Jul 21, 2011

Fashion Challenge!

In case you haven't heard of James Van Alden and myself.  Here's a quick intro: 
I met James Van Alden at a cafe down the street a few years ago and have stayed in touch because I dig him. 
Every once in a while I throw a fashion challenge to James to keep him on his toes.  

I'm proud to announce... James Van Alden accepted another fashion challenge!!! 
Could he do an entire photo shoot durning the time my son was napping? 

Here's how I imagined it working.  I would put Henry down for a nap.  I would kiss my husband goodbye and jump on my scooter to meet James.  He and I would then do my hair and makeup and throw down a photo shoot all within an hour. 

I wanted to show aspiring models that it's actually quite simple to get new photos.  You just have to be willing to put people into motion. 

Here's what ended up happening: 
1. I put Henry down for a nap. 
2. I kissed my husband goodbye and jumped on the scooter
3. I spent the next 15 minutes looking for James. 
4. I texted James to let him know I was going home. 
5. James calls.  He's there.  He's been there.  How did I not see him? 
6. Henry wakes up. 
7. I give Henry to Gary and jump back on the scooter. 
8. I see James and recognize the flannel shirt he's wearing.  He was there!  He was just hunched over with his back turned to me. 
9. We spend 1/2 hour shooting photos
10. Kisses all around.  I jump on my scooter and drive home. 

It took 45 minutes to do hair, makeup, wardrobe and shoot a few photos.  Here's a couple of James' favorites he sent me: 

Here I'm posing while getting my makeup done.  
Insider Fun Fact: I once shot the cover of Italian Vogue while Pat McGrath was still applying makeup and yelling at Steven Meisel to stop shooting.  I just kept posing and the cover ended up being the one without the lips on.  So you never know when you're going to get "the shot." 
Again, I'm still holding my facial muscles in a way that creates an image for James to capture.  This may not be "the shot" but it certainly is worth it to give good face whenever there's a lens pointed on you.  This photo is a great image for the aspiring makeup artist.  Look at how beautiful her hands are positioned!  Imagine if I hadn't participated and just sat there looking bored?  She wouldn't have this shot to add to her portfolio.  It's important for a model to be present at all times.

I did this mini project to show models who are breaking into the business that it is possible.  You can team up with the people in your immediate surrounds and work.  If being in front of the camera is your calling, just put yourself in front of it.  You don't have to wait for anyone to give you permission.  The responsibility is yours to make it happen. 

I made sure to use only James (Photographer) because most models don't know makeup artists, hair stylists, stylists, etc. to put an entire shoot together. 

And you never know what surprises lie in store!  When I showed up and started doing my makeup we quickly discovered that one of the women sitting there was a makeup artist looking to break into the business.  What a perfect opportunity to include more people and share the love!  

Hope you enjoyed the shoot and are inspired to go out and create your own images!  All you need is a camera and someone to snap your photo! 

Here's what I love about working with James.  

1. He uses film 
2. He knows what he wants and he knows what he's looking for. It makes it incredibly easy as a model to give it to him
3. He works quickly and remains focused.  


  1. Awesome post! When we were in Italy we met an aspiring model, adorable, sweetest girl ever, and I am going to send her your blog. :)

  2. Impresive ems! Love this post. Such insight. Every aspiring model should read this. These are even great life leasons for anyone who is trying to do anything in life! Bravo!