Emma & Kaitlin

Emma Fox and Kaitlin Elizabeth are freelance models based out of Ottawa, Canada. Along with the photographer Gholam Nandoko, they created a series about sisterhood and femininity.

How did the idea for the series come about?

Kaitlin: Emma reached out to me a few months ago looking to connect & we began meeting for coffee dates to get to know each other better. We got along so well & quickly became good friends! We were both looking to do a boudoir themed shoot with another model, but didn’t have any previous experience modelling lingerie with another subject, so we started with defining what we were both comfortable with. A photographer we both worked with previously expressed interest in shooting our concept & I had a perfect location in mind. It all just fell into place!

Emma: Me and Kaitlin had started talking over Instagram because we had some common connections and had both worked with the photographer Gholam before. We decided to meet up and chat about modelling, going freelance and our own personal experiences just to gain a bit more insight into the business and each others lives. After meeting up for coffee and a chat a few times, Kaitlin approached me with the idea of doing a shoot together. I was thrilled with the idea because I usually do modelling on my own and hadn’t collaborated with other models before. I quickly agreed to this wonderful idea and we sat down together again and discussed ideas for a shoot we could do together. It was nearing Valentines Day and so we thought a Valentines theme of boudoir/lingerie would be quite fitting. Both of us love the idea of female body empowerment and we really wanted to focus on this through the moods and themes of our shoot. We discussed how we wanted to do a boudoir shoot that would be for US, it would be about empowering ourselves as women, joining together and creating a less sexual atmosphere, as we found that many nude/boudoir shoots often portray women as oversexualized and objects for viewers. We really wanted to step away from this oversexualization of women and portray themes of softness, empowerment and womanhood.

“Sometimes I enjoy feeling sexy, because as a survivor of molestation & sexual assault, taking control of my sexuality was so empowering & very important in my healing process. I simply persevere in hopes that my images offer the viewer a different.“

What do you hope to achieve through your modelling?

Kaitlin: My goal is to inspire self-love & body positivity, as well as to help normalize & desexualize the nude female body. Many assume because I’m comfortable with my nudity that I must be a slut, that I must be sleeping with every photographer I pose nude for, or that I’m “easy”, which is completely false! Sometimes I enjoy feeling sexy, because as a survivor of molestation & sexual assault, taking control of my sexuality was so empowering & very important in my healing process. I simply persevere in hopes that my images offer the viewer a different perspective.

Emma: Personally, through my modelling I have always hoped to achieve empowerment of not only myself, but also of other people. I always talk about how important I think it is for us to each be as unique as we can be. This is something I have always liked about myself, that I am not afraid to stand out and be different. I try to show other people the importance of being true to yourself. I love doing this through my modelling because it allows people to see that even if I put myself out there, in a vulnerable position, perhaps by doing nude or boudoir shoots, I am still able to love myself and be proud of myself. There will always be people who will judge what you do and may view it as wrong. As long as you are happy in doing what you love, then no one can stop you!

Do you think there’s a way for photographers/the industry to capture the female body in a more empowering way?

Kaitlin: I think photographers & the industry need to stop over sexualizing women. There’s the saying “sex sells”, which proved to be successful for a period of time, but I think more & more people are coming to realize that was only successful due to people feeling a lack of confidence in themselves & just wanting to be sexy & attracted by others. I’d like to see more focus on natural beauty campaigns & more acceptance of plus sized models.

Emma: Yes, most definitely! Much like what I discussed about me and Kaitlin’s idea for our boudoir themed shoot, I think that photographers and the modelling industry need to begin viewing women’s bodies as more sacred. This does not mean in the sense that we need to cover up and not show our bodies at all, or be ashamed of them, but more in the sense that our bodies should not be treated like objects for viewers. Obviously through modelling we use our bodies to sell clothing, promote brands etc. But this does not mean that our bodies should be taken away from us, they are still ours and we should be proud and empowered through the work that we do. I believe that focusing on breaking down the oversexualization of women in advertisements and commercials is a good way to start. Much like me and Kaitlin did, focusing on themes of the softness, delicateness, but also power and empowerment of women through photography is a wonderful direction to go.

Your ideal morning?

Kaitlin: My ideal morning starts with sleeping in, waking up to a 3 egg breakfast with a side of bacon, & a french pressed cup of Starbucks coffee. I prep my pre & post workout meals & head to the gym for a great workout! Exercising in the morning helps get me ready for a productive day.

Emma: Love this question! I am usually not much of a morning person as I don’t enjoy waking up early. But lately I have been going to bed at a good time which has allowed me to get up much earlier. My ideal morning would be waking up at 9AM, making some homemade waffles on my Mom’s waffle maker she keeps at her house, taking our dog Finn for a walk around the park and then getting dressed and going to the gym. I find going to the gym early in the day helps to wake me up and motivates me for the rest of my day’s adventures!

What are your plans and what’s next for you?

Kaitlin: I’m currently planning more collaborations with some new photographers & models, & I’m hoping to return to college to finish my diploma in photography!

Emma: My plans as of right now are to finish my degree at University as well as travel to Africa for my exchange experience that I need to complete for school. I plan on doing a ton more shoots and collaborations with local photographers and models in my area. I really love collaborating with people as I get to meet new people and open my mind to different artistic creations and styles of shooting. I want to build up my portfolio so that I can go out to Toronto and Montreal and apply to some agencies there. One of my big dreams is to model for street wear brands, there are a few that I am in love with in Toronto, Montreal and LA. Another dream of mine is to start my own clothing brand. My friend’s have always told me that I have a very unique style and I believe I have a very good creative eye for styling cool outfits. Me and my friend have been talking about starting a brand because he is big into sketching shoe and clothing designs so we hope to collaborate on that! I’m excited to see where my journey takes me, and I hope to do a lot more magazine submissions like this in the future as well!