Jamie Vasta in her studio.

Recently I had an amazing opportunity to pose for fine artist Jamie Vasta. She is a fantastic artist who I was introduced to through my friend Lisa. Jamie and Lisa go way back and currently share a studio space (again) in Oakland that makes me green with envy, although there isn't really any studio space that doesn't make me jealous these days.

There are a few incredible things I know about Jamie already. First, she's got some beautiful botanical tattoos. Second, she skillfully and with an amazing eye for detail WORKS IN GLITTER. That is brilliant. And third, she has an intense process before she gets to the glitter, involving the development of stories and themes, the casting and shooting of her models, working that photography into appropriate backdrops, cutting and splicing as needed until the photographs finally portray the story she is telling. THEN the glitter.

Jamie's glitter swatches.

Not even close to all the glitter.

The series of works I sat for are of burlesque, drag and other "high-femme" stage personas. The mood of these pieces will be regal and powerful, which was a really great direction for me after years of goofy faces and dressing like a sparkly chicken.

I felt really free posing with Jamie, on a Saturday morning in full makeup and hair in the light of day. There are veins and bumps and things all over me that I still try to hide from David on a daily basis, so it's just crazy that I'm able to tromp around in someone's studio without a care in the world. Hallelujah for burlesque. 

It's funny like that for me. I seriously do not give one little care AT ALL about my stretch marks or saggy, 43-year-old everything when I am onstage, or backstage, or just dressed in this gear. It all falls away. I walked into Jamie's studio like I'd modeled a million times before. I LOVE the photos. They are not high quality, because she only works from them, they aren't the final product. I love the demeanor in all of the shots. The only thing that bothers me in any of these isn't my gut or my thighs, it's my face. The jowls. I've fatted that chin and I don't know if one can even come back from that.

Put me in a room in my street clothes with a few people who are lithe and very healthy and I'll still shrink inside. My posture will practically roll me into a ball. I cannot bridge the gap between loving my burlesque self and "radical body acceptance", about which my friend Rhea writes so well, and practices, too. 

Wrangling with those emotions is getting so tiring. I've teetered lately between letting it all go and caring deeply about my appearance. I don't know how I'm every going to work it out with myself. So that's why I thank my lucky stars that I did find burlesque. I thank it (and of course my dear Bombshell Betty) for giving me a place where I can feel as good as anyone would like to feel about themselves. I CAN imagine my life without ever having experienced it, and it makes me sad to think about it.

I will keep you posted on the piece Jamie is doing of me, as well as on her opening in the fall where she will be unveiling the whole series. I'm already looking forward to the work she'll be doing after this. 

In the meantime, if you dare, there are a few photos from our session if you click "read more" below. I do love them.

This is one of the many tulle bras I made a few years ago when I first started performing, and a costume made primarily from tissue paper pompoms.

I think this one is my favorite. No duck face. It's just me:

And here's Jamie. She's just amazing, period.


  1. You are so beautiful and i love the pictures. You should be very proud of yourself. Each and every single day. With or without your costumes.

    1. Thank you, Stina. That is so kind of you, and yes, we should all be proud of ourselves, each and every day. Funny how it's hard sometimes! xo

  2. You are radical. Love, love, love this. From my perspective you are beautiful and real. Why would you ever want to be anything else?

    1. Thank you, my friend. My GORGEOUS friend. Keeping it real is an aspiration, for sure. xoxoxo


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