What was it like the first time you modeled?
I had just finished college and didn’t have a job. I was looking at gigs on craigslist. The first time I did it was a more sexually charged experience. I had only been naked like that mostly in front of men I was having sex with. That’s how it is for most people. So I remember the sensation of feeling kind of turned on by the male gaze. A part of it was being a woman, and an exhibitionist, I kind of liked performing for the guy. Like a stripper that enjoys her job.
Meanwhile he was thinking about aperture and shutter speed.
Probably. Or who knows, maybe he was perving out. I don’t know. Every situation is different.
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard a model describe a shoot like that before.
It was the first time for me. I feel like the first couple of times are a more charged experience, because you’re not familiar with it. And the shoot itself - it wasn’t like I was shooting abstract yoga nudes. It was sexy, like the stuff that we’ve done. So there was a sexuality to it. And I was also way younger.
Did you keep shooting regularly after that?
No, I did about three shoots off of craigslist. The last one was a bad experience. We weren’t even supposed to shoot nudes, he was a fashion photographer. But he was totally skeezy, and made me feel like modeling wasn’t for me. I didn’t start modeling again until I met my boyfriend a few years later. We started shooting art nudes, which is what he does. We shot on Mount Diablo the first time. So that was my first real shoot that I put on Model Mayhem, and it launched my career.

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What made you get back into modeling after you had stopped?
My boyfriend happened to be a nude photographer, and he wanted to shoot me, and the pictures came out really beautiful. He suggested I create a Model Mayhem profile. I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t really aware of the opportunities for art models. It wasn’t something I was tuned into. The other thing is, being Indian, and being someone who wants to have a career someday, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of nude photos of me floating around. The few times I had done it before, those were for private collectors.
I put ads on Craigslist sometimes also, so I see those ads. The concept of a “private collection” is so bizarre to me.

I think those guys want to shoot with girls who don’t normally do this. I’m sure on some level he thought it was hot that some cute young Indian girl who has “never done this before” was going to take her clothes off for him. So he didn’t need to publish them anywhere.

When my boyfriend and I shot it was just for fun, and I didn’t plan on doing anything with it, until he suggested that I post them on Model Mayhem. I slowly got comfortable with the idea that there would be nude photos of me floating around. From there it was a slow process. A few weeks after the shoot I posted some of the photos on Model Mayhem. Pretty much right away people started contacting me for paid work, so it was a no-brainer. I was working as a massage therapist, and it was an extra source of income, so why not. The way I saw it was, of course I’m going to do this now. I don’t care about being naked, it’s not a big deal to me. I had decided that having naked photos of me floating around wasn’t the worst thing in the world as long as my real name wasn’t attached to it.

At this point the way I that I see it is, I’m a grown ass woman, and I’m proud of what I’ve done. If my family has a problem with what I’ve done, then we’ll have to have a talk. I’m willing to deal with it. I’m not going to not live my life just because I’m afraid. Let me put it this way: my parents love me, it’s not like they are going to disown me because I have naked pictures floating around. But it’s also not something you want to put in people’s faces.