Nude modelling giving women confidence ~ my talk with Women on Fire

On Tuesday 23rd April I will address an audience of women at a Women on Fire event; it is part of their A Woman Cubed series. I will be speaking about how modelling nude may bring women confidence.

I will draw from my experience as well as that of some of our Spirited Bodies.

I will look at how nudity has changed in its status through history, how it has become incredibly sexualised where it used to represent purity. Indeed the naked body has been of the highest spiritual significance.  There is of course a political element; it may be convenient that a population ashamed of the natural human body is a society living in fear. In fear how easily are people subjugated and controlled? I may not have time in the talk to cover this element, but it is related.

I will discuss what is unique to life modelling; as well as the nudity, the usual silence and stillness. Shed of our daily trappings we have an opportunity to reexamine who we are.

This is a women only event.

About Women on Fire: “Women on Fire is designed to link up the women of the world who make brilliant things happen. It promotes women as decision makers, especially in the many areas that have a direct effect on the wellbeing of all life on earth. It aims to embolden, uplift, inform and inspire women in all circumstances to live their power – but without the loss of lovely, feminine tenderness.”

Women on Fire founder Judith Seelig is a shaman and change maker. She will be talking about women letting go of judging ourselves and comparing ourselves to others.

To book tickets for this free event, register here; it takes place at Kings College London, from 7 – 9pm.

Judith Seelig by Tracey Fahy
Judith Seelig by Tracey Fahy
Judith by Tracey Fahy
Judith by Tracey Fahy
Judith poses beautifully, photographed by Tracey Fahy
Judith poses beautifully, photographed by Tracey Fahy

I first came across Women on Fire at a women’s business networking conference a couple years ago. I was looking at ways to take Spirited Bodies further; we had done one event and I was preparing for the second, which was called ‘The Ages of Woman’. One of the speakers at the London Women Mean Business event mentioned Women on Fire, so I checked them out. They had a big event coming up with some very inspiring speakers from Camilla Batmanghelidjh to Polly Higgins, covering many areas of life. I decided to go to their regular meetings and stay in touch. I am thrilled to be asked to take part in next week’s event!

Related articles:

https://spiritedbodies.com/2011/04/01/feminine-transmission/

https://spiritedbodies.com/2011/10/01/fire-power/

A Little Assymetry & a simple twist

Workshops are progressing smoothly and the machine rolls on steadily. I have decided to spend more time at my home (to centre my female energies!) and am reading a book about altars that women make at home. It is apparently a long tradition¬† that has helped to maintain women’s spirituality throughout masculinely charged times. Women from the oriental East, South America and Northern Europe have all arrived at similar practises as a means to survival of the soul. In church , mosque, temple or synangogue, only men have the divine connection (apart from a little leeway recently), women often being kept away from sacred rites. At home, however women are free to exercise their instinctive spirituality.

A collection of favourite objects, mementos of friends, loved ones and dead relatives; symbolic images both personal and universal, amassed and arranged to inspire deep connection. An entire room may be given up to being an altar, or there may be several altars in a house, each for a different purpose; or else a single altar may suffice. I started to realise that without being aware of it, I had the makings of a few altars in my home. On the mantle piece a framed photograph of my Mother on her wedding day, an old Chinese carved wooden box taken from my Grandfather’s office after he died, and lower down on the woodwork, art postcards from a Great-aunt, my Grandfather again, and by Klimt and Schiele – 2 of my Mother’s favourite artists. Then resting by the gas fire the walking stick from 2 of my plays, beads from (when I took over) my sister’s squat, and crystals and candle sticks on the hearth.

By the computer a postcard from my sister with a painting that my Grandmother embroidered and hangs in my parents’ home, a small plastic polar bear to remind me of someone I call ‘Bear’, and a chipped mug given to me by theatre directors of a show I starred in a few years back. Small shiney stones and pretty shells, a pressed sycamore wing and a found lamp from my first home away from home. Some people like to put the past completely behind them, get rid of the old and start afresh. That can be healthy too, but I see a value in all my experiences and relationships and want to cherish the love and warmth they have given me, may still give me through memory. In my bedroom another two altars await activation! The dressing table beckons, as does another fire place bedecked with choice memorabilia.

In this evening’s workshop I want to bring attention to the beauty of a little assymetry in poses, and as well the way a subtle twist can add the right amount of complexity.

Here are some images from last week’s workshop, by Rade, and further down are some memories from the beloved Mortlake Christmas experience courtesy of one of the models.

imaginary cards in a tense game to the left, and a woman in mourning (at a nude funeral)
imaginary cards in a tense game to the left, and a woman in mourning (at a nude funeral)
the artists are mirrored by the models in sketching poses!
the artists are mirrored by the models in sketching poses!
a selection of Mike's paintings in Mortlake
a selection of Mike’s paintings in Mortlake
a portion of The Raft of the Medusa
a portion of The Raft of the Medusa
more rafting
more rafting
the storm in pencil I think by Charles
the storm in pencil I think by Charles
The Last Supper
The Last Supper where some of the diners got to lounging

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Part 3: A Woman in Transition

Liz painted by artist Stan Blatton in her 1st life modelling job after Spirited Bodies

It took Morimda years to have the courage to tell people what she did as a life model. Liz does not have that burden but in her life she will not tell many about this new side of her. This information is restricted to the few who are from that art world of like minded people. Liz has a cover like a mask – her normal job which is what the rest of the world may know about her.

For 20 years she was unhappy in her job and did not address the fact that artistic and sporty sides to her were not being fulfilled. She now approaches life modelling as a slightly older woman who is generally less confident about her body, and she experiences a shift as she accepts her own nudity.

Liz was pleased to find other professionals (as in not life models) taking part in Spirited Bodies. It suggested she may be with others experiencing something similar; the ennui of working life and the duality of clashing worlds. Her drama teacher has told her she is too controlled, so partly through life modelling she aims to be freer.


She also thinks that as she gets older she will become more interested in nude modelling, to face the challenge of continuing to love herself. Now that she has found this joy that makes her feel special, she does not want it to end. She says there is a need for more images of both naked and clothed older women to emerge and proliferate.

In her drama class she has met lots of people her age with professions who like her, crave change to something more spiritual in their lives. Spirited Bodies she says, is a bit like acting, as when life modelling/acting, the social mask is off. You must be yourself and that has a big appeal.

The shift in Liz started to happen a few years ago when living in another country from her best friend – her sister – she realised she was unhappy with her job, and her sister was there to advise her. A spiritual teacher was visiting her home town and giving classes to her sister. Each week on the phone information was shared.

She noticed that her ‘friends’ judged people by where in London they lived, and when she told them she was doing an acting course it was a huge shock for them and they had no encouragement for her. She says another course would have been acceptable in gardening or sewing for example, but acting was considered a waste of time as it ‘should’ be something pursued when younger. At her age people judged she ought to have settled more. Instead she is still curious to explore.

“My career is about knowing myself and being happy”, she told bewildered former friends!

Her drama teacher told the class, “If you came here to learn how to act, you came to the wrong place.” Instead acting is about stripping away the mask.

Liz allowing her bottom to take a prominent position, which always she was ashamed of before

With many thanks to Liz and Morimda