Ulorin Vex is a full-time professional model and sometimes actor and performance artist with over 8 years of experience. She has recently located to Los Angeles from London. This interview was featured in Sinical Magazine Issue #11.
Photography by Gail Kilker.
MUA: Anna DeMeo.
Wardrobe: Renee Masoomian.
Sinical Magazine: Where are you originally from and where are you currently located?
Ulorin Vex: I was born and raised in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England though I lived in London for a few years before moving to Los Angeles, which is where I’m currently based out of. I travel a lot!
Sinical Magazine: What was the first magazine that you came across that made you want to become a model?
Ulorin Vex: I actually didn’t really get into magazines until after I’d already started modelling. I used to read academic journals and the occassional video game and art/illustration magazines but back then I wasn’t very aware of fashion or glamour type magazines.
Sinical Magazine: How did you first get started into modeling?
Ulorin Vex: This is one of those questions I get asked quite a lot and I wish I had a definitive answer! It was quite a surprising thing for me to do as I was extremely shy. I guess the idea was first planted when I was at University and people started approaching me to ask if I was a model. It was something I had never even considered before. As well as that I was inspired by imagery that I saw online, either browsing for clothing or looking for artistic inspiration. I thought it would be a fun way to express myself artistically and perhaps let you a little of my inner exhibitionist that was usually hidden beneath all the shyness and social awkwardness!
Sinical Magazine: From a model’s perspective, what do you think is the most important aspect of a photo?
Ulorin Vex: It depends on what the image is intended for! For a fashion orientated shoot, it’s about what you are wearing. You need to find a balance between highlighting the fashion without being lost behind it. I find sometimes particularly with alt models they tend to dominate the image with their own personality and the image becomes all about them instead of the clothing. Of course, this is a good thing for other kinds of shoots like pinup, glamour etc. So it really depends on what the intention of the photo is. It’s different again for things like art nude or narrative work. In these cases, being expressive is very important even if it’s very subtle.
Sinical Magazine: You’ve worked with many great photographers. My personal favorite that you’ve worked with is Neil Van Niekerk. Who are some of your favorite photographer’s that you’ve worked with and who are some you would like to work with?
Ulorin Vex: I hate picking favourites! I have worked with so many great talents and I’m bound to forget someone that I wish I’d included! Neil is great and such a nice guy and fun to work with. Some of my more recent favourite shoots have been with J Isobelle de Lisle and Steve Prue. And of course my long term partner in crime Allan Amato! It would be my dream to work with Ellen Von Unwerth, David LaChapelle, Austin Young and Eugenio Recuenco. I’m sure there are others too but those are the first that spring to mind.
Sinical Magazine: Clothing wise, what kind of fetishes do you have?
Ulorin Vex: I love high heeled shoes and boots of all kinds, the more over the top the better! Especially combined with stockings and little else! I’m also quite fond of dressing up as a pony girl.
Sinical Magazine: How much do you think alternative modeling has changed since you started?
Ulorin Vex: The biggest change is in the sheer number of people promoting themselves as models now. I think when I did my first ever shoot (2004) you could count the number of alt models on one hand. Ok, maybe 2 hands! And the term “alt model” didn’t even exist, we were all referred to as “fetish models” even if the extent of our fetish modelling was latex fashion. It seems like alt modelling has become a lot more popular in mainstream media over the past few years too, with magazines like Front heavily promoting “alt girls”. Tattoos seem to have become a lot more acceptable too, even in mainstream fashion and commercial work. When I first started, tattoos and body piercings were more of a disadvantage. Though I have always tried to crossover between genres as much as possible.
Sinical Magazine: What modeling achievement are you most proud of, so far?
Ulorin Vex: I’m happy that I’ve managed to crossover between alternative work and more mainstream/commercial work and find success at both. The challenge of adapting myself to fit any job is one of my favourite things about modelling. As well as having covers and features in many of my long-term favourite alternative/fetish magazines I’ve also been lucky enough to get quite a few commercial campaigns. I’m still excited by the 2 worldwide ad campaigns I did for TIGI hair colour, those are some of my favourite images I’ve ever shot. More recently I shot a print campaign for a new fashion themed nightclub and restaurant in Los Angeles which had a few billboards in Hollywood, that was pretty cool! There’s so much more I’m sure! Even just the fact that I’ve managed to make a full-time career out of this thing I love doing is something I’m kind of proud of. Oh and I am on the cover of Ministry’s new album. That is pretty awesome and highlight-like!
Sinical Magazine: Besides modeling, you’re also an artist. Can you talk about this?
Ulorin Vex: Yeah, I also do art and illustration work under the name Malady Charlotina. At the moment it’s still something I do in my spare time as I’m always quite busy with shoots and travelling. When I eventually retire from modelling I’d love to turn it into a full time career though. I do like to incorporate some of my modelling fetish imagery into my personal work. I tend to use a lot of my friends and fellow models as subjects too. I like being able to combine the two! You can see the sort of stuff I do on my art website maladycharlotina.com.
Sinical Magazine: What’s up next for you?
Ulorin Vex: Later in the year I have a few modelling tours planned; another east coast USA tour for a month or so and then I’m headed back to the UK and Europe for 2 months of shoots. There’s also a chance I’ll be working in South Africa at some point which is very exciting!
I also have a few exciting projects lined up collaborating with some designers. I’ve started designing my own latex collection as well as collaborating with a leatherworker on some pieces based on my artwork. But I can’t really share anymore details yet!
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