DJ Cobalt 60: Why do you love creating images and what does the female form mean to you?
Alyse Laurent: I’ve always had sort of a tough time expressing my emotions. I’m shit at it. I guess that’s what creating images does for me. It allows me to convey emotion. The camera really doesn’t lie. Whatever you’re seeing, the feeling that’s being evoked, is one hundred percent authentic. The female form blows my mind. I mean, a woman’s body is the giver of life. That’s pretty insane, when you start to think about it.
DJ Cobalt 60: How long have you been modeling for and was it a profession you had much interest in prior to joining the industry?
Alyse Laurent: I started modeling when I was seven years old. I was approached by an agent and my mom left the decision up to me. From a young age, I wanted to be seen. Modeling allowed for that.
DJ Cobalt 60: Stylistically your work is very elegant, confident and accomplished, who or what inspires you artistically?
Alyse Laurent: Hey, thanks! I’m really blown away by Candice Swanepoel. She has a face that you just want to kiss. More than her beauty, she oozes self-confidence. She knows her body and her face very well. She’s comfortable with herself, you know? It’s a hard thing to be comfortable when people are constantly picking you apart. Candice makes it look effortless.
DJ Cobalt 60: When you think about the images that have left an impression on you what do you remember about them?
Alyse Laurent: So many of those images were taken at a fleeting moment. I can remember thinking a stupid thought like, “Fuck! I forgot to shave my arm pits.” and the photographer would snap the photo and flip his shit over it. I guess there’s a vulnerability that sometimes gets captured in photos. That can be really beautiful.
DJ Cobalt 60: You model largely for fashion photographers are you happy being known primarily as a fashion model or are you interested in trying other genres? Is typecasting ever something you worry about and what can you do on your end to seek out the type of photo shoots you want to be involved in?
Alyse Laurent: I’m truly lucky to have worked with some of the top fashion photographers in the world. I am always open to ideas. If a photographer comes to me with a really interesting concept, I’ll hear them out regardless of the genre. I have turned down overtly sexual shoots out of concern that I might limit myself. I want to be seen as different from a sex kitten, rebel or waif. That’s all been done and damn well, too! As far as seeking out photo shoots, I find that just shooting constantly and making friends leads to more work and the type of work you’re looking for always comes to you. I’m a firm believer that you never find what you’re looking for, if you go looking for it.
DJ Cobalt 60: My favorite shoot of yours is the one you did for Yume Magazine titled “Field of Dreams” by photographer Ron Boyd, it captures the natural calm and serenity of the outdoors perfectly and as the title suggests, feels like you are viewing a dream. What was your experience like shooting with Ron? Were you at all hesitant to posing nude? I do want to compliment the two of you for the way nudity was presented in the images I felt it displayed appreciation for femininity and the human body and was in no way exploitative or objectifying.
Alyse Laurent: That shoot is actually one of my favorites to date, as well. Ron is a true artist. He has a very clear vision of what he wants out of a photo shoot. He’s such a cool cat. The whole shoot felt effortless because it was almost as if I was going about my day, naked in nature, and Ron was documenting it. He of course captured me in the most gorgeous way because he’s amazing like that. I was a little nervous about shooting nude outdoors. I have to say that once I bared all, in nature, I felt very free. It was a spiritual experience. I have shot nude before in a very controlled, studio environment. The experience was far different. I ended up feeling less self-aware shooting naked in nature than I did in a studio. Regarding the outcome of the images with Ron, I was fully confident in his vision. I knew he wanted to capture an innocence and was in no way interested in shooting anything smutty. I myself compliment him for being such a visionary.
DJ Cobalt 60: I also really love whenever you pose in swim wear, I know an attractive woman in a bikini on the beach may be the stereotypical image of modeling that comes to mind for most but, it’s not every day that artist can take something old and make it seem fresh and new again, I was wondering since it’s the start of swimsuit season if you had any upcoming shoots featuring yourself in swim wear?
Alyse Laurent: I love swimwear. Hell, who doesn’t want to spend the day at the beach and call it work? As far as upcoming work, in my skivvies, I’m shooting a model video for this kick ass swim brand “Pacific & Driftwood“. Oh, and you’ll definitely find me rolling around, on the beach, in Miami pretty soon. Swim Week is coming up and I can’t wait.
DJ Cobalt 60: From all the photo shoots you have done which do you feel has shaped you most as a model?
Alyse Laurent: I shot with Bruce Weber, for “Abercrombie“, as a young teenager. There was a group of us by a pool and I can remember Bruce saying to just go for it. We all dove in, literally. Sopping wet clothes, drenched hair. He captured youth so perfectly. In that moment, I knew that I wanted pursue modeling. To really go for it.
DJ Cobalt 60: What do you think the best photographers bring out of you that you can’t on your own?
Alyse Laurent: I think they bring out my inner beast. I’m a bit of an introvert, by nature. When I’m in front of a camera, I lose all inhibition and just fucking go for it.
DJ Cobalt 60: Ideally how much input do you like to have on your photo shoots? Is your job to add to the photographer’s vision or only fulfill it?
Alyse Laurent: I’m pretty hands on. If I feel like something isn’t working, or I don’t feel comfortable, I’ll speak up. As a creative person, I like to add to the photographer’s vision. Some photographers only see things their way and don’t care for any input. That’s fine. It’s all preference, I suppose. At the end of the day, all of us artists including stylists, hair and makeup are coming together to create that one kill shot. If someone has a good idea I feel that they should be able to contribute. That’s my opinion.
DJ Cobalt 60: Given the opportunity money not being an issue what would your dream photo shoot be?
Alyse Laurent: If time travel were possible, I would travel back in time to shoot with Andy Warhol in his factory. Some people wouldn’t understand why I would choose him to shoot with. To that I say why the fuck not?
DJ Cobalt 60: As an artist what is the highest compliment that you can receive?
Alyse Laurent: That I am creating something groundbreaking in a world where everything seems like it has already been done.
DJ Cobalt 60: Any advice for people new to modeling?
Alyse Laurent: You can’t give a fuck about what people think of you. The minute you do, you’ve given them all the power. I’ve had people straight up tell me I didn’t have it. I was too this, or too that. The modeling industry can break your heart six ways to Sunday…if you let it. The industry has also changed a lot. There’s a quote that Abbey Lee Kershaw said. “As a model you used to have to work to become famous. Now you have to be famous to get work.” The truth is, it has never been easy to become anyone notable. It all boils down to how badly you really want it.
DJ Cobalt 60: Do like to have music played during photo shoots and if so what type?
Alyse Laurent: Yes! I love to listen to anything upbeat. Hip hop is amazing for energetic shoots and Bob Dylan works for the sexy, boudoir shoots.
DJ Cobalt 60: Film you have re-watched the most?
Alyse Laurent: It’s a tie between “The Graduate” and “Boogie Nights”.
DJ Cobalt 60: Strangest dream you have ever had?
Alyse Laurent: I rarely remember them and when I do, they are typically stranger than I’d care to share. I can recall a weird one where I answered the phone and on the other end was this guy that stated his name and told me I had “gotten the job”. I swear on my soul, I woke up to the phone ringing and when I answered it was the same guy, with the same name. I had never spoken to him in my life. Needless to say…I got the job.
DJ Cobalt 60: If you could only retain one of your five senses which one would you choose and why?
Alyse Laurent: As an artist, I would have to choose sight. I am such a visual person. Wherever we go there are so many things to see. Ordinary and everyday things that we often take for granted. And then there are the more extraordinary sights. Sights that we don’t ordinarily see. I wouldn’t want to miss out on any of those.
DJ Cobalt 60: How would you describe your images to someone who was blind?
Alyse Laurent: Aside from the basics, I would describe the emotion of the photos. The message I was trying to get across. How does someone describe color to a person that may have never seen color? Emotion is universal. Yeah, I would say that there’s this woman standing there with these eyes of complete desire and yearning. It’s as if she’s looking for the horizon. I have so many images with a slight frown. I don’t think it’s sadness at all. I think it’s an insatiable yearning for more.
DJ Cobalt 60: For people interested in your work where can they go?
DJ Cobalt 60: Is there any you would like to thank who has supported you throughout your career or been instrumental to your career?
Alyse Laurent: I’d really like to thank my friend and photographerJosh Ryan. He really put me on the map on the west coast. I’ve shot some of my favorite photos to date with him. I’d also like to thank myself for never giving up. I now smile in the face of adversity.