Kassandra Leigh Purcell June 2014 Interview

 

Kassandra Leigh Purcell is based in Suffolk County, New York. Sponsored model by RockStar Wigs and Geek Chic Cosmetics, Model and Photographer for Geek Goddess, worked for fashion designers and magazines, studied Graphic Design and is a mad talented illustrator and digital retouching artist.  She has her foot in the fetish scene, fantasy, fashion, gaming and geekery and is one crazily talented cosplayer. Her self-portraits were what drew Kate into her sphere when she first joined Deviantart some ten years ago and she has been an influence on her ever since. Not too long ago, Kate Elizabeth found her on Facebook, and dropped her a message – it’s been madness ever since!

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my name is kassandra leigh! f.24.long island, ny. I’m a jack of all visual trades: modelling photography retouching styling and illustration. I’m also a financial domme / humiliatrix 

I’m a hermit who hates huge loud parties with smoking and drinking but loves having photoshoot, crafting & theme movie marathons with close friends.

I’m a dork who plays starcraft/rift, paints war gaming miniatures, dresses up as an elf casually, loves watching men boffer fight in garb ( with that said, ny ren fair, every yearrr ) love white wolf roleplay..etc

i also sing to inanimate objects. like to look at colors of things in day to day life and place them mentally on the rgb color chart and deeply hate that porn/hentai don’t go at it in prettier clothes. “

 FAVOURITE COLOUR!? FAVOURITE GAME?! FAVOURITE COSPLAY/COSTUME?!

LAVURGUNDY!….read: I cant choose between lavender and burgundy? Current addictions are SMITE & Path of Exile (all the old Diablo feels!) and OUCH! That last one….hmmm my fav costumes are ones that are either bonerific or super lavish and detail riddled. Trains on both are grounds for an Insta-Win.

Woman after my own heart. How did modelling, the fetish scene, photography and cosplay start for you?

I think it all kind of came as a bundle. Id always been interested in visual mediums like drawing, painting and fashion design so when I started indulging my OCD to record all my outfits I got my first wiff of modelling/photography. A lot of people thought I was cosplaying when I was just wearing my normal attire – though to be fair my “normal” attire can range from latex, furs, aprons, petticoats and corsets which for most people is anything but “normal”. I had a lot of support from the deviantart community – they loved seeing my random posts for my Deviant ID and photomanips. So that paired with my growing warmth towards a new medium to play in It just spun out of control <3 Compound all that with the fact that Shakes her old lady walker It was hard to find quality photographers who would shoot an alt model as young as I was. So instead of letting that defeat me – I taught myself to be on both sides of the camera! NEVER GONNA STOP THIS BITCH!

Weird that! But great that you have had such an organic development with success – The fetish scene is diverse and complicated, but you have managed to make a great success from it, tell us how your system works within that area, such as with your “Magdalena” set.

Hmmm you could be talking about 2 different things here and both def tie into my Not so Safe for work – work! I think you are talking about my Way to go Magellan image set that was up for donation, right? Well, for those who have no idea what im talking about – This was a set of images of a pirate who quite possibly opened the wrong chest of bootie! Out from the chest explode tentacles – not CG ones but a real foam/silicone tentacle whom I have lovingly named Magellan. For the tail in that Eureka cartoon and also the explorer lol  I think the tentacle fetish is just so aesthetically interesting and naturally lends itself to the bizarre so I cant help myself! In the past iv even posed with a real dead octopus. We bought it from this fish market here on the island and did a school girl theme. Because what goes better with a dripping goo of octopus quite like the iconic Japanese school uniform?

 Well, now that iv rambled off your hear the other possibility you could be talking about is my “My Magdalene” post on Deviantart. On fetish sites like Fetlife and my old journal it was the photo I paired with a short essay about how I should be a submissive’s new religion. Iconography and mental reprogramming has become such a huge thing in the fetish scene – and I think the psychology that goes hand in hand with the role-playing and power play can be really interesting to try and play with. Yeah, I’m like a bull in a china shop. I know!

My custom photo sets(nude,fetish or clothed) are done a variety of ways to vest accommodate a person’s budget and needs. Images I shoot for GeekGoddess are exclusive to their site so youll only see a few previews on my fanpage. Most custom purchased sets have the possibility to becoming a donation set people can pay for on the net unless the client pays extra for exclusivity.

“What is in your camera bag?” and more importantly – What is in your studio?

My camera bag happens to be a pink hello kitty kids backpack. Probably not the greatest thing to in still trust and that feeling of “gosh, she must be a PRO!”, in new clients but it gets the job done. The front flap contains: lip gloss, business cards, pressed powder, Pepto Bismol, tampons and safety pins.  Layer into my cotton candy scented bag gets you to my strobe receivers, duct tape roll, flip camcorder and Paul C Buff vagabond power pack(which to my annoyance only has 2 sockets on it. ). The large pouch usually has a large hoodie to cover up nudes on the go, a few diff lenses and batteries. Strapped to either side is usually a bottle of baby oil/lube and baby wipes (for that shit your pants moment or cleaning off rust dirt and grime off your hands). 

But studio wise well, I dont have much of one! Im about to move and plan to re purpose our dining room into a dedicated shooting area but for now I use every room of my house! I have one main backdrop stand which I have black,grey,lavender and red muslin gathered onto it. An Alien Bee 400 unit peers down from a boom. The Alien Bee 800 chills out on a light stand parallel my make-up station. And my Alien Bee ring flash and moon unit tends to stay next to my office desk until its needed. I only recently made the move from continuous hot lighting to the more efficient strobes so I hope down the line to pick up another AB800 and of course more grids to go with them! I have to say the honeycomb grids are one of the most useful items in my arsenal. Indoors I’m almost always making use of a 10degree grid!

Is there a big demand for your prints?

Well iv never had a booth of my own at any kind of convention so I don’t know if they would sell like Mrs Lovett’s meat pies…you know..before the human bits. But they do well enough online! I sell signed 8×10 prints through my etsy shop but lately I’ve had a lot of people asking for full on movie sized posters which are considerably harder to produce since they require a trip to the print shop and cant be printed from my home office.

When did people start wanting to send you gifts enough to have you set up the amazon wishlist?

I think there are 2 types of people who buy things from my wishlist.  The first are my awesome vanilla fans. I don’t know how vanilla someone can be and like the work I do but they just like to help support an artist. Its those sorts of people that don’t really want anything else in return but to see me possibly breath a lil easier that make my heart melt. Its a nice reminder that there are people out there who still appreciate the arts and know how hard it is to make a living off of it. And then the other sort of people are my fetish fiends! These lil critters are often submissive who understand I take part in a more strange “bedroom life” than most of your standard models out there. Some get off on the idea that I am pleased by something they did. Some get off on being financially controlled by a pretty woman. There are a lot of reasons but the overall end game is – it pleases both them and I so im pleased as pie with the entire situation!

Have you ever tried contacting MONSTER Energy Drinks for commission to fuel your addiction?

Oh hell man, that’s a great idea! I wish! I doubt they would say yes to me. As far as the wide world goes I’m pretty much a nobody less you count a steady internet following? But why buy the cow when she gives the milk away for free? I’m almost always spotted with a monster in my hand lol I swear, I give them such advertising haha

Unseelie Allure! For those like me who have no idea, please explain the origins of your elusive alias.

Ahh! Yes I think a lot of people have no idea what it means unless they have been brushing up on their English/Scottish folklore ^_~ I have always had a fascination with the spiritual mythological even when I was a lil brat. Always drawing fairies, mermaids and monsters. The term Unseelie comes from the English/Scottish classification of fae – the opposite of Seelie.

“The Unseelie Court consists of the darkly-inclined fairies. Unlike the Seelie Court, no offence is necessary to bring down their assaults.[6] As a group (or “host”), they appear at night and assault travelers, often carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing them to commit such acts as shooting at cattle.[7][8] Like the beings of the Seelie Court who are not always benevolent, neither are the fairies of the Unseelie Court always malevolent. Most Unseelies can become fond of a particular human if they are viewed as respectful, and would choose to make them something of a pet.  ” 

The dark and unpredictable just spoke a note to me. The idea that they were the nightmare creatures often still so beautiful in their monstrosity just wrapped me up and held me tight.

Two of my long time favourites have been the Baobhan sith & Leanan sídhe.

 How is the illustration business going?

They have certainly taken a backseat for the time being. This summer is such a busy one for me between moving and working on stuff for GeekGoddess. This was the first year they hired me to do their calender so it does sort of utilize my skills drawing in ways well… I cant discuss till the calender goes live in our etsy shop! Haha I think even normal retouching uses my skills as an illustrator though when you think about it. How light and dark – hue and saturation all play off of each other is something you control in both photography as well as painting.

I hear you are moving apartments, which has been the base of your photographic schemes for how many years now? What are you hoping to gain out of this move – I hope you’ll still have a studio space!

Its no secret iv been thirsty for a full on studio for years now! This new move will be getting me a lot closer to that dream thankfully. It wont be a dedicated business on google maps but the new apartment is less of an apartment and is in fact the top half of an entire house. Huzzah! Its likely ill even have a room just to store my gear in. But the real perk? Im super excited to paint my damn walls! Iv been stuck with white walls for 4 years now and im ready to paint them red, grey and maybe pink!

I hugely enjoyed your “studio tour” video – will you do another when you are set up in your new home?

Def! I really hope ill be able to make the entire apartment space look more photogenic. <~ That is such a strange thing to say but as someone who has lived independent of their parents for so long iv  had a lot of eclectic furnishings that didnt always make for a nice looking room to photograph. But Ill def be posting videos of the DIY transformation on my facebook fanpage!

Horrid Gristly time – that damn stomach issue, how’s it doing, let us know how your health has been and has it hindered you much recently? And for those just tuning in on you for the first time let them know the issues you actually experience.

Its true – I didn’t spend a lot of points on  my health pool! haha I’ve grown up with a lot of kinks in my meat suit that have always been a huge hindrance to me living my life and pushing my career to its fullest. If I was a kid in anime id be that sickly pale chick with generic red eyes and white hair, yah know? But I find ways to work around it and its even given me a pretty good threshold for pain!

For the most part my stomach can be pretty unpredictable. Like people who suffer from ulcerative colitis, crohns and Irritable Bowel disorder I have to self medicate with imodium at all times. Imagine living your life with sudden and unpredictable food poisoning. So travel is very stressful and stress alone can be a trigger for pissing it all off. Well, that and a list of foods that leave me mostly eating noodles all the time lol

I also deal with chest pains, dizzy spells and a huge intolerance to the heat. I think the last bit though it sounds the least threatening has been the worst to deal with at times. Your average model does NOT like to shoot in the balls deep of winter. They get cold and grouchie! So most people want to book shoots outside during spring and summer. Anything over 70 and you find me laying on the ground doing my best beached Whale impression between shoots! Lady like, I know!

 

How did you become the sponsored model for a huge brand like Rock Star Wigs and Geek Chic Cosmetics?

A few years back Gothic Lolita/ Rock Star Wigs held this huge modelling competition! It had several rounds that required fans to vote and also the staff to yay or nae the contestants in their category. I applied for both Glamour and Alternative and was rainbow vomit levelled psyched to have had won in the Glamour category  where I had the most thematic leeway. Although my modelling contract with them is up I still shoot models for them from time to time and even shoot for other wig companies such as Gothic Wigs(i know, similar name but diff people!).  Another notable sponsorship was for Geek Chic Cosmetics. I had sooo much fun shooting their many collections of eye shadows and lip balms. When I was contacted by their staff the site was still pretty new and didn’t have any real images to show off their products. After some shooting marathons they now have a comprehensive gallery that really show off the vibrant and versatile products they sell. I pretty much exclusively use GCC and Sugarpill when I’m doing make-up for my models these days <3

You work a lot with some amazing designers from all around the US (jealous much) how do your collaborations and photoshoots work?

Oh not just the US! Iv been blessed to work with a lot of designers all around the globe. I don’t get to travel much but many designers are willing to send their garments through the mail to be shot with me. Sometimes they rent the items out to be shot and in return I’m paid for the shoot like any other service but alternatively some designers let me keep their beautiful work to be shot and kept as payment for my services. Either way its a huge help for keeping my shoots fresh! I wardrobe almost 90% of all the shoots I do that aren’t for MyGeekGoddess.com.

How many different wigs, costumes and outfits for shoots do you reckon you own and could mock up right now?

Hmmm I like to pin and arrange clothing in diff ways to really get the most out of them so trying to put a number on how many variations of them I have would be madness! Wigs on the other hand I can be a bit more specific with. I have roughly 25 wigs and a box of “spare parts”.

What can a model expect from a typical shoot with you?

Be prepared to work hard! I always tell my girls if they want to be treated like a princess to book their “prom photos” at their local sears portrait. If you work with me expect for us both to work our bones off because we are going to not only get an image we love but push both our limits to grow <3 With that scary drill sergeant talk aside – I never ask my girls to do anything I wouldn’t do. If I ask you to balance on a cement wall in a lake ill go down there myself and most likely be up to my neck in that gross ass water with 2000+$ of equipment strapped to my head like a hurricane victim lol

Despite you seeming to have difficulties finding models in your area, the people you do work with are all amazing and brilliant, will your new home offer any aid to finding a new scope of models but also keeping contact with the old ones?

A lot of my regular models are just my friends! Prehistoric Dance Creations had never modled before in her life but to break the ice on both our social anxieties she offered to jump into a fountain in 50 degree weather at a convention and ever since then we have been the best of friends. If people are willing to go that extra mile to shoot I dont care what kind of experience you have! Im always looking to meet more new people who can join in on my photo adventures behind and infront of the lens. So hopefully with a more presentable location to shoot in during the inhospitable months I can test out some new faces this coming year.

If money were no object…what would you do, no you can’t say take over the world.

Its okay. I wouldn’t want to take over the world anyway. Now…having a stalking horse and being the hidden master behind it all …*strokes her imaginary villain facial hair *

Jokes aside I would put together my dream Artists Commune. I always swoon over the idea of having a full on estate with themed rooms that I could shoot in and also home some of my artist friends. The idea of a beautiful huge place that I could shoot both vanilla and nude work without worrying about if people call the police on us is just euphoric! And if I could give a nice home  & creative environment of encouragement to the people I care about in the process I’m pretty much set.

With what was left over id commission a cyber body (think Ghost in the Shell) for me to live in and possibly win underground fight clubs with for future capitol.

Where do you plan to be this time next year? 

I’m always trying to push myself closer to my major goals but I cant imagine ill be in a situation 2 unlike where I am now. I think its realistic to say that by this time next year ill be able to accept more in studio paying shoots with people! And hopefully be a little more financially stable doing what I Love. But hey, the last part is something we all hope for I think.

 Let us know a little about you fiancé, he’s always in the background on shoots somewhere!

While we are both polyamourous, Conri (my Fiancé) has been around for some 12 years now and in that time iv been slowing turning him into a photographer as well haha. Hes shot some of my outdoor sets and is always there to assist on the set of my more complicated work holding lights and watnot. Im pretty terrible at putting together octoboxes so his skill to put together all the gear is much appreciated. He also helps me in the planning phase of our strip sets. We are always try and put some storyline into the work we do so being able to balance out our concepts and practical capabilities can be a nightmare! Somehow hes also become the costume whisperer. When the wardrobe malfunctions hes there to whip it back in shape!Conri has stitched a model into her costume, taped latex together on set seamlessly and even helped create an outfit out of wirehangers and a pillow case. I think I should give him a lil name tag: Conri – Macgyver and Kassandra’s Handler extraordinair.

One day, I will come and visit! Quickly, what shenanigans can be expected? Don’t leave out anything!

Nonsensical raptor screeching, naked people everywhere, ninjaed photoshoots in public places, sleep deprivation and its resulting insanity induced creativity, frozen veggies on nipples, caffeine on empty stomachs, glued together costumes, inappropriate /offensive jokes,  metal music, tacos, horror movie marathons and possibly being told to shut up while I watch Penny Dreadful * heavy breathing * that show is serious biznus lol

It’s Kassandra’s Birthday soon but she is currently very sick from an exposed nerve in her mouth where a filling has decayed leaving half her tooth missing and become infected, anyone who has ever experienced an infected tooth or even wisdom tooth will be able to relate to the pain and discomfort. She doesn’t have medical coverage or dental or non penicillin pain killers or antibiotics to help, nor $2000 to get it fixed as it is the tooth attached to her bridge. Health care in the US is sketchy right now we know, and I personally plead with you to purchase a print, or strip set or provide some kind of donation no matter how small to help Kassandra raise money for the help she needs as tooth decay can lead to heart disease and worse illness. Her only pain relief right now is sucking in cold dry air through the hole that has been left.

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