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Photograph: Marielle Solan

NYC art-school models: Susannah

Nude and interviewed.

By Jessica Gingrich
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How did you get into modeling?
I was working for a nudist travel magazine, and then decided not to work there anymore. And a friend said, “Since you love being nude all the time, why don’t you just model nude for art classes?” And I thought, I could do that.

Wait—you worked for a nudist travel magazine?
Oh yeah, and I was in the nude, too. It was a husband-and-wife business called Internaturaly Travel. They ran it out of their house and there were FedEx pick ups, which definitely meant fun times answering the doorbell. But we usually had the same driver, and he was quite understanding of the whole situation.

Okay. So how did you become a nudist in the first place?
When I was a kid, my mom and I would swim nude in my grandmother’s pool. I was really freaked out about that. It was like, “Oh my God, what if Grandma or somebody else comes out?” But it became part of my lifestyle. It’s a family thing now, although not all of my family does it; just me and my mom, pretty much. I’ve been nude with my her in the living room, or, you know, places where most people would have freaked out if they saw their mom without clothes.

So it sounds like nude modeling came easily to you. What goes through your mind while you’re posing?
Sometimes I think about groceries I need to get. Sometimes I work on my schedule. Sometimes I meditate or do visualizations. It depends on how much energy I have.

Have you had any funny or embarrassing experiences while modeling?
Once, a fly landed on me during a sculpture class, and I thought it was all in my head! I was like, There’s no fly there, it’s just an itch. Don’t move, it’s almost over. But it really was a fly! So the instructor put a fan on me to keep the fly off.

What else do you do beside modeling?
Choreography was my college major, and my big thing is fire dancing, which I have do outdoors. In winter, when it gets too cold, I do belly dancing at Turkish and Moroccan restaurants. I absolutely love it!

Has art modeling changed your life in any way?
I’ve being doing this since 2004, even while I was pregnant with my son, who’s five now. It would be difficult to go back to other types of work after you have done that, especially if you had to dress a certain way for the job. I wear what I want everyday—usually my dance or yoga clothes. Then I put on a bathrobe and slippers. When you’re in an office for eight hours and you have to wear this suit, it’s like, Whoa! So in that sense, I always think twice about changing jobs, because I’m always thinking, What would I have to wear?

Art

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