We at had the pleasure of interviewing . Our aim with this interview series is to provide insight in how other people approach their work but also allowing us in getting to know our fellow group members. Below is interview.
Nude-Form Question 1: Let's start by telling us something about yourself?
Dekilah answer: Anything about myself? Okay, my favorite color is purple.
Q2: How did you get into modeling?
Answer: It's kind of weird because I started via two scammer photographers. One of them claimed he was shooting for a book, but we only did one test shoot, and I don't think he ever published that book. Then about a year later, I met another "photographer" who was supposedly shooting for a calendar. Turns out, he didn't even own a camera. That was a weird one. But after him, I decided to really pursue it and started looking for other photographers.
Q3: What attracted you to the medium?
Answer: I've always been sort of an exhibitionist. I like to be looked at. And then when I started shooting art nudes, I found it to be like a sort of "high" and, more importantly, I found it to be a way I could take part in creating a classic form of art. I'm not gifted in other areas, so modeling for classic art nudes is the one way I feel I can create something that is appreciated as art.
Q4: Do you partake in any other creative endeavors?
Answer: I've started shooting some self-portraits and I write a blog sometimes, but right now, modeling is pretty much my exclusive creative outlet.
Q5: Work long enough in this business, you're bound to experience some comedic episodes even if its only funny in hindsight. Would you be willing to share one of yours?
I was doing a shoot at field and old barn owned by a photographer friend. I shot in the field and then the photographer wanted to go up in the hay loft of the barn. This required me to climb up a straight up and down wooden slat ladder, then step across to a ledge, sort of jump to another ledge, and then climb over onto the bales of hay. Naked. Then I climbed around on all these bales of hay. Beautiful photos. But apparently one or more of the bales of hay contained some poison ivy. I ended up with poison ivy all over my thighs, on my bum, and in a few other places. Poison ivy like that, in the middle of a hot summer isn't exactly a blast, but I still think it's kind of funny that I climbed up that rickety ladder just to end up with poison ivy.
Q6: What do you like to do in the rare moments you have free time?
Answer: Play with my three kitties
Q7: For the sake of this question, we'll take for granted that "respecting the model as a human being" is the unspoken first piece of advice. What other advice would you give a photographer, perhaps working w/ their first nude model?
Answer: First off, if you have a choice, try to work with an experienced nude model. This way he or she is confident in what they do and they can help you learn. Then just remember that you're there to create photos. Treat the model just like you would a clothed model. We still need feedback and we still want to know if something we're doing looks great or if it really isn't working. And for goodness sake, do be mindful that while you might be perfectly comfortable with a cooler temperature fully clothed, we get cold pretty easily when we're nude so if you can keep it warm, you'll make your models very happy.
Q8: What do you feel are your strengths whether they are as a model or just in life?
Answer: I guess my biggest strength is my ability to pose in the style of the Greek and Roman statues. I have a dance background (though not as much as people assume) and I find visualizing the lines, curves and angles I want to create helps me to find those wonderful poses that I love so much.
Q9: What's the story behind your username?
Answer: I'll give you the short version. Basically, I used to go by Delila Sophia. I wanted a change to something shorter, so I looked around in some baby name books and happen upon "Dekilah" as a variant on the name "Delila(h)." I chose to keep this name when I started modeling. I especially liked it because of the linkage to long hair via the story of Samson and Delilah, though I realize there is a difference in gender there. And also in the fact that Dekilah sounds phonetically similar to Godiva (linked to both nudity and long hair).
Q10: Any nuggets of wisdom you'd like to share w/ other models pursuing their dreams?
Answer: Take your time. Don't feel like you have to shoot anything you don't want to shoot. I hear of way too many models being pressured into shooting things they don't really want to shoot. Nudes aren't for everyone. I would also say at the same time that if you're working with a photographer you can trust, it's okay to try new things. Don't lock yourself into one thing, try things until you find what you really enjoy shooting.
Q11: You mentioned in our initial inquiry that you also do photography (behind the lense work). How do you approach that aspect of photography differently than you would from being in front of the camera (if at all)? I mean besides being able to see what & how things are being composed.
Answer: Photography is a lot about lighting, at least the type of photography I like. I spend a lot of time looking at the light and how it falls. I'm only shooting with one light (plus ambient light) right now, and I'll still spend way more time sorting out the light than I do actually shooting. I also pay a lot of attention to angle. Poses and expressions can look totally different based on what angle they are shot at.
Q12: We each have a defining moment in our lives (sometimes more than one), where it changes us from the person we were to the person we became, even if its only recognizable in hindsight. Would you tell us about one of yours?
Answer: Mine is a little bit on the negative to start with, but it leads to a much more positive outcome.
There was a female photographer back in East TN where I used to live. I think I first met her through Facebook. I really liked her work and I was looking forward to meeting her. Then I found out she was going to be at a meet and greet and I was attending with my then fiance. I remember walking in the room and meeting her for the first time and both of us saying how excited we were to meet each other. I remember it kind of felt like a significant moment. This female photographer became my best friend and there were several days that I would go to her house about an hour away and shoot with her all day. My then fiance and I also spent a couple holidays with her and her father and her young son. I was one of her first models and gave her a lot of advice and helped with networking and such.
My grandmother passed away the Monday before Christmas of that year and I went out of town with my family. My then fiance stayed home to go to work. He later called me telling me the female photographer was having some personal issues and that he and another female friend were going to drive to her house to find out what was going on. He was out of contact for hours. When I finally did get in touch with him the same day when I arrived back home, he told me he wasn't coming home that night and was instead staying at the other female friend's house along with the female photographer. I remember crying and begging him to come home, but he wouldn't. I called my friend asking her to please ask him to come home as well. He still didn't. He finally came back home the next day. The day before Christmas eve (a couple days later) we started arguing because I wanted to go buy Christmas gifts and he didn't. Hours later, he told me he wasn't in love with me any more. The day before New Years Eve when I asked him not to date any of my friends, he told me he couldn't do that and the next day he and my female photographer best friend had photos of the two of them together on Facebook.
Later on the two of them (my ex and the photographer) apparently started telling other local photographers about my personal life and so on. All of our mutual friends stopped speaking to me. It finally got to the point where almost no one in the area would shoot with me. I couldn't go to events or the one club scene because I was told I was no longer welcome. And mind you, I was upset, but the break up was not nasty and I wasn't slamming either of them.
So from all of that... I started branching out. I couldn't shoot with most of the photographers in my area and it just so happened that I got back in contact with a photographer I'd admired for a long time who lived in Detroit. I flew up here to shoot with him and ended up finding the art community so welcoming here that I moved to Detroit in December. I have never lived outside of East TN until now. But I think meeting that female photographer and having her end up with my ex fiance was probably one of the bigger factors in pushing me out of my comfort zone and to a place where I can thrive and be appreciated.
Q13: What are the most common set of difficulties you've experienced as a model? How did you or how are you working to overcome them?
Answer: Well, some of them I described in Question 12 when I mentioned the female photographer and my ex fiance talking to a lot of the local photographers and pushing them to no longer work with me. Up until that point I was a local favorite and I'd worked with almost everybody in the area. I almost gave up modeling altogether at that point. But the first thing I did to overcome it was to book a shoot with my best friend in TN. Basically, I wanted to see if I still wanted to model or if it was just a lost cause. Luckily it turned out well. And then I moved here to Detroit and that's one of, if not the, best things that I've ever done.
Q14: What is the proudest moment you've experienced as a model?
Answer: I think it has to be the most recent Dirty Show 13 when my photographer and I walked over to look at our piece on the wall (a heart shaped shot of my bum) just in time to see someone buy it! I have never (to my knowledge) ever had a piece of art with me in it sell. I was beaming for hours after that. It has been one of my goals as a model for a long time to be in a piece of art on someone's wall.
Q15: Pretend personnel & budget are not an issue. What's your dream project that you'd drop everything in your life to do?
Answer: I would absolutely love to do an art nude series with a different live animal posing with me (horse, giraffe, bull, yak, donkey, large dog, big cat, monitor lizard, etc). Of course it would have to be safe, but this is something I really hope I can do one day.
Q16: Pretend you're omnipotent. What would you change about the photography, modeling, or the industry in general?
Answer: I'd take out the people that are only it for the money or to perv on the models or whatever. It's fine to make money with your art, of course, but it should be first about the art.
Q17: Who are some visual artists you admire, whether they be here on or elsewhere? The answer need not be limited to the photographic medium either.
Answer: You know, that's a tough one. But I think I'm most inspired by classical sculpture. And I have a horrible time remembering names. I just remember pieces of art that I like. I see other models in a certain pose that is really striking and that inspires me. I'll see a tree or an animal and I'll try to bring that shape into my posing. I try to look everywhere for inspiration. I've even used some poses based off screen caps of a video game character more than once.
Q18: Favorite cartoon character?
Answer: That's a tough one. Of recent movies, I really liked Pascal (the chameleon) from Disney's Tangled.
Q19: Who'd win in a 3-way fight: pirates, ninjas, or robots? How do they win?
Most pirates are generally not that good with the tactics. They just swish the sword around hoping to hit something or aim the cannon and hope they hit something. Robots could pretty easily be defeated by knowing their programming. Ninjas can operate from a distance or close up, they can sneak around, and almost all of them are very good, versus pirates where maybe only a handful are really skilled at combat.
Q20: Favorite movie?
Answer: Right now it's Disney's "Tangled." www.amazon.com/Tangled-Mandy-M…
Q21: What's your favorite book? In what way has it effected you (if at all)?
Answer: Gone with the Wind www.amazon.com/Gone-Wind-Anniv… . I'm not sure it has really affected me, but I've always liked the story.
Q22: Anything else that you'd like to add or ask us here at the Nude-Form group?
Not at this time. You guys are doing a pretty good job with the group as far as I'm concerned
We appreciate you allowing us to pick your brain. Keep up the great work & best of luck to you in the future.
For those who are interested (or are new & have not had an opportunity to read them all), here is a list of our past interviews. Feel free to comment away if you so desire because we here at the Nude-Form group LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE feedback. We hope they're illuminating.
Beyond that if anyone wishes to have something asked on a regular basis (it can be photo/art related or just irreverant), you are encouraged to privately message the group. The same applies if you wish to be interviewed (it saves me the energy in thinking who I should pitch the offer to & whatnot). It doesn't matter if you're mainly a model or a photographer, we're interested in a variety of perspectives for this series.