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Model Q&A: AlyssaVibes

AlyssaVibes | VIP Member | Verified Credits (11)

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: Gsr Images

Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

I am originally from Northern California but moved to North Carolina when I was young and have lived most of my life there. As of a month ago, Los Angeles is my new home base! I am pretty nomadic, I love to travel and take many trips across the country for shooting and visiting nature spots. I haven’t been outside of the US yet, but hope to expand my horizons once the Covid-19 travel bans are lifted. 

Who or what inspired you to become a model?

As a teen I really enjoyed fashion magazines, they became a bit of an escape for me. I really liked seeing stuff that ‘broke the norm,’ like funky accessories or striking poses. My mother is a talented and creative makeup artist and I loved it when she would do my makeup and test looks on me. We were taking family photos one day and she pointed out how I had a natural inclination to posing. As a teenager with low self-esteem, this helped me to see myself in a new light. She set me up with a Model Mayhem account and showed me the ropes. I loved art but at that age didn’t feel like I had any specific creative talent, so modeling became my way of interacting with art. The more I practiced and shot the better I got, and before I knew it I had a notebook filled with conceptual ideas that I wanted to shoot.

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: Victor Tadeo, Makeup Artsist: Maria Blair

How and when did you start modeling?

I started my modeling journey when I was 16. My grandmother is the sweetest and she came with me to all of my shoots as my chaperone until I was 18.  A few years later I was shooting with a friend and photographer Daniel White. Neither of us had shot boudoir or art nude before but were curious (and a little nervous) about trying it. We were shooting at an abandoned location that felt cinematic, and we realized the art that could be produced with the female form had a lot more power than being restricted in distracting clothing. I still love the photos we took that day, it helped me realize the fine art behind nude art and opened me up to a whole new world of job offers and collaborations. 

After that, I started shooting a lot more. I’d rent cars when I didn’t have a car and began traveling for shoots. Sometimes I’d take breaks and then get back into it and I’m lucky to have worked with photographers who really encouraged me to continue to take modeling further. Some key shoots to my journey were with Beau Nestor, Louis Reed, Victor Tadeo, Jonah Siegel, Charles Umberger, and too many others to list but those stand out as cornerstones of my journey. I also worked as a photographer’s assistant/studio manager for about a year and that really taught me a lot and motivated me to start modeling full-time. 

What type of modeling do you enjoy the most?

Aside from being a fun job, modeling is a creative outlet for me and a way to actively participate in art. My favorite shoots are based on conceptual ideas, shoots that take me on nature adventures, high fashion,  and when I collaborate with a team. Though I really love it all! 

Nude modeling holds a special place in my heart. It’s the majority of what I shoot, but it’s so much more than just a job for me. Through modeling nude, I feel that I’ve reclaimed ownership over my body and personal power that I had given away or abandoned after trauma. It’s not about vanity or looking ‘hot,’ which I’ve learned a lot of people don’t understand but that’s okay. Maybe I can help change the narrative and the way society views nudity. It is so freeing to be able to be nude, raw, and exposed without being sexualized. I believe that our bodies are powerful sacred miracles. 

There’s a connection that I find between myself and the camera, a certain flow, and connectedness to the moment. In that way, modeling is a meditative practice as well as a way to connect to and express emotions. I like to move through a varied spectrum of poses and expressions, playing a part while connected to the composition surrounding me.

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: JonnyXYU

What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

I’ve worked with photographers on all different levels of experience, whether it’s someone who is just starting out and wants to hire a model to gain experience and improve their portfolio, or an established photographer looking to achieve a planned vision. One of the greatest things about modeling is that it has brought me to meet so many artists from all different walks of life that I may have never had the chance to interact with otherwise. I think there is something to learn from everyone I meet and every shoot I am a part of. 

Which models or other artists currently inspire you?

In the beginning, I remember being inspired by work by Taja Feistner and Pamela Francesca and that was when social media was relatively new, so being able to follow a model’s journey and see them also use their platform to be social advocates was influential to me. There was also a certain magazine ad I saw that really stuck with me forever – Vanessa Hessler for Guess. I think it was something about being so fierce, feminine, and soft all at once. Astrid Kallsen is a beautiful model who I’ve worked with and she inspires me a lot with the control she has of her posing. She was the first model I met who was doing the same thing I was- working freelance and traveling. At the time I didn’t really know what to call what I did, so seeing a name put to it, ‘nude traveling model,’ and hearing about her similar struggles and journey was affirmative to me that I was on the right path. 

I feel influenced by everything around me and I find a lot of posing/mood board inspiration by browsing through Pinterest or social media hashtags.

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: Jonah Siegel

What would be your dream shoot?

A dream shoot would be an exotic location with a team of artists and an adventure, or a shoot that really had some kind of social significance and impact.

How important is social media in your success?

Social media is huge for me in how I network and find gigs. Model Mayhem has been my primary source of finding gigs and getting discovered by photographers, but I did finally create a model page on IG and Facebook recently for networking as well.

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: Eric Adeleye

What else do you like to do outside of modeling?

I like to make abstract art- painting with acrylics, resin, and mixed media. I love playing with color relationships and movement. I aspire to become an installation artist and to make art that people can become immersed by and interact with. You can see this work on my Instagram artist profile.

I also have a passion for curating the community and promoting artist empowerment. Pre-Covid I was co-running an art and music collective called Portal City, but we had to close our studio in NC. We’re currently working on expanding our vision into a bigger idea. I also love traveling, dancing, exploring nature, eating good food, and learning new things.

What’s the best career advice you can give to new models?

Don’t underestimate the need to study your craft and practice. Check references of photographers and always tell a friend where you are, and above all else, stay true to yourself and put your heart into the art!

Model: AlyssaVibes, Photographer: Victor Tadeo

Check out AlyssaVibes’ Model Mayhem portfolio to see more of her work. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and her website.

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