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Now you’re here. Where was I? This is an under 2000 word bio, so I’m warning you now that it’s long!
I lived on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, CA during the 1970′s-1980′s. Here’s the card for my parents’ vintage store.
My parents were stylists before there was such a concept. I spent the single digits of my childhood in thrift stores, swap meets, and at gun shows. I acquired the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari, and Intellivision video game consoles during my thrift store travels as a wee one. I assure you that I will kick your butt at Galaga and at most pinball.
Michael Jackson’s Sgt. Pepper’s phase? He got his band jackets from my dad, then his team Bedazzled them. I met M.J. when I was 8. He was with Don King, the scary boxing promoter. What’s funnier: that I was wearing green satin basketball shorts or that Michael complimented me on them?
I remember meeting The Pretenders, Kim Carnes, Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar, Pee Wee Herman, and so many more interesting people.
Here are a couple of scans from the December 1978 issue of Viva Magazine. My first modeling assignment and I’m standing in the window, scowling in a shawl?
Viva magazine existed from 1973-1980. Anna Wintour was the fashion editor and Helmut Newton was one of the photographers.
Los Angeles is a small place as Nina is the cover model for this issue. We met and became friends many years later and she’s still fabulous.
Puberty hit me like a Mack truck. Even 25 years later, I see this mousy girl with crooked teeth when I look into the mirror. My background is Russian, Spanish, Lithuanian, and Mexican and I can (but won’t ever) tan like you wouldn’t believe.
In 1985, my mom passed away and I moved to Culver City, feeling lost and misunderstood.
It’s tough to overcome bullying during your formative years. I identified with anyone on the peripheral or outside of popular acceptance. Lunches were spent mostly in computer labs.
There was the first computer I used at school, the Apple IIe and I wish that I would have focused more on programming at an earlier age. However, I still managed to get a B in my Computer Science class recently, so there.
I was wild and did pretty much whatever in my teens. Fortunately I didn’t get into *too* much trouble, which I attribute to blind luck vs. actual skill. I found solace in and learned more about myself through music.
Here are a few bands I’ve seen multiple times: The Pixies, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Muse, Autechre, and Bjork.
I can listen to anything by Nick Cave, Aphex Twin, Dead Can Dance, Beirut, Klaus Nomi, David Bowie, Trentmoller, Aux 88, Joy Division, Cinematic Orchestra, PJ Harvey, Talking Heads, and I could write this forever.
I didn’t think that I’d get far, but I’m very proud of my small body of work. My first pro shoot was with Dave Naz. Here’s a piece of art from the modeling days done by the great Chad Michael Ward (warning, NSFW). He took a “flaw” of mine and turned it into something extraordinary. My ears are truly distinct and my friend Frank once used them to make a mold for a monster! Alright!
I’m not sure if I’ll step in front of the lens again, but one never knows. I might get out of bed for $500?
Motherly rant: if you should find yourself in a modeling situation and you’re under 25, your prefrontal cortex will be immature. Please, please, please have a very smart person that you trust that’s over the age of 25 to look over your releases, contracts, obligations and everything on paper.
Always bring a chaperone. It’s really the Wild, Wild West out there. It’s good to carefully examine the WHY’s of wanting to express yourself in this way. Nothing is ever what it seems and I don’t want to see you taken advantage of! /mother
Vampire Technology was a company in Los Angeles that was ahead of its time during the late 90′s-early 00′s. Custom-made rubber couture, that is, they made clothing out of recycled tires!
I appreciate tight lacing and got down to 19″ corsetted, 23″ uncorsetted. I stopped because of my love of breathing and also vigorous exercise. Favorite corset designers are Exquisite Restraint and Dark Garden. I love fashion from every decade and find inspiration in all of it.
Designs that I’ve coveted throughout the years include those of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Roy (Halston) Frowick, Tom Ford, Yohji Yamamoto, Helmut Lang, and more.
Can you believe that it’s harder to do burlesque than some other forms of dancing? More on that in a moment. I graced the stage of the Derby like a silly and terrified little kitten, which sums up my burlesque experiences.
Do what with what? Huh? Bueller? I give major props to all the burlesque peeps out there.
After moving back to L.A., I cut off my waist-length hair and wished nothing more than to boycott glamour. It might be a coincidence that I also got a job working for the world-famous Suicide Girls (warning: NSFW). I was there a year and a half.
I’ve been intertwined with SG in some capacity since 2001 and I’ve got no regrets. After leaving SG, I worked for Sephora, which opened my eyes to using the face as a canvas. I also worked at Belle Visage Day Spa and went back to school for my esthetician license. I’ve also attended Santa Monica College, Otis College of Art and Design, UCLA Extension, and have taken acting lessons to overcome shyness and anxiety.
Nothing is as you imagine it and I made crucial errors after I got my esthetics license. I discovered that I didn’t care for body waxing. Personally I can obsess over another person’s brows for at least an hour, which I think is one of my superpowers.
The beauty industry thrives on making you feel, act, and sometimes look ugly, though. This isn’t to say that I think it’s all bad. Check out Graph Paper Heart, Kate Linington’s Beauty Bartender, Temptalia, Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Cop site, Lora Arellano, and Sugarpill Cosmetics.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this site isn’t intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions.
The three best things in my opinion that you can do to slow down the appearance of aging (and possibly prevent skin cancer) are:
2) maintain a stable weight and eat what’s good for you
3) stay out of the sun and use at least SPF30 daily, applied 15 minutes before going out
4) This one is optional and includes well-placed Botox and Restylane. I trust Nurse Jamie in Los Angeles and Dr. Norcom in Portland, OR with sharp needles and technological instruments. When it’s done well, it’s imperceptible.
Along as you’re not hurting anyone else, who gives a flying ‘effin eff what you want to look like? What’s the big deal? Makeup and hair color wash out. One’s appearance is not always an indicator of their intelligence nor their compassion.
I’m a major proponent of garish makeup and unnatural haircolor, for sure.
I revisited bright hair color in 2008 and have had some version of of this ever since, although I’m growing it out now. It’s excruciating and I want to go back to this teal all the time!
“What other people think of me is none of my business.” -RuPaul
I’m not sure who I see in the mirror anymore but I like her a little more each day. It’s still fun to experiment with my own style and change it up.
2007 was the year that I stopped esthetician-hood. I went back to real college to study Psychology and also worked as an extra, which I mentioned in the About me page.
I’ve gotten to know some wonderful people throughout the years, but not everyone sticks around. And that’s ok.