While shooting with Hannah Perez last month I had the opportunity to site down and do an interview with her about her thoughts on modeling, the lessons she learned from her worst photo shoot, and her aspirations. Thanks to Hannah for taking some time to site down with me at the end of our shoot.
Bill: What type of model do you consider yourself?
Hannah: I would consider myself primarily an art model. A figure model as opposed to a fashion or commercial model.
Bill: What do you hope to get out of modeling?
Hannah: Well ultimately I would like to get into fitness modeling because I think it’s something that’s going to offer me the most opportunities at least as far as length of time so that’s kind of my ultimate goal. In the meantime I just enjoy the experience of being able to meet new photographers and other models and just having a blast doing all that.
Bill: How much do you travel for your modeling?
Hannah: I would say at least once a month I’ll make a trip out somewhere. It’s usually in driving distance. If I happen to be vacationing somewhere I’ll always try to line up some work, but most of the work I do is pretty local to me. I’d say within an hour and a half to two hours of where I live.
Bill: You mentioned earlier that this is your first travelling type shoot going somewhere with the specific intent of working.
Hannah: Yea, this is my first time going into unfamiliar territory unaccompanied for a week’s time at that.
Bill: Hannah, what do you think makes a good model?
Hannah: I think it’s a little bit of everything. It’s not just someone who has a pretty face or a good body, but someone who’s mindful of their position, their posing. Somebody who kind of tries to put themselves in the photographer’s shoes and really kind visualize what the photographer is seeing. Also somebody who is professional and courteous, punctual, and doesn’t flake out on other people and takes it seriously.
Bill: Do you think modeling is art?
Hannah: Oh absolutely I think it’s a form of art. It’s a collaboration of artists getting together to produce image which is definitely a form of art.
Bill: So what drew you to doing nude work?
Hannah: I don’t really recall any impetus that said you need to be a nude model. I think it’s something that just kind of fell in my lap and to tell you the truth I can’t remember exactly how it started, but once I got started I immediately felt comfortable in front of the camera so it was something I started to have a lot of fun with and decided if I can make a living doing this all the better.
Bill: Did you get any flak from family or friends when you first started doing nude modeling?
Hannah: No as a matter of fact I kept it and continue to keep it pretty discreet particularly among family members. I don’t really share with them what type of modeling I do for the most part. In my immediate family, some people know some people don’t. For the most part everybody who knows is pretty supportive.
Bill: Tell me about your first nude shoot. Were you nervous? Did it go well?
Hannah: My first nude shoot started off clothes like a lot do. I guess by the end of it I was fully nude. Maybe to me that was an indication to me that I’d be good for this because I didn’t have any real apprehension about doing it. I guess if you pick the right people to work with it’s a pretty natural experience.
Bill: Now how do you do on nude shoots?
Hannah: Well as I told you before I may be accused of being too comfortable because I don’t really distinguish between wearing clothes and not sometimes. I’m very comfortable with it and I enjoy it more and more every time.
Bill: Tell me about the worst shoot you’ve ever had.
Hannah: Oh goodness. Well, that’s a tough question because I’ve had bad shoots but not all for the same reason.
Bill: Tell me the one that really stands out in your mind as one you’re glad you don’t have to experience again.
Hannah: Well when I first started doing this I answered a craigslist ad against my better judgement and a guy had represented himself as the owner of a web site similar to natural nudes or natural babes or something. I can’t remember. When I got to the shoot at a hotel, it was an upscale hotel, but her was a little too touchy feely, he offered me wine, he tried to kiss me goodnight. By the end of it I really felt he should have paid me a lot more to do what I had to suffer through during that shoot. It was very unproductive. I never got any images from it. He wanted to work with me again and needless to say I didn’t give him that opportunity.
Bill: So what did you learn from that shoot? What did you take away that helped you in the future?
Hannah: Well what I learned is to be very skeptical of Craigslist ads. Do some research. This is for photographers and models alike. You never know what you’re getting. Not to say that there are all frauds on Craigslist. You always want to do your research and make sure this person is legitimate. Do they have a work history ? DO they have a web site with samples of their work? Do they have references, etc? That’s something you should really take the time to look into before working with anybody.
Bill: How do you define art?
Hannah: I think art is anything that really inspires or is thought provoking to somebody. Anything that makes you stop and think. Anything that captivates you.
Bill: What is the most controversial thing you’ve ever created?
Hannah: Not any more controversial than what a lot of models do which is dabbling into the adult side of the industry. I don’t think I’ve done anything too outrageous. I have worked in some bizarre environments. Off the top of my head I can’t think of the most controversial thing. Probably the involvement of some kind of adult toy.
Bill: Tell me what you think is too far to go? Where do you draw that line?
Hannah: For me I will not work with male models period. I will work with female models, but there are limitations there. I’ll do sensual, artistic, or even erotic scenes with females. I will not have sex with females. I will do some more explicit solo work and that’s pretty much where I’d draw the line. And of course no animals.
Bill: That’s a good line right there I think. What’s something you’ve not done to this point that you’d really like to do someday in modeling?
Hannah: Oh gosh there’s so many. I really would like to get into alternative type modeling. Not really alternative, but I really want to work with photographer who produce really in your face thought provoking images. There are too many concepts to mention here. I think I would also like to try my hand at Playboy or Maxim or something like that. OF course that would be quite an accomplishment. Ultimately I’m really more focused on the fitness type modeling.
Bill: So a fitness magazine is your goal? The day you’re on the cover of a fitness magazine you’ve made it.
Hannah: Sure, sure I think that would be a pretty definitive moment in my modeling career.
Bill: What’s one question you’ve already wanted to ask a photographer? Anything you want?
Hannah: Most photographers I work with are pretty forthcoming.
Bill: You don’t do too long in this business unless you’re pretty open toward people.
Hannah: Yea. There hasn’t been anybody I’ve sat there any really had to wonder about and come up with a story for because they were that mysterious. Most photographers I’ve worked with have shared a lot and in some cases a little more than I thought was necessary.
Bill: Too much information.
Hannah: Sometimes. I find it interesting. I don’t think that question really applies to me because a lot of photographers if there’s anything I want to know, I ask them. You know what they do for a living, how they got into photography, how long they’ve been in it, etc.
Bill: Last one silly question. What do you sleep in?
Hannah: I actually hate sleeping nude. It really bothers me. I like to wear a nightgown or a tank and at least some undies if not a comfortable pair of shorts. I’m a big fan of flannel in the wintertime. There’s nothing sexy about my sleepwear. It’s the truth it’s what’s most comfortable for me.
Bill: Thanks for taking some time to talk today.