16 March 2011

Interview - Selena Bree on Being a Mature Model Part I

I came across Selena Bree by happen chance as I perused Model Mayhem. I don't recall what got my attention, maybe it was her tattoo, but as I opened her profile I noticed that she had gotten started in modeling late in her life. The age she submits sort of glares at you a bit. In my mind, there's got to be a story behind it, so I continued to read her profile information. I liked her attitude. There's sort of a vivaciousness to it. After looking though her images, I put her on my list of people I'd like to work with. Then it struck me to contact her and get more of her story. I greatly admire the mature models, who choose to aid in the creation of art. There's a character there that lends itself to art in a way that is quite refreshing and inspiring. I asked if she'd be willing to be interviewed for your pleasure in the blogisphere. None of the images were taken by myself, but rather by the accredited photographer.

Model, Selena Bree, by Blue Eyes Photography



1.Let's start with an introduction. Introduce yourself to the Photo Anthems blog readers. 

I go by the name Selena Bree and am on four modeling sites: OMP #445442MM# 1787005, Model Brigade # 126942 and Model Insider. I had used this name years ago when dancing in small post-modern dance companies or doing theater in the Southern California area and decided to go back to it when I joined Shadows on the Sand belly dance group. I turned 57 Sept. 22nd. I spent 30 years in California and moved here [Arkansas] 17 years ago. Living in the Bible Belt is a real culture shock and I still don’t quite get it but love the pristine beauty and being able to ride my horse topless in the woods along with my big dogs having a great time. I live on 40 acres on a dead end dirt road 30 yards from my mom’s house so we both needed a change and wanted to go where there was clean air, water, less stress and a lower cost of living.

2. Specifically, how exactly did you get started in this thing and how long have you been doing this? 

The photographer who took pictures of our belly dance company really loved my body (and particularly my arms) and wanted to do a nude shoot.  Years ago I had done nude artistic work with several photographers in the Southern California area and was in their gallery showings and portfolios.  I used to be much more muscular and the balance of body building with dance made for a great look. I had taken modeling at age 17 and was offered a job to model shoes but my parents nixed the idea and I perused dance and a nursing career instead.  I officially started July 29th 2010 on OMP but didn’t get going for awhile

Model Selena Bree, by Personal Images
3. What are your feelings on nudes or nudity in general? Is it reflective of your lifestyle?

 I adore nudity and am a true nudist. I feel one of the worst things I remember as a child was the day I was told I had to start wearing a shirt and I loved the feel of the sun and wind on my chest and back while riding my bike.  I often go naked around my house and property and nude sunbathe on a trampoline in my yard.  I ride topless horseback through the woods every chance I get when it is warm.  I spent six months every weekend at Glen Eden Nudist Resort. Being in the natural self in nature is truly healing. 

4. What kind of impact does this lifestyle have on your family?

I am suddenly in a real quandary this week because my husband doesn’t want me to do nudes and I feel strongly that women my age should be seen and I feel with my dance and art modeling background, theater, etc. that I bring something special to a shoot.  I have been so happy with the modeling and think the human body is one of the most interesting and beautiful items on the planet.  All woman are special and beautiful!  I hope to encourage photographers to continue to come to my studio.  I never stopped being who I am for a relationship and am far too old to do it now.

Model Selena Bree, by Cajunpix2


5.  On your Model Mayhem profile, you state that you are on a "personal mission to make sociological changes in the perception of  beauty by being a mature model willing to be out there giving it up for the camera". Please elaborate. 

I am getting the impression that it is not that people don’t want or find woman my age unattractive.  Our media places too much emphasis on the same stereo-typical youthful, with breast implants and skinny ideal of what beauty is.  Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and conditions.  Plus us baby boomers are a huge part of the population; isn’t it time to be represented by women our own age?  Youth is beautiful and easy to accomplish.  Aging gracefully takes an amount of effort.  I just saw an article that 50 is the new 30 so why aren’t we catching up?  European young men and people in other countries have always adored and appreciated older women. What is our problem?  And teenagers have begun using Botox?  This is getting way out of line and so unrealistic.  Beauty comes from the inside; from our life experience as much as from the superficial outside.  Years of living life add an element that is almost regal.  Plus I am a bit pissed to think I should be shoved aside for what is an unavoidable predicament.  Regardless of what hype is out there, aging is going to happen to all of us. 

I saw a counselor for a short time.  He was an older man in his seventies.  He married a beautiful woman that was of model quality.  He said that to him she was just as beautiful to him as she was when she was eighteen.  He made a comment that has stuck with me for the last two decades.  He said, “you never realize how beautiful a woman in her 50's is until you look at her from the eyes of a 50 year old man”.   


Model Selena Bree by Cajunpix2
6.  How do you prepare for a photo session and what do you do between gigs to get better at modeling? 

I overly prepare for a shoot.  I bring way more outfits than necessary. I always work to exhaustion when someone comes down to my studio. We go for hours until we run out of ideas or just figure we have had enough. I love going to one of the thrift stores because you can find old vintage hats. 

I prepare for a shoot by networking trying to find my niche. I email and discuss ideas with photographers when they enjoy the collaborative process.  I have manilla folders of photographers I have worked with.  And ones I have talked to for future shoots on my desk.  And a file organized by states of photographers work I like and hope they will decide to get to me or me to them someday.

I did do a water flush, sauna etc. for one of my shoots for that more ripped muscled look.  I have certain daily habits: 200 crunches before I get out of bed, 30 push-ups on Perfect Push-Up , standing on point shoes when brushing my teeth, and sitting on a Pilates ball in the mornings at the computer, using Obagi, micro-dermabrasion on a fairly regular basis.  I go through tons of Palmer’s butter, oil and lotion.  And the usual manicure, pedicure, shave  everything that is pretty standard.  Between shoots I look like a ragamuffin, never wear make-up and sometimes go for days with conditioner in my hair to help off-set the shampooing, blow drying and hair spray.  Funny, I don’t dress up in my everyday life as much as I used to but wait for a modeling shoot!  I do take a beard trimmer to my arms.  I sunbathe enough to keep some color but not excessively.  I wear sun screen consistently on my face and neck. 

I live my life as part of preparing for gigs.  I follow through on my ideas.  I teach ballet and beg. Belly dance, hit the gym three times a week, ride my horse when I can to re-center and calm myself.  I am hoping to get back to doing my art.  Keeping an active creative mind helps me in my modeling.  A good photograph entails the same elements as any other piece of art work. I make it a point to thank each photographer for helping me and giving me great images to use.  So far I have been blessed with great TF/CD experiences and only one that wasn’t the greatest but used it as a learning experience.

7.  What boundaries do you set for yourself in your willingness to help a photographer deliver his vision? 

Boundaries: I don’t do porn. I did do a “parts” photography with a long time photographer I do trust.  So far I haven’t had a problem with anyone other than one photographer (wasn’t the greatest) when I did a body painting and he kept telling me I could do “crotch shots” and no one would know.  He didn’t quite “get it” that “I would know”...and no I don’t do them.  Under the right artistic concept I might not shy away from female genitalia seen or used in an artistic way...I would love to do some artistic Shibari and love some of the unusual work I have seen in some bondage...oh dear....this would definitely not be accepted by my husband and I have yet to see what I will do about this whole issue since I haven’t done a shoot since this week’s development...I already know he wouldn’t see the creativity or beauty in that either, just like he doesn’t understand nudes either.  Oh dear...what to do...

Model Selena Bree, by Cajunpix2

8. Who inspires you as a model? 

Heroes!  Jamie Lee Curtis, Meryl Streep and Sally Field...I think they are cute as heck or looking great and not altering themselves...Michaela is my idol being the second  model to get over 7 million hits on OneModelPlace and she is in her 50's.  Gloria Jean...All the women in all those publications I have seen so far where they are over forty...those that are just starting out...the models who have been in The Petite Alternative for strongly standing up to their own sense of individuality. 

[Insert from Terrell: I was told to add Dr. Carla Johnson, aka Unbearable Lightness to this list soon after showing Selena her profile.] 

More to come...


3 comments:

unbearable lightness said...

Wow, way cool, T! Selena, you go girl!

Thom said...

Nice interview. Mature models have as much,if not more to contribute as models. Life does not stop at 40. Life is short so why enjoy the ride!

Photo Anthems.com said...

Hi, UL. I'm sure you saw in the text where you have a new fan, now. She adores your work.

Thom...my sentiments, exactly!