Sophie, aka So Ladycat

Published: 26 March, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 190, September, 2010

Judging by the amount of mail we get on a daily basis - yes, daily - it strikes us that there are big, big numbers of Skin Deep readers out there who are interested in kick starting careers in modelling - specifically and rather obviously, of the inked variety. 

Globally, the opportunities are seemingly endless with most – if not all – off the shelf tattoo magazines featuring some variant on the theme. Rather than offer up an editorial perspective on the odds of this happening for you, (which to be honest I can sum up by saying – act like a professional and use a professional photographer), we thought it would make sense to have somebody who actually does the work who is still climbing the ladder do the commentary for us.

As luck would have it, I crowbarred some time in Cannes with So Ladycat to talk about this very thing. While it’s not essential to change your name to something that resembles a character from Barbarella, it does help set you apart if your real name is umm, how shall we say... not so memorable?

“I started three years ago, by working, working, working a lot! My first photoshoot wasn't good enough, so I worked with more and more photographers until we made THE good picture! When I do a photoshoot, I'm not a simple model, I have to work on the entire project to make sure it is right for me. I find the place where to shoot, I choose clothes, I do my own make-up and hair. I also read as many tattoo magazines as I can to understand what they were looking for and whether I have done what I need to do for them.

I started about nine years ago to sing and write (I am also a singer), and instinctively, I had to do some pictures to promote my work. At that time I wasn’t tattooed but once I had started – and I have a lot of ink done now - I found a real interest in a modelling career. I'm not a big fan of “mode” photoshoots, I like when there's a real story in a picture - being a tattooed model certainly offers more possibilities!

To me, being a model is just as important as singing and writing. These 3 things are the most important parts of my life. I don't do that for money, I do it because it's as necessary to me as breathing or eating! I love making all those things. I need to be creative, I need to express my feelings. I stopped all my artistic works for more than a year around 2008 because I lost one of the most important souls in my life. It was as if I was empty. I didn't have anything to say or to show. So I can't say if I'll do this forever, life will decide for me, but but I have so many things to express, so I will keep on doing it as long as I can."

Here at Skin Deep, we’re currently looking at our stance on the amount of photo manipulation that goes on behind the scenes in the creation of model photographs – speaking as a model, do you have strong opinions on this?

“I think everyone is free to make what they want. Everyone has his own vision of beautiful and artistic things. I love it when photographers use Photoshop to change the contrast for example, make something into an old style picture or basically use it to create special effects. What I hate is to be retouched, myself. I mean, I want people to recognize me when they meet me! I'm not a skinny girl, and I'm a real small woman, and I'm proud about that!" 

So, if we can pretend for a moment that you have an audience with Skin Deep readers, can you give us some key facts that might shed some light on the subject for them?

"Damn - who am I to give advice! I have so many things to learn!

Firstly, be curious - in everything! Get some interest in many things, it's the best way to get a good grounding in culture, and then to make good things happen from it.

But, secondly, keep your own style. Don't try to be like "this one" or to make things like "this other one", it doesn't have any kind of interest for you in the long-term.

Also, I'd say that you have to believe in you, no matter what some people may say about you. Of course, you have to listen to every kind of critic, good and bad, but the only thing to listen to is the little voice inside of you.

You must be professional, be on time when you have a photoshoot, gain the respect of all the people who work with you otherwise your career will be very short!

Most importantly, stay real! Keep your family and good friends near you, people in whom you can trust. You will need them!"   

It’s only fair being as you’ve taken time out to do this with me that I let you tell me more about your singing – this is your shot! 

"As I said before, I started my singing-writing career 9 years ago. It's really important to me to write my own lyrics (my poetry book was published some years ago). I've worked with many composers, recording some songs - like my covers of Lollipop and Sugar Sugar. Now I am working with Eric Soulas and recording a demo of 12 songs. Right now, we are working with a professional musician to record some of our songs as professionally as possible, to get the chance to be listened to by producers and labels.

At the moment it's more a studio project – but the principles of creating this are exactly the same as those for modelling. You can listen to my work at: www.myspace.com/soladycat

I think the internet is a fantastic way to show off your work and to get a connection with fans and get better at what you do, but I don't really believe that it can offer real success.

To make it work I know I need a team around me to promote myself, because I'm not really good at that sort of promotional work! Though someone did ask me recently where he could buy a book of my photoshoots. I thought it could be a good idea but at the moment the most important project is to record my album. I keep my myspace page up to date all the time if people wish to know what I am doing!"

Credits

Text: Sion Smith; Photography: Jay McLaughlin

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Skin Deep 190 21 September 2010 190
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