Our most recent beauty editorial ‘Vanitas’ features a transgender model, and is a slightly darker addition to The Fruity Issue, focusing on the notion of ‘forbidden fruit’ and the symbolism behind it. Our model Alex’s unusual fantasy-themed tattoos caught our eye, and we wanted to explore his masculinity in an unconventional way. We recently caught up with him to get some feedback about his first photo shoot experience, working with Things & Ink, his opinions about transgender issues in the media, and his newest tattoo.
‘Vanitas’ features in The Fruity Issue of Things&Ink, to view the full shoot, order your copy from www.thingsandink.com. There is also an interview with Alex about his transition in The Anatomy Issue.
Photographer – Heather Shuker
Photographer’s Assistant – Warren Boyle
Art Direction – Marina De Salis
Make-up, Hair and Styling – Adrianna Veal
Model – Alex Locke
Custom leather accessories – www.clockworkfirebird.com
When we were on the photo shoot, you mentioned that you’ve previously done a few self-styled shoots. How did you feel about being styled and photographed by someone else? It was great fun! I get nervous and second guess my style choices a lot, I’m never quite sure what will work on me and I lose a lot of time to being anxious about the possibility that a look won’t work. It was nice to be able to follow rather than lead, and to see what other people came up with – I didn’t expect the chilis, for one.
What was your favourite part of the day? It sounds cliche but I genuinely enjoyed the whole day. I did like the points where people were laughing and sharing anecdotes about all the weird moments that go into creating gorgeous photos.
The transgender topic is becoming more and more visible in the media. What do you think the media can do to help people understand transgender issues better? A lot of fear and anger comes from simple misunderstanding and ignorance of the topic of what being transgender is. I’d like there to be more ‘Trans* 101’ type posts where facts are available for people to learn about what being transgender means, and how to respect someone who is transgender.
I’d like there to be a bigger push to show the world at large, just how much violence is committed towards transgender persons and how ‘at risk’ transpersons are for simply choosing to be themselves. It would be great to have more allies out there.
Do you have any transgender role models? I have a few, mainly people I’ve come to know through shared hobbies or interests. I never consciously looked for role models from the wider world of fame because I guess I wanted to know that people ‘like me’ could change their life path. There’s an element of not really having many ‘visible’ transgender role models in celebrity/stardom until relatively recently as well.
Have you had any new tattoos since the shoot that you would like to share? I do! I was hoping to have my newest piece done far earlier in the year, but I didn’t have the time. It was done by Barry K of Tattoo Crazy (Cambridge, UK), the artwork was drawn by Lucian Stephenson. It’s called ‘Blood on the Moon’ and it’s a combination of a lot of symbols that are significant to me. If anyone ever guesses why then I’ll personally treat them to tea. It took three hours and was done in one sitting; it’s definitely the most painful area I’ve had tattooed so far.