Hello Lady Macbeth, so nice you agreed to the interview, and many thanks for that. Even though I know you personally, I really wanted to share your words as I am sure you have a lot to say about the world of alt modeling and other stuff you do in life, so let’s start right away.
1. For those who don’t know, you originally come from Bosnia, and you currently live in Graz, Austria. You have also seen quite a lot of places around the globe, so what made you choose Graz and how did you end up there?
My dear Mare, thank you for having me! I simply can’t say “no” to you 🙂
This is true, I have lived in Germany, Brunei and I even have an Australian citizenship. My life has been quite an adventure. I decided on Graz mostly because it is not far away from home and they offer a fantastic program for English literature scholars. Graz is wonderful but I am actually seriously considering moving back to Germany where I grew up.
2. On your Facebook page you describe yourself as a PhD student of English literature, published author, animal lover, alternative model and a columnist. So can you tell us a little bit about everything?
Photographer: Nina Mašić – Photography & Retouch
Yes, I’m currently in the midst of my PhD program, focusing on the short stories of the famous Canadian author Margaret Atwood. English literature has always fascinated me, I have been collecting books since my childhood and I’m running out of space in the attic 🙂 I have published a book about Postcolonial studies of some of Shakespeare’s books and it’s available in various online bookstores including Amazon (shameless self-promotion right there :D). I guess I don’t have to explain much about alternative modeling but it started out as a favor done for a friend and afterwards I was offered some sponsorships. The snowball effect took place. I’ve been very lucky to have been able to work with some amazing brands especially considering the vast growth of “altmodels” in the recent years. I’m guessing this is mainly due to the rise of social media. I’m not someone who is keen on promoting herself and I’m very lazy and mostly just post on my official Facebook page. This is mainly why I consider myself lucky because there are still brands and people out there who will reach out for the quality of your work and not the number of “likes” or “followers” you have.
Writing is a passion and hobby of mine so the next natural step was to write about topics that interest me outside of the academic world. I never considered writing a blog and since I lack time for it, writing for a magazine was the perfect choice.
3. Years have passed since I have first come in contact with you on Facebook, by luck, I may say, as indeed I feel as a lucky one to know you. Back then you were already active as a model. Can you remember how long ago it was? When did you in fact start and how?
I think it was about 3 or 4 years ago when I modeled some corsets for a friend and Gothic designer from Rijeka, Croatia. Her brand is known as “Contessa Gothique Design”. Afterwards I was contacted by some brands and designers, mostly at first from people I either knew online or bought from but who didn’t know that I was modeling at the time, which I actually wasn’t but it was fun so I just went with it. I still can’t fathom the fact that I will be in the new Alchemy Gothic catalogue, a brand which I have admired since I was a kid.
Photographer: Martina Špoljarić photography
4. Until some years ago you have vanished, due to your professional and personal life and we understand your everyday life and obligations, especially devotion to your studies that take most of your time really. But what made you come back to modelling?
Life was pretty hard a few years back, some personal setbacks really set me back 🙂 I just needed a break from everyone and everything so I was completely offline for over 6 months. Shocking, I know. But it is possible and really helped. This period is still a blur but I remember Julia from the Gothic shop talking to me about some new collaborations and I decided that I would pick things up where I left them. This is also when I created an official page on Facebook, mostly because you need it for promoting the brands and photographers you work with. I kept putting it off because believe it or not, I’m a very private person. This is one of the reasons that the professional photos are the only thing one can see on my page.
5. You feel this part of your personality not only as a pure modelling, but also as an expression of your lifestyle and your devotion to the subculture you are greatly attached to. What other segments of the subculture interest you besides fashion?
The Gothic subculture feels like home. I have been into horror literature already as a kid, I have a huge collection of Gothic and horror novels from my childhood, mostly Goosebumps and the like. As I got older, the literature I read obviously changed into more mature books. However, I still love the books from my childhood and love re-reading them. I know it will come over as a huge cliché, but I have always loved horror movies and cartoons. I guess you can’t just become “Goth” overnight. As soon as I started to read and take interest in television, I was obsessed with the supernatural, the creepy, and the horror. My “dark” style evolved during my teen years and this was also the period I started listening to gothic rock, dark electro and metal music. Back in the day, there wasn’t any internet so it was really hard to come across certain bands and music genres. Obviously, during the turn of the century this became easier. At first, I only knew about certain bands you could see on music channels such as “Viva” or “MTV” 😀 I feel so old now, thank you Mare! 😀 I started with MM, Evanescence, Nightwish, Rammstein, Metallica, Iron Maiden… the usual. Nowadays, when it comes to music I mostly listen to death and black metal, however, I still love and listen to Gothic rock and all the subgenres. Music always has been and will be my main interest.
6. It has been a year now since you set up a modelling Facebook page, and I know you also have Instagram, so what is the difference, if any? Who are your followers on both platforms?
I started my Instagram before I got back to Facebook, mostly for fun because I used to only post photos of my dog(s)! This is why my Instagram is called “boycie_the_maltese” 😀 When I got back to modeling, I started to post those pictures there as well along with some random everyday stuff. As I said, I really am lazy when it comes to promoting and have a small following there, I’m mostly followed by either friends or other people who like cute dogs 😀
I cracked the 10K mark on Facebook a few days ago which is awesome considering I don’t share or post my photos anywhere else. Some pages have always supported me and my work, along with some wonderful people who share the images and I’m really grateful for the help. So the main difference is preference. If you like dogs, go to my Instagram. If you like seeing Gothic fashion images, go to my Facebook. And don’t forget Amazon! 😀 I know, I’m hilarious…
7. I notice you collaborate with some of the major brands, shops and designers. Can you reveal those names for us?
Photos: Villy V ; DAMNmodels Agency, Left: Dress: Banned, Necklace: Alchemy Gothic, (Work done for The Gothic Shop) , Right: Dress, veil: Sinister; The Gothic Shop, Gloves: Unas Gothic Jewelry, Jewelry: Rosalyn Gothic Jewelry
My dearest collaboration is and always will be with the lovely Gothic shop from the UK. And no, this is no false flattery or anything the like. Julia and I have known each other for years and I have been a customer prior to modeling for them. I have always preached about their hard work, clothing selection as well as customer service. There are sadly a lot of shops that just don’t work well and if you are someone who mostly shops online, like myself, you really look out for these things. Besides the Gothic shop, I have worked with Alchemy Gothic, Sinister, Phaze Clothing, Banned Apparel, Midnight Vision, Dark in Love, Rapt in Amber, Black Cat Jewellery, Dark Elegance Designs, Cherryloco, Kate’s Clothing, Beserk, and various others. I recently sealed a collaboration with Jawbreaker, so that’s coming up soon.
Photographer: Photography C.Grabner
8. Recently you were contacted by M’era Luna, can you tell us for what reason?
Yes, that was also pretty cool. I was contacted to be one of their official models and to collaborate with them for a giveaway. Only a few models were chosen and I was a bit surprised they chose me because I don’t have such a huge following as some models, especially those who have been modeling longer. However, it is really flattering and the giveaway went smoothly. I was supposed to be there as well this August, however, damn you festival gods for making M’era Luna and Brutal Assault take place at the same time. If anyone reading this is hitting up BA this August, let me know so we can have a beer or 10 😀
9. You were also contacted by Alchemy Gothic and I think it is almost every alt model’s dream to be featured in their catalogue. So how did you feel when they approached you and can you tell us a little bit more about that, because the catalogue is not out yet, but it is not a secret you are in. 😉
As I previously mentioned a few questions prior to this one, it was a shock to me that they noticed my work and contacted me. I have been a fan of Alchemy for over 10 years now and my personal collection consists of over 50 pieces so you don’t have to guess twice that it was fun choosing the pieces that they were to send me for the catalogue 😀 Personally, beside the fact that they chose me, I was thrilled they decided on a model with a small following and considered the quality of work instead. I might sound a bit cocky now, which everyone close to me knows I’m not, but I really don’t understand brands that work with some girls only because of their large number of “likes”. As someone who is in the world of alternative modeling, I appreciate true art and quality. Most of the time, this is not what I’m seeing. It doesn’t take a genius to create a large following, you just need to be active online and promote yourself a lot. I don’t believe in this, I will rather do nothing but wait for people to notice my work and appreciate it for what it is. This is why I get a lot of attention for my photos (feedback) without having 100k followers.
I see models complaining about the lack of reach on their photos but come on… what do you expect when the majority of your followers doesn’t even know how they got there? I’m always honest, there is no envy, anger or jealousy behind that. Just pure honesty. I find it not only sad but pathetic as hell that some brands choose models with poor quality photos just because they managed to load their pages with followers. It’s not the models’ fault, but the brands. As a customer even, I’m put off by bad photos where you can’t even properly see the clothing and the models’ faces are über-photoshoped.
But back to Alchemy, I appreciate that they chose someone who is not only a big fan of theirs but also someone who truly is a part of the subculture. You can’t paint your face black and put on some velvet clothes in order to be considered a Goth. And Alchemy doesn’t deserve anything less. This is a brand who is an institution within the subculture. Everyone knows who they are.
10. You are certainly not a “look at me” person, as I know you personally and I know how you feel about your own exposure, but judging by the number of likes and followers on social media, you are indeed popular and recognized. How do you feel about that?
Mare, everyone reading this will notice that I have already addressed this earlier and I’m laughing now because I feel I know you so well, I answer before even reaching the rest of the questions. We have a special bond, I would say 🙂
I love the fact that I get a lot of feedback on my photos regarding the smaller following. This just proves the point I’ve been trying to make from the start. The followers I have are all people who are truly interested in my work and alternative fashion/culture. That is why I don’t bother with promoting myself everywhere especially on a lot of the “Gothic” pages on Facebook. They make me shudder like no one’s business 😀 Those pages are a joke. Again, sorry but not sorry. They just post pictures of random models and images and slapping the “Gothic” stamp onto it. If that has anything to do with the true subculture then I’m the Queen of England, pretty sure 😀
Photos: Martina Špoljarić photography, Left: Crown, choker, cuffs by Gothic Doll accessorize
Right: Dress: Banned, Accessories: Gothic Doll accessorize, Hoop skirt worn underneath by Sinister from The Gothic Shop
11. Currently more and more girls are emerging on the alt modelling scene. Sometimes even I feel that there are maybe too many, and not all have equal chances for collaborations, especially if you don’t look a certain way, or your followers’ base is to small, or you don’t get the chance to work with professional photographers. Lots of girls would rather not speak about the fact that it can be a real struggle to get a photographer or some major brand to collaborate with, but they rather present it the other way around. So how hard or how easy was it for you regarding collaborations with the brands and the photographers?
It’s true, there are too many. I don’t have the right to tell anyone what to do, besides my dogs, but I would advise a lot of them to find another hobby if they will bitch about not being able to find collabs or good photographers. Just. Let. It. Be. I see horrid photos, makeup jobs, styling… because nowadays anyone feels they can do it. It has nothing to do with how these girls look. But it’s just not for them, it’s not natural and most of the photos just look very amateur and bad. I hate having to justify my honesty but I can’t help it. If I were a brand or photographer, I wouldn’t want to work with someone like that. It’s pure logic. Would you hire a secretary as a dentist? I don’t think so.
I know that I got a lot of the deals simply because my “Goth” look comes natural… it’s just how I am and it really comes across on pictures. I remember from years and years ago, looking at the lovely models in XtraX catalogues. They were truly Gothic ladies, they were natural, and they were who they really are! I still have some of those flyers and catalogues and I can’t name any of the “newer” models that compare.
12. The fashion trends are changing every day, and even in a few years time you can notice the difference. Yet you remain true to your own style. How do you feel about some new trends in gothic fashion?
As mentioned, this is my style prior to doing any modeling and was since my early teen years. It is just natural to me. I have always had long hair and piercings and since my early 20s an ever-growing collection of tattoos. Some of the newer trends, in my opinion, have nothing to do with the subculture but emerged from certain streetstyles. An example is this horrid occult-witch trend which has taken over Instagram. I guess it’s cool now to slap on some Pagan (religious!) symbols onto oneself and call yourself a witch. I find it hilarious.
13. You receive a lot of clothes, accessories, jewellery, so I always wonder what a model does with those, but never asked anyone. So what do you do with the items?
I have to be honest here, I have sold some of the items, naturally. As a student, one always needs extra cash and I just have no need for so many clothes. I also gave a lot of it away to friends.
14. I know that you really like and prefer concept shootings over the shootings for products only. How often do you get a chance to do a concept shooting and merge some ideas with what is needed for your clients?
I would absolutely love to do more conceptual shootings, however, this is not always easy without certain props. I like to combine some of the items if I can but one also needs to understand that it’s not fair to the photographers who put effort in such photos, only for the photos to be used by shops afterward. There are some brands, however, whose items only can be used for conceptual photography. An example can be seen with my latest photos done by the very talented Croatian photographer, Martina Spoljaric. We collaborated with the Zagreb-based designer, Tajana Stasni of Brocade Budoir. Check out these ladies’ Facebook pages and be amazed 😉
15. How much is the money involved in the whole story?
So involved that I should quit my job and studies right away! (Hold ups sarcasm sign for all the Sheldons out there 😀 )
16. You follow your model colleagues. You learn from them, you exchange experiences, but models can sometimes be really hard on each other. Why is that so?
I would say this applies to a lot of people sadly, regardless if they are models or not. People seem to drift away and their personality changes. I’m still shocked by some comments and messages I get. Why does anyone consider me as anything important for simply doing photos and posting them online? I don’t consider myself so, so neither should anyone else except my mom and dogs 😀
Online “popularity” just hits some harder than others, I would say. Which is not only sickening but really sad. In a few years, no one will remember you and others will come. It’s just the nature of things. I would advise a lot of fellow “models” out there to come back to Earth because their self-created-false-online-image will fade away and reality will check back in. I never felt the need to change myself for the worse…
I know I come across bitter or cocky to some, but anyone reading this who knows me personally knows that I’m just sometimes too honest for my own good and can’t shut the f*** up 😀
17. You often complained to me that some really go far with the photo editing, and I do share your thoughts on that. You on the contrary very much like to look as natural as you can. Can you tell us a little bit more about your feelings regarding this matter?
I can understand photoshoping your photos, mine are also obviously edited. However, you can still see that I’m a human being and not an anime character. They brush their faces so up that they resemble a drawing. No skin texture, changed facial features… to the point that not even your own mother can recognize you. Please anyone feel free in the comment section to tell me where the hell is the point in that? And dear brands, why do you prefer such unrealistic images to promote your products?
18. How much time do you have for your fans, as I am sure you get a lot of comments and messages. Do you try to reply to all or you must choose? And if you do, who is most likely to get a reply from you?
Photos: Sumea Sjenar – Elusive Photoworks, Left: Veil: Sinister ; available at The Gothic Shop, Necklace: Alchemy Gothic ; Rings: Fine Gothic Jewelry, Right: Clothing, purse: Sinister ; The Gothic Shop, Earrings: Rosalyn Gothic Jewelry
I really don’t like to use the term “fans” because I don’t consider myself famous or a celebrity or some nonsense like that. This is mostly a very dear hobby which also lands me awesome collaborations with wonderful brands and photographers and I just want to share my work with those who enjoy it. I follow a lot of models and photographers for the same reason!
You know that I have absolutely zero free time, especially lately, and this is something I stress out on my page. I feel bad for not replying to messages but this is just because of the lack of time. I try and reply some comments. And women always get a response from me in the messages section. Because they ask about the clothing or jewelry and I’m happy to help.
19. Have you ever turned to some other people or pages to help you with promotion and if yes, in what way they did help and what kind of experiences you had when it comes to support from other pages and web sites?
There have been a lot of pages who reached out by themselves and helped me along the way and share almost every photo I post, thank you so much! You know who you are. There have been others, who have even tried to sabotage a lot for me, simply because they are trying to crush my chances because they prefer some others. But, in the end, despite this, things couldn’t have turned out better for me 😀 These people also know who they are <3
20. Currently you are a columnist for Altvenger, so when you write, what do you enjoy writing about?
Yes 😛 Mostly about literature and fashion and music if you ever let me tackle metal reviews 😀 Oh, I also did loads of interviews with models I absolutely adore! Check those out if you haven’t.
21. How do you perceive this small subculture and can you reflect upon it looking back in time?
The notion of the subculture has broadened quite a bit over the last decade. When it comes to music, sadly, a lot of the bands I enjoy listening to date back to the 80s and 90s and either don’t record anymore or are not with us.
Fashionwise, we can thank the internet for the rise of the tacky and not-so-tacky Gothic clothing. I only want to promote brands I personally love and feel do a great job with their jewelry or clothing. Rip-offs and low-quality merchandise can be found all over the place, and this is horrible for brands who cost a bit more but put their heart and soul into the garments.
I miss the “old days”… boy, do I feel old… just reflecting back on 18-year-old-me makes me realize how things have changed for the worse because of the social media craze.
22. Can you give us some useful links where we can find more about you?
Since I really only use my official Facebook page to publish images, feel free to check that out!
Featured image by: Photography C.Grabner