Miss Lily is a 23 year old, alternative/cheesecake style, pin up model, from the industrial town of Sheffield and is at this very moment in time winging her way across to my house for a girlie chat and an art nude/pin up photoshoot. Excitedly I scurry around the house to ensure the bathroom and boudoir is all set for this exclusive photo opportunity we have been planning for a few months, and one I know Lily was really keen to embark upon. It will all be done as Kenny Everett would say “In the best possible taste”!
Just after 11am Lily landed, a tiny framed vixen, but with curves in all the right places, possessing a chirpy, refreshing personality, make up free and dressed in casual clothing, armed with the tools of her trade. We dive head first into a long chat over a cup of tea and a few sandwiches.
MEL: Before we get into the modelling questions tell me some random stuff about yourself.
LILY: Apart from modelling…its kind of all consuming at the moment [laughs] apart from that I am getting into practising dance as I want to get into that kind of work and maybe go into fan work. [MEL: pole dancing maybe, or a comedy routine?] I am quite good on a pole surprisingly. I’m gonna go for a different angle on it, burlesque like you say is kind of comedy and things like that but I want to flip it around a bit. So, it will still have a story behind it, but I want it to be more exciting, the easiest way I thought to describe it is, to me you watch a burlesque performance, its kind of like a dove it's all shy and hidey. I want it to be more like a peacock, big elaborate displays, not the typical sort of music, I’d probably do more like ‘American Woman’ or Rob Zombie’s ‘Living Dead Girl’ something like that, and just see if I can play about with that, but I’m waiting on fans. It’ll be very titillating.
Recently I made a big move to stop the office job, so I could focus on modelling and also start to learn to be a tattoo artist at Mr Personality in Sheffield. I’ve been doing that for the past year and I’ve just started actually practising on people.
I have been studying body language and neuro-linguistic programming, which is called NLP for short. I like to be able to understand how the vibe is around me and it helps to relax me. I self studied at home and did online courses as well. I’ve started learning - only just, Japanese a little bit as well.
Music…I kind of like a bit of everything, I quite like Head P.E and Pendulum. I also like Rockabilly, Pyschobilly music, the guy who owns the tattoo shop he has his own band its called ‘Sons Of El Roacho'. That is really cool music, especially for getting up and having a good dance to.
I quite like Robert Downey Junior, I just like his cheeky charm and looks pretty good for his age as well obviously he plays Tony Stark as well – Tony Stark – Lily Stark![laughs]
MEL: How did you get into modelling and have you always wanted to model – first ‘model photo’?
LILY: Well I’ve been modelling for probably on and off for about three years. I recently took a big step to start 100% modelling so I can make myself available. At the minute I am really focusing towards pin up and latex, which if you go on my web site you’ll see I have quite a bit up there.
I used to be rather introverted and self conscious so my boyfriend got me in touch with one of his friends who was a model and we did a shoot with a great photographer called Fozzie. We did a mix of different things to get me used to the camera like pin up, naughty office girl and a couple of other bits and I loved every second of it and took to it naturally. I felt like I was expressing the real me and it set me on the course of finding out more about the alternative modelling scene.
MEL: What’s your favourite experience so far in the modelling world?
LILY: I would say….it happened not that long ago, it was when I did my first video blog, and that was with Cole from Latex Girls HD. I speak very proper on that one [laughs]. It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that; we had to do a million takes cos I couldn’t say the designer’s name. It was Fetasia latex but I’d never said it and only ever seen it written down. [laughs]. That was very exciting and we are still getting quite a lot of hits and good comments. I made another one last week with Peggy Soo, so I’m just awaiting that one to be put together.
MEL: Do you think you’ll branch out and do more stuff like that?
LILY: I’ve been debating it, maybe doing a video blog instead of a written one, as I sometimes get writers block. If I’m just talking it’ll be easier for me to flow it out as I’m going.
MEL: Music videos and stuff?
LILY: That’s something else I’ve wanted to do as well. It’s one of the few things I haven’t done yet, cos I’ve done interviews in the past, done videos, modelling, and magazines. I want to get in touch with a few bands, there are a few bands in Sheffield in the process of making videos so might get in touch with those as well but I'm open to bands from all over the UK contacting me.
MEL: How can a photographer get the most from you?
LILY: I find these days because I’ve been doing it on and off for so long all the photographers have to do is let me go for it – point and click. I will pose, pose and pose, and get on and do it. I tend to find sometimes, if a photographers giving a lot of direction or if they are just not bouncing off me for some reason I find it slows down the shoot. When I first got to that progression level and photographers stopped giving directions I thought “oh what’s going on” - I thought I was doing something wrong and that they just didn’t want to talk to me and I realised that I was doing it myself. Now I find it a bit odd, unless we are going for something in particular, if a photographer feels the need to tell me what to do. I’m not saying this in a big headed way but a photographer will tell me what he/she wants and I know how to get there, I’ll just do it. I do like to chat and photographers to show me the pictures as we are going along and we can say, yea that looks really good, but that bit of it didn’t look too good, lets do that again – and just perfect it.
MEL: What do you expect from the photographer and the photoshoot?
LILY: I think one of the things I like to walk away with aside from the obvious – good photos. I like to walk away with some sort of semi friendship, thinking we’ve had a really good time, probably stay in touch and work again together. I don’t want to leave thinking that wasn’t too good; I don’t want to see you again. Obviously I want to achieve their goal but also take it to the next level and get something for them which they didn’t think they would be able to achieve in the first place.
MEL: I know you said what you don’t particularly want direction but is there that you look for maybe in a photographer?
LILY: I just look for them to be open, and friendly. I do want them to give me input, if they got what they want from me throughout the shoot? I don’t ever want to get to the end of the shoot and feel I've disappointed the photographer. I want to be able to talk to them about the ideas that we can possibly do at that time. I don’t want to walk away thinking we should have done this or that. I’d rather have interaction throughout, exhaust everything.
MEL: Anything you haven’t done which really appeals, maybe ideas for a fantasy shoot?
LILY: From the photography side of things…I’m quite into my comic books, like The Marvel and I want to do Emma Frost [The White Queen] and Jean Grey. I like key figures and there’s a love triangle with Cyclops and I want to bring someone in to play Cyclops, get some designers on board and have me playing both parts. I’ve decided for the sake of that I’m even happy to go completely blonde, bleach my hair, rather than to just wear a wig and make it look more natural. I’ve not looked into that just yet, I’m starting to contact people.
MEL: I believe you enjoy latex modelling in particular, what is it that appeals to you?
LILY: The fabric (I say fabric) but its kind of like rubber, which means that it instantly grabs onto you very, very well. [laughs]. I think I’ve said it somewhere else but its really hard to look bad in it. In some respects its even better than a corset, because you don’t have to worry, as with corsets sometimes you might get a bit too much up top or a bit at the bottom, but with latex it just seems to pull you in, in all the right places. Its very complimentary to your figure.
MEL: You are discovered by a big company how might you wish to be found, i.e like some people get discovered whilst stood at a bus stop or walking the street?
LILY: I know that happens but to be honest I don’t see someone walking past me in a shop going “oh you’ll be perfect for this”. I’d like someone to discover me for my talent, they will see and notice me in this magazine maybe or they’ll recognise me for my work and give me credit where credit is due, then I’ll just go from there. I’m just waiting for the right connections to come along and the right sort of shoot, the best timing to come together and then someone will find me and I’ll just explode!
MEL: If you were to be chosen to promote a product what would you love to be the face of?
LILY: I’m quite a big fan of the 'Angel’ perfume, and they did an advert not too long ago, it was sort of like a fairytale, reaching up and grabbing a star, so I would like to do something like that, the face of Angel, that really appeals to me, even if it was one advert or poster.
MEL: Is there anything which you wouldn’t do for a shoot, what are your limits I suppose the bottom line is pornography?
LILY: Yea, that’s pretty much the line I don’t want to cross, although I do have contacts if I did ever want to do that. [MEL: Once you’ve crossed that line there is no going back]. Yea, this is the thing, I don’t want to do something that will always haunt you, because at some point someone will find them. I noticed when I first started, I was under a different name, I was on Net Model and that seems to be one of the sites where there are a lot of glamour models and photographers. Obviously bordering into that kind of stuff, I didn’t know it at the time, but when I first started out, just doing little shoots and then you get more and more contacts with guys expecting you to come round and “get your tits out” and they wouldn’t even consider paying you, its just always time for (TF). Its not just about the money but if your gonna exposure yourself to someone like that, and they are gonna keep the photos, you expect some kind of payback. The release forms are pretty much in favour of the photographer and you don’t know where these photos are going. Its your face, but it doesn’t mean much once you’ve signed the release forms. So, once I realised that it was steering that way I went for reinventing myself. I took a couple of months out and looked into other things a bit more, and I decided I wanted to do these particular genres. I didn’t want to go beyond those, really its porn and proper glamour with touching yourself, I wouldn’t really want to do anything like that neither.
MEL: I see you’ve got a bunch of tattoos, are they a help or hindrance in modelling?
LILY: For the kind of work I’m doing at the moment its no problem at all. You would think it could be a problem with the art nude, but as long as you do it correctly i.e. you're not posing poorly and such, it actually enhances sometimes. The only time I’ve ever had anyone say anything about my tattoos was when I contacted a vintage lingerie designer to see if they would let me model for them. They said they couldn’t let me model for them as I had the tattoos, that is the one and only time. I didn’t think that was too negative, they just had a certain image in mind for their work. It’s been fine, its more a help, these days everyone has got a tattoo pretty much.
MEL: Are you looking at all to move into mainstream modelling?
LILY: I’ve not got the figure for mainstream fashion, I’m too curvy, I’m not a stick. I’m only 5ft 3, I’m tiny. This side of it I do enjoy as well so I'm happy to stick with latex/pin up, catwalks and shoots etc.
MEL: How would you describe your own personal style?
LILY: I find that my own personal style is really chilled out; I’m not fixed on any particular genre. I tried to do it before and asked what do I fit into; I usually wear baggy jeans, but then really tight tops.
I have worn latex for certain events, but it depends where I’m going. Normal events, like going to the pub, with ordinary people it’s a bit much. I’ve worn the accessories at times, I’ve got a latex choker, gloves, and hair pieces, I wear those quite happily. I’ve got a ‘Pearls And Swine’ choker and nipple pasties which I’ve brought today too, it's more a time and place thing to how I look.
MEL: What do you do for fun when you are not modelling?
LILY: I like to play a game called WOW, short for World Of Warcraft. Its kind of like a fantasy game, you get the character, you create it all, you have to level it all up, up to 85. Once you get there you go into things with groups of people and you play live. We have something called ‘Team Speak’ it means you can talk to people in your party. It is pretty easy, slightly cartoon with different classes and you have to kill the big boss. It’s kind of a problem sometimes, especially if its late at night and I’ve had a drink then I’ll just start saying really random things on team speak but they have come to know me now. You join a guild so it’s the same people you play with and they come to understand that once I start drinking I start saying things that might offend.
I tend to go to quite a few rockabilly gigs, I always enjoy dancing when I’m out, its one of my favourite things to do. [MEL: Is there a big music scene in Sheffield?] Yea, I think so, it stems from the Arctic Monkeys, Def Leopard. There’s been quite a few bands come from Sheffield and we have a few Battle Of The Bands going on. The last gig was watching The Sons of El Roacho, which was Thursday; you’ll have to YouTube them. I can never describe them very well, I always say psychobilly, which it is but they have certain little bits where they are upstaged and heavy. I like to every so often get myself into the mosh pit and not too long ago I went in with my massive six inch heels, some guy was being an arse and I ended up bashing him and knocking him all over the floor. People where amazed that I managed to knock him down.
MEL: What would you say is one of the most rewarding experiences that you’ve had in life?
LILY: I had a turning point when I came out of my previous relationship, and I got into a new one with the guy I’m with now called Lucian. That had been quite a crappy relationship in fairness, he was one of these people who is down trodden, “oh you look like this” ect [MEL: Quite controlling then?] Yes, and when I got out of it, Lucian inspired me to be me and do whatever I wanted to do. It was how I got into modelling; my previous boyfriend wouldn’t let me touch it.
The model persona is me, without the constraints. Its just really freed me up. In general I wouldn’t normally talk to strangers and always kept myself to myself but since getting with Lucian this has all changed. I go out by myself and go and do loads of stuff, before I would stay in my room and get told what to do!
MEL: Do you have any beauty tips, you’d like to share?
LILY: I think the easiest beauty tip is just practise at it. Before I got into this I never really bothered with make up, it is a practise makes perfect. Don’t ever be scared to do a little bit more than you think you should. Even just trying to do more of a flick on your eyes, just things like that, darkening your eyebrows. If you won’t take those few steps and push it a bit further you won't get a dramatic look. I think you have to put it on a little heavier anyway otherwise you end up looking ‘normal’ when the photo gets taken. As soon as the flash goes off it literally rips it all off you, so you’ve got to have it a bit heavier.
MEL: Is there anything you are excited about, that you have planned for the future?
LILY: I’ve been quite excited about this, been looking forward to this for months now. At the minute I am sort of re-evaluating again, I’ve got quite a few designers that are pending. I’ve got a couple of photographers that I’m excited to be working with in the future, they are a lot more well know in London. So, I’ve got bits and bobs all over the place, but I’m just hoping over these next few months I’ll be pushing to see if I can expand.
MEL: What’s your personal ambition?
LILY: I want to be doing modelling three or four days a week and the rest of the time I want to be tattooing. [MEL: And obviously getting paid for your modelling as well?] Yes [laughs] you’ve got to get the reputation first. I’m going get sorted a portfolio which I can carry around with me, usually if I need to take my work with me I take my laptop with me.
MEL: And finally who might you like to work with in the future?
LILY: I would like to work with a quite a few people but if I were to pin it down to three it would be: Designer - Lady Lucy Latex, I love her work it is glamorous, sexy and creative and to model for her either in a shoot or at Torture Garden etc would be amazing! Photographer - I have A LOT of photographers I would love to work with! If I had to choice right now I think I would love to do something with Viva Van Story. She is one of, if not the best pin up photographers and has truly amazing work!
Model - For sexy latex/pin up I would love to work with Miss Mosh she is a true inspiration to my modelling and is so flexible.
We then head upstairs to set up the lighting equipment, props and clothing. Lily performs magic on her make up and away we go. So, with Imelda May blasting out her Mayhem and The Greatest Burlesque tracks album playing we are set and three hours later we have some amazing shots and over 300 images. (yet to edit) Many can be found on my flickr site here: www.flickr.com/photos/vivamel/sets/72157626538009177www.lilystark.co.uk
Email Lily for bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Mel 06/05/11