Managing one’s life is a time consuming task. A skill I’m still developing. Sometimes conditions are overwhelming when you’re swimming against a tide and clamour with stolid ignorance.

Me throwing in the towel while in anguish and sheer rage of personal boundaries having been crossed, brought out nine individuals; a combination of friends & industry professionals, who understood my bigger picture, from the start, along with the how and why Anidea was created and where this fictional character is going and how it would impact and possibly influence my daily life, to remind me to focus and not quit just when we are making progress.

Letting it all lay bare

Letting it all lay bare in dry ice

Letting it all lay bare in dry ice

If it weren’t for my dearest, now no less than, seven frienemies… Actually, haters drinking haterade… I would not be so blessed with sudden new doors opening to Anidea and my mask: Natasha.

I bless these unnamed, for privacy reasons, persons for readjusting my blinders. I was on the fence about Anidea for quite some time, as it’s very hard to find projects that suit my category. Most models/ modellers in the industry want to shoot pretty and cute pictures to advertise their prettiness. And many photographers like doing that sort of thing. It’s not really my sort of thing. I’m not using Anidea to validate my level of beauty, though my ego does get fluffed every so often. It’s nice being considered a minimum “sexy” or “desirable” by the conventional mind, but I just don’t feel that assertion. It’s nice, but not my hunger.

Anidea is an outlet for my fellow brown skins to say: I’m ok with who I am, even though I’m not basic issue. I’ve received overwhelming feedback from fellow mothers, wives and regular oddballs that the existence of Anidea, somehow, gives them confidence and joy. This pleases me. I’m using Anidea as an outlet for my volcanic creativity too. Such is life.

The fundamental aim, besides garnering some dope gear/ shoes/ tattoos, is to prove that Jane Soap can do whatever the flying-duck she wants. With the exception of murder. Murder is bad. Very bad. I am art, but I aim to be living breathing art that is fluid through other people’s pictorial musings. I want my finger print on every project pie I consume. I want chunks of me carved and twisted into topical images.

I want to live forever!!!! Nya Nya Nyaaahhh!

I’ve always been a person that lived outside of social norms; I’m that person who chooses option G when jammed to choose between option A and B. It surprises me no end that many people I’ve endured making social acquaintance with try to incorporate me and mine into their Disney Dreams & life. For instance, my private life with my husband coming under scrutiny annoys me. “Good Samaritans” who have a dire need to host deliberations with my companion, based on their own unions, lifestyle and life choices.

He is not an idiot.

This is not what he wants.

This is not what he wants.

We have our own agreements and lifestyle. If you don’t know what makes us tick and you don’t know the whole story (not that we’d bother to tell it) then: Move on.

We don’t lay in bed late at night discussing friends and other couples issues. We don’t pick sides between friends at war. We kinda suck, because we are indifferent to passing on the gossip envelope. It was a journey getting to this stage, but we are good friends who will see you for who you are and let you be. Why can others not garner us the same respect?

Because it’s entertaining trying to split up a union, right?

But, I digress.

Another issue that gets me blue in the face is the inherent coat tailing by some. Basic rule with doing professional exposure through me: Pay me or “share for share”. As simple as that. One person who’s been amazing and professional is Massalo from Massalo Photography, check his work here and here. Tip: Click on the words “here”. He would never ever have to pay me for my shout outs.

Even though it is tough being a brown skin who isn’t looking for acceptance, but rather the unusual in a very controlled industry, 2014 looks to be a battle between my daytime occupancy and my alter ego. But one thing I do know is that I will not downgrade my personality or essence for mere strangers to be able to sleep better at night.

Currently I’m writing a little coffee table thing with a few other women about being different and/ or socially accepted and the pressures of both. Also busy with another project which I’ll only brag about once things are signed and monies are paid and flights are booked. I’m kinda excited.

I collabed with Dion Tromp to do an E;ements inspired set

I collabed with Dion Tromp to do an Elements inspired set

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” -Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full Of Sky

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Quick fix anecdotes are way better than creating your own well-being. As my insurgence into my thirties continues, I can’t help but feel an oft pious air from many an ignorant recluse who cannot, or safely will not, fathom ease at believing to be & live in freedom. A freedom that they could, at the most part, possibly never ascertain to experience. Instead, herding by numbers seems secure. My quick fix tonic of consuming energy is creating a fantasy alter ego that lives in pictures conjured up by me or magician photographers who also enjoy telling a story caught in single images. I’m chasing my dragon.

Women socializing around women can be a treacherous experience, should you be female. Yea, we’re generally la-di-da peace loving creatures who all dream of puffed up cupcake dresses with the unyielding desire to prevail as brides with dreams of birthing a plethora of little beings made in our own image & that of Prince Charming.

Ho-hum

Savone_Memoirs_of_a_Bald_Bride_JDRP-154

This dear dame unwittingly became punk-ish! She started balding and instead of becoming entirely embarrassed about it the slowly started accepting it. Click on the link to her story on her difficulty and efforts of a new normal.

Fantasy is very important to our daily grind. So much so, that without it, we’d just be truly and thoroughly dull people. Take my friend *Joe, for instance. *Joe is not his real name, but for the sake at feigning an attempt to hide his identity, I give him the pseudonym *Joe.

So, take my friend *Joe. If *Joe did not have an intense fascination with flying & an attraction of one day becoming a pilot (he’s 48, I’m no dream crusher, but I doubt he’ll become a pilot anytime soon) with a vast collection of toy airplane models and other aero paraphernalia accommodated by a strooong dose of aviophobia, then *Joe would just be a dude that is afraid to fly.

But his fantasy keeps him alive, stable and physically occupied. It’s his beast to conquer.

Us social mortals have a sanctimonious habit of seeking permission to live out, legal, parts of our fantasies, or permission to be at ease with inner selves along with a need for the all-powerful “OK” stamp on an invisible passport into social acceptance.

Well, well, well, I herewith provide you with a list of my top five people who I’ve never ever met and probably never ever will meet, that have indirectly influenced my sense of self. They have created their own “I’m-A-OK” stamp and they sold it well.

#1 Dolly Parton & Brenda Fassie!

The sight and sound of Brenda Fassie generally makes me feel happy. The thought of her conjures up pleasant childhood memories.

images: Left, getty images, center- last.fm, right- afripopmag.com

images: Left, getty images, center- last.fm, right- afripopmag.com

 

 

 

WHOA! Miss Parton is my all-time hero. Greatest all-time hero of ALL time. I need to write an entire dialogue to express my deepest gratitude to her! Instead, I’ll administer this little gem from her.

images: Left- The River Unbroken 1987 album cover, Second from left- promo poster, third from left-Dolly Playboy Bunny 1978, far right- pinkisthenewblog.com

images: Left- The River Unbroken 1987 album cover, Second from left- promo poster, third from left-Dolly Playboy Bunny 1978, far right- pinkisthenewblog.com

 

 

 

 

#2 Grace Jones

I know right? Why didn’t I list her at number one, right? Growing up, my dad used to call me Princess Grace Jones or Princess Brenda Fassie. I still do adore both artists and actively still do emulate their stances in the mirror and belt out their lyrics softly when I’m in the shower. Miss Dolly I placed at #1 as she somehow has a pleasant way of saying “Fuck your beauty standards, I’ll create my own and build an empire!”

images: left, second left & far right- pleasemagazine.com, Second right- James Bond 007 A View for a kill promo poster 1985

images: left, second left & far right- pleasemagazine.com, Second right- James Bond 007 A View for a kill promo poster 1985

 

 

 

 

#3 Just Miss Paris

She’s just hooot. I’d hate to “objectify” women as, to me, a woman dressed as virginal as Joss Stone and the likes, can be just as sexualised and objectified as any half naked woman. Misogynistic crassness doesn’t care for wardrobe, the only difference is that the less clothes the easier it is to justify the crass viewer’s behavior/ commentary;  the more clothes equal the more conniving and underhanded the bladed lust. My experience from being demure is that the perverts are the ones you least expect to whisper disgusting things in passing when you’re usual attire is close to that of a burqa.

Such a detour of thoughts, inspired by this alternative model of which I know so little about. I, in all earnesty, have tried to find out more about Just Miss Paris, other than her being born in Germany and that she is a Hip-Hop industry model.

images: cutiecentral.com & tokenblackgirl.com

images: cutiecentral.com & tokenblackgirl.com

 

 

 

 

#4 Samantha Lebbie

She is my unicorn. That is all.

images: tokenblackgirl.com; Full Blossom magazine cover

images: tokenblackgirl.com; Full Blossom magazine cover

 

 

 

 

#5 Stacey McKenzie

The Jamaican born beauty defies everything that is normal. I’m not into super model fandom and I’d never purchase anything they’re marketing. But I admire this lady’s tenacity at spinning around constant rejecting for model jobs and eventually got what she wanted. I love everything about her!

http://www.theeyecasting.com/blog/tag/stacey-mckenzie/

images: left- Sirthy & Pratha, centre- clutchmagonline.com, far right- Toronto Life Magazine

images: left- Sirthy & Pratha, centre- clutchmagonline.com, far right- Toronto Life Magazine

 

 

 

 

The existence of these dear darlings have somehow morphed the idea into my, below average IQ’d, brain, that it is “OK” to just do SOMETHING with in life and not just stagnate into obscurity.

Currently, in my life,It is frequently escalating to awkward as me being “the eccentric friend”. But, albeit slowly, I am finding like minded people through the back splash that is my  hobby I have selected which is creating myself as a niche, so that I can open up minds and doors for other socially awkward penguins.

Yes, tattoos are mainstream now . Having tattoos is even less exclusionary even. Yes, it slowly gladdens me that it is so, as the topic as a whole opens up the idea that maybe, just MAYBE, tattoo stereo types are not just trailer trash, bikers with beards, Pamela Anderson, Pop starts acting “tough”/ “cool”, prostitutes, porn stars, gangsters and teenagers who lied about their age to the tattoo artist. The ever annoying growth & normalization of the craft indicates that, soon, barely an eyelid will flutter at the sight of skin with pictures on it. In fact, I don’t even mind fueling the “commercialization” of the industry, to an extent.

The World is huuuuge. It is also estimated that it is filled with somewhat 7,116,100,000 human beings.

So, go ahead and chase your own dragon.

The more lavish the walls and intricate the facades we construct to keep the perceived monsters at bay; the more we’re all just a little more vulnerable than we think.

So while I lay wait for my planned arrangements to fall into place let me write about something that confuses me no end. What do you call persons who inject ink under your skin in a pattern to form an image in your dermis?

To my detriment, I don’t pay much attention to titles. And name calling is considered rude.

I once stood before a magistrate (I will not elaborate too much) where she looked at me in amusement as I addressed her completely wrongly and with fallible title. To this day I don’t really know what ‘contempt of court’ is and why she said it but I remember non-specific warnings, lots of people either giggling or in fits of laughter, including officers of the court, then being led down below to the cells- not into a cell, then making a call (I did not own a mobile) to my Knight in Shining Armor uncle, who entered the ‘cellar’ shaking his head and chuckling while he paid some sort of fine for me.

Looking back, I think it annoyed her that I did not refer to her in the accepted form and title. I do have manners and believe I was polite when I approached her as ‘you’ and ‘Mrs. Judge’. American & British law themed shows ran through my mind with titles like ‘Your Honour”, “Honourable Judge”, “Madam Judge”, “Your Worship”, “My Lady”… I still don’t know which to use by way that I don’t intend to be near any court again in further chapters in my life. Knock on wood.

So what is it about titles?

People study for days, weeks, months or even years to earn a title in-front of, behind or below their given names, so why not indicate them as exactly that. The CEO of a corporation wants to be acknowledged as a CEO of a corporation. A chairperson of a committee wants to be identified differently to committee members and wants to be acknowledged as a chairperson. True also for a landscaper who doesn’t want to be indicated as just a gardener.

As easy as that?!

People who tattoo are at times a fickle bunch.

I’ve only walked into and paged through portfolios at 11 tattoo parlours in the Cape Town District and cruised on past 16 dodgy looking ones. I dress conservatively in long sleeves and thick leggings to not show a millimeter of inked skin, regardless of weather, so that I can cross out prejudiced egocentric tattooers. Therein lay my definition of “Tattooer”. I define a Tattooer as that person who tattoos and is all costumed up to a chosen stereotype and expects to receive a photocopy stereotype client, as a fundamental right to his profession. A “Tattooer” befittingly ignores any hypothetical client who steps in by virtue of not looking the part.

This specimen usually has an air of: I’m just too cool and hardcore to even acknowledge your presence in my parlour because that would just be… uncool.

I take a flip through their portfolios and haul my uncoolness out of there. The portfolios are stately filled with nothing I haven’t seen before and probably have seen numerous people with the exact tattoos. (Random fact: I remember persons by their tattoos and thus never forget their names if they provide me with one).

Some Tattooers incense me to spit fiery words.

But Tattooists and Tattoo Artist’s leave me twisted. Under my definition both are extremely talented. A Tattooist is flexible and they can manage a range of styles and techniques but have no identifiable trademark, yet. Trademarks take a lot of studying, observing and curiosity on the tattooists part.

I believe a Tattoo Artist has not necessarily developed a technique but has a unique style or tattoos only in specific niche genres e.g. Russian, Photo-realistic, 3D, Pointillism, cartoon, Sci-Fi, Biomechanics, Portraiture or they’re more adept at tattooing specific themes or concepts to the effect of Animals, Sugar Skulls, Zombies, Script and so on.

To me both are equally adequate but I don’t understand why some people who tattoo have this glint of injury in their eyes when I mistakenly err in calling them one or the other.

Either way, for me to gas on persons who inject ink under the skin as a GOOD Tattooist/ Tattoo Artist beyond apparent talent, is propped on how they feel and act about their profession and how they treat disciples or prospective loyal patrons. I in turn target at keeping my attitude sincere and in check in their company and in speaking about them, of course relying on my fractious temper.

Maya Angelou said it best: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I’m capable at being the jaywalking amateur hawker trading curiosity & willingness to experiment with photographic subject and drama as a model for payment in the form of time & constructive criticisms & digital copies of the pictures taken. I sincerely believe no artist should work or create for free as time is money and I respect the photographer’s work of whom I approach. But is a photographer trading in TFDC (trade for digital copy) really working for free?

 

One of the photographers here in Luanda certainly thinks she’d be working for free if she takes pictures of me for portfolio purposes and that I should pay her at least USD300 as she’d be doing me a favour, wear nice clothes and make up and find a location. Fair enough.

I do like her photography and affects. But if I had any disposable income culminating to USD300 I’d continue on my vision of ink on my skin rather than model or be photographed.

 

Art or arrogance?

 

It’s difficult negotiating collaboration with possible photographers living in a city that’s one of the world’s top 5 most expensive cities to live in. All I really want to do is market myself as an alternative model that works for ‘free’ (not exactly as I just want a digital copy of the work).

But I somehow get the telepathic note that if I don’t have a gazillion Facebook ‘likes’ on my page or if I don’t know people who know people who know people or if I don’t have some fame then I’m just not worth their time to work for ‘free’. From a creative point of view, I just don’t get it. The basis of two creative’s collaborating is: I trade my time for your time and we both build a portfolio right?

Wrong.

Things operate differently in the city of Luanda. Firstly, there is a CONCRETE idea of beauty AND what photographs of a female should look like. Alluring, cute, sexually stimulating in a carbon copy way, skinny, small feet, small chest, long hair (real or bought but never African short- shit gets too real then) and she need not have personality or be particularly attractive.

I have found a willing and artistically visioned photographer with Massalo of Massalo photography and he is open to experiment in using my form in one of his projects. He is virtually a rare find to me.

 

I have yet to explore more of the Luanda ‘arts and culture’ scene so I might be eating my words with extra chili & salt, but I do feel that the nature of the industry here is made up of it being an inner circle type of popularity contest.

Or maybe I just need to work on my personality and character more.

As far as popularity contests go, and the amount of ‘likes’ on Facebook, its water off a duck’s back to me. I’m mainly in it for the art, experience and all out curiosity and a pinch of hoping some brand out there stumbles across the likes of me and offers to finance my tattoo aspirations in exchange for modelling their brand… Girl can dream.

 

Seven days ago I was urged by a dear industry acquaintance to do something with the pictures I had posted on Facebook taken by Hannes. So I took his words and persistently annoying encouragement & advice to heart and Googled mass information on what Alternative modeling entails and how to go about creating a portfolio. I have substantial talent in researching and stalking.

I clumped through a multiplicity of bull turd and conformist styled alternative sites & imagery; I made a to-do list and crossed out all the tasks I am too stubborn to perform. Alternative Modelling is a grossly undefined but hugely common form of entertainment and art.

First on my list was to gather random opinions from five people consisting of friends and frenemies. I was taken aback by one morsel of advice for me to ‘drop about 20kg to make it as a model’ and another to wear a weave or to start chemically relaxing or curling my hair as I would be “representing us Africans” … I agree that my fitness has been decided on my mood per day or dependant on if I manage to remember where I stored my Amy Dixon Fitness DVD I stole from a devout fan of hers a year ago or if I feel the irrepressible urge to accept the notorious Luanda traffic after gym. The topic of hair deservers an entire separate rant styled blog…

But my weight does not define what I think is beautiful. I like my natural hair although it does need a deep condition and vitamin treatment of some sort or a hair clipper machine…

But what is Alternative Modelling? The basic definition of an Alternative Model when we break it down via Google’s “define…..” search formula is:

al·ter·na·tive[awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-]

noun

1.a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility: You have the alternative of riding or walking.

2.one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking.

3.a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk.

adjective

4.affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.

5.(of two things, propositions, or courses) mutually exclusive so that if one is chosen the other must be rejected: The alternative possibilities are neutrality and war.

6.employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.

7.Logic . (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.

mod·el [mod-l], adjective, verb, mod·eled, mod·el·ing or ( especially British ) mod·elled, mod·el·ling.

noun

1.a standard or example for imitation or comparison.

2.a representation, generally in miniature, to show the construction or appearance of something.

3.an image in clay, wax, or the like, to be reproduced in more durable material.

4.a person or thing that serves as a subject for an artist, sculptor, writer, etc.

5.a person whose profession is posing for artists or photographers.

Verb

1.

6. to give shape or form to; fashion.

Hmn…  Ah-HA!

An Alternative Model has most to no parameters at all! Either you appreciate or identify with the way they put themselves together or how the photographer translated them or you just don’t. They just have to be whoever they are in their own comfort. Fat, male, female, hermaphrodite, eunuch,  tall, short, skinny, over tanned, pale, dark black, black, brown, Asian, tattooed, not tattooed, pierced, and not pierced. You can incorporate genres like fetish, gore, pin-up, modern pin-up, classic, Goth, surrealism. The options are just too darn many.

Commercial models have to be a certain, size, height, weight and have predefined dimensions and an amicable persona. Only in the last 25 years has there been a dawdling increase of Asian and African commercial models admitted and fed to the public, but not by the vast numbers of us on the respective continents. Most established designers, agencies and common popular brands do not promote individuality or body modification beyond the population norms. Cookie cutter molds, nothing wrong with that, easily digestible for General Joe and Jill consumer.

I haven’t come across forms of discrimination between alternative lifestyle type of people, yet, although I often read the “Why do you people do this to yourselves?!/ Tattooed-Pierced-niche people are ugly/ Don’t you people have jobs, why don’t you just try to be normal?” exclamations from General Joe and Jill Consumers raiding sites and commenting, as if their opinions mattered, and the ensuing comebacks from members and admins.

I determine that alternative modelling is a state of being whoever you want to be in an ever demanding and restricting market and having the freedom to do so.

(hannes@zatech.co.za)

Next I need to somehow formulate words about the journey to approaching photographers and the responses I’ve received from four based here in Angola over the last seven days…

My mind is rattling louder than a tin can vibrating with a single butter bean inside it. I lay wide awake in the witching hours listening to the more than necessary aircon: Am I about to perform a ‘moral’ error?

It is well established with personal friends that I don’t have the judgment or morals socialized community members have. But I’m good at pretending to.

My core and truth of me is that I only have two moral directions: To never cause dire physical and psychological harm to any humane human being, which includes not killing their spirit and/or dreams. The other is not to force any person to do anything unwillingly. I also make a habit of choosing people who unwittingly posses the same guidance included in their standards to be in my life.

But make room for straying compasses.

Is my compass about to stray by submitting a set to SuicideGirls.com? For the unfamiliar, SG.com is basically in the class and taste of Playboy, but with tattooed and alternative women. Although corny poses and girly bit nudity are optional. For a majority of SG models it is a huge stepping stone. They have a strong community ethic and protect their own on a most part. It is a sorority where SG sisters encourage and respect each other and the paying members and fans elevate models egos and balance it out with humility too. And the photographic sets are just gorgeous.

I’m no prude, but am I basically posing for nude pics (without crotch shots- I said Playboy NOT HUSTLER) that sell a fantasy theme in exchange for USD500 payment per approved photo set in “Photo Set Of The Day”???

I actually do not equate nudity with sex. I just live in a hyper sexed society.  I don’t feel awkward around naked people or obliged to act a certain way or say a certain thing around nude persons. I don’t even feel it necessary to be aroused. What does give me discomfort are persons who feel uncomfortable, judgmental, aroused, prudish or ashamed around nudity.

Ahh, but here’s the snatch catch: I’d be posing in suggested nudity in suggestive and/ or intimate poses. There is a difference between a naked person walking or possibly jogging across the road and a nude person sitting on a chair with a French manicure, hair wet, an arched back, posterior plumped, chest perked and a stare looking you intentionally in the eye…

I don’t really believe I’d be hurting, killing, disturbing or forcing anyone on anything. I’d just be selling a story of a moment in a fantasy. Something unreal. Because most practical minded people, myself included, suspect that erotica and other categories do not play out like as advertised. It’s not real. It’s a fairytale.

In real life, people are nature’s beings- not actors acting out images from a mature audience website.

But I’m still undecided until I actually see the photographs of me and select a set in peace of mind.Image

Photographer: Hannes Erasmus

hannes@zatech.com

There was no beginning…

September 20, 2012

It took a combination of events, people and actions that got me to this point. I like tattoos. I like writing. I like living in Africa. So I combined the three to push ahead the act of modelling (or trying to) with the ulterior motive of creating a version of myself that would create an extra income to sustain my habit of getting extensively tattooed.

I love entertaining myself with the thought that there are other Africans like me that have their own way about themselves or are part of a ‘tattoo culture’ or non-trend that could possibly identify with me. Its a comforting desire after trying through my pre- and post pubescent life trying to fit in and be accepted. But enduring dramatic personality crisis every time and wishing to not exist.

I am driven to share my encounters and experiences as I submit myself on a journey into the “Alternative” modelling scene, tattoo artists, photographers, internet stuff, self marketing & promotion, being non-white & tattooed (its strange but it’s a factor), funny encounters and my opinion. The latter is not necessary but I’ll do it anyway because it’s my blog.

Feel free to share your opinions with me as I appreciate a good heated debate. But only if you ‘like’ my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anidea/23865978720?ref=hl

'Living Large"

Photographer: Hannes Erasmus
hannes@zatech.com

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