Models come in all different styles, shapes, sizes, and heights, but what really makes a model stand out is her ability to personify any character, embody any fashion, or portray any emotion. I personally don’t think I’ve seen anyone do this in such a wide variety of ways as Sarah J. Swag, and her massive portfolio confirms my suspicions. Luckily for me, not only is Ms. Swag close to my team professionally, she also happens to be a friend for years. So catching up with her for an interview was as effortless as her taking an amazing picture.
DJ Storm: So, although you’ve been in San Francisco for the last few years, do you think growing up in Texas influences your modeling decisions?
Sarah Jane Swag: In Texas there is a lot of big hair and a lot of beauty contest. It is also very competitive of how you look when you are around town or just going out. Being around that for so long made me want to look good and always have my hair and make-up done. Then when I went to Sweeden I learned they are all about the street fashion and the latest fashion. I really liked that and picked up on keeping tabs on the latest trends. One of my favorite influences as a child was the 90′s hip hop videos that were on t.v., I could not get enough of them.
DJS: So you said that you watched a lot of 90′s Hip Hop videos, who did you listen to back in the days, and what were some of your favorite videos?
SJS: So considering that I was a little girl when listening and watching these videos, I was inspired by Jay Lo, Ashanti, Alia, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child… I was really into watching MTV back then. Also I was really into their fashion and their attitude. With the 90s videos and MTV I found that I could relate to them cuz I wanted to look pretty and be feminine the way that they were.
DJS: Do you think absorbing that style has influenced the way you style yourself in photo shoots now?
SJS: I didn’t mimic there clothing styles but unless I did a throw back shoot I could. It was more of there presents of there being feminine and bringing it to the table. It was more about their attitude and how they presented themselves.
DJS: So out of all the photographers you’ve worked with in the last 2 years, what concepts are the most memorable to you.
SJS: Well I don’t wanna pick favs but thankfully it has always been a diverse experience for me.. I’d have to say the most memorable photo shoot was when I had to pose like I was in a Versace ad. I was fully clothed and classy looking while my prop was a live nude male model. It was a different approach to any shoot I had been in especially since there were people watching as I sat on a naked man. There was also a time where I was body painted to look like Harley from Batman and I had to become her character. Those were the ones at major extremes that really stuck out to me but every photo shoot has been a great experience for me and I appreciate working with each and every photographer.
DJS: Do you have any concepts in the future that you would be excited about taking on, or any future shoots planned that we should be looking out for.
SJS: So I really am excited to be working on a collaborated shoot with Arie Rose. I have never been in a shoot with her but I have worked with her before and it was a great experience. We plan on working with multiple photographers at once as we do the shoot together, this shoot should be very exciting for everyone involved. Also I am going to Europe this summer and plan to do some networking over there with some European photographers.
DJS: So you spoke about going to Europe a lot in your youth, how often did you go, and what did you do over there
SJS: I’ve been there every summer since I was 3 until I was 18 and then I moved to SF. I have been back once or twice since then but only for a short amount of time. My family will be there this summer and it is my first time back in 2 years. I am really excited cause my family is going to take me around and I can value what I see there this time, where as in the past as a child I took it granted the places where my family took me or I just wanted to stay in the car or back home. Now I can enjoy it as an adult and indulge in the European life.
DJS: So what are your future plans in terms of your career, and what are some of your goals for modeling?
SJS: So recently I am starting to get into the music video realm. Like I have mentioned before as a child I watched a lot of 90s hip hop videos that were on t.v. and that is was what inspired me to become a model. Both of my parents are musicians and that was also another huge influence upon me to go in the music direction. While photography has been great to me, in the long run being in the videos is what I would like to do. I may start as a video assistant. But I could also see myself being in videos where I act, move, and dance. I feel that in the future this would be a great expansion for me to work towards. I have been blessed to be able to work with so many photographers already and if it can continue I’d be more and happy and see what comes my way and for networking and connections. This is something that makes me happy and if I can continue to keep doing modeling that would be great. Later on in life I want to set an example that other models can look up to and let everyone know that they can make a difference. I plan on taking what ever comes my way and so far I like the direction that I am going.
This girl ask me the other day, “How do you model if you are not 6ft tall or curvy or super skinny?”. I told her to be unique. I’m unique in my own way and I express it. I also told her that another key factor to being a model is to be comfortable in your body weather your male for female. Photography has made me happy and it makes me feel good. Over the years it has made me comfortable with who I am and I hope to pass that message along to anyone else who is modeling or not. Do what makes you happy even if you don’t fit what people think are the standards for modeling. You don’t have to more your life style and yourself to what you think people want to see. Be yourself, be unique.
Sarah Jane & DJ Storm