Saturday, 8 May 2010

Miss T-Pinups photo shoot (8th May 2010)

After my debut performance at Dr. Sketchy in March, I decided to get some professional burlesque/vintage photographs done for myself (just in case Dr. Sketchy was my first and last burlesque performance) and booked a photo shoot with Auckland-based director and head photographer, Talia Stephens from Miss T-Pinups – I’ve seen gorgeous burlesque photos she had taken of Grace on her visit to Wellington for a photo shoot last year and would love to have such photos of my own! Pinup photography is one of Talia’s specialisations and with the revival of 20s-50s vintage and retro fashion, her photo shoots proved very popular in New Zealand and fills up pretty quick! The photo shoot session I had today was the $395 package which included a vintage hair style and full make-up with false eye lashes by Debonaire Doos (run by my lovely swing dance gfs Amy and Michelle), use of their wardrobe of assorted costumes, hosiery, hair accessories, burlesque frilly panties, garters, props, corsets etc., 5 high resolution and fully retouched images, and all low resolution proof images.

Prior to the photo shoot, Talia and I had several email discussions on what vintage look I wanted done. A dream of mine was to have a photo of me in a traditional Chinese dress, the cheongsam, with a 1920s Shanghai female star hairstyle for a glamour shoot. I had Mum send me Ah-Yi’s (Mum’s younger sister) cheongsam, one that Ah-Yi worn at her wedding back in the 70s (“…before you were even ‘manufactured’,” said Mum) and have been waiting anxiously for it to arrived via sea mail from Malaysia. I had given up hope that the dress would arrive in time for the photo shoot and disappointingly told Talia we may need to try other looks and have the Chinese vintage look done another time. You wouldn’t believe my luck – the parcel arrived the day before the photo shoot AND the cheongsam was a snug fit! Damn, my aunt must be really tiny back then. I could hardly move in the red cheongsam!!

So, cheongsam…check…now, for the rest of the items I need to bring along (Talia’s very well-organised – she sends you a list of things to bring and breakdown of what goes on during the photo shoot): black and/or red high heels, matching underwear and bra sets in black and one other colour (possibly red), lingerie or any other clothing item I would feel amazing in that will suit the style. Haven’t had much luck finding a nice pair of red heels and only this morning when I tagged along with Jono to Kirkcaldie & Stains did I manage to find a red matching underwear and bra set. Jono was there to get a bottle of perfume for his mum for Mother’s Day and I thought I should give it one last try to find myself lingerie that fitted me – I’ve been to so many other places that sold lingerie but they either do not have my size, the top and bottom didn’t match or just darn uncomfortable. Not sure if I should be glad (or sad) that I’ve finally found a place in town that sells lingerie that fits me – Kirks is really expensive!

Caught up briefly with Jono’s parents (they were in town to pick up Jono’s old bed and help move mine to Jono’s flat) for lunch at Brooklyn Cafe on College Street. I didn’t purposely shy away from doing the heavy lifting; it was pure coincidence that the weekend of my move into Jono’s flat happened to be the same weekend my photo shoot was on and the shoot was scheduled months ago. Hey, I did move everything else on my own in the past week, leaving only the bed and study desk for them to help move! And Jono’s getting Ben to help so the two strong boys should be able to move the huge furniture without too much hassle (frankly, I don’t think I would be much help physically anyway). It’s always a joy to catch up with David and Cheryl – pity it had to be brief this time but hopefully have a proper catch up when we head to Palmy for Cheryl’s birthday next weekend.

Around 12.45pm, I walked over to Photospace Studio on Dixon St for my 1pm photo shoot session. Finally met Talia in person and also properly introduced to Michelle, whom I learnt the naughty glove peeling and stroking move I used in my routine for Miss Burlesque NZ when she demonstrated it in one of Grace’s beginners class I took last year. And of course, my amazing gf and former sponsor, Amy :) Artistic and stylish duo Amy and Michelle are the brains and brawns behind Debonaire Doos, creating fabulous vintage styles to compliment special outfits and have you look fabulous for a special occasion. I’m so fortunate to have them style my vintage hair and do my make up for the photo shoot today – they are such lovely and fun people to work with! I was telling Michelle stories about my previous performances and Amy teasing my ‘cat poo’ big vintage roll on my hair I painstakingly took 2 hours to put up for Footlight Follies – we all cracked up laughing as the girls worked their magic on me! It felt like a mix of a group of girlfriends giggling and playing hair salon and dressing up with me as the superstar, sitting on the high chair getting fussed over :)

The hair and make up took about an hour and then, it was straight on to the photo shoot. Wow, I looked quite different in the pinwheels and curls, false lashes and full vintage make up – zapped back to the 20s! Amy slotted a headpiece of roses into my hair. “Now you look like Shanghai Rose!” she squealed, clasping her hands together admiring her work. “I can SO eat you,” she continues on while Michelle was snapping photos of her work (i.e. me). Michelle, save me! Amy’s said she wants to eat me a few times already today…I’m scared… :P Photos taken by Michelle of me:


All dolled up for the photo shoot


Side view of my amazing hairdo done by Debonaire Doos


My hair pinned up in vintage curls and twists

Just me :)

I had a kimono dressing gown on while Michelle and Amy did my hair and make up and Talia immediately saw a great photo opportunity, adding a bow to the dressing gown and took photos of me in it with an old-fashioned pump perfume bottle as prop. Squirt, squirt here…squirt, squirt there, my first look was me ‘making love’ to the perfume bottle (these were Amy’s words, not mine), finishing off with a cutesy ‘oops’ photo of me slightly lifting the ends of my dressing gown to show more leg and saying the word ‘panties’ with a cheeky smile. Michelle and Amy decided ‘panties’ was the word of the day and every model had to say it at least once when they had their photos taken today!

I still had some reservation about the cheongsam, afraid I might split it when posing (don’t think Ah-Yi would be please to hear what I did with her old wedding dress…) but the girls insisted I put it on. Ok, ok, I guess I’ll just have to move really carefully…With Amy’s help, I managed to get into the dress without messing up my hair for the next lot of photos, this time with a change of prop using a Chinese fan, and later a short black faux fur coat. Very 1920s indeed…Another costume change and this time I swapped into a purple and black corset, wearing one of Amy’s top hats, long black gloves, frilly underwear and garters, a more burlesque look with photos taken of me sexily lying on the floor as well as one of me peeling the glove with my teeth. The final lot of photos was me without the corset, covering myself with a short brown faux fur coat. Naughty, naughty…

My, is THAT really me?? Talia would show me photos she took in during the shoot and wow, they look amazing! To be honest, I was a little nervous with the photo shoot at the start, unsure of what poses to do or what facial expressions to portray but Talia was wonderful to work with – she was very encouraging, always giving me ideas on how to stand or place my hands and were to look and expression, making me feel much at ease when her huge SLR lens was focused on me. And after a while, the poses started to come naturally and with confidence – no more shy Angelica, out comes the diva! She also has a great eye for what looks and garments suited me. Oh yeah, Talia knows her stuff! Amy and Michelle too were very supportive and gave plenty of ideas and suggestions but most of all, making me laugh lots and feeling relaxed during my shoot. Thanks so much Talia, Amy and Michelle! It was just awesome working with you ladies and I look forward to more opportunities to work with you again!

I had SO much fun at the photo shoot, loving every moment of it and I urge you ladies to book yourselves in for an amazing time with Miss T-Pinups. It is a great gift to gift yourself or for the gf/wife – it was such an awesome feeling being treated like a superstar for the day, getting pampered and glamorised! I know it’s rather expensive but oh, it’s SO worth it! Talia tells me she’s planning to have another photo shoot in November – I’m going to do it again! And I would be more prepared this time, with more ideas of what looks I want to do and characters I would like to portray. Need to stock up on more Asian costumes! Photos taken today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070917@N05/sets/72157624405029202/detail/

2 hours whizzed by so quickly. Jono and David came to pick me up from the studio (the Woolleys haven't left yet) and headed back to the flat to catch up with Cheryl and Ben. I can’t call it ‘Jono's flat’ anymore since I’ve now officially moved in! The bed’s all swapped over – great job everyone! Thanks so much for your help! Made us a pot of tea and chatted with David and Cheryl while we waited for Jono to return after dropping Ben home so Cheryl could open her Mother’s Day present. Jono had gotten his mum a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Beautiful, just what Cheryl needed ;)

Still have lots of my stuff to sort out but at least the flat is feeling more like home to me now :)

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