T his shoot is one of my personal favorites thus far. It was around September 2015, and I was coming out of a three month funk where I was mourning the loss of a friendship. I hadn’t done any shoots during that period, so I decided to embrace the darkness and create a story that showcased my mindset at the time, which is how “Fraulein Elsa” was born.
I assembled an incredible team that came together almost cosmically: an actress who was working as a Lyft driver whom I happened to meet on a ride I ordered (Taylor Grossman), a young, top notch MUAH I’d worked with once before (Matthew Joseph Gall), and an amazingly talented photographer I met while out having drinks with friends (Stevie Ellis). One of my artist friends had the studio space but hadn’t yet moved in completely so it was still empty – it was the perfect industrial backdrop!
I sourced the wardrobe from a variety of spots as usual, but the coup de gras was the big chunky gold necklace with the Lion’s head medallion that I found at Freestyle Clothing Company in downtown Sacramento.
I wanted her hair to be big and sexy, and her makeup to be bold and somewhat visceral. Matthew had some incredible ideas, including to put a few loose black feathers in her hair and on the floor (the feathers were part of a failed wardrobe idea on set) for a wild effect, as well as taping her nipples with x’s.
I am the type of stylist who is always open to feedback from the team and I’m really glad I took his advice on this one! This shoot helped me to emerge from the sand and get back into the game and also forced me to mine for new diamonds of talent in Sacramento, and it will always be special for this reason.