Gosh, hasn’t 2020 been a rollercoaster?! With most of the world in some form of lockdown right now, it’s been impossible for me to deliver my usual in-person boudoir joy to clients. Fear not though, because I’ve refused to let a pandemic hold me down(!) and I’m back (to quote Daft Punk) ‘harder, better, faster and stronger’ with my new offering of Virtual Shoots. The gorgeous Xamia Arc was one of my very first clients to book this package, and I’m so excited to host her on the blog today as she talks about her shoot experience, what to expect, and some of her stunning images!
Xamia Arc’s Virtual Boudoir Shoot took place using a tethered DSLR camera, controlled remotely via yours truly back in my studio. Most of my sessions are taking place with mobile phones, but if you happen to have a DSLR camera in your home, let me know at the time of booking and we can look into setting it up for me to control remotely.
Occupation: Fitter and Freelance Camera Assistant
How would your best friend describe you? Probably funny, weird and puts way too much effort into anything I do while also somehow being carefree!
Name three things that you always carry with you? My phone – for possible surprise cat pictures, my vintage compact and of course red lipstick, though on average I have 5 in my bag at any one time.
What was the last book you read? Room to Dream, a memoir and biography on David Lynch. He is one of my greatest inspirations for staying true to myself and my creative vision! Many chapters cover one of his works so I’d read the book on the tube to and from work, then when I reached the end of the chapter I’d watch the film through the lens of how he experienced it. It’s a wonderful insight into a creative powerhouse and I think there’s a lot for any creative to take away from it.
Do you remember how you originally found me? I’d seen you credited as the photographer through lots of people I admire, but I believe it was a photo of Miss Miranda which finally made me click through onto your profile and see your incredible work!
What inspired you to book a photoshoot? I’d been playing around with setting my hair again after a few months off and I was feeling pretty good about how I looked. I’d also had a really good shoot before I left NZ and it reminded me how fun a bit of posing can be. I then showed the possibility to my bestie and she absolutely convinced me to go for it! I wasn’t sure about doing it because I live in such a bare-bones flat at the moment but I couldn’t be more glad I did!
Who would play Xamia Arc in a movie of your life? If I could pick anyone from any time I think I’d go for a young Sherilyn Fenn. I’d love to see her in my more extreme look and I just think she’s an absolute star! Also, I’d like to think we don’t look too dissimilar.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that the internet doesn’t know about you yet? Probably how much of an enormous ‘weeb’ I am, which is a somewhat derogatory way of saying I like Japan, a lot. I studied Japanese all through high-school with the sole purpose of being able to watch anime and read manga in their original form (I’m still not nearly good enough to). I own several anime figurines, DVDs and have a small manga library at my parent’s house. I also love to cosplay but don’t get around to it nearly as much as I want to. I have whole itineraries planned for when I finally will get to visit Japan – down to the shops, parks and restaurants I want to visit.
Tell us about one of the outfits you wore for your shoot – why do you love it? I wore a set of Dita Von Teese Lingerie from the Exotique collection. I love a longline bra, I love a high-waisted knicker and with this particular set it has such great contrasts. It separates sheer and nude illusion lace with really graphic lines which I just think is such a great look. It’s almost a reimagining of an art deco style on 50’s foundations.
Describe your shoot experience? The shoot itself was wonderful! I was blessed enough to have a human tripod – my partner – help out on the day. I was obviously pretty nervous, I’d woken up late and I also made the mistake of eating pizza the night before so I was feeling a bit blah. But it was so nice having a chat at the start of the shoot and getting comfortable, the nerves always disappear quickly once you actually start posing, I find. The time really flew by and I had such a truly fun time!
What song gets you on the dancefloor? I am infamously not a dancer, after several years of working my way up to it, I can now bop to a song in public. I generally listen to metal so I’m actually more of a headbanger, which I guess could be a dance if you really loosened the definition! But if I do have to make a party playlist I’d have to put ‘Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels’ by Todrick Hall on there, I listen to that song in the shower and am immediately transported to a queer club giving the performance of my life! And a special mention to the obscure remix/mashup ‘infinity ink / / fierce’ by Jhassic on Soundcloud – that’s the song that really got me into listening to more dance music.
What are you most proud of in your career so far? I find this question really tricky as I’ve had a very eclectic work history so there are a few highlights which are really different from each other. But if I had to pick one, probably when I was an assistant for the brand Katherine Victoria. In 2017 we were selected to show at NZ Fashion Week so I flew up to Auckland with the designer where I got to help backstage with our runway presentation and a designer sale over the weekend. Seeing pieces I’d help construct walk down the runway and then to sit in the second row at a World show, I felt on top of the world (haha). I try really hard to keep those memories with me to motivate me and remind myself I can do anything!
What is your top body confidence tip? Take selfies in your underwear! I’m always posting my lingerie on Instagram but there’s a few that don’t make it on there. I recommend everyone puts on their favourite underwear, strike a flattering pose (or 20) and snap, snap, snap! If you have a photo of you looking amazing on your phone, even if you are having a really low day you can look at it and say ‘I look like that’. You may not feel amazing sitting in your pyjamas and staring at your tummy rolls after devouring a pizza but right there on your phone is proof that you look amazing.
What will your autobiography be called? ‘Eating Burgers in Lipstick’ and the start of each chapter can be a description of a memorable burger I ate around that time. Or maybe something like ‘Glamourous Trash’ because I think it’s important to not take yourself to seriously but also recognise how stunning you are.
If you could be a model for any brand, which brand would it be and why? I would love to model for Alexander McQueen, that aesthetic of classic shapes with a modern and dark edge is just iconic and really in line with my own style! But then I’m so torn because I’d love to model for Dita Von Teese Lingerie, their promo images are always so bold and unique. Imagine getting to see the lines before they launch as well! I’d also model for any brand if Pat McGrath was doing the makeup.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about booking a session of their own? Do it! Truly just do it. Tigz is a wonderful person and will get you comfortable, then challenge you with poses. I have 4 pieces of furniture in my room with white walls and Tigz somehow teased out incredible images. I am seriously floored by the photos coming out of these isolation shoots! She will not let you look bad.
What do you think is the BEST thing about lockdown? The best thing is probably having loads of time to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This game released at the perfect time and provides excellent relaxation and escapism. Also, this is the only way I can rent and feasibly live with 4 cats.
What do you think is the WORST thing about lockdown? The worst thing is the feeling that life isn’t progressing. I’d just got a flat in London and started a new job then we went into lockdown. I was planning on seriously grinding to see and do new things in this amazing new city. Now I’m stuck out in a suburb, in London, in a fairly new country and all of my friends are in a timezone with an 11hr difference to mine.
What are you most looking forward to doing when the lockdown is over? Going back to work! I’m a bit of a workaholic and I finally got a job I enjoy! I really miss my tube commutes as well, they gave me a really nice chance to read without feeling the guilt of having other things I could be doing.
What exciting project are you working on right now? I’m working on my YouTube channel at the moment. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a sewing machine here so with all my time I’ve been trying to make more videos, mainly around vintage and pinup styling. It’s something I want to continue out of lockdown as it can be tricky showing and describing things through just static blog posts.
Inspired by the glorious Xamia Arc? Book your own Virtual Boudoir Shoot with me today – devour all the information here and then slip me an email with your geographical location plus any potential dates. It’s time for your moment in the spotlight!