19 March 2011

Part II - Interview with Model, Selena Bree

Continuing on from the previous post, I talk to Selena Bree about her challenges as a model. Most of these photos are some of her newest work that she chose to debut here for the benefit of Photo Anthems Blog readers. None of her images were photographed by me, but rather by the attributed photographer.

Model, Selena Bree, by Agency O

9. As a mature model, is there ever an issue with confidence because of your age?

You know I honestly sometimes wonder if I should have lied about my age. I get cut a lot just based on it. I had one model contact and confess to me that she was a year older than me but says she is 48 because she looks 48 but 58 is what she is...so how do you make change and trail-blaze if you don’t state your age? Geez...if I was going to lie I would say I was ten years older...than the compliments would really start coming in...

Model Selena Bree, by Personal Images
I do lack confidence often because of my age but I bet you everyone I have worked with didn’t know it I always worry. I think if you care about what you do and want to do a good job that entails a bit of anxiety. I just don’t allow it to stop me from doing it I try and do my best, think of it often times along the lines of an acting job too...after all I am creating a character at the time anyway, aren’t I? And is there really a shame in being photo-shopped for brown spots or wrinkles any more than acne, dark circles from allergies or other so called imperfections? I allow the photographer to do what he or she wants...I have been stretched to 6 feet tall, or had very little changes made, and was given a small waist and bigger breasts....I must admit I do love it when they fade out my turkey neck

10. What would you say are your most challenging issues or concerns as a model in general?

A big concern for me right now is how to get work where I break even. Costs have gone up everywhere. Sadly whenever economics suffer the arts are the first thing that gets cut. I can feel the fun going out of it already if I am forced to lie or deceive to do what I think is right. I am thinking of divorce or separation or should I give up this quest completely?

I don’t live in a big city where I would have access to more photographers within a smaller radius. So the biggest challenge will be bumping myself up to the next level for travel and expenses. Getting more established photographers to see where they might use me.

And of course there is that challenge of finding my niche. I was criticized highly when I was younger as a dancer for being so “large” even when I weighed 108lbs. When I left dance for 4 ½ years I went into bodybuilding which suited my body.

And I am feeling like I need to kick myself in the butt and try a little harder at nutrition, stretch a bit more, get back into dance which provides me with more stamina. Give up some of my nightly wine. The biggest aging factors for the skin are sun, cigarettes and alcohol.

Model Selena Bree by Richard Evans Photography
11. What criticisms have your received in your endeavors? How well do you take that?

Funny the only criticism I have been given is from my own husband. He did not like the pictures I initially did. He said it was pornography. Though he enjoys showing me off on the dance floor I often feel like the “trick dog” because this is the only activity we do together.

Model Selena Bree by Richard Evans Photography
12. How have you changed since you first began to be photographed?

 Since I started modeling again I felt like I was really blossoming once more. I felt like my life has purpose, a direction, and the possibility of making societal change. I have been spending many enjoyable hours at the computer. Thinking up and arranging new outfits. Making new friends. Loving when a collaboration works and the modeling shoots ends up with a hug, a thank you, a new friend, and another connection with another artist (photographer). I haven’t even been doing art. This has been fulfilling my artistic desires. I felt successful for the short period of time I have invested. None of the younger girls in my area have gotten a Showcase Image of the Day, Photo of the Week, book offers, nor been in a calendar.

13. What do you think mature models offer that is unique to a photographer? How about to the art world in general?
Model Selena Bree by GDB Photo
A mature model radiates her life experience. There is knowledge in her eyes. A full commitment to knowing exactly who and what she is about. She has survived decades and has lived life with it’s ups and it’s tragedies. There is a full, whole, and developed individual knowing what they want to do and are willing to do it even though they are doing some ground breaking. These are women that refuse to fold and stand up for what they believe in. Pioneers. Trail blazers or as one of the mature models so aptly said “we are on the move!”

As far as the art world goes...they are learning to love and appreciate us. We still have beauty to off it is just a “different” type of beauty.

Model Selena Bree by GDB Photo

14. What is the next level or the next step for you?

I would like to be in more and more published materials. I see that as a way to make my mark that establishes something that will stay long after I am gone.

15. Do you have any particular wish list projects that you want to do?

My secret wish list? I guess I have been bluntly honest about everything else so here goes:

I wish Playboy would do a special on 1953 models and include me! I was born the year Hef published. The whole world began to change from that beginning. Especially liberating woman. I would love to see a reflection of that with a tasteful pictorial.

Model Selena Bree by Richard Evans Photography
I wish The Petite Alternative found me acceptable. They are on such a great path re-defining beauty with tattooed and pierced women. But adding mature and muscular too “alternative”?

I wish Palmer’s or Obagi would use me in their ads. It is a rare day that I don’t use both products twice a day. I have fairly good skin but I feel both have done wonders in improving my complexion and my skin.

I definitely hope to be in A. C. Gellert’s next book!

Is there not a clothes designer out there that needs some mature petite run way models? I really move well with all my years of dance training.

I would like more photographers to step up to the plate and add more variety to their portfolios. I bet there are plenty of “projects” or “visions” where only a mature model would work. (And please pay for me to get there)! :-)

A documentary or short media story would be nice about this crazy eccentric woman starting modeling when she was close to 57 years old.


Model Selena Bree by Richard Evans Photography
16. What advice would you give to another young lady wishing to do what you are doing?

I would tell every young lady to go for it! I regret few things in my life but one I do regret is having not taken that offer to model shoes the day I turned 18. I lacked confidence. My violent alcoholic father had told me I was ugly, stupid and no good because I was a female my whole life. When I took modeling class the teacher didn’t need to do anything make-up wise to change the way I was. Here I thought I was plain and had spent my high school years getting ready for school and then not looking in a mirror all day because I was ugly only to find out I had a good face and was extremely photogenic. But it took me til I was 25 years old to accept I wasn’t ugly any more. I don’t know that I still don’t need and enjoy some of that re-enforcement I get today from modeling. Our self-esteem is established by what we tell ourselves AND what we hear from others.

I would tell them to feed their heart’s desire. Don’t care if you make money or not. I gave up a lot in my life because of my love for dance and never regretted it for a second. Don’t allow any one else to tell you have failed if you aren’t a Vogue model. You have succeeded in your life if you do what you love to do!

Model, Selena Bree, by Agency O


This has been an interesting interview and I wish to thank Selena for volunteering her time and her honest contribution. I hope you've also enjoyed listening to her. Be sure to check out more of her work by clicking on the hyperlinks on her name. You see her wish list, so if you can help, advise, or if you're in the area with time and a camera, give a girl a holla! Thanks again, Selena! Hope to be seeing you soon.


Coming up next is another interview. Author, Samara talks to me about her new book about growing up in Cairo as a young Arabic woman and her new found sexual freedom in America. 

2 comments:

unbearable lightness said...

So much of this sounds very familiar, including family members who think art nude modeling is doing porn, ugh. Great job, T, and thanks, Bree. Just wait till you're 66 years young.

Photo Anthems.com said...

I think that is a common experience for models and photographers alike. It was definitely the same with me. Some opinions changed after they actually SAW my work, instead of just hearing about Terrell taking pictures of naked ladies. It brought me to almost brought me to tears when my mom's opinion changed about my art as well as the models who posed for me. Granted she did tell me to never give her a gift of a nude and expect her to hang it on the walls!