Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet Tessa Parks! My new principal model!

I've had the pleasure of working with Tessa twice now and I must say, I'm smitten! For someone who doesn't take modeling super serious, she's seriously super! I thought I'd take a moment to introduce you all to the new face of Leopard and Lace (why do I keep rhyming?) since you'll be seeing much much more of her in the future! Meet Tessa...

Stef: When did you discover that you wanted to model? How old were you?

Tessa: I was 14 when I realized I really wanted to model, I was agency represented from 14-16. My agent wanted me to go to Paris to further pursue it, but I never went (kicking myself for that one now!). At 16 I still loved modeling, but wanted to spend the weekends doing teen stuff like being a mall rat, drinking slurpees, and having sleepovers where we made up dance routines to Backstreet Boys, so I quit for awhile. I got back into it more recently and absolutely love doing it.

Stef: Describe your first professional photo shoot.

Tessa:My first professional photo shoot was sooo exciting! I shot with a woman (I believe her name was Annie Griffiths but don't hold me to that!) who did a lot of work for National Geographic, among other popular magazines. At 14, I was pretty nervous, but loosened up some as the shoot went on. The shoot was fun and bubbly with lots of bright colors. I remember I wore white knee socks, a purple floral skirt, and a purple tank top for one of the looks. We just went around town and shot with random things: a tree stump, a purple door, etc. She could have photographed me in front of a port-a-potty and I would have been happy.

Stef: If you could shoot with one of your dream photographers, who would it be? Same question, but with a collaborative model.

Tessa: My dream photographer is probably James Hickey. He really has an eye for detail ! I also really like Ama Lea. The colors in her photos really pop and she is known to do pinup style shoots, which I have a soft spot for! As for models, I really love Devon Aoki. She is adorable and exotic all in one. She is total opposite of me in looks and I think that could be a cool shoot.

Stef: What is your dream concept for a shoot?

Tessa: I have so many concepts flooding my brain it's hard to pick just one. However, I have played the piano for many years and would love to do a shoot in the middle of a field or a desert somewhere with a grand piano and an elegant dress.. I have also secretly always wanted to do a Star Wars themed shoot-I kid you not. I am a super nerd.

Stef: Is modeling a hobby for you or do you intend to pursue it as a career?

Tessa: Right now it's just a hobby for me. I have a full time job and bills have to get paid! But in my fantasy world I would be doing this full time with a steady paycheck. Modeling really is an art form. It allows me to come up with different facial expressions and poses, as well as create characters. It really is like acting in a way. My goal with modeling is to just have fun and share the creative side of it with everyone out there!

Stef: How did you stumble upon Leopard and Lace's website?

Tessa: Well, I am a member of, and I was searching clothing designers in my area one day. Toxic Shock Apparel popped up with these fantastically vivid colors and patterns in the clothing. I had to know more! From there my facebook stalking skills came to good use (haha, kidding...?) and I found Toxic Shock Apparel's facebook page. I fell in love with the wild, fun, flirty designs! I'm so stoked I have had the opportunity to collaborate with Stephanie and wear her designs!

Stef:Have an suggestions for young, aspiring models out there?

Tessa: My advice to aspiring models: 1. Have an open mind. There are many modeling avenues, not just "high fashion" where you might be pressured to be a size negative zero and 6 feet tall. Consider commercial, print, fitness, petite, plus size, alternative etc. While skinny and tall is still in, you have other options!
2. Never compromise your beliefs or who you are as a person just to get your photograph made. There are many creepers who will try to make you think you will become famous if you take your shirt off. Don't fall for it! Always research the photographer and try to get contacts of other clients he/she has worked with. If they truly aren't creepers, they won't mind!
3. Eat foooood!

Stef: What is something you would absolutely not do in modeling (ie nude, fetish, weird bendy poses!?)

Tessa: I am pretty open minded in many ways, however I would never consider doing any type of nude photography. I think that some nude photos can be tastefully done, but it's just not my cup of tea!

Stef: In your opinion, what are the qualities a good model should possess?

Tessa: A good model should possess an open mind, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, confidence, creativity, and humbleness. There are tons of models out there who develop quite the ego and only care about themselves. DO NOT BECOME THIS! Photographers, designers, stylists, and other models do not appreciate a model with an attitude who thinks they are the shiznit. It's not that serious. :)

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