Shell - unique glam Alt model
I think the worst thing you can do is try to compare yourself to other models.
I’ll admit I’ve done it myself before and it’s not a good cycle to get into, putting yourself down and wishing you were more like someone else but what you need to remember is everyone is different.
Every one has there own unique look, style, flaws even and that’s what makes you the person you are. I’ve honestly over time learned to love myself exactly how I am.
One thing I love about the modelling industry is the confidence it gives you.
Confidence shows and I think it’s a really powerful thing.
Another thing I love is that you get to meet some amazing people, I’ve worked with some incredibly talented photographers who are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, it’s brilliant.
My name is Shell, short for Michelle. I grew up in a large family in the UK. I have 3 brothers and a sister, birthdays, Christmas and any family event really were always amazing growing up because there was always like 10x the excitement because there’s so many of us!
I will always say I was a bit of a geek when I was younger. I remember I was about 11 years old I decided that I wanted to become a lawyer, up until I was about 14 or 15. I was also obsessed with art and drawing, I then loved the idea of having a career in that too! I think I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do when I was younger, I wanted to do everything, I even wanted to be a singer at one point. If there was one thing you could guarantee though during my childhood and teenage years it was that you would more often than not find me lost in a book! I received the first four Harry Potter books as a gift from my Nan one year for my birthday and I became hooked. I am still such a massive Harry Potter geek to this day aha!
I would probably say that my idols during my childhood / teenage years were the likes of Kat Von D I used to love watching LA Ink, she’s such a fantastic artist. Also, J.K Rowling, I think she’s a truly incredible author. I would get lost for hours reading her books and the emotion and connection you could make with the characters and the story was amazing, she’s so talented.
I first started modelling about 4 years ago, I was approached by my, now very close friend, whilst I was working one night. She’s a model and was doing a promotional night at my workplace for a charity calendar she had produced. Afterward, she took me to one side and asked if I would be interested in being a part of her next charity calendar. I obviously took her up on the offer, I was so flattered that she had asked me I was super excited to do my first photoshoot as modelling was something I’d always loved to have done since I was a little girl. In 2014 with Hollie (the talent behind tattooed ferret - IG @tferretofficial) I did a test shoot, before we started the calendar photoshoots and Hollie was amazing. I loved every minute. I did it casually for a while but the last year I have been doing loads more photo shoots working with lots of photographers and I just love it. It’s something I really enjoy doing and I can’t get enough of.
I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to alternative modelling. I think that’s what makes it such a fantastic industry to be in, you can just express yourself and be comfortable in you and how you are and how you want to present yourself, I honestly love that! There are girls who are covered in tattoos, piercings, bright coloured hair all shapes and sizes and they are all so stunning and confident and just being themselves and how they want to be, I admire that a lot I’m like ‘go girl’ you be you! I don’t feel you necessarily have to have loads of tattoos or piercings to be considered an alternative model though, I think it’s about your attitude, your style, the way you present yourself a lot of the time. Confidence is key and you should always just be yourself!
I remember my first tattoo so well! I thought about it for months, knew exactly what and where I wanted it. My mum came with me, I remember I was actually super nervous because I thought it was going to be the worst pain ever but I was actually so surprised at how much I didn’t think it hurt at all. I had two little butterflies on my hip and it only took about 30 minutes. I was over the moon with them. I think I was hooked from that moment!
I have so many tattoos, some of them have personal meanings and some of them I just have because I love them! I have a large Phoenix on my back and I got that because I love the symbolization of the Phoenix being a strong creature that rises up from the ashes. Everyone goes through tough times in their lives and one thing to remember is that you will always come out the other side a stronger person. I wanted a Phoenix to remind me of how strong I am. Another personal tattoo I have is a pocket watch on my left arm as part of a sleeve with my sons time of birth on. I had it done not long after he was born. He’s now 3 and he’s just the best thing ever! I’m currently in progress of having my right arm into a sleeve full of watercolour woodland animals! I already have a moth, stag and wolf, I’m so excited to have that finished! I’d love to have artwork on my legs next. The girl who I go to is so incredibly talented, she specializes in watercolour abstract tattoos and you should see her work! It’s beautiful (IG @kerste_tattoos) I get people asking me all the time about who did my animals and its this lovely lady.
I think what is so great about the alternative modelling scene is that it’s all about expression, being you, being different and not like everyone else. Not conforming to societies usual expectations of beauty. I think just like with different cultures around the world there are always differences in fashion and style, but that’s what’s great about it.
My favourite lingerie? That is a tough one! If there are two things I probably have too much off it is shoes and lingerie! love Ann Summers. I have done a few shoots in their underwear. Me and my best friend will go shopping and easily lose a few hours in their stores. I am also a huge fan of bralettes, they’re honestly the most comfortable underwear ever! When I discovered them it changed the game haha I’m obsessed. I do have a rule though, one thing I can’t do is buy a bra without matching bottoms. I can find the most perfect bra, the most perfect fit, but if isn’t a full set I’ll put it back and walk away, I just can’t do it.
I think the worst thing you can do is try to compare yourself to other models. I’ll admit I’ve done it myself before and it’s not a good cycle to get into, putting yourself down and wishing you were more like someone else but what you need to remember is every one is different. Every one has there own unique look, style, flaws even and that’s what makes you the person you are. I’ve honestly over time learned to love myself exactly how I am. One thing I love about the modelling industry is the confidence it gives you. Confidence shows and I think it’s a really powerful thing. Another thing I love is that you get to meet some amazing people, I’ve worked with some incredibly talented photographers who are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, it’s brilliant.
The advice I would give to young girls wanting to get into the alt modelling scene is just be yourself. That’s what makes it so fantastic and that’s what your followers and fans will want to see. Don’t try and be someone your not or try and copy someone else because your not showing the world your true individual self. Another thing I will always say is stay safe! I cannot stress enough if you don’t feel comfortable, safe or feel pressured, just walk away. References are always so important, check them. Any great photographer will want you to feel comfortable and at ease and they will be more than happy for you to check references they have from other models they’ve worked with. Often they will be more than happy for you to bring someone along with you if you wish to make you feel more comfortable on the shoot. Also, don’t be scared to contact models who have worked with a photographer you may be planning a photoshoot with just for some advice and to check how their experience with them was, I've done it myself. And most importantly, enjoy it!!
I’m a really creative person, I love that art can be incorporated into pretty much anything! I used to do collages a lot when I was younger, if I’d go on holiday I’d make a scrapbook to remember it by. I think my favourite type of art is, obviously the kind you can wear aha! I follow so many tattoo artists online and I’m blown away by some of the work they create and the idea that it can last forever, some work you see out there is just incredible
Hobbies, I am a really busy person! I am a mum and I work a full-time job and in my spare time, I am often booked on photoshoots which is something I just love doing and really enjoy.
I have actually got some really exciting photoshoots lined up over the next couple of months which I can’t wait for. I’m hoping to progress my modelling further, being published has always been such a goal for me! I and my other half have also a lot of family things planned, the family is something that is so important to me. My boyfriend is literally the most supportive and amazing person ever! We have a few weddings we’re going to over the next couple of months and I’m super excited because who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up right?! Were also planning another holiday for next year, it’ll be my sons first time on an airplane. So yeah, lots of exciting things coming up!
My Instagram account is @shell_portfolio