Our May Model of the Month, Noctua is here! Noctua can be seen here powerfully modeling our Summer 2022 Collection, the Ingela Swim Top and Bette Swim Bottoms. This look in particular was voted our first to highlight on our Instagram by all of you on our story! Learn more about the model showing off our latest SG classic.
1. Aside from occasionally modeling for SmartGlamour – what do you do?
I do… alot. I head a speculative fiction imprint as the editor. I’m a children’s book reviewer. I’m associate editor of prose at an online magazine. I’m a children’s writing instructor. And I also do drag, burlesque, and cosplay.
2. How did you get involved with the brand?
I saw a photo of my dear friend, Ari, wearing this gorgeous garment and was like, “Excuse me, WHERE?” They told me all about SmartGlamour and the next time a call for new models opened up, they sent it my way!
3. You’ve modeled for us multiple times – what makes you continue to come back?
I love being able to wear clothes that make me feel good, actually fit me, and don’t make me dysphoric about my gender. I love that you actually take your models’ personalities and personal styles into consideration when outfitting them. I’ve never gotten my set for a shoot and thought, “Why would Mallorie put this on me?” I’m always like, “Holy hell, Mallorie put my goth ass in a color and I’m LOVING it.” I always come away from the shoots absolutely feeling myself!
4. What does body liberation mean to you?
As a Black, plus-size, nonbinary person… everything. I want to be able to walk freely in the world without my body constantly being policed and ridiculed in every way. I’m either literally being policed because I’m Black, or the shape and size of my body is being scrutinized in some way. I’ve always been shaped this way and used to feel so self-conscious. I’ve got about six years of ballet under my belt among other dance forms and, to this day, it’s still one of my least favorite dance forms to do because of how awkward I felt being the “Big Black Ballerina.” Watching myself dancing next to thin, petite, white girls in the mirror every week for six years definitely had a negative effect on my body image. And honestly, the burlesque community is no different. Add my gender to the mix and it’s trash soup. I’ve had comments made plenty of times at shows about my body hair. I’m completely aware of what my tips look like after shows with mostly queer audiences versus shows with mostly straight audiences. I’m aware of it when I’m the biggest person in the show, the only Black person or, sometimes, only person of color at all, and there have been times when I was both the biggest and only POC in a show. I’ve had bad dates because I was too tall, or dressed “too weird.” I’ve had men straight up cancel dates with me when they look back at my photos and realize I have body hair. In college I worked at American Eagle for a couple of years and would get fat shamed by a customer at least once a day. Later, when I was working at Teavana, my manager said to me, in front of several coworkers, “You need to wear looser clothes. Your body is inappropriate in that outfit and it’s distracting people.”… I was wearing slacks, a loose sweater and the required Teavana apron. Body liberation, to me, would mean being able to exist in the world without having to constantly worry about all of THAT. I am so sick of THAT.
5. If there is a message you could put across to women, femmes, and non binary folks through your modeling photos – what would that be?
Firstly, Do you. BE YOU. And fuck all else. Don’t settle for anything that does not support your authenticity. At the end of the day, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. The only person you have to live with is yourself. So make sure every time you look in that mirror, or at that photo or video; everytime you walk out the door or step into a shoot or on a stage that you’re doing it for YOU. You come first, which means making yourself feel good before extending that feeling to anyone else. Secondly, Gender is a construct. Wear whatever the hell makes you feel like you can take on the world.
6. What is your advice to people who would like to give modeling a try?
Give modeling a try. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll be someone’s. Just because you haven’t found your audience doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Step out into the light and they WILL find you.
A big thank you to our model of the month, Noctua for sharing a bit about themselves! It is always inspiring to learn more about our models at SmartGlamour.