FP: Why and how did you become a nude model?
My friend regularly does nude modelling and when he mentioned it I was intrigued. He put me in contact with a class that is run at a university nearby and they asked me to model for them as they wanted some new people to study. I did it as a way of testing myself and helping them out as sometimes they have trouble finding people. I like to push myself to do different things, learning or experiencing something new, so I thought that modelling in a life drawing class would certainly fill those criteria.
FP: Can you describe what happened at the class from start to finish and how you felt?
When I arrived they were still setting up so I watched while they arranged their equipment; I then had a chat with the teacher so that I had an idea of what he wanted. He was very calming and reassuring, letting me know how long the poses would be for; that it was ok to move if I needed to; to be natural; not to try poses that would be difficult to hold and that the wholepoint of a life drawing class was that the artist has to be able to incorporate slight changes, as you are not a static bowl of fruit. I went to the toilets to get changed into my robe, came back into the class and waited until they were ready. They had placed a stool in the middle of the room and there were various props like cushions and shawls for comfort and modesty if needed. The teacher said that I could choose any poses I wished, just to be relaxed. I liked the way he dealt with me as he was very professional but friendly and I think it was just the right balance to allow someone that had not done life modelling before to feel reassured and reduce any nerves. When they were ready I just dropped my robe and went to sit down. It felt slightly odd for a few seconds, as in my head I was thinking, 'yes, that's right, you're sitting butt naked in front of a bunch of strangers - hold your tummy in!', but soon I was just focusing on holding the pose.
The students were using charcoal on paper and needed various lengths of poses from 2, 5 and 10 minutes long - 5 of each. I was surprised how difficult some poses were, even after those short times and I quickly learned what would be more comfortable to hold. For the shorter times I did positions that were more difficult as I wouldn't have to pose for so long. The only thing which spoiled the experience slightly was that they were having problems with the heating system. It was winter but the air conditioning had come on so it was rather chilly. They had brought in a couple of space heaters but they didn't quite do the job. most of me was quite cold but my leg would be almost burning. It wasn't too bad though and it was almost comical so just added to the whole experience.
When it was all over everyone laid out their work on the floor so that people could have a look and I was allowed to take pictures. I liked the style of one girl in particular and she was very kind enough to allow me to keep my favourite of one of her drawings which I didn't expect and was very grateful for. I now have a souvenir which I will treasure.
FP: Did it change how you feel about yourself?
I don't think that the experience changed the way that I thought about myself but it did confirm it. I wouldn't call myself an exhibitionist but I am relaxed about my body and I wanted to reaffirm it with the ultimate test - being naked, scrutinised but comfortable with that.
FP: Would you say it was liberating?
I think that life modelling was liberating in certain respects, although for me it was not a life changing discovery that altered the way a thought about myself. It was good for me to be able to let go of a certain level of self-consciousness and really, on a deep rooted level, take on board the lesson that nakedness does not always have to be associated with sex and that nobody is perfect, that there is no perfect. Part of what helped me learn that lesson was talking to the teachers of those art lessons and hearing them talk to the students; how they are trying to interpret movement, shapes, shadow, perspective, proportion, mechanics but at the same time trying to impress on the viewer that this was a live, vibrant thing that they drew, not a bowl of fruit - how to get across that emotion and life.
FP: Is there an erotic side to it?
In the classes I attended I did not feel that there was any eroticism involved. Maybe on a shallow level I was curious to know what they thought of me and how I looked, but I didn't really care. They were there to learn a technique and improve how they put across their subject and it didn't matter if I was an old lady with one leg or a super model. The kind of life modelling I was doing was what I would call classic but I have heard that artists can request more risque things and perhaps that would be more erotic. That is not something that I am interested in doing as for me it was an exercise in trying to get away from everybody being focused on sex and looks and that nakedness is not important.
FP: Would you recommend it to others?
I would recommend life modelling to others; I think people in general need to be less self-conscious and more relaxed about their bodies. Society is so focused on looks and a lot of advertising uses sex because sex sells. It makes people be overly critical and feel ashamed of how they look because they don't fit into this perfect ideal of what someone is supposed to look like, even though most of the pictures they look at are air brushed and the person in the picture doesn't really look like that anyway. Being able to let go and say, 'this is me and I'm ok' is something that everyone should be able to do, there are plenty of things I don't like about myself, but everyone else has those feelings too. Life modelling is one avenue that people could use in their journey of self acceptance but there are others; however, I don't think I'm going to join a Naturists commune just yet - it's a bit cold and I like clothes.
See more of Laura Nude Modelling.