I thought I’d reintroduce myself. Last year I wrote a bio for my webpage, and I when people ask for information about me; I refer them back to my bio – however being the person that I am; I’d personally not go and look for my bio 😂. Not because I’m lazy – because I’m too darn busy to scroll through pages. Though I personally think some of my blogs are rather funny and well worth going through.
Who is Alli?
Hi! My name is Allison-Ann Montgomery-Maaske. So in answer to the most common questions:
I am 39 years old, my birthday is on 21 January and I am an Aquarius. Yes, it’s on the cusp – however I am indeed first day of an Aquarius. I am a spiritual being believing that we are the universe and the universe is us. We were created as the universe/God/Almighty Power existing in a human form/life. My full time job is as a model, ambassador for various brands, professional entertainment presence, Life Coach and counsellor.
I am a mum of two (Daughter and Son – 17 and 15), I’m studying part time psychology. I also have qualifications as a professional make-up artist, beautician, certified book keeper, diploma in social media marketing, diploma in photography (entry/beginner), diploma in sports nutrition and in fitness & weight loss.
NOTE: This goes against all writing rules, however this is also practically my CV, therefor all sentences – or nearly all of them – will start with: “I am” #sorrynotsorry
I am very very VERY passionate about equality (aka feminism – however people seem to think that word is the same as sexist, therefore we will stick to equality), empowerment and most of all: HELPING PEOPLE TO HEAL (will get back to this in a moment). I am a public speaker, and have spoken many times in front of pretty big crowds whilst living in England. Yes, I’ve lived in the UK most my adult life. My children are English, though we’ve been in South Africa the past 7 years.
I am a fitness fanatic, health fanatic and advocate for love and kindness. In fact I believe we would have a more harmonious life if we had a fair balance of those four areas. I’m also obsessed with human behaviour…..
But don’t let the diagnoses fool you…
I was diagnosed with several medical conditions through-out my life including Lupus, PCOS, rheumatoid arthritis, and various other lines’. I also have Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. I personally have been a stat/victim of sexual abuse and violence, physical and mental abuse.
I am incredibly grateful for all the above – it created and shaped the person I am. I have a burning desire to help as many people as possible, realise their dreams and passions, assist as many people as possible to achieve their dreams and passions, and most of all help as many people as possible heal from whatever obstacles or challenges they have faced (or currently facing).
My nude modelling is another passion. I have always been comfortable in my skin. Knowing that I am able to express a certain “look” or communicate without saying a single word; through my modelling is beautiful to me. Being your authentic self is beautiful. The human form is incredibly powerful, mechanical, breathtakingly beautiful. That each human was created the same but completely different? Just WOW! That with the help of one gesture; you can communicate love, anger, sadness, excitement, or even erotica.
In saying that,
I do not expect everyone to feel the way I do. I understand that what is liberating to me may be constrictive to another. Therefore I would never expect people to believe that nudity is the only or the right way. However I suppose with my art I’d like to believe that it has shown people that nudity can be beautiful. And to break that stigma of nudity = sex. Or nudity is “attention seeking”.
Now with all of the above – I trust I have given you all the answers to all the common questions I’m usually asked.
One last thing
I LOVE music and books and most of all intellectual conversations.
Being a more “mature” model and having the experience I do have; and I am often asked to help out with suggestions or advice with or for other models and photographers.
Here are a few top tips:
1. Are you sure?
Being a “shmodel” is not always as cracked up as you think it is. Especially in our country where you are limited with exposure (certainly not much for the average model in Europe or the States). To be on the cover of any comercial magazine would take more than a pretty face. In fact it would take a “someone” to believe that you have potential. So be prepared for a lot of hard work. A lot of casting calls – these you will have to look for and pitch up to. Every. Single. One. Should you wish to work as an editorial, beauty or commercial model – join an agency. A good one. One that has proven success in placing their models. And be prepared that this can be a soul destroying job – if you allow it to be.
2. Build a Portfolio
Your CV in the modelling world starts with a few images of you. Do your research and find a professional photographer that has experience in assisting models with their portfolio shots. The pricing various however you would look at anything between R1500 and R3000 for a set of portfolio images. If you join an agency; they would assist you in your portfolio shots. These images would include: * front and side shot of your face including shoulders (hair back WITHOUT make-up) * portrait * swimwear * fashion * catalogue You DO NOT need to have any nude images nor would you be expected to be semi naked in any portfolio shots.
3. It starts within
As in many other industries; this industry can be unforgiving and people talk. ALOT. So if you do not look after yourself (your diet, water intake and training) it shows. It shows in your eyes, teeth, hair, nails, skin and BO. YES. Body odour. Make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water and train regularly. Eat clean meaning no junk food, no sugar. I have been at so many jobs where I hear some of my fellow model friends being discussed; how dirty their feet are or how they smell of alcohol, or their breath smells or their skin looks terrible.
4. Take it seriously and everyone will take you seriously
As in the corporate world, you need to be professional. This means being on time. This means having the respect and courtesy to engage with your client and to let them know should your plans change, your waist size change; you are sick etc. Be friendly – no one likes a grumpy ass. Be mindful of your language – not everyone appreciates a foul mouth. Don’t get too comfortable – no matter how lovely your client/ photographer is; it’s still a job. Respect that! Respect them; and most of all respect the job! No one likes a diva.
5. Safety First
You HAVE to do your research on whoever and where ever you shoot. Too many girls arrive at a job and realise that the photographer is not who he said he was. Or that the job required a lot more than what was explained. When you communicate with your client, ask a few questions (see point 6) and perhaps talk to other models who worked with him before. Make sure you tell at least two of your family members and/or friends where you are going, who the client is and their contact details. Whenever I go to new clients; I send a location pin on WhatsApp to my husband and a few friends. This way; should anything ever happen they have my location. Also remember that if anyone ever tells you that you can’t bring someone along; then start investigating why? You should be able to bring anyone with you – as long as you ensure that the said person will not interfere with your work (unless you are in danger)
6. Questions to ask
A few questions that I would strongly recommend you ask to ensure you are well prepared for the job as well as safe
a. When and Where? The obvious questions. Make sure that you save these details (including business name and address) and should you be unsure of the location ask. Ask the questions of parking and security.
b. Mood board. Should your client not have a mood board; they will provide you with reference ideas. ***Mood board is an arrangement of various colours, ideas, images, text etc to evoke or project the feel or desired result your client would want
c. Ask for references of people who your client worked with in the past – contact these references to confirm what their working experience was with your client.
d. Ask for your client’s portfolio – this should be readily available.
e. Ask for your client’s social media pages and handles. Should they not have any; investigate why. We live in a generation where social media is a critical tool for any business. I personally get worried when someone says they don’t have social media.
f. Should you be approuched by someone on social media; ask them for their business names, address, contact number and email address. Then ask them to contact you via email with the specifications of what is required. OR ask them to call you in order for you to have a professional conversation. Should it sound dodgy; you could always block them. Also should they not have a profile image or any images or posts that suggest what they do; ignore and block.
g. Ask how long they will require you for the job and what you will need to bring along.
h. I would always recommend requesting a pre-meeting to meet your client prior to the day. This will also ensure that you meet a “real” person, and should you feel uncomfortable you do not waste your time by accepting the job.
7. Fail to Prepare = Prepare to Fail
So now you’ve secured the job and booked for a shoot. The thing is that you now not only want to ACE this job; you want to leave a lasting impression. You want to be booked again; and most importantly; you want your client to recommend you.
a. You get enough sleep the night before – at least 8 hours. I promise you, lack of sleep shows and the retoucher will grumble whilst editing those dark circles or puffy bags under the eyes. Believe it or not – your skin tells on you (the traitor!)
b. DRINK WATER!! not just the night before; but the week before. In fact – water is any model, actress, athlete – anyone’s secret weapon for healthy skin, hair – ALLES.
c. Pack your bags. whatever was agreed with your client, pack your wardrobe/shoes/gown the night before to ensure that you wake up the next morning and just go.
d. Bring toiletries (face cream, vaseline, body lotion, deodorant, socks, a towel, soap, hair tie and clips, brush) along. These come in handy a lot of times.
e. DO NOT go out to party, or drink alcohol the night before – it shows and you will smell terrible.
f. Make sure you charge your phone the night before.
g. Pack your meals the night before. You do not want your blood sugar to drop nor do you want to become hangry 😁 You will thank me! Oh and remember to pack water!
h. Wash your hair the night before. No one likes dirty hair.
i. Self tan is a big NO NO – don’t do it. It streaks, sometimes your skin reacts weirdly, and sometimes on the screen your skin looks orange. Don’t do it!
j. DON’T squeeze pimples. They leave marks and more often than not, you will make them worse.
k. If you wax; make sure you wax TWO days prior. Not the day before; as waxing leaves a rack or inflamed red skin.
8. The D Day
Whilst on the job, remember you are being paid to be there. Therefor conduct yourself in a polite manner. DON’T use your phone whilst shooting – you are there to work. Unless previously arranged or agreed; do not take “behind the scenes” images.
This is not because people are fickle; but for professional reasons companies do have a confidentiality clause.
DO NOT chew chewing gum whilst shooting. Every client I have ever worked with gets incredibly irked with shooting someone that looks like a grazing cow.
Leave the restrooms, changing rooms and studio the way you have found it.
Once the shoot is over, drink a coffee but do not over stay your welcome.
DO NOT drink any alcohol with your clients/other models; and whilst working. AT ALL.
Do not exchange details with other contractors or other potential clients whilst working. This can be done once you have completed your job.
8. BE HUMBLE
It takes absolutely no extra energy to be kind and to be humble. There are thousands of other models in Johannesburg – let alone in South Africa. Being chosen for a job means that someone have seen value in you. However there is no reason at all; to ever act like a Diva. People follow people – if you’re going to act like a diva or b*&ch; then you will likely not be hired again. And remember what I said? People talk.
9. The long and short of it
Being a model would mean that your images would be released publicly. Remember that whatever you choose to do, or whatever direction you choose to pursue, you cannot undo images that are on the internet or on someones hard drive.
So for starters: Your public persona is important. Your clients will research you as you research them. Posting racial, political and other content that may upset some people would not be a good idea. Posting videos of you behaving in a disrespectful or ill mannered fashion, would again not sit very well at all.
Also remember that your opinions and comments on other peoples posts many be held against you. Airing your dirty laundry is tasteless. I personally do not share anything about my family as it is part of my personal life, and as much as I have chosen my career in the “public eye” they did not.
10. The “N” Word
One last thing that I must touch on. A lot of models go into this industry naive or ignorant about what is expected of them.
You do not – DO NOT – need to take your clothes off, or shoot nude to be a model. I will say this again : To be a successful model – you are not expected or obliged to be naked, semi-nude or undress in front of anyone.
My advice to any young model is to not even consider glamour or nude modelling until they have had at least 5 years working experience within the industry. There is no rush. Some say that your prime is at 21 – yes, for any modelling genre that may be the truth; but the nude industry is not nearly as strict and selective.
Once you take your clothes off in front of the camera – your images are on someones hard drive and your images will always be on the internet. Some models think it’s a great idea at the time, only to meet the man of their dreams who disapproves of that. Or they start a religious journey, that does not agree with nudity. Now you have to try and get all that content removed. Think very carefully before choosing to shoot nude.
There are so much more to this; however this is my “compact’ version. As with any of my posts : please do not hesitate to contact me on any of my platforms should you have any questions at all. I am a model coach and run workshops specifically dedicated for models. This includes do’s and don’ts, posing, and life coaching.
We are all guilty of hypocrisy. It certainly isn’t intended, yet we all do this.
I have yet again had a rant on social media regarding some
of my posts being deleted from my pages. Taking it rather personally sometimes;
I can’t understand why people would report my images. It’s art after all! If
people do not like it; then they should scroll past or unfollow me!
This morning I read a post that made me stop and rethink
this thought process. If you know me; you’d know I’m all about love and
kindness. About tolerance and acceptance. Yet here I am throwing a wobbly like
a three year old, because I am not having my way. Because people are unfair!
I was brought up by my mamma to accept that everyone will
never think the same way, believe in the same things, and feel the same.
Example being that different religions; one believes modesty as part of their religious
culture and that it would be a sin to bare any skin or hair. The other believes
it would be wrong to eat certain kind of foods. Does it make either religion
wrong or right? No. There is no wrong or right. Similarly when you have someone
who believes a high protein or Keto diet is the way to go, and someone else
believes that you should really only have a plant based diet. Neither is wrong;
you do what is best for you and what is good for your reality.
So this post I read that was posted by a close friend;
states that nudity will always offend someone. Will always be “too this or too
that”. There’s no point in fighting this as we are all human and all very
different. And it dawned on me that I am an advocate for equality. For
supporting one another no matter what your thought processes are – yet here I am
getting angry for people not seeing or believing what I am, believe or stand
Surely it’s disrespectful to dismiss other people’s point of
views, opinions and beliefs? Yes it certainly is unjust for those to then
preach what is wrong with what you do and condemn you for it; however we live
in a society – all be it unfair mostly – where we have freedom of speech and
beliefs. Therefore surely we should be more considerate of one another’s lives
and how they choose to live it; or how we choose to express ourselves. Though I’d
implore each person to look past the superficial and perhaps to dig a little deeper as to what others do and how
they live prior to condemning them; I’d certainly also suggest to move along
should it not be your kind of “thing”. You know? Like when you get an invitation
to the movies, but you much rather sit at home? Or you’re vegan and invited to
a Buckhurst festival? You would politely decline and get on with life!
Based on the above I’ve decided to acknowledge that though I
am on a mission to not only empower other women – to feel proud of being
themselves and in their own skin, but also not to care what other’s think; I
will respect the fact that not everyone agrees on nudity. I may not understand
why. I may not necessarily agree on their thought processes; I will however
respect their opinions and move on. Rather than having a tantrum as to why
people don’t see life through my eyes.
I will continue with my work. Doing what I do; I hope to perhaps have some see something beautiful in what I do. Some to change their perception on the nude human form. And if I don’t; that is also okay.