I’m always so inspired by those who are able to share their stories and emotions with honesty and simplicity and loved Myla Dalbesio’s words about her body and her relationship to the camera.
Myla is considered a “plus” model (I hate that word and usually never mention when we shoot “plus” models, which we do all the time – just without making a thing about it, but for this story I think it’s important to say it) and has done campaigns for Calvin Klein and many others. She’s awesome, she’s real, and we all really love her at the studio.
That’s why today we wanted to share this with you.
Myla Dalbesio | Model & Photographer
My first nudes were shot by Roe Etheridge. This was years ago, 2008, before he had shot Gisele and Hilary Rhoda, Balenciaga campaigns and Italian Vogue. It was before he had ever shot nudes, in fact, something we chuckled about together in the studio that day. He said we were popping each other’s cherries, and I blushed and laughed and ate a piece of pizza. I had primped and pruned for this day, had shaved my pubic hair into what I deemed the most acceptable formation, present but not overpowering, had buffed and tweezed and clipped and brushed, but was completely powerless to pizza.
I’ve never been one of those girls who fasts for days before an underwear shoot, and it turns out that nudes were no different. In the end, it turned out that very little was different about shooting nude for me, except that I might enjoy it even more than being clothed. The thing about nudes is it’s about you, truly. Not about the shoes and the designer credits and the expensive location. It’s not about your personal style, or where the lines of the garment are hitting you, and if the shirt is unflattering to your waistline, or do the pants make your calves look fat. That’s what I think about when I get dressed, when I am photographed in clothes.
But nudes are about skin, your skin, your freedom and essence and form. It’s about pure creation, about being alive and celebrating your body, yourself. It’s about movement and shapes, about light and environment, and freedom, again and again. Shooting nudes helped me to understand and appreciate my body, to see the beauty in it’s perfections and imperfections. Thick thighs, stomach rolls, they balance out against the rest of you. Your body becomes a tool, a medium in itself.
But nudes are about skin, your skin, your freedom and essence and form.
The photos I feel I look the most beautiful in, the ones that are truly me, are the naked ones. The first ones, with Roe in 2008, sipping a diet coke. Laughing in the studio or running through the woods with Ryan Mcginley, curled up on a couch next to a fireplace by Pamela Hanson. There’s no pretense. I’m not playing a character, I’m not selling anything. It’s truthful in a way I can only seek to be in real life.
Shooting nude taught to me appreciate other women’s bodies in a new way as well. Taught me to photograph them myself, to love the porcelain skinned knobby knees and the deep brown curves of a stomach. Soft, pink breasts and dark arm hair, and dimples and marks and bruises and bums. The things that make my body different, the things that make us all the same.
I primp less now, the shape and size of my pubic hair be damned. The photographer is lucky I even shaved my armpits. But the feeling stays the same. It’s the comfort in knowing my own strength and beauty, and being able to share it with someone else. To lend the use of my most successful medium to a fellow creator, and to have them respect and understand what they’re being given. And this feeling transcends the studio, transcends the moments in front of the camera. To understand, to love and respect your body is to love yourself. To respect yourself is to demand respect from others, to build healthy and supportive relationships. To find your peace.
Myla wears : Dress, Delphine Manivet ; Sweater, Rag & Bone
Special thanks to the Nikolai Rose Studio.