GGotW: Why the name Shilo?
SvP: I’ve been obsessed with Repo! The Genetic Opera for around about four years now. I love it aesthetically and the sound track and whole concept is amazing. The main character in the film is called Shilo and I just thought it was really cute and short and easy to remember.
GGotW: The porcelain part?
SvP: I didn’t really want a “two name” name and I was really just trying to come up with something. I’m really, really pale naturally and people kept telling me I looked like a porcelain doll.
GGotW: Does your pale skin work for you, in the styles you shoot?
SvP: It does! With the Goth style, it works very well and I get a lot of compliments. With vintage, too, as it seems pale skin works well with most colors and it reminds a lot of people of Dita Von Teese, who I think is amazing. Although I think a lot of photographers I work with are silently cursing me while trying to light me–it’s very difficult to not wash me out entirely. With black and white photos, I look very dramatic, too…which can be a good or a bad thing depending on what the concept is.
GGotW: How long have you been making fashion?
SvP: I’ve been making fashion my whole life. I made dresses for my Barbie dolls when I was a kid! It progressed into cutting up old clothes and then thrifting a lot and customizing things. Studying fashion design at school really just seemed like a logical progression for me.
GGotW: Do you have a favorite fashion style to work on?
SvP: I’m big into latex at the moment, I love the way it photographs and it’s been fun teaching myself all the techniques just from online tutorials. Asides from that, my designs are usually very conceptual. I designed a collection for school based around Jack the Ripper and his victims, but had this whole feminist philosophy tied into it too, relating it to the rape culture we see today. Anything that can somehow communicate a message is interesting to me.
GGotW: What took you from designer and maker to model?
SvP: When I started going to university for fashion, for some reason most of the friends I made were in the photography department. Plus, my school is interdisciplinary so a lot of mediums would cross. Everyone was asking me to model for their projects and I realized how much I liked it. I began to feel attached to the things I shot and felt like I had an equal part in the creation of it–I began to see it as a new medium and a way to collaborate and network with other like minded people.
GGotW: What do you wear when you’re not in front of the camera?
SvP: I wear a lot of the same stuff I wear for the camera! Obviously I have a lot of shoot clothes that aren’t wearable–I have this amazing 1930’s ballgown I just bought that is way too delicate to wear out. But I wear a lot of pencil skirts, cardigans, pretty dresses ect. I believe in dressing up. I never leave the house without my makeup fully done, either. I wear black 90% of the time. I never wear jeans and t-shirts or sweatpants with my hair in a messy bun. The thought makes me shudder!
GGotW: Coffee, tea, wine, or beer?
SvP: Tea. I’m English, so I grew up drinking a lot of tea and my family drink a lot of tea. I have a cupboard filled with it, but my favorite is honestly just PG Tips with a splash of milk. Or Teavana Youthberry tea or Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice. I like coffee if it’s really sweetened, and a glass of wine is lovely from time to time as well. I’m not a huge beer drinker though.
GGotW: Your English, do you live in England?
SvP: No, I moved to the United States when I was nine years old. My mum married my step-dad, who is American, and we moved to California–my mum, sister, and I. I’ve been back a lot to visit my family and friends over there, though! I miss it alot.
GGotW: What do you enjoy about being in front of the camera?
SvP: I use it as a way to be creative. I feel like people have this misconception about modeling that it’s all about being pretty and having someone else’s work on display. Maybe it sounds egotistical, but I always see my work as equal parts mine as it is the photographers or the designers. It’s a collaborative effort to me. Which is why my favorite shoots are the ones where I get to develop a concept–scout a cool location, browse a million vintage shops for the perfect outfit, and go crazy doing my makeup. I also really like feeling as though I have a hand in changing beauty standards. Girls nowadays are force fed so many “mainstream” photographs and are made to believe there is only one kind of beauty and if they’re not six feet tall and perfect, they can’t be beautiful. I want to change that. I have a lot of friends who do fit that mold who are gorgeous, but I want people to know that there’s more than one kind of gorgeous and they all deserve equal representation.
GGotW: Who do you shoot with the most?
SvP: I’ve shot with a lot of amazing people. While I do have people I’ve worked with consistently, I like having a variety of styles in my portfolio. However, I do have a lot of photographer friends I can call up when I have a crazy idea and they’ll always be up to shoot it. I won’t name names but they probably know who they are! 🙂
GGotW: Do you have advice for aspiring models?
SvP: Don’t feel like you have to categorize yourself. You can be realistic–for example, I’m 5’5 so I’m unlikely to ever be an agency runway model, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be high fashion. Don’t let yourself be pressured into anything you aren’t 100% comfortable with. Do what you need to do to feel comfortable, whether it’s bringing a friend to a shoot or putting on some music to relax. If you’re not comfortable, it will show in the pictures! And a good photographer will understand that!
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