I’ve recently decided that I have too many eggs in one basket and too many fingers in a pie. And as much as it’s brilliant to think that I am a “Jack of all trades”- reality is that where you focus you grow. And unfortunately it is impossible to grow in too many avenues.
I have had to deal with a few personal challenges which caused another Lupus flare. This consisted of mostly extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, aching joints and recently swollen face. Not being able to sleep comfortably yet feeling so incredibly exhausted really took its toll. Then the social media frustrations…
As most of you know; I’ve taken a short break from Social Media. This was prompted after the frustration of not being able to follow other accounts, like others’ posts at times and not being able to comment on other’s posts. Should you not know this; these actions are all integral for the growth of your social media profiles. (Besides the fact that I actually enjoy interacting with my followers.)
I do not take it [social media] too seriously; however I do depend on getting work through some of my social media pages. This all led to me deciding on a little detox. Now as much as such a decision is rather easy; allot of my close friends continue checking up on me asking me whether I’m “coping” without my Social Media accounts. Was I really that much on those platforms that people thought I’d struggle?
Whilst all of this is said with tongue in cheek, one of the scariest realisations recently is that people place so much value on social media that they actually identify their social standing or even their life accomplishments on being “available, present and seen” on their profiles. Their “likes” and “followers” become such an obsession that they begin to identify themselves with it! Studies have now shown that teen depression and teen suicidal tendencies are at its highest ever. This largely due to the pressure of a “false life” on social media.
You see it way too often on the story lines. You see someone you idolise at some prominent restaurant and perhaps take a short video of sipping on some exotic drink with bags of shopping around them. This now seems very ideal; and probably cool to the average teen, who copies this. Only they try and emulate what they saw. Perhaps trying on the newest brand clothing and posting it as if they have just bought it. Another peer sees this and envies this. Perhaps goes to a bespoke bar and takes a snap insinuating that they dine there. This is seen by others who now feel so depressed that they are unable to afford these kind of life styles exhibited by their peers. And so the circle continues. Talking to people “in the know”, social media is still so new that these issues that come along with it is just as new, and our experts have no experience in treating this. Or very little at the moment.
It’s become quite evident how Social Media can take over and how one can allow it to affect them. Taking breaks and also limiting the amount of time you “check” on what’s going on, “checking in” to see what is going on, and “checking new likes and follows”, all will benefit your mental health I assure you. What I have personally realised from this is that when I have a spare moment I usually grab my phone and try catching up.
When I announced that I’d take a break, I deleted every social media application off my phone. This not only takes away temptation to “just quickly check what’s going on”, but also in those moments that you’d forget about your decision. I am so surprised that I have continuously had a couple moments free time and automatically went for my phone to catch up, only to see a void where the apps were – and feeling literally confused and lost. Like what now? What can I do with the time I used to spend on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter?
With most smart phones now; you are able to gauge how much time is spent on your phone, and reminders “to take breaks”.
This break from my virtual reality made me realise that I’m not only “detoxing” from Social Media, I’m freeing up “thinking space” and allowing my creative juices to flow freely. Less human interaction – which in reality exhausted me – and more ME time. Whilst social media is an integral part of what I do; I will from now on take one day completely away from all social media, as well as once a month take a four day break. I’d suggest to anyone and everyone to do the same. Take days completely away from Social Media – to allow your mind a break as well as to connect with nature/family/real life/ hobbies etc. It is so easy to get carried away with this virtual reality. So easy to loose sight of YOU. So easy to get caught up in other people’s (pretend?) lives and neglect your own self.
I spoke to someone recently about what their life purpose is. It has dawned on me that so many people are on the same path of self realisation. Little comments about how suddenly you just don’t feel like putting up with certain energies. How things feel differently. How it has become more common to meditate or stay with people who “gets” you and “vibes” with you. Talking about spiritual growth and awakening. This is such an exciting time to be alive.
Recently I listened to a podcast where they said that imagine we used the jargon above 50/60 years ago. “Hold on Ann, I just need to clean my chakras”. Or “Sorry Steve, I get a bad energy from that crowd so won’t join you tonight”. How about “Frank, please take the Rose Quarts and Amethyst with you when you’re called for national service”.
Truth is that times are changing so rapidly and people are becoming more and more aware how their energies, their vibes and their thought processes influence themselves, their circles around them and their future. And how their attitude, their beliefs and their outlooks can change their present and future circumstances.
Most of all though, how we all have a life purpose. A soul purpose. That all this woo-woo stuff I’m talking about has now been scientifically proven and backed.
So I spoke to this person about our life purpose. About how each of us are destined to (together) change the world and humanity; and they brought up that they are not cut out to stand on a stage and preach or to become some revolutionist. They can’t even talk in front of their family.
But that’s not the point. Like my husband says. It’s all about a little ripple in a pond. When one person is kind, loving and generous to those in their immediate circles, they create a little ripple. This ripple that affects perhaps a handful of people, also inspires those they touch; to do the same. So that one ripple multiplies by several ripples. This has a knock-on affect that then encourages more and more humans to do the same. A little kindness, a little love, a little understanding and a little generosity that eventually becomes a massive wave and affects everyone.
So whilst some of us were born to have a voice in front of the masses and literally be an inspiring presence in the public eye; the rest of us were born to be an inspiration to our close knit friends and families. And perhaps by doing some small act of kindness that changes several other peoples lives and restore some faith in humanity.
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.
I think one of the common questions I receive is: “how do you do what you do?”. Which goes hand in hand with “when did you start doing what you’re doing?” as well as “what made you decide to do what you do?”. However the most frequently asked question about me would be: what do you actually do?
Though there is no definitive answer to these questions, I figured I’d tell you a little more about how I happened to get into this profession; what else I do and reply to some of those exciting rumours going around.
You’d be surprised to know that as much as I am a shmodel, I do have a few qualifications and do in fact come from a learned back ground. I am also a dork; and love big words, big books, big subjects and most of all big love.
A few years ago, I made the decision to turn my life around. Always being an outcast; always being different and always battling to fit within the expected norm of society – it took it’s toll and I had to make some changes.
I did a fun shoot for a friend, and after was approach by another photographer to do a fun lifestyle and boudoir shoot. I was really flattered as I never saw myself pretty enough to do any such shoots, let alone good enough to be approach by a pro photographer. During that shoot, I had no problem getting changed in front of this particular photographer, who later asked if I would be willing to shoot nude, which in all fairness was a pretty liberating thought; however being from a corporate background and married with children, I declined. Why? Because of the fear of what others would say and think.
Fast forward a couple years when I had shot with various photographers (mostly amateurs) and started posing nude more often.
I was at work the one day and realised how wasted my life was. Getting up each day, dreading what I did, dreading the people at the financial firm, dreading contacting my network of people having to do meetings when I’d much rather sit and chat to them about their lives – rather than selling them the next “exclusive investment”. In the interim I also co-owned a separate business assisting people to invest in a diverse portfolio of investments (currency, precious metals, property, crypto etc)
I lost my rag a couple times at the office and one day Marc our senior manager called myself and a colleague in for a “chat” about performances etc. Marc was really lovely about my , non performance, yet I decided right there and then that I will not return or fight or beg. I phoned my husband and the decision to quit my corporate life was then made.
**I still have a financial company in which I am a silent partner, and still assist people investing in anything but fiat currency**
My vision and passion
I started investing more of my time (no pun intended) in photoshoots and created a website. Working alongside professional photographers, I have created a vast portfolio of images that have since been used and sold for marketing, art, sketching, advertising etc. Since this decision was made I have started to mentor younger models and fitness athletes as well as young individuals in various aspects of their lives to achieve their goals. I am a life coach and busy studying psychology to become a trauma counsellor.
Along with the above you may call me a serial networker, influencer and artist. My business now extends to assisting companies and brands with their marketing through my contacts and models/athletes.
Those Tellers of Tall Tales
Rumours will always be around. You simply cannot be in my industry if you do not have a thick skin. One thing I have made peace with, is the fact that you as the viewer and reader will make up your own mind. Whether I take my clothes off (and therefor a “porn star”), or whether I create something beautiful on film: is an opinion you have that I do not control. My aim is to create something beautiful visually. And furthermore to show others that they can “start over” – at any age. You are not limited to what you can do and when you can do this.
My personal goals are to inspire as many people as possible and to make a positive difference in their lives.
I do socialise a lot and therefore I will always be seen with several people. This does not mean I am romantically involved with them. I have two children one of which is at Uni studying art, and the other being gifted as he is; is at home school and a junior SA gymnast. Both are successful and driven children and both are very proud of me.
My family are all very proud of me. Some of them are very religious and others are not. They are my biggest fans and accept what I do just as they would accept another person in a different industry.
If you would like any information on any of the services I offer; feel free to mail me on: [email protected]
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.