the mad heiress interview:
mh: why do you model, and how did you get started?
cb: i model to connect more deeply with myself as a person and an artist. i model because it makes me feel beautiful. i model because i love photography. i model because it teaches me to love myself, every single inch of myself. i wanted to be a model since i was a kid, i had dreams of being on billboards and in magazines. as i grew older i began to realize that despite what they tell you when you are a child not everything is attainable for everyone and i realized that making it as a model (like many things) has a lot to do with luck and less to do with how badly you want it. at 17 i began to start shooting some fashion work and working with some hobby photographers. at 18 i began to start taking self-portraits some clothed, some nude. i took self portraits to depict emotion, natural beauty that inspired me, and places that i love. people started to take interest in my self portraits and my more artistic work and eventually i decided i was comfortable shooting nudes with other photographers. now i am proud to call myself a professional art model, i collaborate with artists who i believe in, make a living, and make amazing images that i am so proud of.
mh: you’re also an accomplished rock climber. what made you want to begin doing that? how did you adapt to the mental game of it (that is, being many feet above the ground with no solid ground beneath you)?
cb: i was taken to the climbing gym on a date about four years ago, i immediately fell head over heels in love with it. honestly it didn’t take much mental adaptation for me to feel comfortable being high off the ground. rock climbing came very naturally to me from the start, i have been a climber of trees/buildings/playgrounds my entire life. i have always loved the feeling of being above the earth and feel as though the height allows me to be one with the wind and sky in a very powerful way. although climbing came naturally to me i have certainly had to work through fear in many different ways and i’m sure as long as i climb i will continue to grow and evolve in my relationship with fear.
mh: does your climbing influence your modeling? have you gained any insights (either physical or psychological) that have helped you approach posing and creativity?
cb: my climbing definitely influences my modeling. the most obvious way is the musculature that climbing has helped me develop, which is a big part of my aesthetic and why people hire me. another big influence is the isometric tone that allows me to hold poses and hold still for extended periods of time. as far as the psychological aspect, i think that climbing definitely helps me with patience and being calm and collected in my modeling but also my life as a whole.
mh: do you have any favorite styles to shoot?
cb: my favorite style to shoot is definitely nudes in nature. i love good landscape nudes and for me posing in nature is the most inspiring and comes most naturally. i also really appreciate the beautiful locations this type of work takes me to.
mh: if you have any heroes, who are they and why?
cb: my two biggest heroes are my paternal grandmother and my father. the two of them have taught me some of the most important life lessons that any human has been able to teach me. my grandma is also a total badass who has spent her entire life working for the good of humanity and the earth through counseling survivors of trauma and abuse and starting a women’s center in syracuse, ny, rescuing and rehabilitating animals, and loving her family unconditionally. both of them have taught me that happiness comes from living life in sync with your heart and simply being present in each moment.
mh: do you have any advice for models, photographers, or other artists?
cb: the best advice that i can give is to believe in yourself and believe in your art. work with fear and uncertainty to evolve and always be willing to risk everything for what you believe in.
mh: what’s something that you know now about modeling that you didn’t know when you began?
cb: i would not have fathomed when i first began modeling that four years later i would be working as a freelance art model. i didn’t even know there was such a thing as art modeling. it has been such an amazing gift to find this niche in the modeling world and to be able to make a living creating photos i believe in while still being able to live a life that i love and nurture my other passions.
mh: if you could go anywhere, meet anyone, where and who would that be?
cb: honestly i am incredibly content with where i am and all the lovely people who are a part of my current existence. the place in the world that i have always been most drawn to in ireland- i plan to live there one day down the road. as far as people go i would probably want to visit one of my dear friends who lives in socal.
mh: is there a rock that you really want to climb, a shoot that you really want to do?
cb: there are so many rocks that i really want to climb. right now the highest (and least attainable) on my list is to go to the cirque of the unclimbables in canada. a shoot that i really want to do is a shoot in the ocean/on a rocky coastline depicting “yemanja” the goddess of the sea.
mh: is modeling a full-time profession for you? if so, what’s that like?
cb: modeling is a full-time profession for me. it’s a lot less glamorous than most people probably think. most of my time is spent trying to stay on top of hundreds of email correspondences, planning and booking shoots months in advance, and managing various online platforms/social media. i would say only about 35% of my “work” time is actually spent in front of the camera modeling. one of the wonderful blessings of being freelance like this is that i can work from essentially anywhere as long as i have wifi and i can design my own schedule. that makes all the computer time worth it.
mh: what are the advantages to living in a tiny house?
cb: for me, the advantages of living in a tiny house are simple living, lower overhead costs, and the ability to live more in tune with the natural world. an advantage that some people might not expect is the ability to fit everything...yes i did say everything, you need in a 12x8 cabin. another advantage is how much easier it is to keep things clean and organized when you have less space and less stuff. my partner and i are planning to finish the tiny house in the next 6-8 months and use is as a home base when we hit the road next spring.
mh: i give you a fur-covered spoon. what next?
cb: my initial impulse is that i am going to rub it on my face.
mh: where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
cb: i envision myself living on a beautiful piece of property in the country somewhere with a wonderful and loving partner and a kid or two. my dream is to build my own house (a slightly bigger one this time), have beautiful gardens, and rescue animals. modeling professionally may take a bit of a back seat when i have children but i am totally open to continuing to modeling into my 30s if there is still a demand. i intend to continue to keep photography and modeling in my life in some aspect. i will always take photos of nature, people i love, and self-portraits.