NYC art-school models: Ellen Ann
Nude and interviewed.
Mon Oct 24 2011
Photograph: Marielle Solan
Where are you from originally?
New York. I grew up on Long Island.
How did you get into modeling?
I was a ballet dancer, and you know, with ballet, there's a lot of stress on the joints. I was getting lots of injuries. I had hip surgery about five years ago, so I needed a new way to earn money.
Was it difficult making the switch from dancing to posing nude?
I was nervous, but you know dancers are very casual about nudity and all, because you're just around it all the time. I just forgot that anyone was looking at me naked. I was performing, that's how I saw it.
Is your background reflected in the way you pose? Do you do anything special?
Yes. I've done basic, very graceful ballet poses. And I happen to be very flexible. No one else does what I do. In a way, I'm a bit of a specialist.
Could you elaborate on that?
I do a lot of yoga-type things, with my leg stretched all the way up in the air. Things like that, and I have fun. The students have fun as well.
Does your extreme flexibility ever lead to any embarrassing moments while modeling?
One of the places where I work has a pedestal, so once, I tried using that. The pedestal wasn't very sturdy, it kind of wobbled and it tipped over, and I fell on my butt. I reinjured a wrist I'd broken when I was dancing, trying to brace my fall. But it was okay, I got home, iced it—you know, the show must go on.
Yeah! Well, I've broken my ribs while modeling, too.
I was working with a partner who was also a dancer. It happened to be a great, great session. We were having a lot of fun. But when he lifted me, he didn't put his hands in exactly the right spot, and since my ribs had been broken before and I'm very slim, my bones aren't that strong. The worst of it was that I could hear them crack!
What happens when you're injured like that?
You just ignore it. There's nothing you can really do with broken ribs anyways. When I got home, I put on a tube top. It sort of acted like a girdle on my ribs. So I wore that and went to sleep.
Other than hurting yourself, has there ever been anything else about the job that's annoyed or bothered you?
It's hard for me to do the same pose for, you know, three hours. It's exhausting. It's more exhausting than moving around. But you learn. You sort of meditate.
What goes through your head during that time?
I plan things I have to do the next day, my schedule. I plan my shopping list, stuff like that.
Do you feel that modeling has changed you somehow?
Yes. I've gained a lot more confidence in myself. People come up to me and say "I love drawing you, you're my favorite model!" They say, "You do such great stuff, we're always looking for new feats of greatness!" So I've gotten a lot stronger in a lot of ways because of that.