Tonight’s feature focuses on a very talented model called Charli Elizabeth. I must give Facebook the credit on sourcing this particular interview, after being introduced to her work on the social networking site I literally spent over an hour investigating her portfolio. With such an array of fabulous work already to her name, the experience was amazing. I was quickly inspired to contact Charli in the hopes of featuring her here on the Alt Girl botherer blog. With her cheery disposition, and an extremely positive attitude, the interview was quickly discussed and the whole article was produced in record time. While writing the piece I was thrilled to not only delve deeper into the work of this rising star within the modelling realm, but also collaborate with a thoroughly professional and dedicated individual. If you’ve not yet been introduced to Charli’s work, then you’re very welcome for this showcase. Prepare yourself to be ensnared by visual delight, and motivated to find out more about a thoroughly intriguing artist.
Hello Charli. So excited to feature you and your work on my blog, how are things in your world?
Hi! I’m really excited about this too. It’s really fantastic that you asked to do a feature on me, thank you! Things are going well with me.
The research portion of this article has been a dream. You’ve produced masses of top quality work, and have a thoroughly enjoyable portfolio. But where did all this awesomeness start?
I’m really glad you’ve had fun looking though my portfolio! I first started modelling when I was about 17, my friend asked me to model for a photography project she was doing at her college. I turned up to shoot with her – my first shoot ever. It was great fun and I enjoyed it so much. After that I did a few more random shoots and got the confidence together to make a model mayhem portfolio – It went from there!!
Did you find the industry a welcoming one? Would you say you had many trials and tribulations in those early stages?
It’s scary if I’m going to be honest. It’s brutal and you feel like you are always under scrutiny from people. I believe you’ve got to be very strong willed to be in this industry; you try to put on a front that you are immune to bad comments or haters. Really we all know it hurts to be put down. I’ve had a few things happen that I’ve had to brush off. On the flipside it’s great to meet new people in the industry, getting together and creating some cracking work. It’s always lovely when I get good feedback, and it always outweighs the bad feedback by far!
There’s so much I want to cover about your work that I thought we’d jump right in. Sooooo many shoots I’ve enjoyed and totally fawned over from your portfolio. Can I start with your work alongside Rowan Murray, whose pictures were used for your Elite Magazine feature. They’re very elegant shots, with a touch of golden age Hollywood about them. Did you enjoy working with Rowan and creating that vamp touch in the lingerie etc?
Of course! Rowan is a great guy and I really enjoyed shooting with him. We both knew what we wanted to achieve and I must say, we work brilliantly together! We had a laugh on the shoot; it was funny as I was trying to pose in an old abandoned farm building in 6 inch heels. Nearly falling over everywhere! I’d say my shoot with Rowan really shows my personality. He took photos of me… being me! No acting required for this shoot, which I think is brilliant and really shows what a fantastic guy he is to really capture me like that.
Speaking of your Elite feature, how thrilled were you to secure that? It’s a great piece, what was the reaction like when it came out?
When we did the shoot we weren’t expecting Elite Magazine to be so interested in them. We sent them off to the magazine and I had to fill out an interview with them, I was so pleased and proud when it happened! Rowan had said to me previously he was going to get me published, but I had no idea I’d come on that quickly! The reaction when it came out was fantastic. I’ve gained a lot of fans and followers because of this feature, I’m really grateful to Rowan and Elite Magazine for launching me into upcoming stuff!
I’ve also got another feature in Elite at the end of December, I travelled up to Newcastle to shoot with Elite Magazine, it’s a biggie for me… So keep your eyes peeled for that one!
When you were first setting out on your modelling adventure, did you have ideas of where you wanted to go with your career? Did you set sights on magazine work, advertising, catwalk work, or were you happy to sample everything that came along?
When I first started I only did it as a hobby, after a few shoots I realized I could potentially make something out of it. I used to think I would only do alternative fashion or beauty shoots, did the odd lingerie set every now and then. I had a break from modelling in 2011, as I didn’t like the direction it was all going, and I felt like I could be better and improve myself. I pondered ideas about my image during my break – decided I would get into the more daring, vicious glamour side of things. I knew I had the assets to do it, it was just a matter of having the right frame of mind to do it! So here I am 5 months after returning from my break, no longer labelled an Alt Model… Now being backed by two agencies as an Alt Glamour Model. Its right where I want to be! I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made in such a short time!
Elegance and poise is a trait you exhibit expertly in certain shots Charli. A photographer who I feel highlights an ethereal quality to your work is Jennifer Marino. You’ve worked with her a few times, and the results are always so stunning. What can you tell us about working with Jennifer and the results you two achieve?
Jen is one of my favourite photographers to work with. I’ve had a couple of shoots with her now and we click perfectly each time. She’s great fun and eccentric just like myself. Jen is very talented with setting the mood in photos, one shot can have a dream like quality to it, and the next one can be sensual. She’s very good at capturing emotion and her being such a lovely woman makes my job a lot easier! We always plan our shoots well, we have a good think about what sort of themes and feel we are going for.
What’s it like working on as set with you Charli? How do you like to shoot? Is it a loud set, a funny set, do you like direction, or the freedom to improvise?
I like to think I’m easy to work with on shoots and I will always go into a shoot trying my hardest. I like to have a laugh when working with photographers – I find if I have chemistry with a photographer, the photos tend to be higher quality and more genuine. Shoots with me are always very laid back and I tend to do my own thing rather than taking direction.
I really admire the skill you have to be introverted in one picture but then exuberantly extroverted in another. Is visualising your emotions something you’ve had to work at, or have you always been a very expressive person?
It’s always about confidence I find, you tend to get more comfortable with showing emotion in front of the camera the more experienced you are. I would always feel like a right ninny pulling expressions and trying to show emotion when I first started modelling, but now I’m used to trying my hardest to portray emotion. It’s all about the practice and experience! I’m still yet to learn how to smile without looking like I’m gurning… but that’s coming along nicely. A cheeky smile or smirk seems to be creeping into some of my most recent photos!
In contrast to the more recognisable styles of shoot seen in your work with Smokey Rose and Kevin Scullion, you’ve never been scared to work outside the box. In collaboration with artists such a PunkNPoison, you really tested your modelling chops to the limit, and came up with some innovative, drama packed visuals. There’s experimentation with expression and positioning in there also. Does it excite you when new ideas come your way, and you get to take a creative chance?
PunkNPoison – Magic. She’s one of the most creative individuals I’ve ever met. She really knows how to push boundaries! Working with her on this shoot was great fun and opened my eyes to going that step further with experimentation! New ideas always excite me, and I’m always looking to have a wacky creative time!
It may be a somewhat simplistic question, but in your opinion how have you (for want of a better word) learnt how to be a model? Where have you picked up the poses, the angles, or how to accentuate a shot with a well placed arm? Is it down to experience, or do you practice away from the camera?
It’s definitely a learning process when it comes to modelling. I’ve sifted though literally thousands of photos with poses I like and practiced them on shoots and in mirrors. I think any subtle change of angle in a hand or arm can make or break a photo. Its fun experimenting with some poses, I like to have a bit of fun if I can… and if my shoes allow me to!
I must also mention your work with KamKoon photography. The pictures created from that collaboration are what I call “icon shots” really powerful images capable of gracing any medium, from magazine to billboard. Are you ever taken aback at how much impact your shots have when you see the finished article? Is it hard believing it’s you sometimes?
I’m sometimes taken aback when I see the finished product from a shoot. It is hard to believe it’s me as well! I’d never have thought I would be getting into modelling and suchlike if you’d asked me seven years ago… when I was at school getting bullied!
We’ve talked about so much of your work already, and I’ve only just scratched the surface, but I have to also ask about your relationship with SCulley photography. The two of you have worked together many times, and always generate amazing pictures. There’s a freedom and fun to the shoots you do together, would I be right in thinking she’s a favourite artist of yours?
Ah SCulley Photography. Photographer and a great friend of mine. We always have a really great time when we are shooting; she’s a great girl and an amazing photographer! Stef is definitely one of my favourite artists. It’s been so lovely to see her talent grow and blossom into something truly beautiful over the years I’ve had the pleasure of being her friend. She’s got a great eye for all things artistic, she really is fantastic!
Speaking of art, your choices of ink are incredibly vibrant and work so well. You must get asked a lot, but can you walk us through the pieces you have? Can I also ask if you’ve got any plans for future additions?
Thank you! My first tattoo was the one on my right shoulder blade, a memorial piece to my Father who died three years ago. I had designed this one myself, before my Dad had passed when I was studying art at college. He had always liked this certain drawing of two swallows in mid flight, so I figured it was perfect when I decided to get a tattoo. It took around two hours to complete, perhaps thrown into the deep end for my first tattoo but I really love it.
After that I started on my Japanese sleeve, on my left arm. Japan and traditional Japanese culture has always fascinated me, I think it’s a beautiful culture and their style of art is incredible. This is why I chose to have a sleeve. It’s a bold statement but I really do love art! My sleeve consists of a Koi, Cherry blossoms, a Geisha, Phoenix and a Lotus flower. I love the contrast of the dark shading and the bright colours in the main parts of my sleeve.
I’m planning to have my other sleeve started on at some point, Japanese again – something feminine with lovely peacocks and birds! I’m also interested in having my back tattooed again, as part of a back piece and finally my feet!
I do know that you are a self confessed nerd, and a gaming nut. What got you into the nerdy side of life in the first place? Can I ask what console you’re rocking right now, and what’s been played on there most of late?
I am! I love nerdy stuff, science, NASA, Superheroes, Cosplay, Computers, Tech and finally gaming. My father was always a bit of a nerd when I was younger, He’s the man that introduced me to the gaming world actually – I always remember he used to play doom on his pc when he wasn’t working or teaching and he would let me watch him, I think he probably got told off by my Mother a few times as I was so young! As I got older we played pc games together, I always have fond memories of my Father and I being nerds! I’m currently rocking an Xbox 360. I’ve always been an Xbox girl. Assassin’s creed has been played most recently; it’s my favourite series of games. Love it!
Any titles you’re looking forward to getting for Christmas perhaps?
I really want to get the new Call of Duty – Black Ops 2, Tomb Raider, Medal of Honor: War fighter and a pile of other games. I’m not even sure I’ve got room in my games rack for any more games but I suppose I will have to find space somewhere!
Are people surprised when they find out your a nerd and a gamer Charli?
You bet. I’m a beauty therapist outside of modelling so people expect me to be composed and ladylike… not brandishing an AK47 in a gunfight or being the biggest nerd and following NASA’S Curiosity Rover on Mars!! At first glance I may look like your typical blonde. Soon as I reveal my geeky side and my tattoos, people seem to be quite shocked at first. I like to live outside of stereotypes. I like to see people’s reaction when I’m not what they expected.
Speaking of Christmas, its right around the corner… Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? What does a Charli Elizabeth Christmas consist of?
It does seem to be looming, yes! I’ve not done any at all. I’m a scrooge when it comes to Xmas. I’m more focused on making sure my Mum is ok now that my Dad isn’t around. We usually end up making far too much food (not eating it all) and drinking too much champagne!
Finally back to your work if we may. You’ve already got a stellar back catalogue of shoots under your belt, but I believe you’ve set your sights on the American market in the near future. How are you hoping to influence that marketplace? What future projects should fans look forward to?
That’s right. I’ve always felt the American market is incredible as far as alternative modelling is concerned, they seems to have such a variety of “Alt” it amazes me. I’d like to get a taste of it. I’m looking to be featured in various magazines in the states, may even be planning a little trip if it kicks off enough for me!
You’re a very ambitious woman Charli, and have lots to be proud of already in your modelling career. But what are you hoping 2013 has in store for you?
I’m looking to do a lot more work with my agencies and looking for lots more publications! Will also be breaking into the American market. Lots of good stuff coming up! Keep your eyes peeled for it!
Lastly, could you please answer Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire for me?
What is your favourite word?
What is your least favourite word?
What turns you on?
Talking dirty and being teased.
What turns you off?
What is your favourite curse word?
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of a tattoo gun.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of traffic/busy roads.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Rock star/Singer or Game designer/tester/reviewer… just a few!
What profession would you not like to do?
Working in a sexual health clinic. Ew.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“ What on earth are you doing up here?!”
I can’t thank Charli enough for her effort and attitude throughout the interview process. She was a pleasure to work with and study during the writing of this article. I wish her every success with her future projects and efforts to conquer the states. I shall be watching her career progress closely, and would love to work with her again on absolutely anything! Head to the link below for all things Charli Elizabeth, and enjoy!
All images used were provided by Charli, or taken from her sites with her permission.