LUX contributing editor and Storm model, Sydney Lima continues her online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about modelling life and business.
THIS MONTH: Orla Carolin has been signed to London’s Storm Model agency for less than a year and has already been making waves on both the fashion and art circuits. Born and based in South-East London, the 18-year-old works as both a model and fine artist as one of the founding members of South London Art and Music Collective NINE8. So far, she has shot editorials for Wonderland, Pylot and graced the cover of cult magazine ‘Zodiac‘.
Sydney Lima: What first made you want to get into modelling?
Orla Carolin: I’d be lying if I said modelling was something I was pursuing when I first started – it more got sprung upon me – but i’m grateful it did!
SL: What do you enjoy about modelling?
OC: You just witness a lot from other people’s creative processes and by watching the way they present their artistic vision/identity, you learn a lot about your own.
SL: Is there anything you don’t like about modelling?
OC: Like any industry there’s definitely room for development. In modelling the representation of people of colour needs to be improved. When I first started modelling I was shocked in the realisation that whilst on the surface of the fashion world, progression has been made, the type of people who are in power to make changes remain the same – and a lot of them still don’t get it.
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SL: How did NINE8 collective form?
OC: NINE8 started out as a group of kids in their second year of college who were kind of drawn together because they had such strange but unifying ideals on art, music and life in general. We realised early on that – in the city specifically – it can be very hard as a young creative to get recognition when you don’t already have the connections or funding to do so. My partner (the founder) Lava , began to officially bring the group together to put on little DIY nights to showcase our artwork, bedroom cyphers in her flat and saved up to create little recording set ups so we could start making music together. It quickly developed to wider friendships and people online who reached out to us as a group because they had similar creative views on non-exclusiveness and positivity. Next thing we knew we had a board of people doing all kinds of things – photographers, artists, musicians, producers, film-makers – we were swapping creative currency making clothes, cover art, music for each other and Lava coined it to put it under the name “NINE8.”
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We really started striving to put the underground scene of DIY London artists on a platform to create and collaborate and the more we worked together the more our merging of styles came together to create this matching sound/aesthetic that we’re always trying to develop.
Constantly creating and pushing yourself to explore new ways of working is so important, and for me the collective encourages that.
Sydney Lima: How would you describe your artistic style?
Orla Carolin: Dreamy, illustrative, lyrical, emotional. Poems have always been mixed into my sketchbooks and journals – in my works they become an aspect of an entire scape that usually alludes to an emotion or situation that I’ve attempted to physicalize through personal symbolism and colour. I recently finished my foundation course where I specialised in sculpture, I love creating scenes and scapes physically, too. I think my overall desire when making is to create objects and two dimensional images which in some bizarre and surreal way drag the viewer into my mind as though it were a physical space.
SL: What inspires you?
OC: Other people just totally doing their thing and going for it (whatever it may be), people being vocal about how they feel – regardless of who’s listening. Definitely people who are emotional responders like myself. I am encouraged, for example, by the way artist Louise Bourgeois’ portrays and physicalizes her emotions. However, an admiration like that is only a reminder of an element of what I want to achieve through my work, the execution of something like that has to come naturally in relation to my own experiences, emotions and desires. I’m inspired of the idea of developing this, the more I grow. It keeps me going.