Musings is a new series in which we highlight the beautiful people we stalk on Instagram and get to know more about the wonderful worlds they live in.
I first came across Simone on a late night Instagram deep dive. With an impending trip to LA I was on the hunt for like-minded people to collaborate with so when Simone appeared on my screen I made a mental note that went something like: “Seems cool, rad style, rad look, must shoot”. Fast forward a couple of weeks (after having arrived in LA from Brisbane, Australia) and I was pulling up at Simone’s apartment with my camera and not much of a plan. What followed was an amazing day of exploring the city, sharing thoughts and experiences and jumping out of the car when we saw a good spot to shoot.
Simone not only models but also works as a photographer using predominantly film to shoot beautiful portraits and fashion images.
Tell me about your experience of being a creative in LA! For me, coming from a much smaller city that is pretty isolated from the rest of the world it really felt anything could happen there but what is your reality?
LA still feels so new! Moved here a year and a half ago from Brooklyn and up until then, it was a city I always admired from afar. There is some pretty amazing creative energy out here and LA allows for the perfect balance between space and hustle which really enables you to grow. As a whole, my day to day life has shifted so much since leaving New York and I really feel that as a result, my approach to my work has changed. New York will always be home but I appreciate that LA allows me to take my time a bit more so I can really focus on what I want to be doing. In a lot of ways it feels like things happened faster in New York but overall I feel like I’ve been able to hone my craft more in LA.
How would you say your photography and modeling work has influenced your sense of self and vice versa?
Both have really given me a voice over the past few years. I originally got into photography through modeling here and there & overtime both passions began to grow. I grew up with a lot of self-esteem and body image issues so being in front of the camera instilled some confidence in me and allowed me to break through a lot of that. In some ways, it has also had the opposite effect but overall being able to express me in that way has been really empowering. As far as photography goes – it has been so helpful in bringing so many meaningful relationships into my life. It’s what I love doing the most and it’s through taking people’s photographs that I connect with them the easiest.
Is there a specific insight that you have learned working both in front of and behind the camera that stands out?
It’s often been my instinct to doubt myself and back away from certain jobs or projects because I worry I lack experience in some way or I’m not what someone is looking for. But what I’ve learned is that at the end of the day people want you for you. Even if that doesn’t fit neatly into a box, people value authenticity and someone who is willing to learn & be themselves unapologetically. You just have to learn to have trust in yourself.
As a freelancer working in a creative field what is your definition of success?
Having a style that is distinctly you and that people specifically seek out. Also being able to support yourself off of your passions. That’s a big one of course.
As trivial or grand as they might be what are 3 things on your to-do list right now?
My immediate goals for the future are to do a cover shoot and to travel more for work! I also really want to start experimenting with video this year.
MUSINGS WITH SIMONE
Photos + story / Georgia Wallace
Model/Mua/Stylist / Simone Niamani Thompson