Deirdre J Lynam is like no one else I have ever met in my entire life. From the second you step into a room with her, you can practically feel the creativity, enthusiasm and sheer passion for what she does radiating off her.
She’s a woman of many talents. She can act, she can dance and she knows how to capture the perfect picture.
When most of us think of modelling, a few images spring to mind. We think of stick-thin girls, draped in ridiculously expensive clothing pouting at a camera. And yes, Deirdre is a model. But she’s a different kind of model. She’s an alternative model that specialises in telling the ‘story’ behind a picture. She’s a model who is more interested in horror rather than haute couture.
For Deirdre, modelling is all about pure involvement – getting stuck in, creating a scene and, in some cases, shocking people with a memorable image.
Here at Her.ie we’re all about diversity and we sat down with Deirdre to chat about keeping fit, getting involved in modelling and creating some hair-raising stories with a single picture…
Okay, let’s start with the basics. How did you get involved with modelling? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you just fall into it?
It’s a bit of both. I mean I wasn’t really interested in it [modelling] until I watched America’s Next Top Model and I thought, ‘Wow! Look at the hair, the clothes and the make-up!” Everything was so out there and avant garde and strange and beautiful. Obviously as a teenager you get interested in your make-up, so I always went up to my room and played with my make-up and took pictures with my webcam.
After that? Well it was a fluke. A friend of a friend sent me a message on Bebo (back in the days of Bebo!) and asked me if I’d pose for her college project. Since then it’s been a part time thing, but over the last two years it has really taken off.
Your modelling style is pretty dark and, well, gothic. What is it about the darker side of things that you love?
I don’t like to limit myself. I would do more mainstream pictures if I got the work for them, but I don’t think I would. I’ve just always had an interest in the story behind a picture. I actually hate horror films – I’m a chicken – so dark modelling is basically me being brave. If you’re in something, like a horror scene, you don’t have to worry about it.
Part of good, dark shoots is to come up with a great story. Another part of it is, ‘Hmm…I wonder what kind of wounds we can make with liquid latex, or what can I make with this?’ With these shoots, the question is mainly: what can you do?
Would you say alternative modelling is more creative than normal modelling?
Yes. It’s all about what can I do next? What can we do with this? I mean yeah. It just goes on and on like that. And it’s fun!
A lot of people have a misconception that everyone involved in the world of modelling is just an airhead – what would you say to that?
You are never, ever going to make everyone happy in whatever business you do. I would not fret about someone’s nasty comments because if you start catching eyes, and if other people enjoy your work, there’s going to be someone there giving out for whatever reason. Maybe some of their reasons for doing this are legitimate, maybe some of them aren’t, but they are going to give you some kind of stick and you don’t need it. You don’t even need to pay attention to it.
Deirdre loves telling the “story” behind an image.
Do you ever feel insecure when you’re in front of a camera having your picture taken?
Not anymore. If it’s a new photographer, yes. If it’s something I haven’t done before, yes. Everyone assumes that you’re super confident just because you model, but no one is super confident no matter what they do. No one is ever 100 per cent happy with how they look either. Modelling doesn’t necessarily make you a confident person. A lot of it is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
I remember my first life drawing class – I had never posed nude before and I thought, ‘Well, you know, you’re not going to learn unless you do it.’
We have to ask, was it weird posing nude? Is it weird getting your clothes off in front of a photographer?
Once you do it the first time, it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. It’s really just like…well, it’s just body parts. It doesn’t mean anything anymore.
But how did your boyfriend feel about it? Did it upset him?
The very first time I took him to a shoot was to kind of test the waters. We weren’t an official couple yet and I thought, ‘well, I really, really, really like the guy.’ I was mad about him and I wanted to make sure he was okay with it all.
I brought him to a shoot, he had no problem. He was lovely. I brought him along to a few others and there was more for him to do – he actually ended up helping with the shoots and he’s done that a few times now. Photographers have sung his praises on blogs. He’s very supportive and very encouraging as well.
We all know that a big part of modelling, be it alternative or ‘regular,’ is keeping yourself fit. How do you keep your body in shape?
I have taken up pole dancing as of November last year.
You’ll have to elaborate more on this…
What it really exercises is your core muscles. It took a good six months and while I didn’t really look for the change, I felt it in my legs and my arms. I’m lucky enough to also do dance classes in my college. Apart from that I should be exercising more, but I don’t. I do try! (laughs).
What advice would you have for anyone who wants to get into modelling?
There’s so many things. Always be polite and friendly. Never be afraid to take a chaperone – that’s important advice. As you go on you’re going to realise the strange people from the genuine people. But at first, I would strongly recommend a chaperone. There are strange people out there…
Have you ever met any strange people on a shoot?
I’m quite lucky, so no. There are a lot of creative people out there, and creative people can be a bit odd, but that’s the joy! It’s fun! But I have had a lot of weird e-mails and requests. If something starts sounding odd to you, don’t go there.
“I don’t limit myself!” Deirdre enjoys taking on new challenges.
And what advice would you have for ‘alternative’ people who want to model?
If you really want to do it, go for it. People might give you advice like, ‘If you changed this or tried that…’ and I’ll admit, there are certain things that you’re not going to be able to do if you’re covered in tattoos and piercings. But that differs from photographer to photographer.
What’s the alternative modelling scene like in Ireland?
The alternative scene in general seems to be a lot bigger. I never really thought of myself as alternative, odd, yes, but alternative? (laughs). The whole horror-photography thing is very limited in Ireland, but yeah, it’s getting there. Why shouldn’t it? It’s something different and new, so why not?