“As you move out of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal” – Robin S. Sharma

So where did January go? And now we are halfway through February already. Wow. That was fast.

I seem to be in a minority of people who actually enjoy January. I find it a good time to restart, reboot and realign. I take on a lot of tasks to further my personal growth as most of you probably know. This includes yoga, mediation and various creative endeavours. I did my best and I’m feeling refreshed, ready to take 2019 as it comes.

So I’m actually blogging this year. Look at me, blogging. Here I am.

Every year, I always say that I will  blog more but something had shifted this year, and I feel like I’m actually going to stick to it. Because I enjoy it. And it seems a fair few people enjoy reading what I write. So it’s worth it.

I’m going to mix it up a bit and not try to just narcissistically post a million pictures of me and my musings about each image (I mean, don’t get me wrong, there will be a lot of that… it’s my job, I can’t help it!) but I will also try to write a bit more about what my job entails and my thoughts and opinions on things work related. I think it would be good to give people who aren’t in the industry (models, photographers, make up artists, designers etc) a bit of an insight into this world. It’s not as glamorous as it seems. Sorry to burst your bubble. But it’s way more fun than you probably realise and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff is interesting. I want to share anecdotes and stories too. And maybe some stuff completely unrelated to my work, who knows. Hopefully, that’s all going to be coming over the next few months.

But anyway, for now, I hope you’re having a happy February so far! And here’s one of those narcissistic posts I mentioned earlier… I have a lot of fun shoots I want to share with you from last year, and my lack of blogging has prevented that. I’m making up for it now.


So, in March last year, I organised my first modelling tour in another country. It was scary as hell but I did it! I was lucky enough work with some fantastic photographers while I was there, who were not only talented, but extremely kind and generous people.

I had an amazing few days in that country. I even got some time to have a nosey around Amsterdam and take some pictures of my own. It’s a beautiful place that I will always want to return to.

I didn’t just stay in Amsterdam on this visit. I went to Den Haag and Zwolle too… And got to travel on the double decker trains that I remember from a family holiday when I was 11 years old. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was no less excited as a 26-year-old to be riding that train, than I was when I was 11.

The images in this post were taken in Den Haag by a photographer who goes by the name Shihari. We used his apartment to shoot in and had a fantastic day. I wanted to share a few of the images with you here.


So I stayed with the photographer on the night I landed and we were scheduled to shoot the next day. I was woken up the next morning by the photographer calling my name and knocking on the bedroom door. I blearily responded, wondering why on earth someone would interrupt my beauty sleep (and I’m telling you now, I need my sleep!!)

Turns out, he forgot to tell me before we said goodnight that the light in the room I was staying in is beautiful in the mornings if the sun is shining, perfect for photography… And he was right, so we immediately started shooting.

As I’d just woken up, I hadn’t got any make up on or even brushed my hair, but for the sort of shots we were going for in this amazing light, it didn’t matter… And here they are:


So after that wake up call, and shooting for about half an hour, making the most of the amazing natural light, we had some breakfast and then I got ready properly so we could work on some fashion images. He has a lot of 60s style clothing that I love so we had fun shooting this. I think that era suits me well!

It was even more fun when I was wearing a jumper dress and he said, this needs something… And then proceeded to cut a hole down the front of it! This is why I love working with creatives. They never stop coming up with silly little things to do to add to an image and they aren’t scared to try things. Even if it risks ruining a dress. So here we go:

From a small cut to add a bit of intrigue… Right up to completely ruining the dress (and an instagram safe version, for good measure!)


Nobody who shoots up to classical art nude can resist shooting some of that style with me… It’s what I’m best at and what I enjoy the most as I’ve mentioned in a lot of pervious posts… So we shot some of that too. The question is, do you prefer black and white or colour? I’m leaning towards colour on this one!


Finally, one of my favourite images, purely because it’s so silly. The day I was staying with this wonderful, crazy photographer, he was having a new backdrop delivered. It came while I was there, in a cardboard box and wrapped in plastic. After he opened it, he handed me the discarded plastic and asked me to do something with it. So I did. I wrapped it around myself. But apparently, this wasn’t enough. It needed a little something more… Ah yes, a hat! Perfect! Talk about recycling! 😉

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So there we have it! A brief look into my shoot with Shihari in March 2018… Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to posting this. I really did have an amazing time on this shoot and definitely hope to return to The Netherlands again at some point in the future!

Thank you so much for reading this! Until next time…


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Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

Thinking back to this time last year when I was writing about how great 2017 had been… I had no idea that 2018 was going to be as amazing as it was. I mean, wow. What a year!

I like sitting down to write a post like this at the beginning of a new year, because it’s a chance to reflect on what’s changed since this time last year. Am I still the same person that I was? No, not at all. None of us are. We are always changing and growing and realising new things about ourselves, surprising ourselves, exceeding our own expectations. And yeah, we are all disappointing ourselves too: failing at things we thought should be easy, realising we aren’t quite as good as we thought we were at something, and not all of the changes we face are good. But that’s the human experience. We have to take the good with the bad and just roll with it. But this post isn’t about anything bad. Because what’s the point in dwelling on the things that didn’t go so well (unless it’s something we can learn from, of course, but that’s for another day!) No, this post is about my amazing year!

I finished 2018 so full of love and gratitude. On New Year’s Eve, I was literally buzzing with energy all day because I’d taken the time to write down things I was grateful for and the good things that happened that year. Having a years worth of positivity on a page in front of you and on your mind does wonders for your soul. I’m not kidding. Give it a try sometime, it’s not too late.

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Me and Yorick on New Year’s Eve, 2018.

Last year, I started a new tradition. On New Year’s Eve 2017, I wrote a letter to myself. A letter from 2017 Misuzu to 2018 Misuzu. The idea is, you open the letter exactly a year later and if you feel so inclined (as I was), you write another letter to yourself for the following year.

When I sat down to read the letter I wrote at the end of 2017, I was surprised. After a year had passed, I’d completely forgotten what I’d written, so it was new to me. It was like a little bit of Misuzu captured in time, an echo from the person I was the year before. I had written such a  kind and thoughtful note to myself, it was empowering. I didn’t realise how wise I could be until I read that letter from the year before. I definitely recommend this practice. I know it sounds silly, but give it a try. You might be surprised.

But anyway, the reason I’m writing about the little tradition I invented is because that’s in a way what these blog posts are to me. The public version of the letter I wrote to myself. Something to look back on. If I’m ever feeling down in 2019, or things aren’t going according to plan… I’ll look at this post, or the one I wrote last year, and remember all the good and positive things that happened in previous years and be able to capture some of that positive energy I felt on New year’s Eve. A little gift to myself. And you’re along for the ride.

Of course, this post is also a good opportunity for you to see what I’ve been up to and read about things that you might have missed while dipping in and out of social media. Or if you’ve only just realised I exist then here’s a chance for you to get to know me a bit. It’s not entirely for myself. Not entirely.


So I’ve decided to split this post into sections because there’s so much that I want to write about! I was going to go through the year chronologically but there’s too much and it’ll be all over the place… So here we go. Travel. Duo modelling. Photography. Personal life. Music.

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A picture of me looking a bit gothy, just because it seemed time for a picture but I couldn’t think of a relevant one.


Travel

In March 2018, I did my first ever modelling tour outside of England. It was pretty scary to be honest! Knowing that I’d have to negotiate my way around a foreign country by myself, meet a number of new people, and knowing that I would not be able to speak the language (I try to remember basic phrases so as not to be rude but they never stick in my head, I’m bad enough with English 😛 ) was kind of a big deal for me. As it happens, I needn’t have worried as the people I worked with while I was there were fantastic. Such lovely, friendly people. I felt completely looked after during my stay, especially as I was feeling a bit out of my depth when I arrived.

The first photographer I worked with collected me from the airport on the day I arrived and made sure I got back to the airport at the end of my stay even though he didn’t have to. He also made sure I caught the right trains when I was leaving for a different part of the country and he was lovely to spend time with as well as work with. We got some fantastic images from classical portraits and fashion, to more quirky images.

I also stayed with a photography couple while I was there and they fed me amazing food (and they catered to me as a vegan even though they weren’t vegan themselves, which was truly wonderful!) and made me feel welcome in their home. The images I got from my two days I was working with them were amazing!

Going to a foreign country by yourself is something that I now know makes you grow and develop as a person and I’m so grateful to have been given this experience. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this a few years ago, so I’m very proud of myself for actually arranging this tour and going through with it! There will definitely be a blog post about two of the shoots I did while I was in The Netherlands.

My traditional red wine selfie at the airport, followed by one on my first morning in The Netherlands when it was too sunny to take a good selfie, then a selfie inside just before I started my first shoot of the tour!

Selfie on the canals of Amsterdam and a selfie outside Anne Frank’s house when I got a bit of time to explore in between shoots. Exploring this wonderful city by myself was wonderful.

In April, I went back to Greece for the second time and I stayed for nearly twice as long as I had in November 2017. I learnt so much about the history of Greece as well as working to get some more amazing images… Which I knew we would. I was lucky enough to visit The Devil’s Bridge on Friday the 13th (what are the chances?!) and I got to spend a day in Athens too this time. The experience of ascending the Acropolis and visiting the Parthenon was something I will never forget. As well as exploring more Mycenaean ruins, of course. Something I find extremely fascinating, it’s sort of becoming my thing. I’m grateful to be able to work alongside such a talented photographer to get beautiful, classical images as well as the opportunity to learn about the people who walked those sites 3,500 years before me. Magical. Expect more blog posts about Greece too!

There it is. The red wine airport selfie. And then a bathroom mirror selfie at the airport before I came home. In between these two pictures being taken, I’d had so much fun, learnt a lot and created some amazing art. Although, I was glad to be going home to cuddle with Yorick, I missed him like crazy as it was the longest time I’d spent away from him. 11 days without bunny cuddles is 11 too many.

Selfie from when I revisited my favourite place in the whole world: The Theatre at The Sancturary of Asklepios… And a selfie when I was on the Acropolis in Athens outside the amazing Parthenon. What a place, what an experience!

In October, I had a very last-minute trip. I went to Bulgaria. I was asked if I was available to go late on a Thursday night… The flight out was the following Tuesday afternoon. That’s how short notice this trip was! Saying yes to things is a powerful tool. I said yes, even though the prospect of travelling so far away from home on such short notice (and knowing that the weekend in between me being asked to go and flying out was hella busy!) was daunting and scary but I’m so glad I went. Not only did I have a great time and got some wonderful images from the five photographers that were on the trip, I experienced another culture that is so different to England… and I made a friend.

The other model on the trip is a wonderful latex/fashion model called Stacie Mai. She is amazing at what she does, I mean, like… WOW. But not only that, after spending the week together, we realised we’d become really close.

On this trip, I also met Rosie, the daughter of Colin Grist from Pathways Studio in Chester who organised the trip. Rosie was there helping Colin to renovate the house he has out there, which is where we stayed for the first half of the trip. She was also there to help look after everyone and she was very good at that. Rosie is amazing. She’s funny, kind and really worked hard to ensure everyone was okay. Rosie also made me amazing vegan food and was conscientious enough to ask me about veganism so she knew she was feeding me food I was happy with. I think that was very thoughtful. She also got me an avocado for the road. That girl sure knows the way to a vegan girl’s heart.

I’m grateful to have been asked to go on this trip, I’m grateful for the places I visited and the things I saw while I was there, and I’m grateful for the new friendships I’ve made because I said yes.

The last red wine airport selfie of 2018 and a selfie with Dobby who I made friends with after a 3 hour flight and 5 hour car journey through the night to get to our destination. I miss Dobby.

Me and the wonderful Stacie Mai before we boarded the plane and again when we landed in Bulgaria. We were very drunk by the time we landed and I don’t fully remember getting there. Oops.

Some behind-the-scenes shots (taken by Stacie) of me modelling on the streets of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

On the way  home: the pre-flight selfie and the onboard selfie. I love this girl more than words can say. She is a gem 🙂


Duo Modelling

Prepare for an awful lot of selfies… You have been warned.

So I’d been modelling for a full three years by the time 2018 rolled around and do you know what I’d not really done any of? Duo modelling. I’d done the odd bit where I was in the same frame as another model very briefly on group shoots and at photography events, but it was literally just the odd shot. I’d never done a shoot where the sole purpose was to be modelling with someone else. Weird, huh?

In January, I was asked to do a shoot with Phil Bruce, a local male model, by Kevin Sheldon, the photographer who was the first person I ever worked with and he’s the one who runs the studio I help out at (more on this later). It was January and it was cold, but we had a giggle and got some wonderful shots of the two of us walking around Rudyard Lake. Phil made shooting with him easy because he’s very outgoing and funny and you can’t help but have a good time when you’re working with him. He’d done a lot of shoots with other models, so I was a bit nervous to be working with him if I’m honest, but I needn’t have been. He was great.

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Me and Phil Bruce in January.

It wasn’t until August last year that I did another duo shoot. A photographer I’d worked with a few times, Danny, had also worked with a model from Wales called Leaf. Me and Leaf had been chatting for about a year about possibly doing some duo work together as we both love each other’s work but it never really happened until Danny suggested booking the two of us together. We both jumped at the chance.

So in August, me and Leaf spent an afternoon running through woodland, climbing trees, getting into rivers/waterfalls and frolicking along the beach while Danny took some pictures of the two of us. It was lovely. The next day, we were joined by Silk, another model from Wales. Danny shot the three of us together and we all got on well, creatively and personally. It was a really lovely day. Considering I hadn’t done much work with other models, I was surprised at how natural and how easy it was to work alongside these amazing ladies. It just sort of happened, and I didn’t really need to think about it, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

In September, me and Leaf organised a duo studio weekend at The X Factory which sold out really quickly. We were impressed by that and we spent two hectic days at the studio, climbing into windows, rolling around in the dust on the floor, draping ourselves over each other and bending ourselves into different shapes. We were exhausted by the time we’d finished, but we had such great fun and some of the pictures from those two days were just outstanding. This isn’t the last time me and Leaf will be collaborating!

A quick selfie in the middle of my duo shoot with Leaf and a group selfie after our trio shoot the next day with myself, Leaf and Silk. These ladies are wonderful to work with.

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Me and Leaf outside the studio on the first day of our duo weekend in September by the sign I made with our names on.

Rolling into August, I met Kelsey. A photographer friend of mine Phil, who I’ve worked with on numerous occasions, had worked with Kelsey and thought the two of us would look good working together and would get on well as people. So we arranged it. A full day shoot, me and Kelsey in Delemere Forest. Phil was right, me and Kelsey do look good as a modelling duo and we got on better than I could have imagined. So we organised a duo studio weekend for October, which went well. We also did some duo self portraits that I’ve yet to edit (sorry Kelsey!) and we generally just chatted and had a laugh in between photographers coming to the studio. We have decided that in 2019, we will be working together a lot more so have come up with a reduced rate for the two of us together. I’m looking forward to the good weather so we can get creating in the wilderness again!

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Me and Kelsey on our duo shoot in August. We have more antics planned for 2019, don’t worry 😀

So I won’t go on too much about me and Stacie because I’ve already written a bit about how we met in the previous section on travel, but I’d like to elaborate a little if you’d let me.

Me and Stacie got the opportunity to model together on the trip and we created some fantastic results. I’d never modelled latex before and that’s sort of Stacie’s thing. So she introduced me to it. It’s always fun to try new things, but having someone who shot a lot of latex to show me the ropes was beneficial. I’m sure part of me and Stacie becoming close was due to us having to be all up in each other’s faces all the time but also, we just clicked. And on top of that, I bet nobody could not be friends after one of you (Stacie) was trying to pull a bit of latex up over the other one’s naked butt (Me). I’m pretty sure she saw wayyyyy more of me than she ever wanted/needed to during that trip but hey, if we weren’t friends before that moment, we certainly were after!

I’m so grateful that she was the other model on the trip because I feel like I’ve found a friend for life. Despite living a bit of a distance away, we’ve already seen each other a few times since then with more plans to meet up on a regular basis, along with Rosie of course.

Two selfies from Bulgaria of me and Stacie. I was so lucky to be modelling alongside her and spending so much time with her.

Me, Stacie and Rosie. These two girls inspire me. I hope to see a lot more of them in 2019.

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Here’s the three of us reunited in early 2019 ❤

There’s a model local to me called Vivian Blue. I’d never met her until this year. Photographers seem to think that all models know each other but it’s not really true. I rarely get to meet other models (unless I’m doing duo work with them, which as I said, I’ve only started to do this year!) so even though we live pretty close to each other, we’d never crossed paths before.

I was helping out a photographer on his shoot with Vivian and that’s how we met. We started chatting and decided to organise a duo weekend together. I did some duo self-portraits of the two of us and we used those to advertise the weekend. We sold out all of the slots. On the weekend, it was freezing because it was November but we soldiered on, getting some cracking shots and having a bit of a giggle along the way (like when Vivian was trying to zip me into a catsuit and the zip broke, and when she accidentally hit me in the face with a metal bar… yep, these things happen!)

The funny thing is that me and Vivian started modelling at the same time. We are the same age. We are the same height. We have a similar build. We shoot similar styles. The only real difference is that she’s very pale and I’m quite tanned. It makes a nice contrast.

We did a Christmas themed group shoot in mid December too. It was even colder than it was on our duo weekend, but we got through (just about, with the help of coffee and hot water bottles!) and I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather be freezing my ass off in silly Christmas outfits with 😛

Me and Vivian Blue on our duo weekend and again at the Christmas themed group shoot we organised!


Photography

So as most people will know, I’ve been helping out at a local studio called The X Factory. The photographer who set it up, Kevin Sheldon is the first photographer I ever worked with. He asked me to be involved and to help him out. In return, I could use the studio whenever I want. Sweet deal. I ended up working there an awful lot since August and I was there so much that there were times when I was considering just taking a sleeping bag and staying there! I had so many amazing shoots in that space last year with an array of photographers. I have done so much work in that space that I’m proud of. I hope that this continues into 2019.

I organised several duo days (as mentioned in the above section) and I’m rather proud of myself for this because a lot of work goes into making such events run smoothly and the majority of the days I organised alongside other models sold out completely which is absolutely amazing.

In the space, I also did a fair bit of self portraiture. I feel like my photography has come along so much this year and having a studio space with such character and amazing light to play with was amazing. Due to the amount of photography I did in 2018, I was able to design my latest set of business cards using all my own images. I thought that was pretty cool!

My photography has just been getting better and better and I’m really proud of the images I’ve created. My self portraiture is something I pride myself on. It’s a great feeling to know that the whole process start to finish was all my own work. Expect to see more of this in 2019.


Personal Life

So I won’t bang on too much about my own life because I’m sure that’s not overly interesting to anyone else but me and I still want people to read my posts, even if my main motivation for writing them is for myself. But some things need to be noted.

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Here’s a picture of me dicking about in a tree on a walk in summer. Nothing if not a big kid!

In February, I participated in InCoWriMo. For those who don’t know, it stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. You write a letter to a stranger every day in February. And I did. I have made some amazing pen pals with people all around the world because I participated in this event. I already had a few pen pals, but InCoWriMo simply expanded my world-wide network of friends.

My pen pal from Canada, Sonia, definitely deserves a shout out. We have been writing to each other for over two years now and we basically write each other novel-length letters and I absolutely love and treasure our friendship. I keep all the letters I’ve ever received and Sonia had to have her own folder because of the sheer volume of lengthy letters we have exchanged. I love it. Thank you Sonia for your friendship, your letters and your thoughtful gifts on my birthdays and at Christmas. Also, I want to mention my pen pal from New York, Jonathan. I love the letters we exchange and although he’s been having a tough time, he still manages to write to keep me updated and he even sent me a wonderful and thoughtful Christmas gift.

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I don’t have any pictures to do with writing letters so here’s a random picture of me from June when I crimped my hair for the first time.

Now I’m pretty sure that absolutely everyone who knows anything about me will know that Yorick is my best friend in the entire world and I love him more than anything. He turned 5 this year. Obviously he has a million presents and a little party, because how could I not celebrate my fluffy boy’s birthdays?! We had a wonderful day, he was very spoilt. I enjoy every snuggle, every bunny kiss and I even treasure the moments when he gets cross with me for one reason or another and tries to ignore me. Yorick, you’re the best!

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Here is Yorick on his 5th Birthday enjoying his birthday breakfast of parsley (his favourite, mine too), coriander, celery, mint and cavallo nero.

Halloween this year was fun. I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed in. I watched horror movies with my other half. You all know that I still dressed up though, right? I even did a quick little photo shoot just for fun. Playing around with liquid latex was interesting and I’m pretty happy with the results I got considering it was the first time I’d ever used it and basically was winging it! If you haven’t watched Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ yet, then I recommend it. It was amazing. I have yet to read the book though. It’s on my wishlist so I don’t forget!

Anyway, I made a yummy Halloween themed dinner (vegan, of course!). I had an amazing time.

My pumpkin this year. I was pretty proud of him actually. Then a selfie after I’d done my Halloween make up. And finally, the Halloween-themed dinner I made: Mashed potato bats, mummified sausages and pumpkin patch veg (carrots as the pumpkins, kale as the grass and broccoli as the trees). Clearly I have too much time on my hands/am never going to grow up.

A couple of my Misuzu Photography shots from Halloween featuring my liquid latex skills and excessive photoshop on the background to make the shots look tacky because that’s allowed when it’s Halloween!

Something weird happened this year. After being someone who despises sport (yes, that’s a strong word and I mean it 100%), I was tempted into watching the last few World Cup games this year because England got really far. I mean wow, well done England! Getting as far as we did was pretty exciting. I watched the final even though we weren’t in it and was happy to see France win (I wasn’t a fan of the Croatia team in general). But anyway, when it was over, I found myself feeling a bit lost, so I ended up getting drawn into the Nation’s League after that. Possibly just because of Harry Kane *swoon*. I’ve been watching a lot of football in the last half of this year. I actually understand the offside rule too. Get me. I’m really getting into this football nonsense, and I barely recognise myself while I sit there cheering on our team and shouting, ‘come on lads’ (I’m not even kidding, I genuinely heard myself saying that and thought, ‘who the hell am I? What have I become?!’) Embarrassing, considering I’ve always thought watching sport was pointless.

Here’s the best part: because of my sudden newfound interest in football, me and my partner decided to start watching American football. And do you know what happened? I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the game, I’m not even exaggerating. New Orleans has always been a bit of a thing in our household. We celebrate Mardi Gras every year and there’s rarely a day that goes by where New Orleans jazz and/or blues isn’t played at some point. So the obvious choice for an American football team to support would be the New Orleans Saints. As it happens, the Saints have been having an amazing season and ended up getting the first seed in the playoffs. Woop. Good time to start supporting a team, eh? Anyway, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara work their magic on the field. One of my close friends in America even sent me a Saints shirt for Christmas which was amazing. Now I’m a proper fan. Fingers crossed to see the Saints in the Super Bowl this year! #WhoDat #WhoDatNation #NewOrleansSaints

Selfies in my super awesome New Orleans Saints Football shirt. The first was just after I got it on Christmas day and the other two were taken just before the first Saints game of 2019 🙂

I continued my avid reading this year. I read a total of 52 books. That’s not quite as many as I read in 2017 as I finished that year having read 57 books in total. A lot of my time for reading comes from spending a ridiculous amount of time on trains, which I just haven’t done this year as most of my work has been local. But I set a goal and reached it. One book a week on average. You can see the list of what I read in 2018 by clicking here if you’re interested at all.

I also wrote a short story in 2018 called ‘The Railway Rabbits’ based on my favourite bunny. Of course, Yorick is the main character. Who’s surprised? Nobody. I’m super proud of this story and a lot of my close friends and family have already read it and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it. I’m grateful to everyone who’s read it so far for taking the time to read my little bit of silliness.

Nothing to do with writing, but some pictures of me that I feel capture my personality a bit. They are both from a trip I took in June with my friend. We spent a day at Dovedale. The first picture is me being silly as usual. The second is on the stepping stones where I modelled once back in 2015. My friend said, ‘do a pose like you did that time you shot here’ so I did. It looks a bit less impressive when you’re wearing a Harry Potter hoodie and Converse shoes, but still. The memory is there.

I also wanted to note that I had an amazing Christmas. We had an extra guest at Christmas which was a welcome change! I’m always one to try and spread the magic of Christmas to anyone and everyone, because I love Christmas and everything it stands for. Having an extra person around to share in the festivities was lovely.

Also, I was very much spoilt at Christmastime. I had so many people express gratitude towards me, lots of wonderful Christmas cards with touching messages inside, and even had some unexpected gifts from people whom I didn’t expect to be on their gift list. I’m so grateful and felt very loved and appreciated this year. Particularly thoughtful gifts I received this year include: Books (obviously a good choice with me, especially since my wish list is probably 90% books), New Orleans Saints shirt, remote trigger for my camera (for my self portraiture), a book about whales (I love whales), a banana (yep, you read that right), a llama travel mug, Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, and a personalised book about me and Yorick.

Thank you to everyone who made my Christmastime special with messages, letters, gifts and hugs. I felt so much love and positivity this holiday season. It was amazing, definitely my best Christmas so far.

Two silly Christmas Day selfies. I love Christmas!! Check out my amazing Christmas jumper!

Two selfies from before Christmas. The first one was just before a Christmas party where I wore jingle bells in my hair and had a stash of candy canes in my bag. I am Christmas personified. The second one was showing off my fab Christmas t-shirt. Dinosaurs + Christmas = Super Happy Misuzu.

Selfies with my family. Me and my wonderful nan on the left (she hasn’t really got the hang of selfies yet, bless her) and on the right, me with my grumpy dad and my beautiful mom.


Music

So I usually write about the bands I’ve seen that year, because music is important to me. So here we go, I will try to be brief as I’m sure if you’re still reading this, you’re waiting for me to wrap it up.

In February, I went to see Bowling For Soup (my favourite band) for the second time and it was pretty last minute. I couldn’t really justify the cost of the tickets, travel, hotel, merch, drinks, food etc. when the tickets went on sale, but I found myself in a position to be able to afford to go a few days before the event. I was lucky to get tickets to be honest as most of the places were sold out, but I managed to get tickets to see them in Manchester. I know I would have regretted it if I missed the chance to see them as they are an American band, so it’s not like they’re always touring the UK!

So I got tickets and me and my partner went to Manchester to see my favourite band! They were being supported by a band called the Aquabats! that I hadn’t heard of before, but I absolutely love them now. Their set was so full of energy, it was funny and lively. They even had inflatables that they threw out into the crowd. At one point, they sent a child out into the audience crowd surfing on an inflatable slice of pizza. I’m not even kidding. It was great fun.

Of course, seeing Bowling For Soup who have been my favourite band for the majority of my life (not an exaggeration here) was just amazing. I’m so glad I was able to go. Also, being in Manchester means going to get falafel too, which is always good.

MC Bat Commander of The Aquabats! followed by Bowling For Soup (in order left to right: Gary, Chris, Jaret, Eric) and a gig selfie of me and the other half in the crowd 🙂

In September 2017, I went to See Jaret Reddick, the lead singer of Bowling For Soup, in his solo acoustic tour called Heartache and Hilarity. I went by myself. In London. It was a proud moment. The gig was amazing. More personal than their usual shows, and very touching. So when I found out that Jaret was coming back for Heartache and Hilarity Too, and he was bringing The Dollyrots with him (another of my favourite bands)… of course I had to get tickets and go, this time dragging my partner with me. It was amazing. I also got to meet Kelly after the gig too, one of the highlights of last year for me!

The gig was in Liverpool and so I got chance to explore a bit of Liverpool, rather than simply going there for work and coming straight home, which had been the deal on my previous visits to Liverpool. I found an all vegan pub for dinner before the gig and a then found a place that was all vegetarian and did a vegan breakfast for us to refuel the morning after. We also visited The Cavern Club, which was amazing. I can’t believe it had taken me 27 years to go there. If you haven’t been yet, you need to get down there. It’s an experience.

Mirror selfie of my outfit for the gig, and a pre-gig selfie of me and Matt waiting in line outside the venue!

Luis and Kelly of the Dollyrots on the left and Jaret Reddick on the right.

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Kelly was hanging around after the gig. This woman inspires me. I’m so happy to have been able to give her a hug and get a quick picture with her. The Dollyrots truly love and appreciate their fans and I think that’s wonderful.

Me and Matt in The Cavern Club and me in The Cavern Club wearing merch from the gig the night before!

In November, I got to see Reel Big Fish. From backstage. No kidding. That was really really cool. I saw their sound check, hung out on the tour bus, and watched the entire show from backstage. Everyone was really really nice to me while I was there. I will treasure the experience of meeting these talented people forever 🙂

Me and Billy Kottage outside the gig venue… And me wearing his hat, because why not.

Two selfies with Matt Appleton (one after soundcheck and one just before the band went onstage) and a selfie with Ed Beach after the set.

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A shot of the band as they were going on stage. I just thought this was pretty cool 😛


2019 Goals and Resolutions

So, onto the main reason for this post. Below is what I wrote were my goals for 2018 as it seems like a good place to start. I’ve just copied and pasted it from the post I wrote at the beginning of 2018.

My Goals for 2018

So I’m just going to write down a few things here that I want to achieve this year. Some are more personal, and some are more to do with my modelling work. If I post it on the internet, then I have to try twice as hard to achieve them. That’s how it works, right?

Anyway, here goes:

  • Blog more (first post of 2018, check!)
  • Plan more modelling tours, including Scotland and Ireland (because I’ve wanted to do that since I first started modelling!)
  • Go back to work in Greece again, if Rick will have me!
  • Put more effort into my own photography.
  • Read at least 52 books this year too. Because only good things can come from reading more.

There, it’s on the internet now, so I have to try extra hard. Accountability. It works wonders 😛

I did some of them. Okay so I always say I’m going to blog more and I never get around to it.I blogged a bit in 2018, as I wanted to but I’m going to try extra hard to actually achieve that this year.

I didn’t plan as many modelling tours as I wanted to because I was simply too busy locally, especially in the last half of the year. There’s still so much of England that I haven’t explored yet and so many photographers I’ve yet to work with who are simply too far away so I desperately want to travel England more this year… As well as going abroad again, obviously.

The last three goals, I did achieve. I did make it back to Greece, I expanded my own photography more than I could have possibly imagined and I hit my goal of 52 books as I mentioned earlier.

Three and a half out of five for 2018 isn’t bad going! I’m going to try extra hard this year to hit my targets and achieve my goals. And here they are:

  • Travel to Europe as much as last year, if not more.
  • Blog properly (come on now, Misuzu. You can do it. No excuses).
  • Organise modelling tours to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. It’s about time you just did it.
  • Continue to develop your photography skills and aim to sell some of your work.
  • Read another 52 books at least.
  • Write another short story. Or two. Go for two. Shoot for the stars. Also do something with the story you’ve already written, don’t just let it sit there on your hard drive, for goodness sake!
  • Take the chance to see the bands you like when they’re playing near you.

I think these are attainable goals. And they will make me happy. So I’m going to do it. here’s to an amazing 2019.

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I feel like this needed an image at the end so here you go. Throwback to summer when it was crazy hot and I constantly felt like I was melting.


That you to anyone who made it all the way through my rambling, slightly self-absorbed post. I love and appreciate you more than you know. I hope 2019 brings you everything you want and more and I’d like to wish you a slightly belated Happy New Year. Go out there and smash your goals and achieve your dreams!


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Greece: Tourist [Post #4]

Get ready for another pointless post, jam-packed with selfies! I’m not even kidding. This one’s about my trip in general. I thought some people might be interested, so here we are. It’s quite a long one, so if you’re staying, you might want to grab a cup of tea or something and settle in.


Travelling to meet people I’ve only ever conversed with online is part of my job. It’s normal for me. Photographers message me online, we discuss a shoot, then get in in the diary. It’s all done online and it’s rare that I even speak to a photographer on the phone before I work with them. Then I travel, usually by train, on the appointed date, at the appointed time…. To meet someone I’ve never met before. It’s not weird for me. It’s just my job. And I really seem to have perfected the art of finding a person on a busy train station platform when I have absolutely no idea what they look like. It’s a skill developed through the weirdness of my job. But that’s irrelevant… Moving on…

Travelling out of the country to meet someone I’d not met before, was kinda weird. I have to admit, I felt like a bit of a badass for doing it. I’d talked to Rick a lot online before I flew out there and of course, I’d checked he wasn’t a crazy axe murderer or serial killer. He seemed legit from his online profile, and appeared to be exactly who he said he was. But it still took a certain level of bravery to say yes and just go. I don’t think many people would have. But I did.


This is me at Manchester airport, and then me sitting on the plane… My first time flying alone (and I’ve never really flown a whole lot in my life anyway!!)

The ‘Welcome to Greece’ sign as I got off the plane, and then a picture of me when I finally arrived at what would be my home for the next week!


My first day in Greece did not involve any modelling. The weather was a bit cloudy (Rick prefers bright sunlight for his work) and because of the travelling, Rick thought it would be a good idea to just explore and relax a bit. Which is what we did.

I learnt so much about Greek history and culture that first day, I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am. I love learning, so having someone who has a degree in archaeology talk to me about ancient civilisations as we walked around those sites was simply amazing.

We did a lot of sightseeing that day. We visited the Mycenaean bridge on the way to Epidavros, a Mycenaean necropolis in Dendra and walked up to a Mycenaean citadel in Midea (the views from there are amazing… I made sure to take lots of pictures). Then in the afternoon, we went to an old disused train station where we came across some old, rusted trains. We spent a little while there while both me and Rick, captivated by the strangeness of the huge machines forgotten amongst all of the greenery, took lots of photographs. I will be posting more of my own photography from my trip to Greece at some point. It was an incredible day, my mind full of lots of new facts and information. It was great!

We also went to Nafplio on my first day in Greece, so that I could go to the market and get food. Being vegan, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find much to eat in Greece. But I needn’t have worried. The market in Nafplio was such an amazing place. You could get an array of different fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dried beans, herbs, spices, olives…. And everything was so cheap compared to markets in England. It was vegan heaven, like a rainbow of yummy food, stretching out as far as you could see… Needless to say, I didn’t go hungry while I was in Greece!

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Me as a tourist, standing in front of a 3,500 year old bridge built by the Mycenaeans. It was amazing to walk here, imagining the people who built it such a long time ago… We came back to this bridge a few days later for me to model there. You might recognise it from one of the images in the post Greece: Vintage [Post #1].

A selfie with the views from the top of the Mycenaean citadel in the background and then a selfie of me at the disused train station (notice the Jaret Reddick hoodie for anyone who’s reading this and understands what this means… ❤ )

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A Mycenaean tomb at Dendra

 

The steps up to the Mycenaean citadel at Midea and the view from the top, just after you go through what is left of the gate. The view was spectacular!

 

One of the abandoned trains we saw at the disused railway, a picture of me doing something weird with my feet, and then a picture of the back of one of the trains, showing the graffiti there.


The next day was my first day of modelling where Rick drove me to Methana. I talked a little about my time there in my post Greece: Fashion [Post #2]. I got to see more Mycenaean ruins (and model with them as my background) as me and Rick started to create the art that was the whole reason I was there!

Later, we visited a Mycenaean citadel, with a Hellenistic addition to it… And then drove up a volcano! It was amazing. And there were goats. It is important to mention the goats. They were really really cute.

Two selfies of me on this lovely warm day in Greece, rocking the new sunglasses because my old faithful ones died, just before I was supposed to fly out to Greece. These ones are okay… But I miss my old sunnies!!!

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The remains of what I think Rick told me was a Mycenaean village (he will email me after reading this to let me know if I’ve remembered wrong!) I love that you can still see where the walls of the houses would have been so you could see how big the rooms were. I also saw things like evidence of where columns would have gone, and spaces for cooking or storage pots too. I was turning into a little archaeologist! It was amazing.

A view of the sun light hitting one of the hills on Methana as the sun set and then a photograph of the sun setting as viewed from a volcano! I believe that the land you can see the sun setting behind is actually pretty close to where I was staying in Epidavros. Conversely, you can see Methana from the apartment I was staying in.


The next morning, I took a little walk down to the beach that is just a few minutes away from Rick’s apartment. I made friends with a beautiful ginger cat there. Except for me and Ginger, there was nobody else around. It was so quiet and peaceful, it was almost like my own private beach! Plus, the views were amazing. Luckily, I bought my camera and had a quick photo shoot with my new furry friend before heading back the apartment.

That day, me and Rick visited several olive groves to get some shots (you will see these shots in future posts, I promise!) and one of them had an old Mycenaean road running through it!

Then that evening, we ventured into Epidavros, the village where I was staying. On the way, Rick showed me several really interesting historical sites. Honestly, everywhere you look in Greece, there is something beautiful to see, or some old history to rediscover. It is a magical country.

A selfie of me on the beach in the morning and a selfie of me walking to the olive grove with the Mycenaean road running through it!

 

Another amazing sunset-in-Greece picture. This times by ruins instead of a volcano. Then a picture of my Greek coffee 🙂


The following day it was raining. Just my luck, I know. So we decided that we weren’t going to shoot that day… Instead, after a fairly lazy morning spent reading while Rick got some things sorted out (which was good after all the walking and exploring!), Rick took me to the museum in Nafplio. It was incredible seeing all of the things that had been found by archeologists in the exact places that I’d spent the last few days visiting and exploring. That was a really, really cool experience!

We then spent the afternoon exploring Nafplio after we had been to the museum. Rick had lots of things to show me. I was very lucky to have had such a knowledgable tour guide! There were lots of lovely views from the higher points of the city, and the buildings were all so beautiful. I took many photographs on my own camera, it would have been rude not to, being in such a beautiful place.

Oh, and the cats. The cute, adorable, cats and kittens were everywhere in the city. I wanted to take them all home, but obviously, couldn’t… So I settled for taking lots and lots of photographs of them instead!

I bought some komboloi (Greek worry beads) while I was here too, as well as getting small gifts for my family. It was a lovely day of being a tourist and enjoying the country I was in.

A beautiful dog, napping outside the museum and then a view of the sea from a pretty little outlook. You can’t even tell it had been raining earlier that day at all! It was quite amusing to see the Greek people all bundled up  because the temperature had dropped a few degrees. I was perfectly warm enough in my hoodie, while they were in heavy coats, hats and scarves… It would have been considered a lovely warm day in England!


On the Sunday, we went to the Sanctuary of Asklepios in Epidavros. This is probably my favourite place in the world. It was sunny and warm, and hardly anyone around… Rick showed me all the exciting things to see at this archaeological site. He took me around the site a different way to the way most people go. I preferred his way.

I could see the ruins becoming more and more well formed as Rick told me about the Ancient Greeks and the Romans and the myths and legends surrounding the area and the Gods and Goddesses associated with it. I was enthralled. It really was like a dream… But real. I was really there, walking where so many people have been walking for so long. It was magical.

We ended up in the Ancient Greek theatre. It was mind blowing. I studied classical civilisations in my GCSE and I’d always wanted to visit an ancient Greek theatre (one of those things that captures a young mind, I guess). And now I can say I’ve really seen one. Not only seen, but stood where the actors will have stood. Walked across where the orchestra will have been… And sat where countless people throughout history and from all over the world have sat. If that isn’t amazing, then I don’t know what is.

We sat there for a while, enjoying the sun, making friends with a cat, and watching the tourists stand in the centre of the theatre and shout up to ask if we could hear them (you really can, by the way). I also took the opportunity to get some touristy shots as well as doing some of my own photography… Because how could I visit somewhere so utterly amazing and not get those tourist photos??

Selfies in the Sancturary of Asklepois in Epidavros. The first one was just in courtyard. I included it here because my the-sun-is-in-my-eyes-I-can’t-help-but-squint face made me giggle. In the second shot, you can see some of what’s left of the sanctuary built by the ancient Greeks.

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Here, Rick got a shot of my photographing the ruins of the sanctuary. I have no idea how I can stand like that without falling over, but clearly, it’s helping me to hold my camera steady. Weird.

A selfie as I walked around the grounds of the sanctuary and a selfie with my new friend at the theatre!

A selfie taken from the theatre. You can see how huge it is, you can totally see why it blew me away! And then a shot of my feet (why, oh why do I keep doing this?) on the steps of the theatre.

Two more shots taken by Rick of me with the theatre in the background. You can see how absolutely breathtaking it is!

Okay two more pictures of the theatre, then I promise I’m done with them! One where you can see my feline friend in shot too, and one where you can see the height of the theatre behind me. It’s an amazing place. I really love it there.


My last full day in Greece, wasn’t good weather, unfortunately so I didn’t get to model outdoors any more after my time spend modelling in the olive groves after visiting the Sanctuary of Asklepios on the previous day. On my final day, we wandered into Epidavros again and then took some shots in the apartment using the natural light coming in from the window. They were really really lovely shots, so I didn’t mind not having chance to model outside again!


It was an early start to get to the airport as it’s a long drive and my plane was pretty early in the morning… So I reluctantly left the amazing country that is Greece to come back to Manchester, where my dad was waiting at the airport to drive me home back to Stoke-on-Trent. Modelling in Greece was an amazing experience, and Rick has even invited me back again! I enjoyed every moment of my time in Greece, and I learnt so much! It was lovely, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have experienced the things I did in my week there.

A photograph of me at Athens airport, and then me in my seat on the plane ready to go home!

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A photograph of the window of the plane just as I landed back in England. It seems that whenever I go away to somewhere warm, it’s always raining when I come home as if it’s saying, ‘welcome back, Misuzu… I bet you’ve missed the rain!’


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my time in Greece. I really did have a wonderful experience, I learnt so much and saw some truly amazing things. I can’t wait to visit Greece again!


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Thank you 🙂


 

Greece: Rock [Post #3]


So, in my last post, I mentioned about finding the big rock and just having to climb up it. Most photographers who’ve worked with me before are not surprised in the slightest (they’re sat there thinking, yep, that sounds about right). I feel like I should mention here that I’m really quite clumsy (and anyone who’s spent any length of time with me is recalling at least one occasion where I’ve completely stacked it for no reason at all, while being completely sober). So I guess for some people, me climbing rocks isn’t such a good thing. They worry! But for me, it is a good thing. I like to climb. I love my job because I can climb trees, big rocks, whatever, and it’s not considered ‘weird’, it’s considered ‘getting the shot’. It’s great!

Anyway, so there we were, me and Rick, it was a lovely day in an olive grove, taking photographs… And suddenly there is a huge boulder sticking out of the ground. Two seconds later, I’m up there and voila. We have these lovely images. It’s fun being me.

The first shot in this post will seem familiar to anyone who’s been reading these posts so far. That’s because you’ve seen it before. It’s the exact same image in Greece: Fashion [Post #2]. The rest are new though, I promise.

After the shot you’ve already seen, there is a fairly classic art nude shot, followed by two more implied shots. I really like these because of the heavy shadows cast by the leaves of the surrounding olive trees and the strong sunlight. They cast a pattern on my body that almost looks like an outfit, like I belong in nature (probably because I do, I always feel at home when I’m working surrounded by nature). I think that strong shadows can really forge a connection between model and surroundings. This interaction plays an important part of why I love these images so much, and why I gave this rock its very own blog post, despite there only being five images in total!

[Here, I am talking about photographs 2, 3 & 4]

Finally, the last image is one of my favourites from the whole trip. It is a black and white edit of me curled up on the rock. When you look at it for the first time, it takes a moment for you to notice there is a model in the shot too. I like shots like that. Images that make you look more closely, or double-take to see things you didn’t pick up on before. I think that this is because the image is in black and white, so the contrast of my tanned skin colour against the paler colour of the rock isn’t as noticeable… It’s almost like my body becomes an extension of the rock. Integrated into nature.

Am I getting too weird? Okay, I’ll just let you look at the pictures…


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©Garden of the Muses


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I hope you liked these images. It’s just a  quick post to appreciate how awesome it is when you unexpectedly find a big rock! (I’m such a loser, I know!)


If you like my work and want to support me, feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking herefor PayPal or here for Ko-Fi. I’m also on OnlyFans, so click here if you would like to sign up to see images before anywhere else, exclusive content, and selfies!

Thank you 🙂


 

Greece: Fashion [Post #2]

So time for a bit of rambling on about my time in Greece. If you aren’t interested, feel free to just scroll down to the images!


So the first day of my trip was spent exploring. I like exploring. I took lots of photographs, but I didn’t model at all that day (I will go into more detail about non-modelling related things from my trip in the post Greece: Tourist [Post #4] which will be posted soon if you’re interested at all).

My first day modelling in Greece, was actually my second day there. It was probably the nicest weather for the duration of my time there, too. Not that the weather was bad the rest of the time, (apart from the day that it stormed so we stayed inside all morning and visited a museum in the afternoon!) but it was particularly lovely on my first proper day there.

We drove onto Methana, which is a volcanic peninsula. We drove past the thermal springs as we arrived, and I could smell the sulphur coming from the  baths. These baths have amazing healing properties, if you can stand the smell. I for one, didn’t mind it too much, but we were only driving past… I wonder if I would feel differently if I was surrounded by it more. Anyway, Methana is famous for these thermal springs and that sulphuric smell.

We drove along the seafront, which was very very quiet due to it being out of tourist season. In the car, we continued up an incline until we came to a beautiful place that would be our first location for me to model in. It was an olive grove, surrounded by Mycenaean ruins. It was a truly amazing and beautiful place (I’m pretty sure I said that about every single place I went to in Greece…).

In this location, there were remnants of walls built around 1,500 BC. How amazing is that? I bet those people had no idea that 3,500 years later, there would be a girl from England using their walls as a scene for a bit of model photography…

Anyway, so that’s where me and Rick (Garden of the Muses) got our first images together, the ones that make up the bulk of this post. They consisted of fashion shots in a simple white dress, using the beautiful remains of a civilisation that existed over 3,000 years ago as the setting.

[This refers to photographs 1-6]

We then went on to get some more images here using the olive trees surrounding the Mycenaean ruins, but they are for future posts. We then drove on, to work in a Mycenaean citadel, with a Hellenistic watch tower built on top (the first picture in the previous blog post was taken right on top of that watch tower!), again surrounded by beautiful olive trees which we used for our location for the second part of the day, the images from which are to come in future posts. This is where we finished our shooting for the day. But the adventure wasn’t over.

You can actually drive up the volcano of Methana, which we did! We timed it perfectly as we were at the top of the volcano just as the sun was setting. It was such an amazing experience and a beautiful sight… I took some photographs with my own camera of the amazing scene, and watched the sun disappear. It was magical.

There are 32 craters if I remember rightly, but the last eruption was in 230 BC, with a submarine eruption in 1700 (according to Wikipedia).


The last few images on this page, are in the same simple outfit, but taken a few days later in an olive grove closer to where I was staying. It was probably the second nicest weather I had during my stay, now I think about it…

Anyway, we got a few fashion shots around the olive trees we were using as our location for that day, and we came across a huge boulder in the middle of all of the olive trees! So of course, I had to climb up it and get some shots there too. there is a post dedicated to this rock in Greece: Rock [Post #3]

[This refers to photographs 7-9]


Anyway, here are the images. They are just simple fashion shots, but I really like them. I feel like I look like I could be Greek in these! I love the way my skin colour compliments the ruins of the walls that surround me. I feel like I really belong amongst those ruins. Okay, so it probably would have been even better if I was there 3, 500 years ago, but you can’t have everything.

What do you think? Do you reckon I could be mistaken for being Greek? A lot of the locals must have thought so because they tried to speak to me in Greek quite often (I don’t know any Greek), which was a bit awkward.

The guy I was sitting next to on the plane to Greece tried to talk to me in Greek. When I said I was English and didn’t speak any Greek, he said to me, “Are you sure you’re not Greek? I think you’re Greek. You look Greek. No, you’re definitely Greek!” I guess I didn’t need to be part of that conversation!


Usually when you work with a photographer for the first time, the images you get in the first part of your shoot are never the best… Because you’re still getting used to how each other works, as everybody works differently. Sometimes, it takes a little while to get into the swing of how this model-photographer interaction works with different people.

But these images seem to contradict that, as me and Rick seemed to get amazing images right from the start.


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I hope you like these images. Number 6 is my favourite. Comment below and let me know which one you like best!


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