If you tuned in last week, you got to read some of my unique on-the-job moments. If you missed it or are hungry for more, you’re in luck… Today I’m going to tell you all about five more.
Being a model means you have to do the extraordinary and make it seem ordinary. Or you may be given the task of making the ordinary appear extraordinary. Whatever you do, you have to sell the fantasy to the viewers of the final image and make them believe what you are representing. This often makes for some unnerving, odd, and sometimes comical moments. It’s so hard to narrow down a list of specific moments to share with you, but these are some of the situations that first come to mind. Without further ado, let’s begin.
- “You may now kiss the groom.”
I have done many a bridal or fashion shoot where I pose with a male model. This was one of those days. I was the bride for an event venue publicity shoot and party. My job was to walk around the venue, look beautiful, stop for photos, mingle with the guests, and speak with the vendors. I felt just like a princess in the beautiful satin gown. People walked behind me to carry my train and everyone did their best to wait on me hand-and-foot. I couldn’t stop thanking everybody for the royal treatment I was getting! The night ended with an amazing fire dance routine (not performed by me, of course), but before that I had an experience I’ll remember forever.
Remember when I said I posed with a male model? Yes, I was taken to an area of the venue for a special segment of the shoot. This venue just so happened to have a kangaroo exhibit and I got to go inside! They gave me special treats and I lured the handsome kangaroo over for some photos. He held my hands in his paws as he ate my yummy present for him. Everyone then started saying; “Kiss him!” They didn’t have to tell me twice.
- Being Drug Around…Literally
My male model friend and I were shooting for a photographer who wanted to depict a series of traumatic personal events in her life. We were out in a beautiful state park shooting a variety of scenes that told her story from beginning to end. Somewhere along the line she got an idea to shoot him dragging me across the dirt path towards the woods. We were told to literally fight each other. I soon found myself with him dragging me across the ground by my throat and hair while I kicked up the dust with my feet. I clawed quite a few nasty streaks across his arms in the struggle. I felt so terrible afterwards and all he did was laugh at me as I apologized profusely. In the moment it was a bit unsettling to pose that way, but extremely comical at the same time. We all had a wonderful laugh out of it.
- Human Trafficking Awareness
Eating disorders, depression, human trafficking, and suicide are all awareness causes I have shot for. However, my shoot for human trafficking awareness took things from an implied portrayal to a simulation. The photographer was shooting myself and another female model to exhibit in a gallery show for the cause. I remember smearing my face with dirt, creating knots in my hair as best I could, and ripping a few carefully-placed tears in my tank top before going out on set. The other model and I completed a variety of sets alone and together. It was a moving experience to lay crumpled on the floor and reach to the camera for help. At multiple points we were chained or tied, told to look over our shoulders in fear at the imaginary captors that were coming for us.
- Concentration Camp Tourist
Among the many roles I have been given to play through pictures, one I will never forget. I was chosen to portray a little girl that was taken to a concentration camp during the Bosnian War. I was told the way everyone was treated, told the feelings everyone felt in the over-cramped cells. Trying to become as attached as I could to the role, I asked many, many questions…
The location for the shoot happened to be somewhat of a tourist attraction. It was a large fort with quite a few cells and barred windows. For some images I was peering through the bars at the sun, doing my best to follow the commands to cry. Others, I was crumpled on the dirt floor against the stone walls in my filthy attire, holding onto a candle with a dying flame. The amusing part was the fact that we were shooting these scenes with hordes of tourists steering around us with confused expressions.
The photographer then pulled out a tub of charcoal… She proceeded to make choke marks on my neck, grasp marks on my arm, and a large black handprint on my back. I was then told to stand facing the wall, as if I had been shoved there and told to stay. I imagined being afraid that if I moved I would die. Then it was time for the final set…
We went to a darker cell that had only one small window. This room was restricted access, so our team were the only people present for this portion. I was told to lie face down in the dirt, then to look up and reach for the candle in front of me. I thought I was doing alright, but the photographer wasn’t happy.
“No, you’re still fighting Ashley. I need you to stop fighting. You’ve lost hope now, it’s gone.” I closed my eyes and the room went silent as I took a moment to mentally take myself to this place. All of her instructions were whispered after that; “Pull your hand back now, there’s no point anymore… Now let your head fall back to the ground… Yes, you’ve given up.” The camera clicking grows louder and despite my closed eyes I can feel her coming closer. She then whispered into my ear where only I could hear; “You’re dead, Ashley.” The camera clicked a few more times. And we were through. Part of me couldn’t quite process what I had just seen and felt in that moment… The other part wished I could portray roles like that more often.
- The Eight-Legged Co-Star
If you have followed my modeling work you have probably seen one of my most-prized projects. This year I had the absolute thrill of posing with a tarantula with a team of incredible ladies behind the camera. The entire shoot was my idea. I planned the entire thing. Everyone involved worked so hard to make my vision as amazing as it could be.
Now, a few things about tarantulas… No, they cannot be de-fanged. This would kill the spider, if done. The fangs of a tarantula can grow up to 0.75 inches long. While the venom can’t kill a human, if the spider is an old-world species a bite could probably land you in the hospital. I’m unsure precisely what species my little friend was, but at the same time I didn’t want to know too many details.
I arrived on-set in my silk open-back evening gown and we took a few shots of me and me only so I could work out the nerves. Then I took my place on the stool and the handler brought out the spider. After a little prodding and nudging, I was soon sitting there with a large spider on my hand. Everyone in the room held their breath. At first I was afraid I was going to faint, but the more I saw her up close, the more delicate and graceful her movements looked to me. I may have fallen a bit in love with her. By the end of the shoot she had begun to spin the beginnings of her web around my hands and arms. It was absolutely incredible to witness up close. Now, whenever I shoot I always think in the back of my mind; “I have to make these images even better than the tarantula set.” It’s become my new standard to beat.
Model: Ashley BeLoat
Makeup Artist: Nicki Marie – https://www.facebook.com/NickMarieMUA/ – IG: @nickimariemua
Until next time,
Professional Page: https://www.facebook.com/Ashley.BeLoat.images/