MODEL: Couture Gowns, Big Hair & Abandoned Apartments

An inside look on what you don’t know about photo shoots:

Alarm goes off. It’s 4:00am. (Hits Snooze). 4:15am. There’s the alarm again. Ugh. (rolls out of bed).

It’s a Thursday morning. Still pitch black outside by the way. I throw on an oversized pink blouse, leggings, and boots – trying to look at least half put together.

5:00am and we hit the road.

It’s off to Fort Wayne, Indiana (normally a 5 hour drive) for a photo shoot with Willyum Photography. Big shout out to Shaun Novak for being my road trip buddy for the day (side note – he makes music and has an absolutely phenomenal voice that you should check out here).


Anyways, of course this is a shoot for my all time favorite fashion designer, Andrea Howell of Tidal Cool Creations. I mean, I don’t just take day trips like this for anyone! When you model for TCC, you are putting yourself through what we like to call around here, ‘extreme modeling’. With Andrea, you are also exposing yourself to opportunities like shooting swimwear in 6 degree weather, sledding down and hiking up hills of ice to get to and from a location, scouting out a desert to use as a backdrop (…in Pittsburgh), and all kind of other fun scenarios. It’s always an adventure, and I love it! On today’s plate – couture gowns, big hair, and an abandoned apartment.

Downpours and a Starbucks stop may have slowed us down, but Shaun and I made it to Indiana eventually… No more than 15 minutes after arrival, my hair is already at least 4 times bigger than when I walked in the door. Special thanks to Tara Tumbleson-Welch of The Big Tease Salon & Boutique who decided to bring back the crimper. (PS – I like to make funny faces when I’m sleepy).

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After hair and makeup (by Angie Gibson), we head to the location. Shards of glass, rotted boards of wood, a huge hole in the floor, and probably some asbestos couldn’t stop us! The results came out absolutely amazing (as seen in Pattern):

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Need a laugh? When you have a day like this, you literally don’t stop for even a second to think about food. So, after the shoot, a few of us went to Olive Garden for some much needed nourishment. I decided it would be a great idea to let my hair down and take out my pinned up locks. Well, that didn’t go quite as well as I had planned, so I sat through dinner looking like this… You only live once right? #bighairdontcare

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Despite being in a carb coma, back home we went. Don’t worry, a Rockstar, lots of Watermelon Sour Patch Kids, and blasting Carrie Underwood tunes kept me nice and wide awake for the drive.

Two very long days of anticipation passed before preview photos were finally posted, and the images literally left me speechless!

It’s the moment when you get to see the final result that you realize just how much everything is worth it. Putting up with the cold, the tangled hair (that took about a full hour to comb out), the 10 hours spent in the car (in one day), the hazardous location and everything else are just small obstacles to face when you see those pictures.

It takes so much more than a great photographer, experienced models, and a talented styling team to make amazing images happen. It’s also about the atmosphere and how the dynamic of personalities that accompany any team interact. It’s one thing to do top-notch work on your own, but it’s even more important to be able to create great work together with others. When everyone and everything clicks, magic happens (like these photos).

I love every minute of what what I do (well, one of the many things I do). I am so blessed and thankful that I was given the chance to work with such an amazingly talented team!

Here's the famous 'Allyn Lewis Back Thing'

Here’s the famous ‘Allyn Lewis Back Thing’

The stunning Emiley Elaine Gray

The stunning Emiley Elaine Gray

And smokin' hott blonde, Rachel Bougher

And smokin’ hott blonde, Rachel Bougher

Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns

Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns

Belle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture GownsBelle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture GownsBelle Epoque Editorial with Tidal Cool Couture Gowns

Want more? Check out the ‘Circus Freaks’ editorial I was honored to be a part of with Tidal Cool and Willyum Photography here.