We’re bringing this popular interview series back!
I met Dane during a trip to Canada and had the amazing experience of photographing her. Even after decades as a professional photographer, she taught me techniques that I use to this day. Dane is an art nude model and passionate about what she does and has some beautiful wisdom to share with you. You don’t want to miss this one!
How would you describe what you do for a living?
I am a freelancing artist, primarily working as an art nude model, but dabbling also in body positive boudoir photography.
How did you get started in your profession?
Ah, I have modelled all my life, however at 19, while in art school, I was approached by an oil painter who asked if I would pose nude for a painting. I had participated in many life drawing sessions, so agreed. I was so nervous, and I can remember the session vividly to this day. At the end of the session, he told me that he truly believed that I could make this my career. I gave it a shot, and as the only redhead – at the time – in Canada who was posing for artistic nudes, I was immediately fairly well known and began traveling part-time only months later. It’s been a ride, haha.
What challenges did you face along the way, and what did you do to overcome them?
I can’t complain, you know? No regrets because I really am content where I am now, however I will admit that I feel like I have been living the true “starving artist” lifestyle for the majority of my adult life. My challenges are strictly financial and linked to the mental strain of constantly thinking about, and worrying about, supporting myself.
What motivates you to keep showing up for the people you serve?
Who am I if I am not creating? What am I if I’m not sharing imagery that speaks to my soul? I’m an artist. It’s just what I do. The world needs more art that confronts them, pleases them, taunts them. I want to make people react in some way – any way. That is what moves me and keeps me inspired.
What advice would you give to women who are just starting out going after their dreams?
There is nothing more important than showing up for yourself and deep-diving into your dreams. Life is imperfect, and things may not go according to plan, necessarily… but to try and fail is to learn a lesson. Getting back on the proverbial horse is a strength that you must acquire. Be willing to fail over and over until you have a skill set that makes you *exactly* the individual you dream to be, and then go for it. Do everything it takes, and for goodness’ sakes… don’t let other people hold you back. They can only see from their vantage point, and when people put limitations on you, they do so because they are projecting that they cannot imagine THEMSELVES putting in the work. Start today, even just a small step. Take small steps every day toward your dream.
What does it mean to you to be seen as a strong woman?
I’m a collection of space dust, magically held together by energy, moving and forming relationships with other collections of space dust on a little rock, hurtling through the Universe at unimaginable speed. What a miracle of science it is that we are all here, together… and while I’m flattered, of course, to be considered a strong woman, I am just a normal person sitting at my messy desk with my dog begging for attention at my side. I haven’t done the dishes today, my laundry needs to go in the dryer, and the lawn needs to be mowed. I’m just me, pushing through the mental fatigue and overwhelming sense that I’m falling behind on everything, but I know I’m not alone, and I know I’m not weak for my imperfections. I AM strong; stronger than my mental illness that causes me anxiety and depression, and stronger than my self-doubt. I’m surrounded by strong women, and I see strong women wherever I go. Single moms, women working multiple jobs to make ends meet, women who have launched successful careers all on their own, women who have chosen extraordinary futures for themselves who are married to their work, and women who are just existing and getting along day by day. Everybody has a story, and so many of them are tough, so it is so important to share how inspired we are by one another’s strength and resilience. I, for one, am so honoured to be seen as a strong woman because it feels like a vote of confidence that I’m enough. I just want to be a mirror to all the other women I’ve met and hope to meet to show them that imperfection is strength, and admitting to being imperfect is so important. We’re all in this together, after all.
Why do you think it’s important for women to embrace themselves where they are right now?
It’s a tired saying, I suppose, but life is just too short to worry about the minutiae. I’m no professional life coach, but I have my daily affirmations and reminders that have really helped me change my mindset. Whether we believe in manifestation or not, I think it is important for us to look in the mirror each day and compliment ourselves on something, whether that be our eyebrow makeup looking particularly shapely today, or our eyes having a nice sparkle, or even just getting our hair into a decent messy bun on our first try! If we must feel negatively about one part of ourselves, let it be passing, and for every one negative thought, find three positive to focus on. We’re SO MUCH MORE than our appearances, but we have been conditioned to feel closely attached to what we see in the mirror. To be loving to one another, we have to be loving to ourselves, so start there, and hand out genuine compliments freely to strangers and friends alike. It will transform so many parts of your life, and it will make the lives of others just a tad brighter. I guarantee that life is not waiting for us to decide that we have earned the right to be confident in ourselves. How much more of our lives must we dedicate to self-doubt? Why not just see yourself for the extraordinary human you are today and every day going forward?