Laura was the reason I decided to make my sixth Week of Models into the character challenge. She wanted to play her alter ego, Charlie Cross. Here’s how she described her character, “whatever the opposite of anxious, worrisome and neurotic is. Calm, cool, collected, breezy. She’s vengeful, but not hateful. It’s just they eye for an eye thing. She makes a decision quickly and commits to it without fear. She’s what I try to keep a lid on, the id. The unapologetically self destructive badass.”
When I asked her about her character’s story, she said, “The story would probably have something to do with taking vengeance out on a lover who spurned her. Every time my heart’s been broken, there’s that urge to retaliate, but instead of taking it out on them, I internalize it and become my own worst enemy. Charlie doesn’t do that. Charlie adheres to ‘an eye for an eye’. If I wasn’t a better person, I would have probably slashed many a tire by now at the very least. But Charlie exacts revenge with a calmness and meticulousness that keeps any kind of hurt or grief at bay.” Our main inspiration for the story was the music video for Flashing Lights by Kanye West. Though we talked at great length about her character, and ideas to incorporate into the shoot, as the day got closer and ideas kept changing, it became too difficult to fit them all in without more time to prepare.
I was worried this shoot might not even happen because I vastly underestimated the challenges of being a single mother, because I didn’t factor in the time it would take Laura to put her daughter to bed, and didn’t consider who would keep an eye on her as we finished the shoot. And the guy I asked at the last minute to play her boyfriend / ex was busy dealing with a situation on the other side of town, and wouldn’t be able to make it in time. I ended up filling in for that role, which certainly slowed down the process of taking photos, but Mallory Chokas was a huge help with both her hair & make-up skills, but also as a photography assistant.
We had some difficulty figuring out how to portray Charlie revealing to her boyfriend that she knew he was cheating, because Laura didn’t want to make it as obvious as her catching him in the act, she wanted something more subtle than that. Turns out when revenge is involved, there is a fine line between being a badass and being a crazy person. Also when we were shooting the last part of the story, we were all hoping a cop didn’t show up to ask us what we were doing, because we were on a dead end road in the middle of nowhere and it looked highly suspicious. The girls joked that at least they could tell the police that I had tied myself up.
I think we definitely created a good look for Laura’s alter ego, and Charlie Cross is definitely a character to explore further in future shoots.