When selecting a model for the wig texture story, we wanted to use a girl that was both beautiful and memorable. After all, not everybody can pull off wearing a wildly-exaggerated wig. I had a shoot date already set when I called my friend Peter John at The Campbell Agency. I asked for a model I had picked out from their website, but she was not available. Peter John asked if he could e-mail me some photographs of a new girl he had just signed. With the shoot date already set, coupled with the fact that I am always looking for new talent, I agreed. Peter John sent me Vanessa’s snapshot, and I was sold. As soon as I could get Peter John on the phone, I booked her.
On the day of the shoot, I explained to Vanessa the shoot was for Suite HOPE. She immediately told me her mother had colon cancer, diagnosed while her mother was in nursing school. It has been two years since her mother’s diagnosis. Her mother is doing well and has returned to school. We wish her continued good health and success in school.
Vanessa also shared with me this would be her first shoot. I was thrilled for Suite HOPE to be the job that helped launch her professional modeling career. With the use of eyelashes and a wig, she would be fully indoctrinated in the world of hair and makeup extremes! The first thing I noticed about Vanessa was the she is very polite and a really good sport. Extreme wigs are not easy to work with from a shooting standpoint. She did a wonderful job in front of the camera, and had a real subtleness about her movement and look.
Did I mention she is 17? In the inset shot with me moving her wig out of the way, I think she looks like Rachael Welch. Not only was Vanessa transformed by the wig and make-up, but we were only shooting her from the shoulders up. Dressed in jeans and sitting on a stool, Vanessa had to convey the idea of the photo shoot through facial expressions and body movement. It is not as easy as it sounds (or looks)!
Photographer Tim Boole, Vanessa and I worked together very well. I love the collaborative process of executing an idea with film. Tim provided great direction to Vanessa. During the shoot, we stopped to upload images to the computer so we could see our results and give Vanessa valuable feedback as about what worked best for our needs for the shot.
Our idea for the shoot was to show an outrageously textured wig that illustrates the point of the article – that wig texture and the ability to camouflage the hairline and part are good things. We wanted a wig that could stand up on its own through its texture alone, yet be so extreme but beautiful and whimsical at the same time. Vanessa’s lithe body and willingness to explore different expressions helped us execute this vision.
We want to thank Neill Whitlock for the use of his beautiful studio, which also helped bring our idea to life.
To read the article, click on any of the images in this story. Enjoy!