The Elements Photoshoot

Just before my accident last year, I partnered with Vania of VLC Productions to do an elemental-themed photoshoot. It was definitely a challenge to come up with and shoot all 4 looks in one day!

Elements photoshoot air modeling red dress

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.
                                                                                                                                             – J.R.R. Tolkien


I want to be like water. I want to slip through fingers but hold up a ship.
                                                                                                                – Michelle Williams

I am in pure love with how classical Vania made this photo feel; from the pristine shapes flowing into the water currents to the cool blue-grey hues. It harkens to a Pre-Raphaelite painting or perhaps a watery Maxfield Parrish (while oodles of fun, there was lots of runaway fabric that kept getting caught in the current and oh that water was COLD!).
The Element Photoshoot Water

The Elements Photoshoot Earth

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
                                                                                                                                                           – Unknown

Alas, our fire experiment didn’t work out so well. (We were trying to do a sparkler scene at night to mimic fire. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out. But it was a learning experience!). In the meantime, here’s a portrait Vania shot of you as she was testing the lighting. Not a bad portrait for having just spent the previous half hour jumping about on a trampoline!
Portrait of me Briana Lamb

Geek Couture – Her Universe Fashion Show 2014

HU_Sketches_2_1Last year at San Diego Comic Con, Her Universe created the Geek Couture runway show (no, that’s not where I got the name for my blog category. I came up with it independently. But it seems from the title and the Lady Vader design I was working on at the time, Ashley Eckstein and I are on the same wavelength!). It was an attempt to let would-be-designers compete to show off their high fashion concepts on a runway at Comic Con. Her Universe started off the event by showcases some of their own talented sketches of various haute couture characters (I really love The Walking Dead – Lori’s Ghost one the most. I could see that very easily being a case of stealth geek).

HU_Sketches_4_1HU_Sketches_1_1HU_Sketches_3The runway show was a resounding success as 36 designers and models stomped down the runway in their original designs. The large hall at the convention was standing room only as fangirls and boys alike excitedly gathered for the first-of-its-kind event. The designers ranged from professional costumers to hobby cosplayers, but all with equal amounts of passion.

As if the event wasn’t cool enough by itself, there was added incentive as two winners would be chosen from the runway show to then partner with Her Universe and Hot Topic to create their own collection. The two winners were….

Amy Beth Christenson Smith with her Delorean-inspired outfit from Back to the Future.mg_5812mg_5822









Andrew MacLaine with his show-stopping quick-change Regina from Once Upon a Time.






You have to see the full reveal of this one. It still blows my mind.

You can see a gallery of all the outfits here: (scroll down towards the bottom of the post):
(My apologies as I was trying to upload them all here, but can’t seem to get it formatted. Hmm, more things to learn!)

Outfit of the Week – Schoolgirl

_MG_4278(NOTE: I have since absconded this outfit as after viewing photos from the shoot. I hadn’t realized just how short the skirt was (in certain shots my bum was completely in view, not very ladylike). My personal style has also changed since when I shot this a few years ago. But nevertheless, people seem to enjoy this outfit alot, so I thought I’d let it see the light of day again. Enjoy!)

Although I didn’t put this outfit together until I was well out of school, the whole ensemble made me think of a British Commonwealth schoolgirl. (It brought back fond memories of living in New Zealand and watching students all neatly filing into schools with their matching uniforms. Granted, I’m sure it was no fun for them, but since I never had to wear a school uniform here in the States, I found the whole look rather intriguing.) Originally I had slapped on the outfit haphazardly to keep myself warm backstage during a runway show, but after hearing a few squeals of admiration from other models I decided to document what silly thing I had put together.

The setting here is at one of my alma maters – East Literature Magnet School in Nashville, TN (now known as East Nashville Junior High School). I attended there for 8th, 9th, and part of 10th grade. Sadly, my desire to devour classic literature and be challenged academically there was not satiated there so I moved on to another school. But as far as this blog post goes, it makes for a great backdrop!

_MG_4314_MG_4352The top part that I’m standing on in the photo above was a popular spot for us more adventurous students. We’d jockey for position to get the highest spot then see who could jump off and gain the ever-coveted ‘cool stunt’ status. After doing this photoshoot and knowing how high up that precipice is, that has got to go down as one of the dumbest things I ever did in middle school.


I would like to say that I’ve traded in my textbook-laden backpack for a lighter, more svelte, grown-up tote, but nay, I’m still using my school backpack for transporting my work supplies. (Though I have to give credit where due, Swiss Army makes fantastic gear. My backpack, which I bought at Target about eight years ago, not only holds up, but has little to no signs of wear at all! Best $50 I ever spent.)

_MG_4294 _MG_4455In college there were seven of us that all had this same Swiss Army backpack in my TV Production class. So we all agreed to put something on our backpacks that signified it being ours so there was no mix-up in picking up someone else’s backpack by mistake. So while everyone else put on various band and music-related memorabilia, I flew my geek flag in the form of a Bumblebee keychain. Even when I go on film or TV sets these days, this backpack will still appear (inevitably a grip or best boy will have this exact backpack), so Bumblebee still comes in handy!

_MG_4260 Dress: Forever 21
Tights: DKNY  
: Topshop via Ebay
Shoes: Goodwill
Glasses: Gifted
Backpack: Swiss Army via Target

All photographs taken by © Abrea Crackel 2011.

Her Universe & Hot Topic’s Marvel Collection

Hot-Topic-Her-Universe-Marvel-04212015-970x545In a nice turn of events, Her Universe has partnered with Hot Topic to bring a more fashion-conscious geek collection to the throngs of fangirls out there. In a market saturated with geek tshirts and leggings (not that these are bad things (goodness knows I have quite a few geek tees for those bumming-around-at-home days), but there does need to be a little more variety in the geek apparel market), Her Universe and Hot Topic have done just that. They’ve brought a line of fashion forward clothes inspired by the Avengers, just in time for the Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere.

(I’m getting a distinct Bladerunner vibe here…)

I really like the direction they decided to go in, both with the magazine editorial like lookbook shoot as well as listening to their market as to what people would like. From the mod look of Black Widow to the Rockabilly Captain America and Iron Man dresses. It’s no secret that I adore stealth geekery and closet cosplay (better yet if you can combine the two!). The Black Widow dress and jacket certainly fall into that category. (I’ll admit, I really want to try the jacket (though alas, I have a feeling it won’t fit my Na’vi-long torso. It may just be me, but it seems like a lot of fashion right now is geared towards girls with shorter torsos (example: skater dresses. Those are practically tops on me, or at the very least, bum-skimming.) But I digress…

Black-Widow-Jacket-04212015 Black-Widow-Dress-04212015
A fun note about this collection is that the designers, Amy Beth Christenson and Andrew MacLaine, were the winners of last year’s Geek Couture Fashion Show at San Diego Comic Con. Here you can see some behind-the-scenes of what went into designing the collection.

Although the line won’t be available in stores til May 12, you can pre-order them now.

My Star Wars: The Force Awakens Auditions

This weekend the internet has been abuzz with Star Wars talk, be it the new trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, the trailer for the new Star Wars Battlefront game, or the spin-off anthology film series, Rogue One (all of which I’m super excited about! Star Wars was my first and still my most beloved fandom. Well, except maybe Lord of the Rings. Close call.) I have a small little backstory with the new Star Wars film that I thought I’d share just for giggles.

Round One: In-Person Audition

In late 2013, there were a myriad of cattle call auditions around the world for hopefuls for the main cast. Only two roles were given out – one guy, one girl (aptly named “Rachel”. Considering the character’s final name is “Rey”, it was rather a clever nondescript fake name for auditions, no?) Thankfully, one of the audition places happened to be in my hometown of Nashville, so I made a trip up to have a Thanksgiving holiday with my parents and go to the casting call. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it as I don’t tend to have that sort of luck, but knowing Lucas (and now JJ Abrams) tendency to pick unknowns for the leads, I thought ‘oh, why not?

7am rolled around and I bolted out of bed, grabbed my materials and my incognito Jaina Solo gear (braided headband like she has in Jedi form and calf-high black boots. Because why not? I give any excuse to stealth geek), and headed out the door. As one would imagine, the lines were nuts. People were camping out as early as 11pm the previous night (although they were escorted off the premises by security). The casting call started at noon, but I got there early as I knew there would be a massive line. I arrived a couple minutes before 8am, about 5 minutes before the rush started (well….outside. I didn’t know about the 200 people line inside until an hour or so later).

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Nashville had a cold snap and it was well below freezing. By the time the sun hit our line at 9am, it eeked up to a whopping 20 degrees. While I didn’t have the foresight to bring a heavy coat (I wasn’t expecting it to be that cold!), I at least had ear muffs and a scarf. That’s more than could be said for many of the poor hopefuls standing in line. I also had the pleasure of standing next to a friendly, chatty group of theater students from Colorado. We passed the time chatting and doing silly dances to stay warm (one of group moms did a Starbucks run and very sweetly bought me a hot chocolate as I huddled with them).

Once we made it inside, things went quicker. The process was simple – go up, shake hands with the casting agents, hand off your resume and headshot, smile, and then you’re on your way. I wasn’t expecting anything from such a cattle call, but my hopes were perked up when the casting agent smiled at my “impressive resume” (which I found amusing because it was all extra work or college theater. Granted, there were some big movies on there like Hunger Games, but not a resume I’d call impressive).

Alas, I did not make the callback later that day, which I wasn’t surprised about. They were calling out girls who had much more modernly stereotypical prettier than I (aka all nice big straight-teeth smiles, long, thin noses, etc). Not as a put-down on myself, I’m just simply a different look. I’m pretty enough but I’m not typical screen beautiful. I have no delusions about that. I’m more of a supporting role type anyways (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!). But I figured I’d try out for the role all the same (as folks have told me I favor Natalie Portman, thus could pass for one of her genetic code. That plus my martial arts and fencing background could lend to my own stunt work, right?….) So that audition was scratched. But not to be deterred….

Round Two: Video Audition

In addition to the in-person cattle call audition, there was also a digital version for a video audition. Scripts were involved with that one. It was a new, nerve-wracking experience as I had never done a video audition before. My actor friends gave me some tips and I went to a local acting company to be videotaped. Alas, I was so embarrassed by my first round of taping, that I returned to re-do it a few days later. (As I discovered that I naturally tend to look around alot. But I didn’t know that until I saw the video playback and saw my wandering eyes darting every which way every couple seconds. Embarassing! And not professional looking.)

The second taping went better, though I still have a lot to learn about on-camera acting.  Between the wandering eyes and my unfortunate tendency to talk out of the side of my mouth, this is why I stick with modeling! But I figured for the giggles and interest of it, I’d….*gulp*…post my audition video here. (Note: the weird posture in the beginning of my audition was a direction by the person filming me. That didn’t come from me.)

While the whole experience was really just a shot in the dark, it was worth the try. 🙂

Creative ADD and…Oh look! A new idea!


I had planned to do a whole bunch of blog posts this week but dismal, rainy days (with entirely too many life interruptions) have a habit of derailing best-laid plans. Alas, even when skies are clear and time is abundant, I have a serious problem prioritizing my To-Do List. I blame it on what I call “creative ADD” – where there are entirely too many creative concepts in my brain vying for top spot. (Then there’s the added problem of when I start on a project, I ended up getting an idea for another!) To paraphrase the White Queen, “Why, sometimes I [create] as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Actually, for me…make it ten.

I have no problem prioritizing when it comes to paid jobs or for specific events (i.e. deadlines). But open-ended creative ideas have a habit of piling up to the point that I get buried under them. Some have given the advice of, “just pick one!” and I daresay I’ve attempted that. But as mentioned earlier, while in the middle of researching for one project, a random photo or drawing will pop and off my brain goes to create another photoshoot/costume/art project.

I’d be lying if there aren’t some days I wish I could shut my creative brain off! The projects are of so many different varieties – costumes, illustrations, photoshoots, music videos, etc. – and in my typical fashion, NONE of them easy! (Now I do keep all of these ideas logged in specified places as not to lose any of the ideas. I have extensive libraries on my computer and Photobucket of reference folders full of photographs, Word documents, doodles, etc. But as has been happening lately, they are only getting larger, with nothing crossed off the proverbial list.)

I’m beginning to fear that I’ve pigeonholed myself into the Idea phase. I come up with a plethora of concepts and reference to support them, but never seem to get very far past that phase due to yet another idea (and another and another and another) surfacing. There’s so much that goes into creating a good post, from coming up with content to research to good photos to working links, etc. I have completed a few ideas from concept to finished product, but they are fewer than I’d care to admit. Having a deadline definitely helps, though strangely a self-assigned deadline like, “I’m going to finish this costume by ___ (fill in the blank with arbitrary date)” doesn’t seem to work at all. My will circumnavigates my brain in its realisation that it’s not a hard-set deadline. Oh how my creative proverbial cup overfloweth!

And on that note, I’m going to go make myself some tea.