CFL: How would you describe what you do: “Life modeling”, “nude art modeling” or something else?
RM: The funny thing is when people ask me, “What do you do” I often reply that I’m a life model. They acknowledge my answer with a confused look on their face and I realize that I have to clarify what being a life model means. So I try to stick with describing myself as an Artists’ Model now.
CFL: How does a self-described all-American woman end up living and modeling clothes-free in the UK?
RM:I was in the UK for several years before I began modelling. I was studying there but it quickly became a second home to me. Even now I look forward to spending time on both sides of the Atlantic and I am due to be sitting for a wonderful sculptor in Southern France later this month. I still think of myself as American but I hope my future will be international.
CFL: How did you get started as a model?
RM: You never forget your first! I started posing for Oxford (UK) based artist Francis O’Neill in August 2012. I posed for Francis for a few paintings including my first nude – ‘Ruby Magic 2012’. I came across Francis via an advertisement on a local community website. I was looking though the classifieds for tennis lessons when I saw a notice titled “Model needed for a Painter”. The spontaneous decision to reply to that little notice has changed my life in ways I couldn’t have even imagined.
CFL: What is the most challenging thing about being a model?
RM: Of course the poses can be very strenuous but the biggest challenge for me is just turning up on time! Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m always late for everything but with this kind of work there’s no room for tardiness. I can’t leave the artists waiting for me so I try to be a little early in order to be sociable and to get properly prepared.
CFL: Other than your “bum being numb” is there anything which makes you uncomfortable regarding modeling clothes-free?
RM: Whether nude or clothed the poses are often challenging to hold. I try to push myself to get the best results for the artists but I have also learned how to avoid putting myself in poses for durations which my body cannot deal with. If you’re going to work in this field you have to be able to deal with the numbness and even some pain. I often used to get sore muscles after sessions.
CFL: Does modeling clothes-free require a certain degree of body acceptance and positive body awareness?
RM: When I first started modeling nude I would not eat a big meal prior to a session. I used to shave all over and I would only do certain poses which did not draw attention to any rolls in my belly! So yes, you do need to accept that you are who you are and there is nothing wrong with that. I only began to feel comfortable with this when I realized that artists don’t care how big or small the model looks. They generally want to draw and paint someone who looks interesting over and above someone who looks traditionally beautiful. Having accepted my body I feel like my poses are more natural and hopefully more artistically fulfilling for my artists.
CFL: Do you consider yourself an artists’ muse?
RM: I would like to consider myself that way. Sometimes artists really embrace me as a kind of collaborator as well as a model. That’s not to say that I have a direct hand in their work, but rather that we often brainstorm the poses, the props, sometimes the clothes and occasionally even aspects of their process together. I hope that I can help inspire some of the wonderfully talented people that I have had the privilege to work with.
CFL: Do you feel any connection to the clothes-free, nudist, naturist or body-positive movements through your work?
RM: The work that I do has encouraged me to be more accepting of my own body and others too so I suppose I would consider myself to be body-positive. Being in the art world, being around other models and seeing so many paintings has all taught me that beauty doesn’t have a rigid formula and that all kinds of different body types hold their own particular kinds of beauty. When working nude for the first time with Francis I remember arguing with him about the way in which he had painted the shape of my belly. I had a vision of how I wanted to be perceived but Francis made it clear to me that my shape was perfectly natural. I began to see the beauty in what I had previously thought of as a flaw.
CFL: I am curious is there a story behind the professional name Ruby Magic?
RM: Oh yes!! During my years studying at university I began using a kind of cheat sheet to aid my revision. Someone else asked to copy it and months later I overheard people I didn’t even know referring to the sheet as ‘Ruby Magic’. It struck a chord with me and it has stuck ever since.
CFL: What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue nude art modeling?
RM: People sometimes think that it’s easy money. Taking your clothes off and being still sounds easy enough right? But if you’re thinking about it as a career then you’ll quickly learn that there’s a lot more to it. That said, I didn’t know much about it when I began and I am truly enjoying my work now. Life modeling is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re comfortable enough being nude among people, you are aware of your body, you love art, and you connect well with others then I think you might land yourself a new career idea!
CFL: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you and your work?
RM: For more info on me and articles about my work please visit my blog at mybumisnumb.com. and you can follow me on twitter for daily tweets: @RUBYRMAGIC