COI // Growing up my grandmother had a huge artistic influence on me and my interest in art school peaked with photography. 3 years ago, a friend of mine who worked for an agency in Portland suggested modeling. I did work for big companies for a bit, but then slowly found ways to channel my own personal creativity through it. This may have been influenced by me not having an art studio at the time, needing another way to express myself creatively.
C // People definitely don't want to say anything transphobic. Although, like with many types of discrimination, people will say things that are tucked under the rug. Generally, I still think we have a long way to go with education about transgender people. People will want to use me once to seem more diverse and forward. In my opinion, school systems should include it [trans/queer eduation] in classes such as sex ed. I feel like in Portland I am lucky to have respect, though that doesn't mean they know what's appropriate to say and they never ask questions.
C // For a long time I cared a lot about how others perceived my art. Thankfully, I slowly learned that that is not really the point. I use art as self expression, and if my family, friends, or audience has a negative outlook or feedback on it, that’s not my issue. I’ve thrown away approval from many for my own expression. How the internet defines art is a way the internet has influenced my art: such as Instagram’s famous sexist nipple ban. Although if anything, injustice has fueled my art a tad bit more. As far as bad stories as a model, the worst has been how male photographers, gay or straight, even ones just starting out, will talk down to female models and act like they don't know anything. In my experience, these photographers have also been ones not to give creative credit. As far as good stories, I've met so many empowering women through modeling, and these women have taught me so many things, like how to be comfortable with my body.
C // I've been modeling for three years and have been creating for all my life. I'm very fortunate to have ideas come into my mind even if I'm not looking for them and I think I'm finally getting to a point where photographers respect my opinion. This hasn't always been the case, I've had photographers try to take credit for my styling and creative direction and usually these photographers are men. This is something that I have to deal with, not only as a model, but as a woman. It’s easy for people to talk down to me like they know better. I would say it depends though. If a photographer has an idea that they are passionate about, I am more than willing to be a part of it, although if there's not too much direction, I am glad to help.
C // I would say that I got a late start in art. It makes me really frustrated that even something [that’s been] studied, with psychological backing, [even with all that] transgender people are still seen as mythical creatures instead of real people with real issues. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people’s personal opinion matters above research. My expression and art has grown over the years, from drawing to painting to photography, although I wasn't fully able to access the full expression within myself until I transitioned. Overall, I would say the worst part of being transgender is other people’s miseducation. I am more fortunate than many transgender people. As someone who “passes” (meaning people perceive me as a cisgender woman) I am more celebrated as a model and people are more likely to be behind me on transgender issues because of it.
C // It has felt very empowering. Especially as a transwoman, to be able to see images of myself that make me feel powerful and beautiful is rewarding. Although I am in an industry where my body is my money, so it enables me to pick out any flaws I do have.
C // Originally, my family was very Catholic. Living in the Bay Area, they’ve gone from that to being slightly Buddhist and slowly understanding more progressive ideas. Things are not perfect, but I can say that my family tries. Even my grandmother, who I look up to so much, is in her 70’s and is so proud of who I am. As far as my modeling career, they encourage when I do modest work with brands. As far as the art and body positive photography, it's not as widely accepted.
C // My favorite parts of modeling are the other creatives that I've met through it, the moments when I'm able to channel myself in a modeling mode, and the euphoric feeling that brings.