Jessica Claire – Feel the Light

Jessica has been working both behind and in front of the camera for 13 years. She shares with us her philosophy on modeling, her love of nature and horse-riding, and some of her favorite work.


Where are you from?  Where have you been?

I am originally from a suburb of Detroit called Clinton Township, Michigan. I spent 15 years living behind a horse farm in suburbia and then I started moving back and forth between California and Michigan. I’ve been all over the United States and hope to travel internationally in the next couple of years. Over the past 13 years, I’ve moved a couple of dozen times, but I’ve been in Ventura the longest.


What’s your favorite place in the world?

I think my favorite place in the world, so far, is Big Sur, California. There is so much to explore – so much beauty and serenity. I try to go hiking and camping there as often as I can.

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Some film I shot in Big Sur off the side of the road at the mouth of the Little Sur River.

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It wouldn’t be fair to not include my happy place in this interview which is riding horses <3

Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

August marks my thirteenth anniversary since I “started modeling.” It’s such a weird notion now seeing as how both the industry and I have changed over the years. I mean, Facebook wasn’t even a thing yet.


You don’t model full-time anymore.  What else has your interest?

I stopped modeling full-time when I started making more money on the other side of the camera. I also felt like my creative needs were satisfied more as a photographer because modeling has such a dark side to it…. I was constantly being let down at photoshoots by weirdos that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I still love to get in front of the lens, but I only do it for fun now. I am also an avid horse rider, focusing my studies on show jumping and dressage.


What are some of your favorite pictures of yourself?

I have external hard drive upon external hard drive filled with photos. It’s very difficult for me to choose my favorite image from the many shoots I’ve done over the years….

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This has to be close to my first favorite piece of art that I created with Rick Wiggins (Photographer) and Amanie Mokdad in Livonia, Michigan in 2004.

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This image was shot a couple of years later by Courtney Dailey in her Pontiac, MI studio before she ventured out west and became the top beauty photographer in LA. I am lucky to call her my friend and mentor.

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2009 was a big year for me. I was in the semi-finals for Maxim Hometown Hotties and I gained a lot of work and exposure this year. For some reason, I’ve just always loved the Bokeh of the water…

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Another lovely black and white image from 2009 at a workshop at a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Berkley, California.

 

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Here’s some film, shot by TV producer Andy Reaser in Los Angeles. I hope to work with Andy again one day!

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This is a photo from my “most memorable modeling experience” question with C2 Photography at El Matador Beach in Malibu.

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This image is from my most recent shoot with Bleu House Photography in Ventura and currently my most recent favorite picture.

Of all the photos you’ve seen – what’s your favorite?

I can’t clearly define an all-time favorite photograph because I just have too many and at certain times, I cling to certain photographs more.


What’s your favorite kind of modeling?

My ultimate favorite genre would be vintage or pin-up because I feel like my true self when I’m channeling my inner Elizabeth Taylor.


What’s been the most challenging part of modeling, and how do you rise above those challenges?

My biggest challenge of modeling has definitely been dealing with disrespectful people. I’ve had a lot of really crazy situations placed upon me because I model.


What was your most memorable modeling-related experience?

I’ve done a couple hundred shoots, but this one very warm September in Malibu, was my most memorable. I remember the water was so warm and the sun felt great. I usually freeze my ass off so it was the perfect shoot. Ah, the little things in life!


What qualities do you think a good photographer must possess?

A good photographer has to know how to make you laugh. They should be able to call out subtle adjustments to your pose. I also think a good photographer needs to see the world differently than the average person. There are so many little nestles of beauty out there and sometimes if you’re not looking, you could miss it.


How about good models?

A good model knows how to move, how to emote, and how to feel the light.


Feel free to give anyone you’ve collaborated with kudos here.

I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with some truly wonderful artists. A special thanks to the following photographers: Courtney Dailey, Rick Wiggins, Carlos of C Squared Photography, Jeff Burkholder, Clint Padilla and Xue Vue. Thank you for coming together with me to create magic! I also would like to thank Laura Milo and Ingrid Walsh, I have not met your match in hair or makeup.


Who are your role models in the industry?

My role model in the industry is probably a tie between Kate Moss and Adriana Lima because they’re both bad ass ladies.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I see myself graduated from college! Other than that, I have no other concrete plans.


What would you recommend for folks who are just starting out as models?

I recommend to new models to ask questions! It’s how I’ve learned to figure out beforehand if someone is worth my time, paid or collaborative. If you’re not comfortable going to a job by yourself, then you shouldn’t be going in the first place.


One song that you want us to add to our photoshoot playlist on Spotify:

Handsome Boy Modeling School

The answers to this question are being compiled into an FStop Spotify playlist – feel free to use it during your shoots!


FStop: Profile

Website: jessmilitello.com/jessicaclairemodel

MM: Profile

Instagram: @xojessicaclaire

Facebook: Profile


Jessica, we truly enjoyed getting to know you better. We wish you luck as you finish school and hope to see more of you and your work!

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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