I was never always the confident, outspoken individual that I am today. I struggled a lot with self consciousness growing up, and it took a lot of self reflection and mental work to look at myself in the mirror and claim that I was beautiful. I was never a fan of dressing to impress while in school, not just because I didn’t care much, but because I truly didn’t feel beautiful on the inside either. I believe the true definition of beauty belongs solely to the individual, and starts with genuine self love and self care. I realized that doing small things for myself such as getting my nails done at the salon, or just taking myself out for drinks, was super important. I was never big on makeup, but I learned to love a nice hint of lip gloss, too. That instant shine and pop of color to the lips? A simple, yet sexy, classic! Once self care became a more recurring thing, the confidence and self awareness eventually came on its own.
I always think back and find it amusing how I went from this self conscious, timid person, to where I am today. When I was 19, I found myself working at my very first gentleman’s club as an exotic dancer in Queens, NY. The first day was a nightmare. I hardly made any money, and the girls I was working amongst were certainly not shy like I was, and knew their way around the floor. I was determined to come back and make it worth my while the next time. The more I got acclimated to the environment, I also became much more comfortable and free with myself in general. Not to mention, the money I was making was great after a while! The topic of sex and being free and open minded wasn’t taboo there. And I appreciated that.
I never understood why the topic of something as natural as sex was such an awkward or “explicit” thing to talk about amongst peers. Not to say every conversation should revolve around it, or be overly graphic, but there is certainly no need for people to be as prude about it as they usually are. Sex is one of the most freeing experiences for me. I completely let myself go. Sex is passionate, it’s fun. With the right person, I love being able to let myself go, and allowing that inner succubus to come to life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Milan is currently an administrative healthcare professional, originally from New York, now residing in Philadelphia. Aspiring model and real estate broker. Free thinker. Humanitarian by nature. Spiritual revolutionary in the making. This is Milan’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.
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I visited Ike Hay at his home on many occasions. He was a great teacher of art and design at Millersville University where we first met when I was an undergraduate student from 1974 to 1977. I took several classes with him as he was a great teacher of art and design. Ike’s first love was sculpture, but he had other interests as well. Ike was a collector of Empire furniture and a significant amount of his scholarship was defined by his love for French culture, especially French antiquities and an emphasis on the history of Napoleon Bonaparte, the great French military leader and emperor of France. Ike’s study was a place where we often chatted about art and also life. He became a lifelong friend and confidant until his untimely passing in 2014 at the age of 69. When I began the project of a book of Tableaux Vivants, I selected Ike’s study as one of the nostalgic places I wanted to photograph because of my longstanding friendship with Ike and his family. So one summer day in 1994, I packed up my gear with models in tow and traveled from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he lived with his wife Teri and his daughters Miraya and Mistral. On this particular occasion I decided to shoot in black and white and in color, an unusual departure for me at the time.
Kudos to my former Fashion & Photography student Jameel Mohammed for being featured in the September issue of Vogue for the launch of his Khiry jewelry collection! To see additional work by my former students at the University of Pennsylvania, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/tws-portfolio-reviews/