HOW DID YOU GET STARTED MODELING?
I always thought I would model one day, just not necessarily in the way that I have.
Youth and beauty definitely run through my blood. My grandmother had been a Vaudeville Dancer before she had my mother in her early 40’s. This stunning woman lied to her husband about her age until the day he died, always taking 10 years off.
My mother was beautiful, and there are pictures of her dressed up as a doll when she was a child. My grandmother handmade all of her clothes and curled her hair daily, even during the Depression. Some of my mother’s proudest achievements in life, including “snatching up” my dad, generally come from her beauty or ability to sell herself.
I inherited my beauty from both of these women – who were both sexy in their own right.
When I was little, I looked like a young version of Brooke Shields. My mother curled my hair in sponge rollers every night and I wore a dress with a pinafore, tights and Mary Jane’s every day to school – sometimes accompanied by a rabbit fur jacket. My teacher always loved me, but kids my age made fun of me. Even my sisters found it ridiculous that I was dressed like a doll, so they referred to me as “precious”.
Adults would stop my mother in the store or the mall and tell her I should model and she would just beam down at me, like I was her most cherished possession. I totally got tired of both hearing it and having to say “thank you” to complete strangers. I was painfully shy and hated all of the attention. I really just wanted to fit in.
I was raised on my looks. My mother controlled what I wore and what time I went to bed - to who my friends were and what activities I would join. It was frowned upon to leave the house without make-up and looking your best.
I really started modeling in college, for the Art program at my university. I fled Orange County where I grew up, and attended a state school with a bunch of hippie stoners and a giant Liberal Arts program. It was the farthest location from my parent’s home that I was allowed to move.
During my junior year, my best friend told me if I was willing to pose nude for an hour, I could get paid $25. Growing up with very conservative parents, I thought that was the best kept secret anyone had ever told me!
It was my first real lesson in what I was worth, and what would pay more. Up until that point, all I could do was make minimum wage + tips, at my regular waitressing job, and I was struggling to cover all of my expenses. It would be years before I could get paid $25 an hour, even with my college education backing me. I immediately got lesson and never looked backed, modeling in some way ever since.
WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT MODELING?
I’m excited by the partnership between photographer and model, and the concept we share together. I have been a friend with some photographers for over 10 years, and every time we get together, we are thrilled to see each other and to have the pleasure once again of working together.
My favorite part of the experience with new photographers is the “Aha” moment, when we get to know each other well enough that I can see what they see, visually speaking, and vice versa – when we are finally working as a team on the same vision.
Modeling is as much about the model as it is the photographer.
DO YOU COME FROM A BACKGROUND OF TRAINING IN THE ARTS?
Yes, I guess I could say I am an artist of sorts. I was painfully shy when I was a little girl and so my mother put me up in front of people or on stage as much as she could arrange to help me overcome that fear. I can’t say I have gotten over that paralysis, I’ve just learned to bury it better than most. I’m great at smiling even when I’m shaking in my boots – faking it until you make it.
Those who know me as an adult find it amazing to believe that I could have ever been shy. I can thank my mother for the numerous singing groups, and 4-H drama productions and sewing contests, or the cheerleading starting in 5th grade through my second year of college. In High School I took Ballet, Jazz, Gymnastics, I was on a competitive cheerleading team, sang in the school choir and was on Mock Trial.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TYPES OF OUTFITS TO MODEL IN?
Something that makes me feel sexy, which, depending on my mood could be anything from a pair of cowboy boots, a vintage hat and gloves, beautiful jewelry, or just running around naked!
I do love pin-up shoots as the outfits are my favorite, and I seem to have the right kind of energy to make them pop.
WHAT ARE YOUR LEAST FAVORITES?
Probably Fashion is my least favorite. Since I have never worked for an agency, I don’t really feel schooled on what a good fashion look is. I can pull it off with the right photographer, but I don’t feel as comfortable and the looks don’t just come to me with ease.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT TATTOOS THAT INTRIGUES YOU?
I can’t say that Tattoo’s have ever intrigued me, I just accepted fro an early age that some people had them, and some didn’t. It’s a personal choice that has become so mainstream nowadays. Occasionally I see something really incredible and unique, but it’s far and few between.
My father has Tattoo’s from his Navy days and I think I just always thought it made him look tough, and so that was my attraction to getting one myself. I was teased for being too sensitive while growing up, so I believe I was trying to prove I was tough to those around me. I actually got all four of my Tattoo’s within a year of each other, all when I was 21, and to me they encapsulate a time period.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER CREATIVE MEDIUMS YOU WORK IN?
I would say that I am pretty crafty overall. My friends call me the anti Martha Stewart because I can do everything she does, my life just doesn’t even closely resemble hers. I can draw, as I drew the Tattoo on my right hip. I love making gifts for family and loved ones because they mean so much more – both the giving and receiving. So, I do whatever craft is necessary to complete the project. Sometimes I am a seamstress. I have also been known to knit and crotchet, make candles and jewelry.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE?
Dubstep is probably my favorite due to the bass. There are several good artists from San Francisco where I live that I love seeing live. I listen to music most of my day, and always when I am writing. It helps keep me motivated to finish what is in front of me.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
Travel. I love visiting new places and experiencing the calm that comes over me once I begin to relax. It is a wonderful experience to withdraw from ones daily life and routines, and experience a change. I think you become a more flexible person that way, and my life needs flexibility.
See more of Charisma Lane: