Interview by Ellie Eckert:
In the past few months, I’ve found myself working on projects I’d never imagined, and more importantly, working with amazingly successful and driven women to produce projects that are not only surrounded by beautiful images, but a deeper message.
Working in the fashion industry, I've frequently seen women objectified and gawked at for their looks. Models, actresses and artists alike are judged not based on their skills and abilities, but on how they look. Are they a size 2? Can they bring “the sexy” to set?
When I first met Chloe on a chilly afternoon a few short months ago, I could instantly tell she was not only incredibly beautiful, but smart, passionate and driven. Her acting abilities are strong and full of emotion, but as she notes, she rarely had a voice as a woman or as an artist.
Below is a little Q&A with Chloe surrounding a photoshoot we did expressing this idea. Weigh-in in the comments below!
Why did you want to to do this project?
Quite simply, I had felt maxed-out on sexual objectification. I felt overwhelmed by our culture that continues to obsessively inundate us with images of women as beautiful sexy objects, but simultaneously continues to shame women for their own personal relationship to their womanhood and sexuality. After years of working as an actress and a model, I had begun to feel like my ownership of my body was being taken away from me. I felt like my worth as an adult female was equated to the desirability of my body and the pleasure and interest that it sparked in other people. That's when I met Jennifer, the photographer, 3 years ago on a modeling job. We immediately connected on a creative level and became dear friends. It was clear to me that both of us at the time felt our self-expression was being constricted by our modeling careers. As I watched Jennifer recreate herself as a photographer and great artist, I was struck with her seamless ability to capture images full of sensuality and womanhood without internalizing a very typical male gaze. Jennifer's unique perspective motivated me to create a project where I could explore the captivity of objectification, as well as the ambivalence I have surrounding displaying my body and owning my sexuality. This exploration ultimately allowed me to reveal many of the emotions that I currently have surrounding my career as an actress and my life as a woman.
My decision to ultimately produce a physically and emotionally revealing shoot was born out of my need to let go of the shame that I had adopted and grown to associate with my body and my womanhood. When a person is treated like a sex object, they lose their autonomy as a subject in the world. It was important for me as an artist to get to a place where I no longer felt ashamed to share this particular part of myself. It troubles me that we live in a culture that seems to be obsessed with raunch and simultaneously slut-shames a 20 year old performer for her own exploration of sexuality.