For May the Fourth (be with you) tomorrow, I will be releasing one of my favourite photoshoots to date! Here is a teaser of what it might be of. Stay tuned for some epicness in a galaxy far far away…
As a follow-up to the previous post of my Femme Tony Stark, I thought I’d do a twist on the typical black blazer and slacks combo. Stark is always cutting a slick and fashionable figure, so it stands to reason that his female counterpart would do the same. Thus I opted for a sleek blazer from H&M a few years ago with its partnership of corporate khaki and rebellious leather. How very Tony Stark.
Although they’re not pictured here, the khaki and leather blazer perfectly matches my Express slacks (seriously, it almost looks like they’re cut from the same fabric). It would appear the black blazer also has the same advantage. This pleases me greatly.
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For those curious types, I thought I’d share what makeup was used on me by makeup artist Aisha Daly for my Vogue Loki shoot.
Eyeliner – Urban Decay
Stagedive – discontinued
Foundation – Clinique foundation in Alabaster
Lips – Urban Decay Half-Baked eyeshadow (later I added cheap Halloween store black lipstick for the shoot)
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They say turning thirty will feel like just another day. For others, I can only assume that must be true from how many times I’ve heard it. But for me, that has not been the case. The morning of my 30th birthday came and it didn’t feel like another day.
It felt cold.
It felt foreign.
I looked outside at the storm raging outside the window. Rain was coming down so hard it was almost going sideways. The wind had picked up to the point of sending tree branches crashing into the side of the house. How symbolic…I have felt the increasing weight of adult problems to the point I feel beaten by it. The morning I turned thirty years old only seemed to intensify the fact. I spent it crying.
While I know it’s simply a societal construct that by thirty, one should have their “act together”; to be making good money at your chosen career, married with a family, own a house, all while making it look Pinterest-worthy. Those milestones still plague at my mind. I expected myself to be much farther along than I am. But I greet 30 worse for wear. The usual cycle of work problems, not having my own place, not married, still not making above the poverty line, not succeeding with my personal geek fashion business, and the physical signs of aging mixed with post-accident injuries make for a poor start to my 30s.
A troubled heart has a way of telling the mind convincing lies. A broken brain believes them, but it doesn’t necessarily make them true.
While I used to not have to put much effort into being positive, after the deterioration from the accident, it’s much harder for me to see the silver lining. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I’ve had to learn that both realities of depression and happiness exist, even at the same time. You have to learn that while feelings are valid, they are not always reality.
I may not be employed right now, but The Gifted: Season 2 starts soon and I have guaranteed employment among a beloved cast and crew.
I may not be employed right now, but I can spend my free time blessing others when there’s no one there to take them to the emergency room or for a cup of tea after a horrid breakup.
I may not have my dream career right now, but I have achieved my dream careers of years past – storyboard artist and film costumer. I DID achieve those dreams. They had their season and it’s on to new dreams.
I may not have my own home, but I have my own room larger than some people’s apartments that’s been recently renovated to my desires by my loving roommates (who are some of my closest friends).
I may not be married, but I just celebrated a year anniversary with a wonderful boyfriend who is as genuine in his love as is humanly possible.
I may not be married, but I dodged a bullet of terrible ex and am in a much better, healthier relationship with a man that my friends and family love.
I may not be making above the poverty line, but that tax return was big enough that I was able to pay off some bills and buy new furniture when I couldn’t afford it otherwise.
I may not have a successful geek fashion blog, but I still get messages every week of how my posts inspire you and help you style creatively in art, fashion, and home.
I may be seeing signs of aging that I don’t like, but others still think I’ve barely graduated highschool. (Thank you Mom for the fountain-of-youth genes!)
I may not have the success one expects with a 30 year old, but there’s still hope.
Test shoot with DEW Photography (we were originally going for a casual black and white shoot, but a storm rolled in and we had to get artsy-fartsy with it. Who knew how appropriate it would actually be…)
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“Never underestimate the power of red lipstick“, they say.
Unless you’re me, then you underestimate it all the time. I’m late to the makeup game as I only started wearing makeup a couple years ago for photoshoots and film work. I was so hesitant about applying colour to my own face that I actually photoshopped this photo from the previous photoshoot with red lips before I tried it on myself!
But I finally caved and got Besame’s 1946 red velvet lipstick that they used on Hayley Atwell aka Agent Peggy Carter (I’m still sore they cancelled the show…). It’s a deeper, almost brownish red with a semi-matte finish. I wasn’t sure how it would look with my slightly yellow-ish teeth, but it still works well! I only use it on special occasions when I have the time to meticulously apply it, but it’s a beautiful opaque colour and with geek street cred to boot! I mean, what vintage loving geek gal wouldn’t want Agent Carter’s signature shade?
Besame 1946 Red Velvet Lipstick – Amazon
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of experiencing something I never have before in all my years of modeling….Modeling with a group! Our lovely photographer (and fellow model), Astrid, was in town from traveling and wanted to see her friends. Since a decent amount of her friends are models, well,…we just had to have ourselves a photoshoot. It was a fun day of frolicking around a park, laughing as we goofily attempted to run down a hill barefoot, making new friends, sharing hopes and dreams. So please enjoy this unintentional Anthroplogie-esque featuring vintage fashions from local Atlanta store, Coco and Mischa as well as jewelry from Canned Goods!
Last year held a lot of depression, problems, and generally being stuck in a rut. Things have begun to move forward in such a way that I felt I needed a little ‘makeover’ to reflect that. I wanted something simple, but strong. I needed a hairstyle that I could easily maintain with my hectic lifestyle, yet still look polished with. Enter the Blunt Bang.
With my limp noodle hair, there’s not much I can do to make it look great naturally. But as if magic, simply cutting my fringe into a straight-across cut to match my naturally sleek tresses (or flat, limp pieces of string as I like to yell at them most days of the week…) pulls together for a potentially signature look. I can style it just like this or I can do updos for a quirky-cute flair, or style my bangs and various ways (including my beloved Belle/Aeris bangs).
Sometimes you just need a new hairstyle to make you feel like you can take on the world. Or pretend you’re a super secret agent. Whatever floats your boat.
Photography: James “Frameshot” Garner
As mentioned in my previous post, I originally wanted to do a Spider-girl cosplay for the express purpose of wearing her to charity events. Alas due to finances and my own near-fatal car accident, I didn’t get to fulfill that goal until late 2016. It was a small holiday meet-and-greet at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where I was joined by my friend Jefferson as Captain America and Valeria as Super-girl.
Many kids in hospitals are too sick to leave the grounds, so with special permission, sometimes charity groups are allowed in. Rather than going into individual hospital rooms (which can sometimes be dangerous for patients, depending on the severity level of their condition), we stationed ourselves in the lobby where those well enough (or with the help of caretakers) could come see us.
As one might expect most were very shy, but there was no mistaking the light in their eyes to see their favourite superheroes or the therapy dogs nearby. It seems like it’s not a big deal, but it can make a world of difference to a child.
I remember one charity event I did as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, there was a painfully shy little girl that I got down on the ground to give a hug to. She seemed like she wanted nothing to do with me, only giving me a hug when her parents asked her to. I didn’t think anything of it until her parents told me that the little girl was so excited she almost fainted when she saw me. “We just got back from a Make a Wish trip to Disney world. Belle is her favourite, but there was no Belle when we there. So when she saw you, we told her Belle had come just for her.” (Oh yeah, cue the waterworks on my account!) So I kept that in mind with the quiet, shy children at this charity event. Some were shy or in so much pain they couldn’t bring themselves to smile, but you could still see it in their eyes. I spoke quiet encouragement to some of them, hugged those who wanted it, and posed for pictures for hopefully good memories.
Be the joy you want to see in the world.
~ Your neighbourhood friendly Spider-girl
In all my years of picture-taking, I’ve noticed I have two modes: Model face and Derp face. There is no inbetween. The angular, don’t-you-even-think-about-smiling model face is my usual go-to when my spidey senses go off that a camera is near. But every photographer I’ve worked with knows that it’s not a true photoshoot with me until there’s derp face. In 0.5 seconds I’ll go from intense Vogueing to my tonge hanging out like a total goofball. But laughter is good for the soul! Life is far too short to take yourself seriously all the time. So while I was doing my model thing for the previous Spirit Hood post, there were a bunch of silly outtakes that were just fun to hide away. May this spread some joy and bring a smile to your face!
That moment of abject terror when my roommate’s husband (also known as my other roommate/landlord/brother-from-another-mother) came to check out the photoshoot only to start hurdling snowball’s at me for good “photo effect”.
Man, the faces I make sometimes….Anyways, I was not able to get my quick-footed roommate back and quickly succumbed the freezing temperatures. So I called a cease-fire to get our frigid bums back inside for some hot chocolate. Ah, it was a fun day.
Read A Day on Set of The Gifted: Part I here
In a flash, the stand-in cave under the stairs empties as second team makes a dash of Olympic levels into the headquarters. (For those not in the know, “first team” is the name given to the actors. Thus “second team” refers to their stand-ins and photo doubles.) At this point, we join the mass of crew members crowded around as the actors get into place for a marking rehearsal. As they do their thing, one of the camera assistants zips in and out placing neon coloured taped underneath the actors. This ensures everyone knows exactly where the actors end up. Meanwhile us stand-ins are watching the actors’ moves like steely-eyed hawks, memorizing their every turn, head tilt, posture, and walking directions.
“Alright, the crew has it!”
This is usually when quick ‘good mornings’ and ‘hellos’ between first and second team occur. Of course, Emma Dumont and I have to take it up a notch with a secret handshake. Because we are just too cool for school. From here, the set becomes a bustling hive of activity as the director teams up with various department heads to set up the shot. Cameras get set up on their dollies, grips scurry to set up lights, and P.As position background extras in the scene. Although there are attempts to keep this process quiet, it rarely happens. The amount of people and activity in one spot makes for noise. (Although it can be frustrating for a half-deaf gal like me to hear as I swear they always call out directions on my left/deaf side…thank goodness for other stand-ins keeping an ear out for me!) Due to sizes of lenses, camera angles, and lights, us stand-ins get shuffled around A. LOT. But it’s why we’re here – to help set up the shot so the actor’s can just come in and do their jobs. Standing around for hours can wear you out or at the very least, make you quite antsy. So while it’s an extremely low-paying and often thankless job, it’s a very necessary one.
I’m going to stop here to make an important note of one of the reasons I love working on The Gifted. In the previous post I mentioned how Emma makes me feel like an equal. She is not the only one. Our executive producers Derek Hoffman and Craig Siebels (my favourite director I have EVER worked for) are always there with a smile, a friendly chat, and make the set feel like a safe, very fun place to be. And then there’s our showrunner, Matt Nix. I once had the embarrassing notion of thinking he was the head writer and not the uh…show creator. So when he visited set for the first time from LA, I brazenly waltzed right up to say hi and chat over the silly Instagram posts from the writer’s room. After the initial, “Hi, what do you do on set?” the very next thing out of Matt’s mouth was, “So, do you like comics?” DO I. Thus began a 30 minute super geeky conversation about X-Men (which truthfully is my favourite comic series. Always has been). It wasn’t until the series premiere when I saw his name on the title screen that I realized my error. Oops…
Now, back to set!
My body is aching. I’ve been holding this position for the last hour. Dear Emma has a habit of perching on chairs and tables which work perfectly for Polaris, but can be a bit tricky to hold for 1-2 hours. Behold the perching gargoyle (I started calling her halfway through the season)…
Everything is now in place. The call goes out over the walkies to invite in first team.
“10 POINTS TO SLYTHERIN!”
Emma yells as she bursts onto set. Each actor arrives and trade off with their stand-in. I smile and say good morning to the other actors on my way out. “Morning, love!” Sean Teale’s Colgate smile greets me with a hug as he dashes onto set. I don’t know whether it’s his infectious smile or the fact that he reminds me a lot of my boyfriend, but I do so enjoy running into Sean on set (same with Jermaine Rivers (Shatter) and Hayley Lovitt (Sage). I like trying to see how big I can get the 3 of them to smile. What? They have great grins!)
The stage grows quiet and I peer over the producers’ shoulders to watch the monitors (despite setting up the shot with us stand-ins, things almost always change once shooting begins. So we have to be aware of any changes made). I watch it two times through and once I realize that nothing’s changing in this long, scene, I go to crafty to get my morning cup of tea. Back in the stand-in cave, I settle in to the quiet conversation happening. As per usual, the topics of conversation range from opinions on various geek-related things and acting.
Most stand-ins are newbie actors, struggling actors, or actors who’ve fallen on hard times. So you’ll get a range of folks who take acting seriously and are using their stand-in job as a sort of Masterclass to learn from their actor while others are feeling out their place on set, to see if acting is a really a thing for them or if they like a different department better. (Still others spend their time complaining about not having gotten anywhere career-wise, but that’s when it’s best to have a book to read on set and ignore them without seeming rude).
Personally, I find myself in the undecided category. I love acting and previously had an agent, done many auditions, etc. I fall into a natural rhythm on set acting out the sides or with doing line rehearsals the actors. But with the industry being SO competitive and much of one’s hard-earned money going to tools to help one get work with usually little to no return, it’s a struggle. But I try not to fall into the trap of whining endlessly about it on set as some do, but to problem-solve this with my fellow stand-ins and to be grateful for where I am. Many do not. Many stand-ins I meet on sets are discontent and bitter they haven’t “made it” yet. I can understand a frustrating day here or there, but a sense of perspective gets lost. Perhaps one day I’ll be a working actress. Perhaps I’m meant for something else. But every day I try to make the choice to be grateful for what is given to me. I could be stuck on a terrible set. I could be stuck with an actress who wants nothing to do with me. I could be stuck nowhere near an industry I love.
Stay tuned for what happens in the lunchline and afterwards in Part III!