An interview with some Suicide Girls

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Suicide Girls interview

Cherry, Rydell, Glitch and Meshell… I think. Shawn Conner photo.

In 2009, I was doing things like interviewing Suicide Girls at sex trade shows (the Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show in Vancouver, to be exact) for my then-blog over at lavalife.com…

Suicide Girls interview

(Originally published under the title “Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show pt. 3: Suicide Girls are nice” January 20 2009)

Suicide Girls is an online magazine that’s been giving horny punk rockers, goths and other sophisticated types a place to view tattooed and pierced lovelies in, as the Victorians say, various states of dishabille since 2001, when it was founded in (where else?) Portland, Oregon. My last interview of the day at the Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show was over at the booth of the now L.A.-based company, where Vancouver photographer Cherry and a few of the Girls were chatting with visitors and selling clothing and a new book, Suicide Girls: Beauty Redefined. Watch for my outdated Pearl Jam reference as I talk with Cherry as well as Rydell (Calgary) and Meshell and Glitch (Vancouver).

Me: What’s that, short for Glitchowski or something?

(general laughter)

Me: So do you consider yourself models?

Meshell: I don’t like using that word.

Rydell: We just consider ourselves Suicide Girls.

Me: So what’s a Suicide Girl?

Meshell: Somebody who’s comfortable and confident with her body and her style.

Me: But who doesn’t want to be known as a model? Like, the barista next door?

Cherry: Some Suicide Girls are professional models. A lot of us are just normal everyday girls with normal jobs or who go to school.

Me: That’s basically how the whole thing started, right? The girl next door who’s pierced and listens to Pearl Jam.

Cherry: Yeah. But sometimes some girls start modeling with Suicide Girls and then other photographers and agencies approach them and they then become models.

Me: Rydell, is the best way to get into Suicide Girls by knowing a photographer like Cherry?

Rydell: Yes. She’s a staff photographer, I’m more comfortable shooting with her than say with someone else.

Me (to Cherry): How did you become a staff photographer?

Cherry: I was a Suicide Girl to start with. Then I was a photo retoucher. All we really do is take out blemishes, make the colours nice. We don’t do any of the standard beauty retouching. After that, I photographed my own sets of photos and a few of my friends approached me and asked me to photograph them. Then the people who started Suicide Girls liked my stuff and asked me to shoot more sets and start recruiting for them.

Me: How do you recruit?

Cherry: At places like this convention, like if we see hot girls who fit the description, or girls who are confident and come over and start asking how they do it.

Me: Would you put an ad on Craigslist?

Cherry: No. We don’t anything like that. We let the girls come to us. That’s very important, it has to be their decision. It’s something they want to do for themselves rather than the normal model industry.

Me: Glitch, how did you get involved?

Glitch: I just wanted to show a different side of beauty, and show other girls they could have role models other than what is out there.

Me: Is it important to work with female photographers rather than males?

Glitch: Not necessarily. I feel comfortable with Cherry, but I like different creative aspects of different photographers and how they shoot me.

Me: How much a part of your life is about being a Suicide Girl?

Glitch: It’s not a huge part. I check my messages every day.

Me: Have any of your friends gotten involved because you got involved?

Meshell: My best friend. We used to live together, and after I did my first shoot she wanted to do one. Now she’s part of Suicide. We shot our sets in our house once and had a lot of fun.

Me: That’s an important aspect too, isn’t it, shooting where you live.

Meshell: Wherever you want.

Cherry: Or bars, or shops. Or even outdoors. We try to use a wide variety of locations. They have to be real. There are very few studio shoots. The girl chooses how she wants to be represented. She chooses her theme. It can be a complicated story or homage to a film, or as simple as a cute girl hanging out being herself. The whole range.

Me: Get any crazies?

Cherry: Yes. Any society, any community, there’s people who are normal and people who are way out there. It’s what makes it interesting.

Me: What kind of person reads Suicide Girls?

Cherry: Everyone. So many different people. Everyone from straight wives right through to lesbian girls, different types of men. And all kinds of ages, from 18 to.. we’ve got members in their sixties and seventies. It’s like Playboy has a wide readership.

Me: But with less retouching.

Cherry: Yeah. I think that’s what draws people to us.

Meshell: That, and the style.

Cherry: And they [subscribers] can talk to us on the site.

Meshell: We all have blogs.

Me [gesturing at trade show]: Are you going to write about this?

Meshell: Yep.

Me: We’ll see how that compares to mine.

(Nervous laughter)

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