Say hello to Alana and Lucas:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
A.M. – I’m from Los Angeles and have lived here all my life! I haven’t been to that many places yet. I think being from a place made up of so many transplants makes it difficult to leave.
L.M. – I was originally born and raised in New Jersey, but I moved out to California about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been happily living in LA ever since!
How would you describe your visual style?
A.M. – Hm, don’t really have a visual style yet, there’s still a lot I’m learning as someone who just started shooting last year. I’m mostly just trying out different styles to become more knowledgeable. I’m mostly interested in men’s fashion, and in future projects, will probably aim for a dream-like feel for men and masculine presenting people. I see it more often with women and soft dream-like photos for girls.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
L.M. – I always love the idea of new challenges, so it’s hard to list just one specific thing. I’m always looking for new roles to dive into and new ideas to challenge myself with, artistically, so I very rarely turn down a new opportunity. Every job I get seems like a brand new adventure, and who can complain about that?
What do you look for in models?
A.M. – The best thing to have in a model is professionalism. One who is already familiar with a lot of poses, aware of their body as whole, and confident in their movements.
Alana, you started as a model – what initially attracted you to modeling?
A.M. – I’d say most of the time when I modeled, it was more about what/who I was modeling for, that made me want to do it. Usually, it was linked to the LGBT community. Then, there was the fact that I felt there wasn’t enough representation for people that looked like me. The first shoot I had didn’t have me thinking I’d get into modeling. It was for an online community for queer women that wanted to have models that were actually a part of the LGBT community to show diversity.
Lucas, what sparked your interest in acting and modeling? How did you get started?
L.M. – I always wanted to be an actor growing up, but I quit pursuing it when I was about 16 since I didn’t believe someone like me would ever work. I ended up working behind the scenes for a while as an art department PA on movie sets in NYC, and after a rather bizarre chain of events, I found myself getting dragged, kicking and screaming back into acting. From there, I sort of hopped into modeling as well, and I couldn’t be happier. I genuinely never thought I’d be able to live out the dreams I had as a kid!
Lucas, you’ve been very open about your transformation through YouTube and have become a positive role model in the trans community – what inspired you to candidly share your story?
L.M. – Growing up, I could never find someone like me in the media, and I started to wonder if people like me even existed. As I got older, it’s become really important to me to show kids, just like myself, that there are people like them out there – that they’re not alone. That there’s absolutely nothing wrong with living authentically, and in doing so, you can be happy and successful just like anyone else in the world. Ultimately, I hope my story shows people that it’s okay to be yourself, that being yourself is more than enough, no matter what.
Alana, what inspired you to move behind the camera?
A.M. – I’ve been interested in photography for maybe 10 years, just didn’t practice it the entire time. Film was fun, I mostly played around with plastic cams like the Diana F+, Fisheye, and such. But I guess the move came from feeling like I could do a lot more creatively behind the camera, and I’m able to set goals and reach them. With modeling, I never had the necessary drive to get to the next level, and let my insecurities get to me. On the other side, I find I warm up to people a lot faster, and feel more confident in what I’m doing. Also, I see photography as a way to inspire my other interests in creating art. But for the most part, I got started while interning for the photographer, Irvin Rivera of Graphics Metropolis. He’s been extremely helpful and inspiring when it comes to photography.
Lucas, as far as landing gigs, have you faced any prejudice/challenges related to your gender identity?
L.M. – So far, I’ve been really lucky that I haven’t received much, if any, negativity or backlash for my identity. To be fair, I’m incredibly lucky that most people won’t know I’m transgender when I walk in the room, so I’m able to audition and work as a cis male, but I’ve never felt a need to be quiet about my identity. I’m proud of who I am and I think people respect that.
Alana, what has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
A.M. – My biggest setback so far has probably been finding a way to tell a story with my photography. There are images I want to create, but then I realize I am still learning all the steps to get there and that I need to pace myself, be patient while building my skill. Outside of money for equipment, I don’t think it’s difficult to manage a setback or find a way where it still benefits you.
What is the best thing a photographer can do to bring out your personality?
L.M. – I think the best thing a photographer can do is just create a comfortable environment – when things feel too hectic or too severe, it’s hard to relax and get good shots. I find I always work the best with people I feel I can have a friendly conversation with!
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography and/or modeling?
A.M. – I think that there’s a lot of content out there for anyone in these fields, they just need to make sure it applies to them. Maybe try to get a mentor or someone who has experience in the field. I think figuring out what sets you apart from others, instead of just trying to follow a checklist of all the right things to do, matters a lot too.
Tell us about the shoot! What was the creative concept?
A.M. – I loved Lucas’ boyish looks, and it was something I wanted capture. He has a face you want to trust, and you just get a good feeling right away. Plus, I thought he’d be great for a project I’m currently creating pieces for that will revolve around masculinity.
L.M. – Alana hired me to help broaden her portfolio, which I was more than happy to do. It was a great, casual shoot that was fun, while still managing to be professional.
What do you want people to remember about you after a project?
L.M. – I hope if nothing else, I leave a project with people thinking I’m a polite, nice young man with a good heart and a smart head on his shoulders. My poor mother’s heart would break if she ever found out I was rude or ungrateful!
What was your most memorable project?
L.M. – I’ve been lucky that every project I’ve worked on so far has been incredibly unique and different from the one before. It’s hard to pick a most memorable. I suppose seeing my name in the credits for a movie for the first time was definitely a huge moment though. I remember calling my parents after and babbling on about how happy and proud I was.
What is your most life-changing event?
A.M. – My most life-changing event was probably impulsively driving to the Grand Canyon with my dog last year. I’d never traveled by myself, but it was a place I had been wanting to visit. A friend had just gone and said it was a great time of year before it gets too hot. I had a few days off from work and just went. After that, I felt better doing a lot of stuff on my own and had more of a “just do it” attitude versus just talking.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
L.M. – I think there are all kinds of heroes out there, and I have many heroes for different aspects of my life. In regards to my personal life though, I think my older brothers will always be my heroes. I look at them and see three people far greater than I. They’re the kind of people who make you want to be a better person, you know? Having them in my life makes me strive to be a better version of myself.
What will you be doing five years from now?
A.M. – I don’t really have a five year plan. I will still be creating and shooting, and maybe adding more skills in the industry to my name. I do hope I’m in a place where I am creating art that can help and benefit people in need.
L.M. – I hope to see myself happy and still surrounded by the people I love. I also hope I’ll have traveled to a ton more places and gotten to work on a ton more cool projects!
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
A.M. – I feel like I should say something that pertains to my art and travels, but really, I’ve always wanted to hang out and swim with sharks. Sharks are the only ocean creatures I like besides jellyfish. Everything else kinda terrifies me or just plain freaks me out, but sharks are cool because they have their own theme song.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
L.M. – My biggest fear is getting old and realizing I was never truly happy. There are so many roads you can travel in life, so many choices you can make, and all I can hope is that I’ll be happy with the ones I’ve taken.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
L.M. – I truly wish I had a better memory. I’m always jealous of those people who can see someone once and still remember their name five years down the line. I swear I always feel so terrible when I forget someone’s name or forget an important piece of information!
What’s your greatest failure, and how did you overcome it?
L.M. – I used to play ice hockey, and when I was young and learning to skate, my dad would always tell me, “If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.” To this day, I still take this approach to life – I know I’m constantly making mistakes and failing, so to pick one moment that’s my biggest failure is hard, but I’m also always learning from those mishaps and becoming a better person for it. It’s impossible to be perfect, so it’s super important to try and always learn from your mistakes and to never give up!
What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?
L.M. – I think my greatest achievement has been learning to be authentic with myself. So many people are stuck in life doing things they don’t want to do or being someone they don’t want to be because they think that is what’s expected of them. I had the love and support to break away from that mindset and chase a life that I not only want to live, but am happy to live, and I’m very proud of that!
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Lucas, here’s some contact information:
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Alana, here’s some contact information:
Alana and Lucas, thanks for sharing your stories and the results from your amazing photo session! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!