What are your star signs strengths and weaknesses? Do you see similarities within yourself? It's funny reading about Leo's strengths and weaknesses. It goes from words like “kind, confident, optimistic, ambitious, generous, encouraging, humorous” to “egotistic, vain, demanding, temperamental, melodramatic, arrogant, possessive…” Haha. To be honest, I’ve probably used a lot of these words to describe myself at one point or another. Leo's struggle with a huge battle between self-love and self-loath with themselves. Well, I know I do, but I think it’s important to be aware of, and accept your own weaknesses so you can learn to improve them, as well as embrace your strengths and let them shine! I’m still learning to find balance with the two. Of course, we can’t let what our star signs say about us to completely define us though. I wouldn’t say I always resonate with my sign's characteristics and I know some Leo's that aren’t anything like me either. We all have different life experiences and people that have helped shape us into who we are. I do believe in Astrology but I don’t let it completely control me or the way I think about myself and other people.
Can you see characteristics of your star sign within your work? Definitely! I like to be independent and make my own decisions, so being an artist and being able to be my own boss is especially rewarding. I'm a very emotional person and I think that translates through my work. It's important for me to have meaning behind my work and for it to have purpose. I want my art to have a positive impact on people.
What is the thing you love most about your creative medium? Bringing your imagination to life is pretty amazing. I’m definitely a very visual person. I always have been. Growing up I was so fascinated by imagery and fictional characters, which is how I first started drawing and creating at a younger age. I would always look at all the pictures in a book before deciding to read it. I guess that’s why I was more drawn to animation and films. I still am. I just love colours and watching how things move and touch. I definitely love taking photos and drawing for the visually pleasing side of it, but I think what I love most about my art now, is how it makes people feel.
What is your best friends star sign? It sounds corny but I'm really lucky to have so many of the most amazing and inspiring people in my life. I’ve made some beautiful friendships in the last few years that continuously help me to grow. Although, I do have a special friend of mine, Jen, I'd love to mention. She's a Gemini. The Leo/Gemini duo is one of the most compatible pairings if you learn about them. Me being a fire sign, her being an air, we definitely say we resonate with our signs a lot but I think our connection is deeper than just the compatible traits we have within our astrological charts. Jen asked me recently, “how would we describe our friendship, Jae? It’s more than best friends but less than like sisters, right?” This is so true (because we don’t fight like siblings can hehe) but I feel like calling her my “best” friend isn’t enough. Our friendship started off so special and I’m yet to figure out the perfect way to describe it because it’s still growing. We effortlessly lift each other up and inspire each other to freely be our truest and greatest selves. I hope everyone has a friend like Jen.
How does Playboy influence your work? And why? I’d say that Playboy was a catalyst for my work. Discovering Playboy as a young girl was the first time I’d seen a woman on the cover of a magazine embracing her sexuality. This was quite new to me as I come from a traditional and conservative family.
Aside from the perfect bunny logo, my fascination with Playboy today is more about those first encounters with the brand, rather than where the brand sits in the contemporary world. It’s more of a personal interpretation, and my way of reliving that first feeling. It’s a way of redefining those covers and reclaiming them by taking ownership of the creative and diffusing the male gaze. I want my work to encourage women to embrace their bodies and sexuality, rather than alienate them. I want my work to be for everyone.
What is one of the most interesting aspects of femininity that you have discovered? That you can be masculine and feminine at the same time. Hollywood portrays femininity to be a very “girly” aesthetic. I don’t think it has to be a particular piece of lingerie, or perfume, or possession that makes you feel feminine, or even with the way that you act. It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin.
What is the most empowering characteristic of your female lens? Creating a comfortable experience for my muse and developing a certain level of trust. It’s important for me to make sure that the person I’m working with feels just as in control as I do. The focus of my work is to make the women that I’m shooting feel empowered, confident and sexy, but the feelings are totally mutual. I feel so empowered by these women I work with.
I’m always learning during the process of my shoots, and they help me understand things about myself as well. I’m still on my own journey with self-love and collaborating with other women provides me with constant inspiration and aspiration.
What’s a piece of advice you’d want to give your future self? Stop disposing old work because you don't think it's good anymore, rather it remind you of your growth and drive you to continue to keep learning and growing. Always remember to do what makes you happy!