Why did you become a figure model? Having extra money is helpful, but I enjoy being around the paintings and drawings and watching students get better over time. My class that graduated last year, I was with them from their first year. You see them go off and do things, and you’re like, “Yep, I worked with them.”
Were you intimidated by the process? In the beginning. I’m 26, so a lot of the students are not much younger than me, and I would see students later and think, “Oh, they’ve seen me naked today.” But the students are very professional. You forget in the pose that you’re naked.
What do you think about on the stand? I listen to the teachers. I feel like, “Look at me—I’m getting paid to get an education from Ringling.” I’ve learned about artists—not just the Rembrandts and Picassos, but lesser-known artists. It can be very tedious getting a long pose set up, so I’ve learned about lighting and shadows. And it’s not just illustration—we work with the computer animation students as well.
The most challenging part of the job? I’ve been doing this five years, and posing three hours a day is strenuous on the body. I have a full-time job at Starbucks, and I go to school for funeral directing in St. Petersburg, so the travel can be a hassle. I actually tried to quit this job once, and I couldn’t. I missed being in the classroom around creative people. It balances out my other job that’s always go, go, go. I have to literally stop and just listen.
How has this job changed you? I’ve become way more accepting of myself. In the beginning there was a lot of, “Do my breasts really look like that? Do my thighs look like that?” You develop a very thick skin, and you have to remember they’re students. If they were able to produce masterpieces, they wouldn’t be in school.
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