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Friday, August 27, 2010

Featuring Annie S...Fashion Designer from New York

Ana Segura, also known as Annie S, is a creative, passionate and dedicated fashion designer from New York. Throughout her career, she has created several beautiful articles of clothing, some of which have appeared on National Television on the Tyra Banks Show, as well as several fashion magazines. Some of the publications which showcase Annie S Intimates' pieces include EXIT Magazine, Talent Motion Magazine, La Geneve, Intimate Apparel Business Magazine, Dominican Times Magazine, The Catwalk Magazine, El Nuevo Newspaper, and Body Magazine. Her designs have been worn on several runways, including the New York Fashion Week.

In this interview, Ana discusses her inspirations, visions, successes, and beginnings.

Image Credits:
Photographers (left to right)-Shannon Michelle, Debbi Rotkowite, Amy Dunn, Raiza Arroyo, Abdul Smith
Models-Vanessay Accey,Lupita and Erin, Diana Schnaidt (last 3 photos)

AVIVA: How long have you been a clothing designer?
I went to a vocational HS in NY for Fashion and then went on to college where I graduated with a Baccalaureate Degree in Science in Design and ever since I graduated in 2003, I knew I wanted to start to adventure on my own. I always believe to have a very clear view of what I wanted to accomplished and believe working for someone else would persuade my mind to see art through someone else vision, so I went ahead and started my first line under the then name Annie S. Limited as a sole proprietor. Now I have a couple of people on my team and 4 labels under my Brand Annie S. Intimates, LLC.

AVIVA: How did you get started with clothing design?
I learned how to sew at a very young age, it is a tradition in my family for the women to pass on their craft to their daughters. My grandmother taught my mom how to sew and crochet and my mom taught me. Growing up I did everything from ballet dancing, modeling, pianist even martial arts but never in a million years I believe the one thing that I would sit and do for hours become, what I consider today my passion and career.

I was once told by a wise professor, a job is what you do to pay for your bills. A career is what you can do for hours and enjoy the successes and challenges.

AVIVA: What excites you about designing?
My ability to remain unique and revolutionary, inspirations that come beauty and value from other cultures, historical time periods, ethnic traditions and everyday observations. When I create a line, is not just about the clothes, is about history, is about a story and all the pieces come together when to presented to the world. From the choice of venue, music and lighting I create an images of those times or places.

AVIVA: Do you have any designers that inspire you? If so, who?
Late Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, are both very influential in me as a designer and artist. Their ability to create has always break the mold of what fashion means to retail now in days. Not allowing the norm to decide what art means them is why I one day loved to follow their footsteps and only wish to be just as great of a designer. Creative, Innovative, theatrical, and mind blowing.

AVIVA: Do you have any interesting/exciting/crazy photoshoot stories that you like to share?
Every time I have a shoot there is a story to tell. My photographers, models alike know that working with me is going on an adventure. One of my many favorite shoots was shooting in a old broken castle in NJ that's been around since the 18th century and although there is not much left of the structure the feeling you get when you are standing in it, it's as if you could go back in time and picture how it really was back in those days.

AVIVA: What do you believe has been your greatest accomplishment(s) in the fashion industry, and could you tell me more about it?
My signature collections. To know that I could express my way of thinking and art through my work and know that I have full control of my inspirations.

AVIVA: If you weren't designing clothing, what else do you see yourself doing (other passions and interests here)?
I always wanted to incorporate pastry to the my world of fashion. I remember watching a runway show when I was 16 were great designers pieces like Oscar de la Renta and Coco Chanel designs were paired up with the most talented pastry chef to create these intricate designs entirely out of dark and white chocolate. I always have envisioned myself creating art through pastries.

AVIVA: If money/time were no object, where would you like fashion to take you?
I would love for fashion to take me on global journey, to learned from other cultures while been able to influence their own and when preparing to re-created to have the ability to capture each place I've visited through my work.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
Yes, I am very excited for my new collection and I hope is well received, please stay tuned for my upcoming fashion event during New York Fashion Week September 9th.
It was a pleasure interviewing Annie about her career and artistic visions. She has talent beyond measure, and I hope she continues to succeed in the fashion industry.

You can see more of her work and updates on her website. You can also find Annie S Intimates on Facebook

Thank you,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Favorite Magazines and Reasons Why I Read Them

There are several magazines that I like to read for various reasons. Some magazines provide useful information on beauty, fitness/training, fashion, and make-up ideas. Others allow me to find places where I can get better deals on wardrobe, as well as coupons to online and offline stores that I can use to purchase new and exciting clothing. At the same time, I look at magazines in order to study ads created by popular brands, look at the poses and expressions of featured models, and use the magazines as guides on how to improve myself as a model.

Quite often, when I see a pose/image that I like, I cut it out of the magazine, and add it to my "reference list of things to try". The idea here is not to copy the image in the magazine, but to use it for inspiration in order to create something unique and make it my own.

Here are some of my favorite magazines that I've occasionally read, looked through and found they have some awesome posing ideas.

Please note: a lot of fitness magazines have ads that are selling certain supplements, diet products, and other items for sale. It is OK to disregard ads, and analyze only the information that is presented.

However, most of these magazines are good for posing references and make-up/wardrobe ideas, and not always the information.

The links provided here are Amazon links. The website offers better deals on magazine subscriptions than what you would find in stores and on newsstands.

1. Oxygen

2. Fitness RX

3. Shape

4. Runner's World

5. Harper's Bazaar

6. Women's Health

7. Cosmopolitan

8. Women's Running

9. Self

10. Nylon

11. Elle

12. W Magazine

13. Marie Claire

14. Vogue

15. In Style

16. Maxim

17. American Curves

18. Sports Illustrated (especially the Swimsuit Edition)

19. FHM

20. GQ

21. Digital Photo Pro

I will be reviewing each magazine individually, and adding new ones to this list as I remember them.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interesting Reading for Photographers

Since photography is an interest of mine, I have found several books by highly respected experts in the field that are on my "to read list". I will keep on adding new ones to this post, based on recommendations by others as well as reputations of the authors.

1. Professional Model Portfolios: A Step-by-Step Guide for Photographers is a book by Billy Pegram that reveals various techniques which photographers can implement to create high impact model portfolios. Billy Pegram shares his knowledge of the modeling industry, as well as agency requirements. With a 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon, this book can help both models and photographers achieve the results they would like.

2. Posing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios by Billy Pegram. This book reveals how to work with models, and how to contribute to a successful photo session. It is useful for photographers and models looking to create editorial fashion shots, athletics, glamour or nude photography, and shots designed to show curves, reveal personality, or showcase the hands, hair, or legs.

3. Christopher Grey's Studio Lighting Techniques for Photography: Tricks of the Trade for Professional Digital Photographers has been well-received by intermediate and advanced photographers. It explores the fundamentals of lighting as well as teaches how to solve various lighting problems.

4. The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby reveals "how to take pro-quality shots using the same tricks today's top digital pros use" (Amazon description). It has a 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon, and has achieved praise from photographers of all levels. Scott Kelby is currently President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and Editor-in-Chief of both Photoshop User and Layers magazines.

5. The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) is another book by Scott Kelby. On Amazon, a customer called it "the mother of all things Photoshop". It currently has a 5 star rating, and teaches Photoshop users how to retouch images in order to make them look their best.

6. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) is yet another one of the many books by the highly-respected Scott Kelby, master of retouching. This book teaches the fundamentals of Lightroom, as well as step-by-step guides to using Lightroom

7. Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera is written by Bryan Peterson, who is a professional photographer, internationally known instructor, and the bestselling author of several other photography books. This book teaches how to take great photos anytime anywhere, as well as explains the relationship between aperture and shutter speed. You will also learn how to properly expose your photos in what many people would call "impossible lighting situations".

8. Outdoor Glamour Photography: The Complete Digital Guide to Taking Successful Outdoor Glamour Photographs by Bill Lemon. Bill Lemon's book explains step-by-step how to create beautiful images when it comes to outdoor photography. Some of the things you will learn about are: lighting, location scouting for various models, and depth of field, best times to shoot, and much more.

9. The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman. This book explains how to create beautiful, visually-stimulating images. A well-composed shot is aesthetically pleasing, and almost anyone can learn how to see and create great digital photographs.

10. Complete Digital Photography, Fifth Edition by Ben Long.This book teaches the theory and technical skills that are needed in order to take great photos.

11.Lighting Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios: Strategies for Digital Photographers by Billy Pegram. This book has had several good reviews by photographers who are interested in learning some lighting techniques. Billy Pegram is a well respected photographer and has written several books.

12. The Complete Photographer by Tom Ang. This book talks about how to photograph absolutely everything, from fashion to nature to architecture and everything in between. The book is based on different tutorials for different genres of photography and encourages photographers to develop their own style. Tom Ang is a highly respected photographer who has worked as a photo editor for many magazines.

If you have read any photography books that you feel should be added to this list, please let me know, either by posting a comment, or contacting me through my website. Also, please let me know why you liked and what you didn't like about the book.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Featuring: Luciana of Lybethras Swimwear Interview

The other day I stumbled upon Lybethras Swimwear while searching for companies that produce beautiful, high quality bathing suits. I was very impressed with Luciana's designs. All I could think of was how wonderful women would look at the beach while wearing Lybethras Swimwear. Lybethras Swimwear is a high end Brazilian swimwear company.

Lybethras Swimwear has been worn in beauty pageants, as well as featured in magazines such as Dietas Ja (Nov 2009), In Style, and Shape (Brazil).

It was a great pleasure interviewing Luciana. :) I hope you all enjoy the showcase of outstanding images that go along with it.

AVIVA: How long have you been in the swimwear business?
I've been working with clothes and swimwear together since 1991, and since 2002 only with swimwear.

AVIVA: How did you get started with swimwear? Do you design it yourself?
I started with swimwear because I think it was missing good styles for all kinds of bodies. On the beach it's only your body in your bikini and sometimes you are one size on top and another size on the bottom. In Brazil we had a revolution where many women got silicone breast implants. So it was impossible to find a size that will be good for the top and bottom. Then we created mix and match styles for Brazilians that don't have this and they love it. I make every swimsuit to show the best part of body and hide the worst parts.Women need to be confident at the beach. Women that are mothers need more support. We create bikinis thinking of all kinds of bodies. This is one the reasons for our success.

AVIVA: What is the most exciting thing about your business?
Happiness in people who discover our label and have fidelity in our styles. We receive emails from people that love our swimwear, that never go to beach nor feel powerful, but they feel that way with our bikinis. This is the best part. We want 100% satisfaction from every customer.

AVIVA: What would you say is the price range for your swimwear?
We have prices for all budgets. We have swimsuits starting at USD 90.00to USD450.00

AVIVA: How can someone contact you to make a purchase?
On our website we have a online store. Also if they need a special bikini, please send an email to and we will answer it soon.

AVIVA: Do you sell wholesale?
Yes and also make private labels for Pepe jeans London, Christina liquori and many others in the international market.

AVIVA: How does one apply to become a model for you? Do you offer discounts to models who would like to shoot using your swimwear?
Just send us pictures when we have preselections that are in may 2011. Yes, we could offer 20% for models.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
No everything was a pleasure.

You can view more of Luciana's work on the Lybethras Swimwear Website where you can order the suit of your choice. Also, look for Lybethras Swimwear on Facebook

I hope you enjoyed this interview :)


Friday, August 20, 2010

Why I Do Not Have a Gym Membership Anymore...

After I quit competitive running due to an injury, I wanted to stay in shape. My biggest mistake was thinking that by joining a gym, I would be a lot more motivated to work out because I spent money on it. Therefore, my thought process was, "I just spent $70 for the month, so I better visit the gym as many times as possible in order to get full value for my money."

Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Some of my excuses were:
~I don't want to drive there right now
~I'm too tired
~I get my exercise by running/walking/using my free weights at home and therefore I don't need to go that often
~I'll go tomorrow (and then that didn't necessarily happen)

Ultimately, I maybe went 2x a week, and would have saved more money just by paying a drop-in fee each time I went.

Here are the reasons why I do NOT need a gym membership anymore:

1.To avoid being ambushed by a high pressure salesperson who will tell me the benefits of working out at their gym. They will tell me that they care about my well-being and they will be my best friend for the hour that they lead me around the gym. However, their ONLY goal is to get me to sign a non-refundable 2 year contract in order to milk me for approximately $900. Face it, the longer the contract you sign, the higher the commissions the salesperson will make.

2. I work out on my own. When I'm at home working out, I can get as sweaty as I want to, while listening to MY favorite music. At a gym, I usually don't work out as hard, because I don't want to get too sweaty.

3. I do not need to wait for a shower. I can shower immediately after my workout at home. At gyms, people often have to wait for a shower, and even worse-some people are nervous about showering in public.

4. I save gas money. Every time I drive to the gym, I am using gas. Gas costs money, so I'll have to add the cost of gas to the cost of my gym membership to find out the real cost of going to the gym.

5. I do not have to worry about parking anymore. In bigger cities, people have to pay for parking. Even if it costs $1/day to park your car each time you go to the gym, you are looking at almost $30/month worth of parking expenses.

6. People do not generally need a gym membership in order to stay in shape. Yes, having a variety of equipment to try and having access to knowledgeable gym staff is great, but at the same time a gym membership is a luxury. That being said, those who are serious about being fit will find other ways to get and stay in shape.

7. The "knowledgeable" gym staff are not always as knowledgeable as they claim to be. That is especially the case if they are paid on commission.

So, save the $70/month and instead put it towards something you want or need. How about that savings account? Do you want to treat yourself to nice new clothes? Well, cutting out the gym membership and finding free ways to get fit might be a good start.

I wish you all the best in your fitness endeavors and I hope that you achieve your goals! I will be posting an article on ways to stay fit without a gym, so stay tuned :)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preparation for Photoshoots: Photographers

There are several things that photographers should remember to do when they are preparing for a photoshoot. A lot of the upcoming points will appear to be "common sense trivial things", but it is not uncommon for photographers (and models alike) to forget a few things in the midst of organizing and preparing for a photoshoot. Preparing for a photoshoot, especially for those who are new, can have its challenges. Considering that we are all human, we all make mistakes and forget things, and that's just life. :)

Please note that this article is mostly directed towards newer photographers. As a newer photographer myself, I did a little bit of research on what a photographer can do to prepare for a shoot.

The other day, I wrote a blog post on what a model can do to prepare for a photoshoot, which can be found by clicking HERE

1. Make sure you know how to use your equipment and are familiar with all the features of your camera. If you have a new camera or lighting equipment, read the instruction manuals. There is nothing worse than coming to a shoot, where the photographer is blindly fidgeting with the camera, not knowing how to adjust the settings.

2. Study up on some lighting techniques. For example, Billy Pegram's book called Lighting Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios: Strategies for Digital Photographers has had several good reviews from photographers and is worth a read.

3. When you contact a model about a shoot, be sure to include details of the shoot. Such details include, but are not limited to: proposed date and time of the shoot, location, type of shoot (fashion, glamour, lingerie, swimwear, etc), compensation (TFP or paid), and whether or not there will be a make-up artist or hairstylist present. That information is important, because it allows a model to do her part of the preparation for a shoot. The more information, the better.

4. When planning a photoshoot, include a contact number, so that the model can call you if needed. Also, have the model's (and other team members') phone number. It's always best to talk to everyone involved prior to a shoot. Additionally, it's a lot easier to discuss shoots over the phone as opposed to endless emails.

5. 24-48 hours before a shoot, confirm to make sure that the shoot is still on. This includes, having talked to the model on the phone. Also, make sure that your own phone is charged before the shoot, so that people can get ahold of you for any reason.

6. If you are shooting away from your home/studio (or out of town) bring snacks and water. It's always good to be energized and hydrated for photoshoots.

7. When you contact a model (or when shooting, or when you're on the phone), do not bore models with some long-winded explanation about the artistic meaning of the images you have in the portfolio and how much of an artist you are. If you truly are an artist, you don't need to keep saying it-people will see it.

8. For shoots on location, it is best to scout out the location before you decide to bring the model out there. For example, if you are shooting at a park, check to see when the least busy times are to prevent interruptions. Also, some locations may require permits, so be aware of that before you start shooting.

9. Bring spare and charged batteries for your camera, and for any wireless flash devices that you may have. Also, bring an extra memory card, because you might end up taking more images and shooting longer than you'd planned.

10. If you are going outside to shoot, check the forecast, and dress for the weather. If it's hot and sunny, bring sunscreen and lots of water. If it will be wet and rainy (it's probably best to shoot on a different day). However, if the forecast says there's a chance of rain, bring a raincoat and a spare change of clothes.

11. Always test your camera. Keep practicing photography before you plan any formal photoshoots. It's also always good to know that your camera and lights are working properly before you start shooting.

12. Make sure that you have all your photography equipment and accessories in an organized place. See if you need any filters, sync cords, USB wires, different lenses, extension cords, etc (depending on the circumstances of the shoot).

If you believe that I've left something out, please feel free to add it in the comments section, or comment on my Facebook Page.
That way, more people can refer to it later on.

Thank you for reading,

Fashions on the Streets of Victoria, BC

The other day, I decided to go for a walk downtown Victoria, to see if I can find any interesting people to photograph. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't the greatest, and the camera that I was using is only good for snapshot quality images. However, a heavy professional camera would have been impractical for the day, as I was shopping, and walking around in the scorching heat.

I was walking up Government street, and right as I was about to turn onto Johnson Street to go check out some of the local boutiques, I spotted a beautifully dressed tourist, and I approached her.

She was from Santa Barbara, and was on vacation in Victoria (good choice!). She stated that her colourful dress was Italian, and that instead of paying $350 for it, she paid $80. Additionally, her beautiful Mariano Orlandi purse only cost her $200 as opposed to $600. She got her stunning high heel shoes at Nine West. Nine West, from what I've seen, often have deals on shoes. :)

Above: Tourist from Santa Barbara.

The next image was taken as I was walking down Douglas Street on the same day.
The girl had just walking out of a cafe, and I took a quick snap of her because I liked the colourful dress that she was wearing.
Below: Local girl walking down the street.

Both ladies were flattered to be approached for a photo.
I am definitely hoping to get out more often, and photograph more people, wearing clothes that I like. :)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Shimon Karmel: Photographer from Vancouver

Shimon Karmel is an internationally published photographer, who is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
He specializes in entertainment, fashion, portrait and editorial photography. Additionally, he does headshots for several actors.
Shimon has a passion for photography, and uses his background in the film and beauty industries in order to give his images an extra edge.

Image Credit: Photo-Shimon Karmel, MUA-NightShade Beauty, Model-Aviva(me), Hair-Eriko Yamamoto

AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
SHIMON KARMEL: I've been doing photography for 6 years.

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject?
SK: People in music/ fashion/ personalities.

AVIVA: What got you into photography?
SK: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

AVIVA: Can you think of a few photographers/artists whose work inspires you?
SK: Annie Leibovitz, Michael Grecco, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Joe McNally, Richard Avedon, David Lynch, David LaChappelle, Stanley Kubrick, Paul T. Anderson, Allen Ball, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen.

AVIVA:Do you have any weird/funny/interesting shoot experience that you would like to share?
SK: I ripped the crotch out my my pants while doing a calendar shoot a couple of months ago- very embarrassing. Luckily, I carry spare pants in my kit. My shooting experiences rather lack amusing anecdotes to this point.

AVIVA: Other than photography, what else do you like to do?
SK: I've recently become a bit of an obsessive gym monkey. I also love film and am a complete metalhead and general dreamer.

AVIVA: What are some of the publications where your work has appeared?
SK: Photo (France), Photolife, American Photo, Exclaim, Xtra Vancouver, Drum Magazine, The Globe and Mail.

AVIVA: How would you best describe your style of photography?
SK: Dark and fairly still. 6 years and I'm still finding my style.

AVIVA: If money/time was no object, what is your ultimate goal in this industry?
SK: Shooting for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair etc. etc. being happy and somewhat creatively satisfied is really all I care about.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
SK: Do what you love, the rest will follow.

More of Shimon's work can be seen on his WEBSITE

I would like to thank Shimon for his time, and I hope that he keeps doing what he loves.

I wish him continuous success in this industry for many years to come.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

How to Prepare For A Photoshoot for Models

Image Credit: Photo-IMS Photographic, MUA/HairStylist-Mallory McGowan

There are several things that a model can do in order to help make a photoshoot run smoothly. Sure, the photographer's job is to take good photos, but most photoshoots are two-way streets (that's not including shoots that involve make-up artists, assistants, hair stylists, and wardrobe people). Regardless of who is getting paid,

Here are some things that a model can do to prepare for a shoot:

1. Make sure that you have the photographer's (stylist's, MUA's, etc) phone number.(Emails are not enough) If you are going to be late, you should call to let them know that you are not simply flaking out. People put a lot of time and energy into preparing for a shoot.

2. Have a list of things that you need for a photoshoot ahead of time. With that in mind, ask the photographer (or whoever is creating the concept) to let you know what you should bring, and then bring some extras. What I mean by extras is a few more changes of wardrobe, shoes, etc.

3. If you are doing your own make-up, be sure to bring your make-up kit with you. Even if you do your make-up at home, bringing your kit to the shoot allows for touch-ups if necessary.

4. If you are shooting lingerie, esp if it's see through, be sure to cut the tags/labels off. It adds work for the photographer when he/she is finishing the photos in post production.

5. Look at a few magazines that show the style of images that you are looking to get. For example, if you want fashion images, check out the models' poses and expressions in Vogue, Elle., Harper's Bazaar, and 125 Magazine. If you do glamour/bikini/fitness/lingerie, check out Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Maxim, FHM, Oxygen, and Playboy. Magazines, catalogs, ads-study the poses and expressions. There is a reason why those photos are used that way, and that reason is-the photos are aesthetically pleasing and easy to look at.

6. It's not enough to just look at magazines. You should try some of the poses that you like before your photoshoot. The reason for that is because no matter how beautiful you are, not every pose/expression will suit you. Look at your poses/expressions in the mirror, practice, practice, practice. Then again, even if something looks good in the mirror, it may not look good in a photo due to the difference in angles between the way you looked at yourself in the mirror and the angle at which the photographer captured it.

7. Take care of your nails. Get them done. No, I don't mean spend $100 on a manicure/pedicure. I mean, trim them accurately, and paint them a nice colour.

8. Wax/shave your legs, bikini line, and armpits. Unless the concept is au naturelle nude photographs, it is probably a good idea to always remove unnecessary body hair. Also, do not wax/shave right before the shoot, or else you'll have razor burn/red marks from doing so, which add more unnecessary retouching work for the photographer. It's best to just keep shaved/waxed. ;)

9. Drink water and avoid salty foods and alcohol for at least 3 days before the shoot. You don't want to appear dehydrated and hung-over in your photos.

10. Get plenty of sleep before your shoot (and no partying). Eight hours is usually what most people need to feel well rested. If you are tired, have dark circles, and bags under your eyes, you will not look your best in your photos.

11. If you're bringing props/accessories, prepare everything that you need to bring to the shoot the night before it. Have a checklist of things you need, and check them off as you put them into your suitcase/duffel bag that you take to shoots. This almost eliminates the chance of forgetting something when you go to your shoot, not to mention prevents the unnecessary stress the day of the shoot when you're running late and have not packed yet.

12. If you're shooting outside, and the forecast predicts heat and sun, bring sunscreen, water and a towel. Also, it's helpful to bring make-up with you to the location, in case you need to do some touch ups, after you sweat it off.

13. Before you leave your house, make sure that you know exactly where you are going and where you're meeting the photographer/team. There is nothing worse than not knowing where to meet everyone, and appearing like a flake because you couldn't find the rest of the people and didn't have any phone numbers to contact them.

14. Whether you're driving, taking a cab, bussing, or walking, leave a little bit earlier than you think you should. You never know when traffic will prevent you from being on time, or some other mishap will cost you some time.

15. If you have nude coloured underwear, bring it just in case you're wearing see through items, and you're not comfortable having them see through.

16. If there are any accessories that you are bringing, make sure they are packed nicely, so you are not going through a mess of tangled up necklaces looking for the right one to use.

17. Have the "How?", "What?", "When?", "Where?" "Who?" of the photoshoot figured out, and preferably in writing BEFORE the shoot. Is the shoot TF or Paid? What is the purpose of the shoot? Where will it be? When are you supposed to be there? (don't accidentally mix up the dates)Who else will be there? (will there be other people around, as in hair/make-up/etc.)

I hope this was helpful. If you have any other points to add, please use the comment section, or simply comment via my Facebook Page.

Thank you for reading,

Friday, August 13, 2010

How To Spot Fad Diets and Why They are Popular

Image Credits: Photo-IMS Photographic, Model-Ian Simpson

I visit modeling forums daily. There is one subject that comes up in the forums at least 3 times per week.
That subject is something along the lines of:
"I need to lose weight fast. Do you have any advice?"

I took a few courses on fitness and nutrition in order to fill my timetable in the first two years of university. There, I learned a few things about weight loss and I still have the textbooks and notes from those classes to refer back to.

One of the things that came up when we were learning about weight loss is the popularity of fad diets. The main reason fad diets are popular is because they claim to provide quick solutions to weight problems. People want to believe that a certain diet will work, and they have nothing to lose by trying. However, what they don't realize is that they are enabling the creators of fad diets to capitalize on their insecurities and fantasies. Fad diets are based entirely on marketing gimmicks that appeal to public desires and fears.

Why else are fad diets popular? Why do people resort to fad diets?
~Girls who see slim models in magazines want to become skinny fast
~Women are told that skinny=beautiful
~Men are concerned about not being muscular enough
~Being overweight is a huge problem all over the world
~People want to believe in something because they think they can get great results, which will make them happy.
~People want to achieve desired results without an investment of time and energy.

The bottom line is, people want to be happy, and some will attempt to fulfil that desire for happiness by allowing themselves to be ripped off. Don't fall victim to aggressive marketers. It's amazing to learn that Americans spend 30+ billion dollars/year on fad diets.

The following are the hallmarks of fad diets:
1. Promote quick weight loss. Almost any diet that indicates you will lose more than 2 lbs/week, is a fad diet. The healthiest way to lose weight is by losing about 1-2 lbs/week over a more extended period of time.

2. There are limited food selections. You are told to cut out certain food groups. A healthy diet consists of a variety of food groups and encourages balanced eating.

3. Use of testimonials. First off, how do you know the testimonials are real? I've read about how some people are getting paid to say good things to promote a diet. I could say right now that The Grapefruit Diet made me super healthy and slender, and how do you know that I'm not lying to you? And no, I have never been and will never go on a fad diet (that's the honest truth).

4. It claims to be a cure-all. Not only will you lose weight, but you will also reduce your stress levels, improve your memory and stop the aging process. Wouldn't it be nice if one pill could do all that? Life would be so easy...we'd all just take the pill, stay peaceful, look young, feel happy, and be slim and beautiful.

5. It criticizes the scientific community. For some reason, these diets are miraculous and whatever scientific research shows does not matter. The people who created the diet almost always guarantee it to work: "It's a miracle!".

6. Expensive supplements are recommended. This is so that the company behind creating the fad diet can profit even more from your hopes and dreams. "You must buy Supplement X in order to achieve the maximum results".

7. There's no mention of permanent lifestyle changes. Oh yeah, that's because with a fad diet, weight loss is so easy that you can achieve instant results. Wrong. Although you will lose weight when you go on a fad diet, unless you make permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits, you WILL gain back the weight that you'll have lost and then some.

8. There's no mention of consulting a doctor before going on it.Doctors are the ones that approve diets/lifestyle changes, and almost all legitimate diets/exercise routines ask to consult a doctor before beginning a program.

9. The rigid diet plan does not allow for flexibility. So, forget going out with friends for dinner at your favorite restaurant, and ice cream-don't even think about it.

Remember the old adage:
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

I hope the above ways will allow you to spot a fad diet, and make good decisions about your weight loss goals. It's one thing to lose weight quickly, but it's another to keep it off for a long time.

In my next article about dieting and weight loss, I will discuss what entails a good weight loss plan.

Thank you for reading, I hope this is helpful.


Featured Business: Empress Jade Vintage, Online Vintage Clothing Retailer

I had the pleasure of working with and interviewing Lynn, the owner of Empress Jade Vintage.
Lynn is a fun person to be around, and she is very good at styling clothing and directing models.
I have worked with Lynn on several occasions, and have seen her large inventory of beautiful and unique vintage clothing.

The following image is from our most recent photoshoot for Empress Jade Vintage.

Credits: Photo-IMS Photographic, Make Up-Gracee Blair, Models-Gracee, Myself, ShayRae,Wardrobe/Styling-Empress Jade Vintage

When I asked Lynn to tell me more about her business, this is what she said:
I started selling vintage full time about 4 years ago but I was dabbling in it for a number of years beforehand. Like most vintage sellers I started selling when my own personal collection of stuff got out of hand. When I was your age I was interested in avant garde and theatrical fashion and never found what I was looking for in the malls so it was easier to carve out a unique look by incorporating some vintage elements. I found that vintage clothing offered exceptional style at a fraction of the cost of new and many older garments are simply made better with finer fabric and details. Modern clothes rely on stretch fabric for fit but vintage garments are darted and seamed to follow the curves of a woman's body. Many women prefer the tailored womanly fit of vintage clothes.

Empress Jade Vintage sells mostly fun inexpensive women's fashion focusing mainly on the 50s to the 80s, with the occasional piece that is 40s or older. You won't find too many basics in our store; I prefer to offer crazy prints, bright colors, sexy cuts and things that make a women stand out of the crowd. Empress Jade's target market is hip, urban woman aged 18 to 30. We also sell a lot of vintage lingerie and our customers are just as likely to wear a vintage slip or a nighty out as clubwear instead of wearing them as undergarments. Surprisingly I do not sell very much locally; 99% of my sales are outside of Canada with the majority of sales from big city centers like LA, New York, London, Paris. I sell strictly online and right now have stores on both Etsy and Ebay. I do think there is room in Victoria for a brick and morter vintage clothing store, and I have certainly considered opening one over the years, but for me an online business offers a lot of flexibility and it fits my lifestyle. For the future I hope to expand my advertising efforts and re-launch my own website in the Fall.

You can check out Empress Jade Vintage onFacebook and
Shop at Empress Jade Vintage on Etsy, and Ebay

I wish Lynn all the best with Empress Jade Vintage, and I always look forward to working with her.

Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kevin Lee Baldwin Interview: Clothing Designer, Team Force One Apparel

Kevin Lee Baldwin is one of two fashion designers who are involved in the creation of the clothing line called Team Force One Apparel. His partner's name is Amos Walters. Throughout their careers, they have received positive feedback and have participated in several fashion shows.

I am thrilled to have been able to interview Kevin about his fashion line. He and his partner have put in a lot of effort, and the clothing looks unique and comfortable.

AVIVA: How did you get started with clothing design?
Ever since I can remember I was a bit of an artist. I would draw and sketch just about every chance I could get. I believe that when I was in the fifth and sixth grades that I started paying more attention to the clothing I was placing on the caricatures in my artwork. I eventually became obsessed with creating all types of men’s clothing designs and decided to take a sewing class when I was in the 7th grade so that I could make some of the clothes I was sketching. My mother is a skilled seamstress and with her guidance I learned to alter the fist pattern I ever worked with in my first and last sewing class to create a nice piece of work that my class instructor praised. Unfortunately my father was not very pleased to see one of his only two sons (I had four sisters and one brother), sitting at the sewing machine when he came home from work. He hit the roof and I had to quit my desire to learn how to sew. From that day on, whenever I needed an outfit to perform in (because I was also a young musician and singer), I would draw my designs and my mother would do the actual labor. After High school, I quit creating apparel designs and focused on performing with my bands and attended collage at the University of Washington, (studying of all things Sociology and Psychology). I designed a few outfits for my two different bands during my musical carrier and that was it for many years. (1981 or 1982)

AVIVA:How long have you been designing clothes
I did not start up designing again until around 1997 when my friend and now also business partner Amos Walter and I were working with at risk youths as Track and Field coaches. So from 1997 until now thirteen years of serious design. (not including the younger years.

AVIVA: Why did you come up with the name "Team Force One Apparel" for your company?
The program we were working with did not pay for the uniforms of the children who were participating, so if their parents could not afford the uniforms, those children did without. Amos and I decided to create some Track body suits for boys and girls. So we talked about it and sketched some ideas and I drew up the final designs. From there, we created uniform designs for another Track & Field Program and obtained a small grant so that we were able to produce the garments at no out of pocket costs from us or the children, guardians and/or parents. Amos and I had long before the Track & Field, been working a starting a Record Company that was to be named Force One Records. When we began working with at risk children we thought that if we were able to raise money to start an apparel manufacturing company it would be Force One Sportswear. We hoped to be able to raise money for the child athletes and start our own organization for at risk children sports and name it Team Force One. We liked the name and kept it for the Apparel line. Team Force One will be the umbrella for a great many lines of Force One products.

AVIVA:Do you have any designers that inspire you? If so, who?
I do not draw any inspiration from the accomplishments of others nor do I consider myself to be in the same league as any of the famous designers since I am self taught.

AVIVA: What excites you the most about clothing design?
The thing that excites me the most about clothing design is that you are creating. Creating something that you hope others will love, like, desire and/or appreciate. I am also excited that my three sons took an interest in what I am doing and my middle son Frederick attends the Seattle Art Institute, for design of men’s apparel. He has a desire to start his own apparel company someday and may beat me to the success ladder. If he does I won’t mind because I love my children and had a part in something positive.

AVIVA: Can you tell me more about your uniform donations to schools and your volunteer work?
The girl’s basketball uniform donation came straight out of Amos Walters’ pockets. I just helped with the artwork on that one. We hope to create an amazing non-profit education and athletic program someday for at risk youth as well as for those who are not at risk. We want to create an atmosphere of accomplishment and pride in the realm of academics, music, sports, arts (dance, design), and give the children’s parents help that they might need to succeed in their desires. We have a children’s line of clothing on the back burner where the profit proceeds would go to help fund this organization. We have a name of the non-profit and the apparel but do not desire to spill the beans at this time. It may never happen but this has always been the motivation behind all of the clothing and the return to my designing.

AVIVA: If money/time were no object, what is your ultimate goal with clothing design?
Our ultimate goal is to be limitless. We want to be able to send young people to school so that they can learn and come back and contribute to the company and maybe start their own. We want to provide schooling and training for the leaders of tomorrow so that they will not be faced with the same obstacles that stood in our way. I don’t think that you will be able to receive the image that I am including but it is one of our logos for Team Force one. The large triangle represents the mountain that we are climbing to reach our goal. The space / void in the middle represent the barriers we have and must overcome in order to get to the top. The triangle in front without any space / voids represent those we hope to bring up after us in our shadow without facing the ignorance and lack of tolerance we face everyday in our jobs while trying to make to the top. Now the taller triangle / mountain we climbed looks a little like the number 1.

You can see Team Force One Apparel on Model Mayhem and YouTube

I wish Kevin and his partner all the best in their designer careers. They have set out to make a difference, and I hope they succeed.

Thank you for reading,

Kat of Nightshade Beauty: A True Artist from Vancouver

I am thrilled to have been able to interview Kat, the creative director of Nightshade Beauty. She is a make-up artist, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, creative muse, model scout, and much more!

Kat is outstanding at what she does. She is very dedicated to her art, and truly enjoys being creative.

I met Kat when I traveled to Vancouver for a photoshoot with Eriko Yamamoto and Shimon Karmel for submission to Contessa. For more info about the shoot, see my post about Working On Set With a Great Team of People
After I got my photos, I was amazed at how beautiful they looked! The make-up that Kat did was flawless. When I looked at her portfolio on Model Mayhem I saw the rest of her beautiful work, and therefore I wanted to share her art with others.

Above Image Credits(Doll Parts 3):Model-Oxana,MUA/Hair/Concept-Nightshade,Photo-Shimon Karmel,Styling- New World Designs and

Above Image Credits(Doll Parts 2): Model-Tina,MUA/Hair/Concept-Nightshade,Photo-Shimon Karmel, Styling-Flaming Angels Boutique and

AVIVA: How long have you been involved in the fashion/beauty industry?
I’ve actually only been involved in the beauty industry for about 2 years…but fashion and beauty have been a lifelong obsession. I used to get home from school and watch Fashion Television religiously…everything was so beautiful and I wanted desperately to be a part of it. From my very first photoshoot I knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

Image Credits: Model-Natalie (ModelMayhem #1422917),Photo-Melissa Dinsdale(Model Mayhem #870421),MUA/Hair: Nightshade

AVIVA: How did you get started in this industry?
I’d been wanting to take makeup artistry courses for about 10 years before I finally had the time and support to do it…when I finally found a school that I could take classes at part-time (evenings and weekends) I couldn’t deny it any longer. I dove right in to photoshoots and fashion shows while still in school and it hasn’t stopped yet.

AVIVA: Besides make-up, I know you also do a lot of other things at shoots. What else do you do?
I have a very hard time settling into a role as JUST makeup artist…I do
hairstyling, wardrobe, art direction, posing direction, hold lights and reflectors, find other angles for the photographer…just about anything I can to help achieve the best finished product. I’m a one-woman team sometimes. Depending on the shoot, I always have a vision in mind of what “the shot” should look like, and I take a lot of pride in what I do and in my involvement. The final look of a shoot is just as important to me as it is to the photographer.

Image Credits: Model-Cori(ModelMayhem #1187383),Photo-Ben Lee (ModelMayhem #420549), MUA/Hair-Nightshade

AVIVA: What excites you the most about being involved in make-up artistry?
Like many makeup artists, I truly enjoy helping people see a different side of themselves…makeup is transformative. I’ve seen shy, quiet models (who might not even be models) turn into demons in front of the camera because they feel so strong and empowered.Otherwise, the creativity of this art drives me the most…pushing boundaries and creating something new and unique is my goal…I love learning about my craft and I’m always pushing myself to try new techniques and new ideas.

AVIVA:Do you have any weird/funny/interesting photoshoot experience that you would like to share?
Oh I’ve got LOTS…but my favorite shoot is actually my very first shoot…at an abandoned house in Richmond. We did the posters for a fashion show called “Doll Parts” and it was my very very first creative shoot…I was SO scared to mess up, but everything came out beautifully and that’s where I got the idea that it was normal for a MUA to assist in every part of the shoot…it just felt right. FYI, there are VERY large rats in Richmond…ugh.

Image Credits: Photo-Melissa Dinsdale (ModelMayhem# 870421),MUA/Hair/Concept-Nightshade

AVIVA: You're also a co-owner of Morrismore Productions; could you tell me more about the company?
Morrismore Productions is very special to me…my husband started the company in 2005 as a networking opportunity for Vancouver artists, focusing on musicians and liver performance…over the years it’s morphed into many things, but we’re still all about collaboration and helping people grow as artists, whether they are musicians, dancers,models, designers, or makeup artists…it’s all about making the industry into something better through cooperation and support within the artistic community. Something that we feel is lacking in Vancouver. In April we launched Morrismore Models, the only Alternative Modeling Agency in Western Canada and we’ve already signed 42 amazing alternative ladies. I have to mention that Alternative has many connotations…when I say alternative,I mean “non-mainstream”, the MM girls are tall, short, burlesque, diverse, tattooed,dreadlocked, every shape, size and colour, and are ALL gorgeous creatures who are dedicated to what they do in every aspect of their lives. We are very proud of them and what we have created together.

AVIVA: Where has some of your work been published/featured?
I’ve been fortunate that in the short time that I’ve been active in the Vancouver fashion scene to have worked with some amazing people. My work is featured on a monthly basis with Miko Kuro’s Midnight Tea ( and has been published in the “Midnight Tea Book” in January 2010, and UBC’s online “Skewed” Magazine(Issue #8). In April, I was invited to Paris, France, to participate in an international Midnight Tea, an experience which will also be documented and published. My first tear sheet was from July 2009 in the Georgia Straight for a fashion show with Nancy Perreault (I was so excited, I think we have about 15 copies at home). My first photoshoot was also turned into posters, flyers and tickets for Morrismore’s Doll Parts show in November 2009. I’ve also done online catalogue work with fiveleft leather( and Spark Design ( Giuseppina Magazine will also be publishing some work I did in their next issue (September 2010) and Vancouver Fashion ezine’s September 2010 issue as well as their annual print issue for 2010. I’m always hoping for more…

Image Credits: Model-Miko Kuro (Model Mayhem #1249666),Photo-Dafang Jiang, MUA-Nightshade

AVIVA: If time/money was no object, what is your ultimate goal in this industry?
No object? Hmmm… Well for starters, my kit would be FULL of all of the products I drool over constantly… Time is my biggest brick wall currently…I’d love to have the time to get all of the stuff that’s in my head on to paper and on to faces and into print. Ultimate goal? Creative control on an Haute Couture Paris runway. That is my gold ring.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
Two quotes that I love, and take with me all the time…

“I don't like standard beauty - there is no beauty without strangeness.”
~Karl Lagerfeld

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
~Kahlil Gibran
I wish Kat continued success in this industry. She is very talented and I only hope the best for her.

Kat's Website can be found HERE
Become a Fan Of Nightshade Beauty on FACEBOOK

Thank you,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Swimwear Designer Feature: Piret Collection

It was a real pleasure interviewing Piret, who designs beautiful swimwear, called the Piret Collection. Piret is currently residing in Naples, Florida.
One of her designs will be featured on one of the contestants on Miss California pageant in November.
I am extremely impressed by Piret's talent, especially when it comes to making crochet bathing suits. She is very creative and has a unique product to offer her customers.

Image Credits:Photography by Dan Paradise, Models: Adriann and Heather

AVIVA:How long have you been doing fashion design?
I have done Fashion design since I was born- that's the way it seems to me. When I was little, I was doing paper dolls and clothes and selling them to my friends. A doll was 1$ and it came with 10 clothing items and any additional piece was 10 cents.
I made my first crochet bathing suit when I was 16.
Studied clothing design in college. After college got off the track, took a course in hospitality and traveled around working in hotels. That's how I came to the USA. When I decided to stay in Florida, that is when I started to look around to find a way to design professionally.
I started Piret Collection just a year ago.

AVIVA:What got you into swimwear design?
I started focusing on swimwear when I moved to Florida. It is bikini season all year long. And I really fell in love with bikinis, monokinis, tankinis etc. I'm a bikini girl myself. It is the sexiest clothing item a girl can have. That's why it is important, when you choose a suit make sure it is flattering. Don't look for something that just covers you up, go for suit that shows off what you have.

AVIVA:Do you have any designers that inspire you? If so, which ones?
I'm inspired by all the designers; all fashion industry is fascinating. I love reading about designers' life stories, and my favorite is Coco Chanel. Style wise I love Diane von Furstenberg and Betsey Johnson.

AVIVA:Besides clothing design, what are(is) your other passion(s)/interest(s)?
My passion is life. Trying to do the most in this lifetime. I love all kinds of art forms.Love traveling and adventures.
I'm also interested in visual media-it is something that I did a little bit in college, and now trying to pick up again. Just got a new camera for my birthday.

AVIVA: What excites you the most about being a fashion designer?
I love playing around with materials. It is fascinating how I can imagine something and then make it real. Coming up with new trends.

AVIVA: What is your greatest motivation for being a fashion designer?
Making girls look pretty. Seeing a smile on their faces when they are trying the suit on. If you find that right suit that makes you look good- you feel good and confident. And you are going to have a good day.

AVIVA:If money/time were no object, where do you hope fashion design will take you?
I'm looking to build Piret Collection into full beach and resort wear brand. I started with crochet bathing suits. Now looking to add fabric designs, and beach dresses and hopefully come out with full collection next year. Every swimwear designer's goal is Miami Swim Show.

AVIVA:Do you have any additional comments?
For the models-when you pose for bikini shoots you have to show confidence. That's why it is really important to also choose a good suit, and definitely shave before the bikini photoshoot!!! I had a girl, who wanted to become a model, come to the photoshoot unshaven. It was a nightmare. It was impossible to fit the suits on her and I ended up asking her to leave. There was no way we would have got good images.
I definitely believe that whatever Piret will come up with, regardless of the materials she uses, it will be beautiful and sexy!

I wish Piret continuous success in the fashion industry, and hopefully one day our paths will cross. :)

You can follow Piret Bikinis on FACEBOOK as Piret often posts product and discount information.
Also, you can find Piret on MODEL MAYHEM

Until August 23rd, you can enter to win one of Piret's swimsuits:
Click here for details. Winner Chosen on Aug. 23


Featured Business: "No Strings Lingerie"

One day, I was browsing around on Facebook, and I found No Strings Lingerie. When I saw the photos of the lingerie, I really liked the products that they were offering. Although I have not yet ordered anything, I thought that some of the lingerie would be great to use for photoshoots.

So, I decided to send the owner of No Strings Lingerie a message inquiring about an interview for this blog.
The next day, they got back to me and let me ask them a few questions :)

They are just starting out, so I hope they do well.

AVIVA:How did you come up with the name of your business?
I was just brainstorming one night and it was just one of those things that stuck in my mind,I think it had a ring to it personally,so that's what I went with.

AVIVA: How long have you been in business?
Not long we have only been in business for about 2 or 3 weeks.

AVIVA: Who is your target market?
My target market is women who want a sexy outfit for that sexy someone or event.

AVIVA: What sets you apart from other lingerie retailers?
I believe that we have great prices and our shipping rates are the cheapest out there for not only local but international.Our customers always come first.

AVIVA: What is your business philosophy?
Always keeping our customers happy.

AVIVA: Best case scenario, what is your ultimate goal with this business?
To become the cheapest largest lingerie business on the net.

AVIVA: If there was one thing you'd like to change about your business, what would it be?
Nothing I'm happy with it just the way it is.

AVIVA: How should people contact you if they'd like to buy something?
Simply send me an email on Facebook and I will get back to you within a few hours.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
Checkout our store its filled with a great selection,if there's anything you want but cant find contact me and i will get it for you at a cheap price.

Check out No Strings Lingerie on Facebook, where you can see and order the products.

Thank you,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

And Now, Featuring Savilla: Model and Clothing Designer From Vancouver

Savilla has been involved in the fashion industry for a long time. She has extensive experience as a model, having worked as a model since she was 16 years old. Savilla has appeared in various ads, billboards, magazines, commercials and much more.

As a designer, she has been sewing since she was 15 years old. Savilla designs beautiful, custom swimwear for all body types. She believes that when it comes to clothing "anything is possible", and thus uses her creativity to bring her unique designs into the world of fashion.

She is very talented as a model, actress, and designer. Personally, I am a fan of her work.

I am very glad that I was able to ask her a few questions about her career and her achievements in the fashion industry.

AVIVA:What got you started in this industry?
Designing: My mother said I started drawing at age 2, and I would draw very elaborate shoes and dresses. I always had an interest in beautiful clothing, but what made me actually start sewing is my inability to find clothes that fit me well. I was a very skinny and tall teen, and size zero didn't exist back then. So I bought size 3 and altered them. I taught myself how to sew on my grandmother's Singer at age 15. It was then that I discovered that anything was possible in the way of clothing.

Modeling: The concept of being a model never occurred to me as a young girl, because I never thought I was pretty. My mother was a model and a beauty queen, and she entered me into a beauty pageant when I was 16 without my knowledge. I protested, but participated anyway. I ended up winning first runner-up, and won a partial scholarship for my college education. Later, I was approached by a the same talent scout who discovered Linda Evangelista. I signed with a NY modeling agency that year, however furthering my education was always my top priority.

AVIVA: How would you describe your involvement in the fashion industry?
I work as a designer and a pattern maker. I like to fit the clothes on myself, so I get a good idea of what feels and looks good, and what is practical to wear. This gives me an idea of what I think would sell and what wouldn't. I never thought I'd still be modeling in my forties, but here I am.

AVIVA: You are also a model. What are some of your accomplishments as a model?
Here are the credits from my portfolio:
PRINT WORK: Magazines, Billboards, Catalogs, Calendars, Posters, etc.
Worked all over North America and Europe.
Acted in many films, TV shows, commercials, and documentaries.
Supporting actress in the film "September" which won a Leo award.
Voice-over and ADR for films.
Body double for main actress in TV show "Killer Instinct".
TV FEATURES (as myself):
Urban Rush, The Express, Anna & Kristina's Beauty Call.
Runway for several designers in NY.
Fit model.
Artists' model.
Playboy "Girls of Golf" model.
Buffalo Bandits Pro Lacrosse cheerleader for 3 seasons.
Hair model for Redken, Sebastian, and FHI Heat.
Foot, legs and hand model for various ads.
Model and spokesperson for charities involving organ donation awareness.

AVIVA: Besides swimwear, what else do you make/design?
Jewelry, evening gowns, wedding dresses, costumes, uniforms and dog coats. I also paint on canvas.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about designing clothing?
The freedom to let my creativity flow. So many things inspire me, so when I get an idea, I usually drop everything and go to work on it. Sometimes the best designs come from just experimenting and making mistakes along the way.

AVIVA: What are some of the notable publications where your designs have appeared?
Victoria's Secret, Frederick's of Hollywood, various online sites, TV shows, commercials and films. I also designed the cheerleader and dance costumes for several pro sports teams.

AVIVA: Do you have an exciting/strange/weird shoot experience (in your career as a model and designer) that you would like to share?
Modeling is a business like any other profession, so I always maintain a friendly yet professional attitude. I ask for references, and I request all the pertinent information regarding the photographer and the shoot prior to the event. Therefore I've been lucky in avoiding potentially dangerous situations. I have had a few embarrassing/funny things happen...
I walked the runway with my skirt tucked into the front of my pantyhose.
I had a photo shoot with Fabio in the early '90s, and during the shoot, he gave my bum a good squeeze! I was so shocked and my expression showed that in a few of the shots.
At an auto show when I was showing the Delta 88 in the late '90s, I asked why they would show an old car from the '80s! The boys got a good laugh out of that one.

Funny story in my design career: I costumed several plays in NY, and one year I designed for "The Wiz". I was rushing to meet a deadline, and a couple of my sewers didn't work out, so I sewed like crazy to get the costumes ready for the first performance. Maybe I didn't give the attention to detail that I should have, because in the Emerald City dance scene, there were two wardrobe malfunctions. On of the male actors split his pants wide open, then when one of the female dancers turned quickly and separated from her partner, she faced the audience, while the top part of her dress had ripped off and was attached to her partner's suit jacket! It turned into the adult version of "The Wiz"!

AVIVA: If you weren't modeling or designing clothes, what else do you see yourself doing?
I'm sure I'd be involved in something that involves talking with people or public speaking. I'm very outgoing and I really enjoy a social atmosphere where I can interact with interesting people. I would also be more involved in charity work. I currently volunteer for charities that raise awareness about organ donation as well as animal rescue. I would love to have a large property where I could care for homeless dogs.

AVIVA: If money was no object, what would be your ultimate goal in the fashion industry?
Money doesn't enter the equation for me because I'm already doing what I love and I'm happy. BUT... if anyone is looking for a fashion commentator for a TV show, I wouldn't turn it down!

AVIVA: Do you have any last comments?
In fashion, I think it's important to wear what you like and what makes you feel good and compliments you. It's great to watch trends, but you don't necessarily have to follow them. Don't be afraid of color... basic black is easy, but it can also be boring and predictable. It's OK to be a little different because that's what makes you unique.

To see Savilla's work, please click HERE
Follow Savilla Swimwear on FACEBOOK
Model Mayhem Accounts: Modeling, Clothing Designer

I thank Savilla for her time, and I wish her all the best for many years to come.


Friday, August 6, 2010

My Interview with Pat Yuen: Talented Fashion/Commercial Photographer, Blogger, Web Designer, and More

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of asking Pat Yuen a few questions about his take on photography and modeling, as well as his involvement in this industry. He is a commercial/fashion photographer, and web designer from San Francisco.

Additionally, Pat writes a very interesting BLOG, which informs the readers of his take on fashion, photography, and technology.

What I like about Pat is that he is not afraid to speak his mind, has great technical knowledge when it comes to photography, and is very clever.

Here, he shares some of his experiences, advice, and general thoughts.

AVIVA: How long have you been in the industry?
I don't really consider myself in any industry to the extent that photography of models, fashion, and modeling is generally a very small niche in San Francisco. With Gap, Banana Republic, Levis, and many high tech companies in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco tends to be more of a commercial market. Many have tried and failed to get a fashion sector going. Gen Art used to do some local fashion shows but they closed their doors nationally earlier this year. I've had to travel to Los Angeles to shoot a decent Fashion Week and even there, IMG pulled out a few years ago leaving the LA market to small independent shows. With that said, San Francisco does have a small group of talented fashion designers like Verreries & Sako and Colleen Quen Couture as well as a few dedicated fashion colleges. Since it is a small market, you tend to see the same people at different fashion events.

I started shooting fashion in 2005 starting with local runway shows and moving on to working directly with fashion designers.

AVIVA: What got you into fashion and commercial photography?
It was kind of a fluke. I was asked to shoot makeup and hair at a local runway show and after I shot the makeup and hair, I shot the models on the runway. It was a typical club show with bad lighting and local models but it evolved from there after becoming friends with designers, models, stylist, mua, etc.

AVIVA:What is your favorite thing about photography?
I think the friendships I have formed are the most rewarding. Every once in awhile, I end up with a picture that I like and that's rewarding. I hate the tedious chore of post processing so I've used my extensive technical knowledge to refine and minimize that process.I do know a lot about the technical side of photography but I'm not a gear head that obsesses about equipment. I also hate carrying around all the stuff so sometimes shooting with just a camera and a model has its own rewards.

AVIVA:Could you share some advice for aspiring models?
Be realistic and go for work you are qualified for. Short models are not going to model fashion or become agency models. But there's no shame in modeling as a hobby, modeling glamor, or working local fashion shows. Dreams and drive don't make successful models. It's an extremely shallow business where outer beauty rules and inner beauty means little. Initiative is also important. Most aspiring models think they can throw up a profile and sit around and wait. Yes, the offers will come but they will be from scammers and perverts trying to get the model naked. I advise models to initiate contact with photographers they admire. Be polite and be humble. And don't ask stupid questions like "Do I have what it takes?"

AVIVA: How long after you started model/fashion photography did it take you before you started working for big names and major commercial clients?
I got paid almost immediately. I always tell artists that if you give away your work, your work will always be valued as worthless by a potential client. I'm not saying there is no room for trade. Just don't work commercial jobs for exposure or promise of future jobs. When I get approached by someone telling me this job is great exposure, I tell them to pay me now and I'll give them double my rate after I book my 10th job from all that great exposure. So far, no one has taken my offer. And I don't have any big name clients to brag about. Small, no name clients' money is just as good. The banks don't care.

AVIVA: Do you have any advice for photographers who aspire to be professional?
Yeah. Do something else. It's a tough way to make money. Do it as a hobby or for the fun of it. The business of photography is brutal and not very rewarding.

AVIVA:Would you like to share any funny/interesting/weird/crazy shoot experience, if any stands out?
While shooting this picture with Morgan, there was a heist of Louis Vuitton bags from Neiman Marcus about 10 feet away. I turned around in time to see security trying to break the window of the getaway car with the butt of a gun while it was stuck in traffic. I didn't get any pictures.

When I shot this nude image of Engel on a public street, a taxi sped past, slammed on his brakes, backed up and watched us shoot for 5 minutes.

AVIVA:What are some of the major publications where your work has appeared?
Nothing major. A local magazine called 7x7, the cover of Bay Guardian, some smaller publications nobody has ever heard of.

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
Lately, I've been focused on creating a modeling community website called ModelingWiki to provide modeling and modeling photography information. It's strictly non-commercial, ad free, and not tied to any modeling sites. I've built the foundation and it's up to the community to determine if it makes it or flounders. Like most wikis, no registration is required to create or edit articles so if anyone has any knowledge to share, they are encourage to jump right in.

I'm also doing a lot more writing. I am currently shopping a 7,500 word article about a modeling topic to newspapers and magazines. My chances of it being sold is slim to none and I'm not giving it away. If I don't get a buyer, I'm going to just publish it myself. Additionally, through a referral from Roger Talley, I may start writing for but it's not set in stone yet.

Also, I asked Pat if there were any questions that no one has ever asked him in an interview, but he wished someone had. His response was "Yes", and these are the questions he wanted to answer.

Q:Are you Dirty Vegas?

Q: Even though you're banned from Model Mayhem, do you still have other accounts there?
Of course I do. I'm not stupid. I've had many legitimate accounts there long before they banned me and they will never find it because I'm a smarty pants like that.
I wish Pat all the best in his writing career and any other plans that he has. He has the experience, knowledge, and skills in order to do a great job of informing people about the industry.

And again, I thank Pat for the time he took to answer my questions.
To see more of his work, please go to his

Stay tuned for more interviews, features, and articles,
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