The Model Mayhem interview: Mosh
Mosh is an alternative model and burlesque performer based in Los Angeles, CA. Her modeling work covers an extensive—and impressive—array of genres including fetish, glamour, pin-up, nudes, commercial, fashion, and beauty. She’s been featured in various print publications, such as LA Weekly, Bizarre, and Maxim magazine (Czech), and she currently graces Model Mayhem’s new banner. We took some time to talk with Mosh about her overall achievements, her early days as a model, and her favorite pieces from her eclectic wardrobe.
We’d also like to thank those members who submitted questions for Mosh’s interview. We were unfortunately only able to pick a select few, but we’re very grateful for all of your submissions.
— MM Edu
MM Edu: Tell us about your career as a model, from how you got started to now.
Mosh: When I was a teenager, I ran across some fetish imagery online. The more I kept looking, the more I was intrigued. Years later, I posed for a friend in high school. She had to complete some shoots for her photography class, and I modeled for her. A little while later, I found Model Mayhem during one of my many internet searches for fetish and pin-up imagery, and I signed up that day using some of those images that my high school friend had shot. I booked my first shoot shortly after. A week later, I booked another shoot, and then another… and the rest is history.
MM Edu: Your work covers many genres but do you have a preference?
Mosh: Fetish was my first love and classic pin-up was my second. I started using the term “alternative” to describe my work—more so as an umbrella term to cover the genres I loved to shoot the most and that weren’t considered part of modern and mainstream fashion shoots. So, “alt model” seemed perfect and because it could cover the things I loved and everything in between; it was the genre of modeling that I loved the most. It could cover fetish, pin-up, odd fashions—anything I wanted it to. When I first started using the term, it didn’t seem as popular or used by such a large variety of models.
At a photo shoot years later, I explained to a photographer that I was an alt model and he immediately looked me over and said, “How can you be an alt model, you’re not tattooed or pierced?” The second photographer in the room replied, “No, she’s the alternative to the alt industry.” I had a good laugh at that. Up until that point, I hadn’t realized how it’s grown into a term to usually refer to a model with modifications. I had some piercings earlier in my career, but that was really the extent of my modifications. Anyway, I still love the alt genre, and I consider all models (modified or not) to be an alt model, so long as they produce work that makes them unique or that does not fit mainstream standards. All in all, I love the ability to model whatever I want, whenever I want. That’s my preference.
MM Edu: What does it take to be a successful alt model?
Mosh: Professionalism, drive, patience, and good business sense.
MM Edu: Let’s talk fetishes, when did you discover your love of fetishes and how has it evolved?
Mosh: In my early teenage years, I found some fetish imagery online. The more I searched, the more I was intrigued. So, I developed this fascination with fetishism, and soon after became a fetishist, years before I even started modeling. Now, my career focuses heavily on fetishism.
“I developed this fascination with fetishism, and soon after became a fetishist, years before I even started modeling. Now, my career focuses heavily on fetishism.”
MM Edu: You’re also a burlesque performer. Tell us about your shows.
Mosh: I do my best to create shows that evoke the same things that my photos do. My shows are heavily based in fantasy and certain elements from classic burlesque. I love incorporating props and highly stylized costumes that help a stage show really draw you into this fantasy. My shows range from performing a “Jungle Queen” inspired act on an oversized bamboo pyramid to a Magician-Bunny act featuring a 4- foot-tall revolving top hat. I love motion, fetishism, and femininity. Placing those interests together helps to create glamorous and mesmerizing acts, which is something I strive for in every show. I work closely with a few people, like Lisa Lorenz of Waisted Couture who does all my costuming, to bring my ideas to life. Creating everything from the stage lighting and putting together the music to constructing the props and various pieces.
MM Edu: You must have an incredible wardrobe and show collection… what are your current favorite items?
Mosh: I recently released two different pieces in collaboration with two different designers, and I really love both outcomes. With Stephanie Kuhr of Dottie’s Delight, we released this sheer playsuit that I had originally designed for myself. The playsuit was requested so often that we ended up releasing the suit exclusively through her brand. Classic pin-up illustrations were the major inspiration behind this piece. I wanted a Vargas-style sheer suit to come to life and encase my body! Shooting the piece with Viva Van Story really made the suit look exactly like a classic sheer piece a pin-up would be illustrated wearing.
http://www.dottiesdelights.bigcartel.co … h-playsuit
With Collective Chaos, we released this ultimate ‘50s-inspired latex swimsuit that I wear for photo shoots (designed originally for my promo shoot with Coffin Case) and certain pool parties. I brought these simple lines and cinched waist to the suit, but Collective Chaos made this piece really special, adding the ruffle derriere to the bottom and bosom, accentuating the hourglass figure. This is one of my most favorite pieces in my latex collection, and I’m so happy that my name is attached to it. http://chaoslatex.com/ruffle-derriere-b … -p-77.html
And, from my entire wardrobe:
For corsets, Lisa Lorenz of Waisted Couture Corsetry makes all of my custom corsets and costuming for my stage shows and photo shoots.
For lingerie, I love Waisted Couture’s pieces as well as Dottie’s Delight.
My reproduction stockings and reproduction girdles come from GirdleBound.
For shoes, hands down the high heel masters at Fabulously Fetish, who create my custom show shoes and whose stilettos are featured in almost every shoot I do today.
MM Edu: One of the first things everyone notices about your work is the incredible poses and flexibility you display. We received many questions asking about your posing, from how do you come up with them and what helps you pull them off – is it your gymnastics background, yoga, or something else?
Mosh: My gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic) background is primarily where I took bits of inspiration from for poses. I was also a cheerleader for a number of years, and did my best to work at a stable from time to time. A combination of everything helped develop my posing style. I don’t really do anything special nowadays—I try to stretch regularly as I would have in gymnastics, and if I exercise, I replicate my conditioning floor exercises from my training days. In recent years, I’ve been traveling too much to keep up with a regular workout routine; the airlines would probably frown upon my rolling around on the floor of their walkway. My shoots give me my most strenuous workouts, as well as my show rehearsals.
“My gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic) background is primarily where I took bits of inspiration from for poses.”
MM Edu: You also do your own makeup and hair styling, did you take any classes or are you self-taught?
Mosh: I’m self-taught and have learned through trial and error. I’ve been applying makeup to my face since the age of six for cheerleading competitions, so I’ve gained quite a bit of experience from applying my own makeup for years. I do recommend taking the time to sit in front of the mirror and study your face thoroughly. Apply make up slowly, and study the results after each step to understand the uses of the cosmetics. The same can be done for hair styling. Practice and experiment! Practice makes perfect; it took me a few years to acquire my semi-professional styling skills. I’m still polishing them and adding to my styling capabilities, and I try to polish off the looks even further year after year.
MM Edu: What do you like most about being a model? What do you least enjoy?
Mosh: The creativity that my freelance modeling allows me to have is what I cherish most. The images I project, and the shows I create, are the reasons for why I wanted to become a model and performer in the first place. To be able to do this my own way is a dream come true. Rejections are perhaps the least enjoyable moments; having projects and ideas turned down or ignored isn’t a very pleasant feeling. You must pick yourself back up, keep doing, and keep trying.
“The images I project, and the shows I create, are the reasons for why I wanted to become a model and performer.”
MM Edu: What career achievement are you most proud of?
Mosh: I’m very happy about all of my achievements. It’s the combination of them all that makes up my career: Having the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in their respective genres, as well as my credits, such as my appearances on the covers of Bizarre magazine and Maxim (Czech). I’ve gained sponsorships and the respect of some designers and companies that I admire, as well. I’m very honored to be seen as a valued artist by those talented individuals.
MM Edu: If you could shoot with anyone (models and/or photographers), who would you choose and why?
Mosh: Ellen Von Unwerth has always caught my attention with her imagery. I’m not sure if she’s a fetishist in any way, I’m only assuming, but her book “Revenge” along with a number of her other images captures classic eroticism flawlessly. Her work contains these raw elements, but is still polished and stylish. I look for this kind of uniqueness in photographers. I really would just like to work with photographers who have their own signature style, whether it’s versatile or very particular, and can light their subjects flawlessly. Lighting is always key to beautiful photographs, and it’s the number one thing I look for in a photographer’s portfolio. Now if we’re talking fantasy shoot, what I’d really like is for Helmut Newton and Bob Carlos Clarke to beam down for a few days and work with me.
MM Edu: Who or what inspires you?
Mosh: My inspiration comes from a variety of places. I collect a lot of antiques, classic fashion, and vintage ephemera. Sometimes, one of the items that I bring home will inspire me to develop a concept for stage or studio. Other times, a color, or a phrase, and occasionally a household object inspire me. I just keep my eyes and ears open. I enjoy being intrigued, and love finding items that could possibly be the start of something beautiful.
As for people, I have a long list of women and men that I admire or enjoy watching, mostly from the early to mid-20th century.
MM Edu: What advice do you have for aspiring models?
Mosh: Let your own unique self shine in your photos. Inspiration is great, but don’t forget that it’s only inspiration. Use it as a foundation for your career to develop and allow it to blossom into something that’s your very own. Besides this, professionalism will go a long way.
MM Edu: Let’s talk a little about Model Mayhem because that’s really where your modeling career got started. What does MM mean to you?
Mosh: It is where a good portion of my career started, so it means a great deal. Without this tool and network, it’s anyone’s guess where my career would be, if I’d even have one. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t take MM or anything in your career for granted. It’s all just a matter of how you use it. Don’t misjudge the power of MM!
MM Edu: Please tell us about your shoot with MichaelO that became the new MM banner and what it means to you to win the contest?
Mosh: It was quite a while ago, but I seem to remember it being one those thrown together kind of shoots. We didn’t have a set time, or set place—we were just trying to get a plan together. He was visiting and we were trying to figure out where we could shoot in DC. I was sitting at my day job at the time thinking, was this shoot really going to work out? I did really want to work with MichaelO, so I just kept hoping it would all fall into place. I have a photographer friend in DC, Vance, who I called last minute and who kindly allowed us to use his place that evening. We managed to get a few looks in, headphones and all, and it turned out to be one of my important career-advancing shoots. It gave me one of my first covers, Advanced Photoshop magazine #49, and now you’re forced to look at my face every time you log onto MM.
I still can’t believe that my face is featured at the top of the biggest photo networking site on the web. I feel honored and ecstatic.
MM Edu: Congratulations, it’s well deserved, and thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world.
Mosh: Thank you!