Sunday, January 21, 2018

#5 - ...and so it begins

#5 - ...and so it begins!

Since I was a child I've loved playing dress up, playing with Barbie Dolls and creating fashionable looks for my paper dolls.  Second Life became my adult equivalent to playing dress up.  I've always tried to present myself fashionably and professionally in Second Life.  It was through my years of developing a philanthropic approach to helping other designers that I meet many of my designer friends who introduced me to the modeling world of Second Life.  January 20, 2018 will mark the beginning of new journey that began 5 years ago.

In 2013 I entered my very first modeling contest, Liv Glam Glam Girls, where I failed miserably.  I had no training for the runway and did not know what to expect or what to do.  I had knowledge but not enough to be successful.  So I took it upon myself to be educated.  To me education is important in RL so why not become educated in the SL modeling world.  I found Fashion Model University, which was a free modeling school.  The education I received there was very thorough and extensive.  I reapplied for Liv Glam Glam Girls 2 more times and was very close to winning from the feedback I received.  I then set my sights high, maybe to high, Color of Couture. Sadly I did not make the top 16 but then after having seen the other ladies it would have been a miracle if I had made it.  The judges did not have an easy job of selecting the top 16 ladies who will represent the diversity of Second Life.

This was my styling for Color of Couture.  I can't even remember what the styling challenge was.  It was my interpretation of the styling challenge that cost me votes.  
I realized that I might have the technical aspects of modeling but something was still missing.  I finally succumbed to the begging of a dear friend of mine, Sequoia Nightfire, to apply for Mimmi Boa Modeling Academy.  Sequoia had pleaded with me for years to apply.  I'm glad that I did as I was in her final class before she retired from MBMA and moved onto the Miss Virtual World.  She knew I understood that I had the technical side but that what I was missing was heart.  I didn't feel the story I was selling on the runway.  She was right.  I was all about technique and forgot about the heart, my love of fashion.  It was during this time that I was also changing the course of my business, Dulce Secrets.  I was evolving both as a model and as a business owner.  I was growing!  

I then took another big step, I auditioned for Miss Virtual World.  I was confident, maybe over confident.  I thought I had it but as a friend in the audience stated my poses ruined my chances. After so many failures your self-confidence is chiseled away.  You begin to doubt yourself, doubt your ability, doubt your heart.  I turned my attention to my business and used an excuse that through my business I would remain in the modeling world by offering eyes, makeup and skins for models.

Then in December, Kathrin Dassin, my very good friend and Second Life sister stated her interest in auditioning for Miss SL.  She has done this over the past couple of years but never committed.  So we made a pact together that we'd apply together.  We told each other that we'd help each other in the design challenges, checking poses, even designing for each other.  We both made the 1st audition call for the runway show on January 20, 2018.  We both struggled with the monster called lag.  We both were hard on ourselves because of our perceptions of failure.  We both nervously awaited the results to see if once again we failed or if we finally had all the pieces in place and succeed.  I'm so proud of both of us.  We both succeeded in getting the necessary votes to become official candidates for Miss SL 2018.  We both persevered through our own personal struggles to begin this new journey.
Today's post is dedicated to Kathrin Dassin, MISS SL ♛ USA, and the 13 other new Miss SL candidates

I present to you AnneAlyce Maertens, MISS SL ♛ UK 
Styling Credit:
Outfit: Ysabei Felt Coat from Hilly Haalan
Boots: Mili Boots & Leggings from Blueberry
Jewelry: Earrings - Midsummer Moon from Maxi Gossamer and Rings from Moondance Boutique (Not Available Yet)
Mesh Head: Simone from LeLutka
Mesh Body: Lara from Maitreya
Skin: Jade in Chai Tone from Dulce Secrets
Eyes: LeLutka Eyes for Simone (Came with Mesh Head)
Eye Applier: Terra Firma LeLutka Applier from Dulce Secrets
Nail Appliers for Maitreya Lara: Tapestry Applier from Cazimi
Makeup: Eyeshadow  and Lipstick - Boheme Applier from Dulce Secrets
Hair: No Secrets from No Match
Location: North

Sunday, January 14, 2018

#4 What are girls made of?

What are girls made of?

Do you remember the nursery rhyme "Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, that what little boys are made of.  Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of."   As a child I heard this nursery rhyme that defined how society expected girls and boys to behave.  I didn't know it at the time but it did define how I was perceived as a little girl.  I was expected to smile regardless of how I felt, not swear or use bad language, dress in frilly, lace dresses, act demure, and listen to my parents without talking back.  

Models: AnneAlyce Maertens and Kathrin Dassinn

Lucky for me. society and my mother did not agree.  My mom is not progressive as a parent by any means.  Instead she needed me to be independent and self-motivated.  As a single-parent she needed a child who would listen to her but could set her own alarm, make their own breakfast and lunch, get herself off to school and back home without having to wait for mom.  She also taught me to speak my mind which is funny since that is opposite from my personality.  Thankfully my mom did not push speaking my mind but turned it toward being an independent thinker.  I did let my actions speak when words would escape me.  This thoughtful, quiet child who had streaks of outspoken action was on her way to being a Tom Boy.

I hate that phrase "Tom Boy."  I felt more comfortable in my jeans, t-shirt and red cow-girl boot but when given a frilly, lace dress I was equally excited to wear that.  I had just as much fun climbing trees and exploring the outdoors as I did playing with dolls, barbies and paper dolls.  When it came to my childhood friends I had just as many male friends and I did female friends.  I would play house with my female friends and then an hour later go shoot a B.B. gun with my male friends.  My mother remarried and my new dad continued to encourage me to be independent.  He gave me my nick-name, Tigger.  I was a very active, happy little girl who would laugh so loud she wouldn't care if people in the next room would hear her.  My dad would play tea with me, listen to me read poetry, help me build model cars, and play in the mud after a rain.  Then I left my childhood behind me as I became a teen and the world turned upside down.

Model: Kathrin Dassin
That independent thinking little girl was still there but was pushed down deep inside.  I have always been introverted with people I don't know.  I'm not a fan of big crowds and feel more comfortable being by myself or with a few of my very close friends.  But what happened to that independent, outgoing thinker?  She was still there building pressure waiting to come out.  She was pushed down so low that I had been voted as "Most Shy" in my class.  My close friends laughed at that because they knew the real me.  They knew that I was outgoing and had a little streak of danger.  Then all of a sudden those archaic thoughts of how girls were to supposed to behave were being chiseled away society began to shift towards accepting choice.   I was FREE!

Model: AnneAlyce Maertens
College gave me back myself.  I was able to be expressive and was not seen as being abnormal.  I was able to be introverted with strangers yet have my carefree side shine with my close friends.  I could be strong, adventuresome, caring, and friendly.  I could be myself.  Now as an adult, a teacher, I want to see my students be able to express themselves not how society dictates but how they want to be.  Young men can be caring, tenderhearted and not be seen as being a "pussy" or "momma's boy." Young girls can play sports, act tough and not be labeled as "butch" or Tom boy."  Today, girls can be made of dignity, independence, strength and freedom. As I close this post I can think of a lot of cliche's but I'll leave you with a play on a popular meme.  "If you can't be Batman then always be yourself."

AnneAlyce Maertens Styling Credits:
Jacket & Top: Ela Fur Jacket from Blueberry
Skirt: Every Breath from 1 Hundred (Top Not Shown)
Jewelry: Cruella Necklace from Moondance Boutique and
Queen Chocker and Shelly Earrings from Valena (Marketplace)
Shoes: Florenza Booties from Hilly Haalan (Previous gift and may not be available)
Hair: Twiggy and Catwa Hairbase 8 from Tableau Vivant
Mesh Head: Catya from Catwa
Mesh Body: Lara from Maitreya
Shape: Misato from Lyrium (Marketplace)
Skin: Sose in Quinoa Tone from Dulce Secrets (Group Gift Coming Soon)
Eyes: Catwa Rigged Eyes (Came with Mesh Head)
Eye Applier: Terra Firma Catwa Applier from Dulce Secrets
Nail Appliers for Maitreya Lara: Swank Muted from Cazimi
Makeup: Eyeshadow - Coller Applier from Zibska and Lipstick - Bree Lipgloss Applier from Livia

Kathrin Dassin Styling Credits:
Hair: Boon -  Cornrows Hairbase & MMK375
Makeup: Eyeshadow - Glamorize- Spirit Eye Makeup, Lipstick - Ducles Secrets Jewell Anise # 3
Jewelry: Moondance Boutique Hoodrat Jewelry Set (coming soon) & Erratic Cuffs
Top: [Justice] Dani Tank
Pants: ::PM:: Amor Leggings
Belt: .:L&B:. S'Wear "Buckled Biker" Womans Belt
Shoes: Kastle Rock Couture Goddess Boots
Nails: Moondance Boutique: Grace Solid
Skin: Dulce Secrets Custom Sweet Cocoa
Eyes: Dulce Secrets Grey Mesmerizing Eyes
Body: Maitreya Laura
Hands: Vista Bento ProHands
Head [GA.GE] Mia Bento Mesh Head

Poses: *PosESioN*:For Anne - Dolce & Gabanna 1 for Kat Thanksgiving 2 Female

Comhar Public Photo Studio and Garden

Saturday, January 6, 2018

#3 "I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Drawn That Way"

"I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Drawn That Way"
So were you expecting to see some Jessica Rabbit character? This quote from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is very reminiscent of a Mae West quote.  I love watching those old Mae West movies and seeing her flirt with the men and hearing her sassy quotes.  Her characters were very liberating for women who rarely had opportunities to express themselves other than how society expected them to behave.  If you have ever watched avatars in Second Life you probably noticed various degrees of expression from non-human to toddlers to overtly Rubens-esque female avatars.  Second Life gives you a freedom of expression that is not always available to us in Real Life.  Second Life can be therapeutic if utilized carefully to express yourself.  Adults who had their childhood ripped from them can reclaim their childhood as toddlers and child avatars.  Transgenders can begin their lives as the gender to which they identify.  Second Life is unique in that it's our fellow users that make this freedom of expression possible.

When I first joined Second Life I was overwhelmed in how to express myself.  Eventually I decided to just be me.  I know that seems like an obvious conclusion but in Second Life it's very easy to be anything but yourself.  I am by nature curious and imaginative.  I love to create stories with my style.  I have no problem changing my looks to suit the story I am creating.  It was within 6 months of joining Second Life that I realized I needed to contribute something to the community.  My first job in Second Life was a mirror of my real life job, an educator.  I was an instructor for Palomma Casanova, owner of The Free Dove, at Peristeri Mall and Learning Center.  Palomma gave me freedom to create classes as needed.  Eventually I had a class with new designers who needed help in beginning their business as well as in creating their designs.  I had my work cut out for me.  I had to learn how to design along side my students.  Eventually, I opened a mall for these new designers so they could establish themselves.  It was then that I opened my first store, Anne's Fashion Confectionery.  I was designing clothing at first and expanded into skins.  That was when I began to work with Candy Enoch on improving my skin designs.  In 6 months Dulce Secrets opened.  Dulce Secrets will be celebrating it's 8th anniversary this coming August.  I still love to shop, I still love to explore,  I still have my obsessions.

As a designer I try to help my customers express themselves through skins, makeup and eyes.  The rest is up to you.  Find your unique style and express yourself freely.  Find something you love and do it abundantly.  Don't be afraid to be yourself in Second Life even if  your avatar doesn't reflect how you look in Real Life.  Don't worry if people think your bad, a Second Life designer just drew you that way. 😉

Top: Merina Wrap Top from Jeune by Rowne
Skirt: Linked Skirt from Seul
Necklace: Charlene from Codex
Shoes: Maisie from Nardcotix
Nails: Goldie Mesh Nails from Slack Girl
Hair: Skyler from Wasabi Pills
Eyes Applier: Frosted from Cazimi (POE Gift May Not Be Available)
Mesh Head: Lia from Vista
Mesh Body: Lara from Maitreya
Shape: Vista Bento Head Lia Slim Shape from Vista 
Skin: Aracely Chai from Dulce Secrets
Makeup: Epiphany Eyeshadow from Dulce Secrets and Mava Lipstick from Avada
Location: Mopire City

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

#2 The Spirit of the Fox

The Spirit of the Fox

One of the things I love about Second Life is the ability to embody whatever life form you want.  If you want to be a dragon, be a dragon.  If you want to be a zombie killer, go kill zombies.  If you want to run around as a hamster in a habitat ball, roll around to your hearts content.  

When I first joined Second Life I did not intend to become a designer.  That happened on it's own and is a story of its own.  I had so much fun in those early days exploring sims where I could be an elf, a princess, a fairy, or anything I wanted.  I found that I have an affinity with water since I always seemed to end up in water.  Even today I'll find myself having lagged walked into water.  I discovered that when I tried to drive a car in Second Life I would be laughing so hard that I'd crash the car and never win the race.   

I've always been a wanderer at heart.  After visiting Japonica and finding this gorgeous kimono from Silvery K I knew I had to create a character.  I became a Kitsune, a fox spirit.  In Japanese folklore Kitsune are depicted as intelligent creatures with magical abilities.  Kitsune have the ability to shift into human form.  Though the Kitsune are often portrayed as tricksters many of the folklore portray them as faithful guardians, friends, and lovers.

Kimono: Tubaki White - Silvery K
Geta: Okobo Geta - Dead Dollz
Ears: Neko Ears - Sweet Thing
Tail: Nogitsune - Ali The Ugly & Beautiful
Nails: Gazy Stilleto Mesh Nails - Slack Girl
Hair: Varvara B - Exxess
Eyes: Tempest Catwa Applier - Dulce Secrets (January Group Gift)
Mesh Body: Lara - Maitreya
Mesh Head: Neve - LAQ
Shape: Petal - CS Shapes
Skin: Azami 2.0 in Fonio from Dulce Secrets (Coming Soon as a $1L skin)
Makeup: Eyeshadow: Mystic Magic - Dulce Secrets and Lips: Belinde Splice - Zibska