: I love to do different styles. My job is very varied and I can never get bored. I do bit of almost everything, but I if have to choose favourites I would pick glamour/erotic.
Q: Your work with photographer Phil Winterbourne and KashR Photography are very distinctive indeed. The photographs are taken in close proximity, and it really generates an intimate feeling when viewing the pictures. You have a fantastic talent for emoting to camera; do you enjoy the more theatrical nature of being photographed and creating different expressions?
T: I love the camera! Some photographers have said I change for the camera and I do. I become someone I want to be. You need to have a way of expressing yourself. Before I used to draw, now I pose. It comes naturally and I’ve always been creative. I love being on front of camera and being photographed, it’s the best job in the world. I’m so lucky.
Q: You have very strong features, and your hair and pale skin are a very striking signature. How do you manage to produce such a varied range of photographs and reinvent yourself for every shoot naturally?
T: Yeah, got my Finnish features and I’m actually naturally brunette but blonde is so much better so I will stay blonde! I had my fringe cut like this for a Lady Gaga shoot and I’ve kept the style ever since.
And I just do it…just change my mood to each shoot. Can’t explain… I just do what is required of me. It comes from inside.
Q: I adore your fetish work, and am always interested in people that work in the fetish world. Do you enjoy the fetish scene in your own personal life? Do you think it’s important for a model to have an interest in whatever fetish she is depicting?
T: I didn’t know anything about fetish before I started modelling! I only got to know about it through my work and I’ve learnt a lot, also about myself. It’s been a big part of my modelling, I get quite a lot of fetish work, and now it’s become bit more part of my personal life too. I’m very open minded and up for doing new things in modelling. I’m not into all fetish things I do at work, I just don’t mind doing them.
Q: You’ve recently shared some work you’ve done using chocolate and food in a shoot. What was that experience like, and who came to you with the idea of working with chocolate in that way?
T: It was Easter group shoot organised by London Themed Artistic and Erotic group. I posed for them at Easter last year and asked if I could do again. Brian, the organiser got the idea. It was fun, but messy. Didn’t mind getting chocolate all over me, but tried to avoid it getting in my hair. I’ve done some other messy shoots before, involving custard, chocolate, cream, oil, paint, etc…
Q: What is it like for a model to work a shoot that involves bondage or suspension? Do you have to find different ways of expressing yourself when parts of your body are bound? Does it become more about facial expression then?
T: I like doing bondage shoots, it’s quite relaxing for me. You can still move your body a bit and can move head and change expressions. Suspension is bit harder but also fun.
Q: You’re an experienced model who has taken part in hundreds of photo shoots already. What advice would you give to women who are thinking about getting into the industry? What are some of the positives and negatives that most people don’t consider about the job?
T: I get emails from new models asking for advice sometimes. Get some good photos taken for portfolio, and you don’t have to pay loads to get portfolio like I did many years ago… Promote yourself, I’m on loads of different sites. I’m updating my facebook fan page daily and reply to all my fan mail. Work hard, don’t give up, be reliable, and learn to pose…
Positives…I like working freelance and can work the hours I want and I’m in charge of everything, I love posing and seeing the results, travelling to new places, meeting new people, and modelling gives me so much confidence, and makes me happy. I’m always happier after shooting.
Negatives…Sometimes I get weird messages, but most people are lovely. Everyone wants to be friends on facebook now, and there’s some weird people I’ve had to block.
Not many negatives come to my mind, but you have to work hard to be busy.
Q: I’m always interested in a model’s views on nudity in their shots. Did you have any difficulties when you first began posing nude? Or like me are you of the opinion that the human form is an incredible source of beauty, and it should be celebrated?
T: Right in the beginning I didn’t do nude, even turned down casting for Channel 4 because it was topless. I did my first nude shoot after about two months of starting modelling. I was nervous when I did my first nude shoot, but after that was fine. Doesn’t feel any different if I have clothes on or off now and I like shooting nude :)
Q: Are there any ideas or concepts for shoots that you haven’t engaged in but want to? Is there a type of photograph you’d love to pose for?
T: There’s loads I want to do and many photographers I would like to work with, and recently have got a chance to work with some of them. I would like to work with more fashion designers and try new looks. Also I want to get published so working on that at the moment.
Q: Away from modelling, what would you say influences your own sense of style, in terms of fashion and make-up? How do you like to dress in her day to day life?
T: I wear more clothes when I’m not working lol… Usually short dresses, heels or boots, always have eyeliner.
I like black, pink and strong colours. I want to look good but not like everyone else. I don’t wear trainers and you don’t often see me wearing trousers. I have a diploma in fashion design and I’ve done hairdressing.
Q: What other influences do you have? What music, film, literature etc do you enjoy? Also, how much of your Finnish background do you think influences your choices in life? Is your nationality still a big part of your life, or have you integrated with UK sensibilities more now?
T: Music I like… 80s classics, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen, Dingo, Leevi and the Leavings (last two are Finnish bands)… At the moment I’m loving The Ting Tings. I can listen to the same album over and over again.
Films… Anything with Keanu Reeves, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. I like old films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Gone with the Wind. TV I like: Coronation Street, Come Dine with Me, The Inbetweeners, original Charlie’s Angels, Kath and Kim (Australian version), Absolutely Fabulous, and my favourite as a teenager used to be My So Called Life, which is why my tumblr is called that.
Books… All Danielle Steel books, And I don’t Want To Live This Life, book about Nancy Spungen by her mum Deborah Spungen.
Being Finnish is not that big part of me anymore. I love going there for holidays and visiting my family, but my life is in London. All my family is still in Finland so I travel there at least once a year, but couldn’t live there anymore. I like to watch Finnish films sometimes and listen to Finnish music, I didn’t even like Finnish music when I lived there :)
Finally, could we please finish with Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire?
What is your favourite word? Kitty
What is your least favourite word? But…
What turns you on? I won’t tell you…
What turns you off? Doctors
What sound or noise do you love? Music, I always need music on!
What sound or noise do you hate? Baby crying
What is your favourite curse word? I don’t swear :)
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’ve got my dream job…If have to be something else I would be an astronaut!
What profession would you not like to do? Cleaner (though I like to clean at home) or supermarket checkout
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Welcome angel
Again, it was fantastic talking with Tiina and I really got an insight into models from abroad working here in the UK. Tiina has strived to get where she is today, and her determination will see her succeed in all her future projects I’m sure. I’m glad I was able to bring her work to those who may not have known it, and I hope her story is somewhat of an inspiration to aspiring models everywhere. Check out Tiina’s links for more information:
All images were provided by Tiina, and used with her say so.