PRAKRITI* is a live model. She tells us about her work inspiring artists and being the subject of many artworks.
My job title
I work part-time as live model.
I’ve been in this job for
A few months now.
How I became a live model
I was a student working in hospitality but I lost my job as a waitress because of the pandemic. So I began looking for volunteering jobs that would hopefully turn into paid work. I’m really interested in art and when I saw an advert for a gallery assistant at a non-profit, I rang them up and said I wanted to help out! It began with just wanting to fill my time with things that I’m interested in, so I’d help the art teacher conduct art classes.
One day she called me up saying one of her models had dropped out unexpectedly and she needed someone to model for a class. I think it was serendipity! It was my first time posing nude, and while I am comfortable with my body, it can still be daunting to model professionally. However, my first time went super smoothly. Being surrounded by professionals helped a lot.
What the job entails
The job entails posing nude for about 2-3 hours. Depending on the art class, it can be 2 to 20-minute poses. I model for professional artists who want to work on their technique and form. Additionally, there are also days where amateur art classes take place for regular people who might not know much about painting. They usually show up with a group of friends and bottles of wine to have a good time and immerse themselves in creativity.
What is hard about my job
Live modelling is not as easy as it looks! Keeping still is one factor which in certain poses can make your muscles really sore. Models need to stretch between poses to keep the blood flowing. I remember one of the first few times, I picked a really complex pose and my left leg fell asleep. The timer went off and I got up to put my robe on but my leg was all pins and needles!
How I maintain my body
I don’t exercise more than I already do. The good thing about being in this line of work is models come in all shapes and sizes. Art students and artists want to paint real people, and real people don’t all fit into one body type. The gallery I model for really tries to employ a diverse range of models. It is actually a wonderful thing, all bodies are beautiful and worth painting.
How COVID–19 has affected my work
Since people haven’t been stepping out a lot, the number of people in art classes have reduced by a lot. While classes feel more intimate, I can imagine some galleries struggling to pay the bills.
The positive aspects of my work
Definitely, being surrounded by art and artists. The work environment is wonderful. We are all present for one purpose only – to be inspired. I help them improve their skills and they document me on a canvas. It’s intriguing to see how different people view my body and what aspects they focus on. Each painting is so distinct and between poses I love walking around the room to look at all the works.
How the job has changed my life
Live modelling is empowering! I feel so confident in my body and in myself. It is also a great way to resolve the stigma around nudity. Nudity is always looked at as such a sexual thing, but it doesn’t have to be. We need to distinguish nudity from sexuality. I think because of portrayal of nudity in the media and it mostly being shown in sexual contexts, people see nudity as inherently sexual. There is nothing wrong or immoral about human bodies (in the right context, of course). I don’t mean we should all be walking around naked in public, but we need to evolve our perspectives about nudity. While it might not be for everyone, we must accept that being naked can also be a beautiful non-sexual way of being.
Advice for people who wish to become live models.
Go for it! Call up galleries and art schools and ask if they are looking for live models. It is a great experience, it will help you be a confident person.
As told to Bageshri Savyasachi
*not her real name.
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