Monday, December 29, 2008

Really cool vintage glasses/Really bad myspace-y pictures

As I said before, I got some cool vintage glasses whilst hanging out with Dad the other day. Which ones do you like better?
(Ah the joys of taking pictures of yourself in the bathroom mirror!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

life and documenting it- a dilemma

As I said in one of my early blogs, I grew up always taking pictures with my siblings, esp. my oldest sister who was photography obsessed. My whole family has a different approach to taking pictures than most I think. The only person in my family who will shy away from having a picture taken is Mom, and she is almost comfortable with it too these days.
My oldest sister and i have a saying- "You know you had fun if you've got the pictures to prove it." And sometimes the best times we have are taking pictures. And long ago I scrawled a line in my little notebook and remembered it always- "..caught between life and documenting it." It seems sometimes we are more concerned with documenting the experience than experiencing it.
And why I am telling you this now will be aparent at the end of this post.

My dad picked me up at the airport when I got back from NY/NJ. A bit of backstory- I left Illinois in May, and hadn't seen him since then. He had come to Texas, to San Angelo, almost a month ago, to work with my uncle who lives there. Since San Angelo is pretty far from here, we still hadn't seen each other. He fell off of a little cliff down here and got hurt, and then couldn't leave until the doctor decided he didn't need to get the cut in his throat worked on. So then he fianally got to head towards home as I was coming back. He told my mom he didn't recognize me in the airport- I was still in photoshoot hair and makeup.
He was here for a night, and then a day, and then left the next morning. We went out to Mckinney, because the traffic in Dallas makes him discombobulated. He thinks its going to get me killed I think.

It was so cold that day we couldn't do much. We tried to walk around downtown Mckinney a bit, but whenever you came out from a place where a building blocked the wind, the wind was brutal. We went to the Mom and Popcorn Shop, and bought candy, which I probably shouldn't have had. But oh well. And then Dad said "Well, antique shops are used to people coming in and not buying anything," and so we decided to hang around the antique shops to keep warm.
We made fun of some of them for selling absolute crap, and we looked for poisonous ingredients on bottles of old food and medicine. The last one we went in we spent the most time in. it was huge, but unfortunately the top floor had such a low ceiling that dad couldn't come anywhere near standing up up there. (He's like 6'6" i think?)
They had a ton of really cool old sunglasses and some badass 70's shoes and such. We looked and looked at the sunglasses, but unfortunately all the ones with the really cool green lenses were prescription. But I did get some without green lenses.
Later we went to finish my Christmas shopping so he could bring all the gifts back with him.

The next morning I woke up and found that he was gone. I thought, "He didn't even say goodbye, that bastard." And that would have been par for the course with Dad. He seems to hate saying goodbye. He rarely even says it on the phone. I've always wondered if it goes back tohis tragic childhood, but that's another story.

I stood there slightly dumbfounded, looking for some evidence that he hadn't really left but there was none. I walked through the living room a few times, looking for something that wasn't there and it struck me sickeningly that I hadn't even taken any pictures. I woke Thom up and said, "i think my dad just up and left." "Are you fuckin' serious?" he said.

But it turned out not to be so. He'd just loaded everything in the old VW Fox and went for coffee. And when he came back, I did snap just two bad pictures in the living room, where i'm not even out of my pajamas. The real me. Not the character I play. A rarity in photos these days.
And it struck me, that it is not often that I am living so intently in the moment that I forget to document it. And I don't know what to make of that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Putting alot of miles on the plaid coat..nah this isn't about that at all.

I have been trying to piece together a blog in my head about NJ/NY, and I find I really can't without omiting things or being really long winded. And so I'm going to shut the hell up and do a photo blog.. pictures by me and the point-and-shoot unless noted...

Juicy Couture window... Where can I get a blue greyhound?

Louie V. architecture..

Being cool- its what I do. Photo by Mark Thomason.

Commercialism Wow!

It's hard to be this cool in this many laayers of winter clothes.

Photo by mark Thomason.

Feelin just a bit like Courtney Love in a self taken picture in hair n makeup from one shoot.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My own little version of carrying my own towel.

The Hitchhiker's Guide recommends that you always carry your own towel. I think there is a bit of wisdom in this. I actually have a blankie, however. And right now I'm glad that I do. I misinterpreted the DFW airport as the sort of place that never slept, and since no one could bring me to the airport in the morning, I went at night.
But no one is working at my gate, so I am stuck in the baggage claim/entrance limbo area. And its cold here. And who knows how long I'll be waiting here. And on an aside, I'm starving and there are only drink vending machines and I think my food diary today (or lack of anything to write down) would impress the hell out of you. But I did find the only outlet in the world and I paid TMobile six bucks for a day of internet, so now- an ode to a fuzzy blankie:
I first got the idea at Back to the Ranch, when there were not enough sheets and blankets to go around and I got stuck sleeping on the floor with a sheet. That night, and the nights following it, I vowed that a blanket was the awesomest thing possible to own and soon I'd have one strictly for traveling.
So I got one. At TJMAxx or Ross. Its kind of brown/grey, almost like our Toyota, but a touch browner. And its sort of a furry velvety chenile. I brought it to the Virgin Islands, and it saved me from total misery on the flights, and was wadded up into a nice ball of a pillow while I was there. I also had it in San Antonio the next weekend, but it didn't get much action. But still. It was there, ever vigilant, in case I needed some warmth, or comfort, or a makeshift photo backdrop, or possibly even a non-traditional garment.
And now here I am, wrapped up in it on the airport floor, likely to go to sleep at any minute. I just hope I don't resort to eating it tonight.

Let it not be said that I am afraid to post unflattering pictures of myself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Food, Glorious Food! Glorious Food! Or the lack of it..

I think I am making pretty good progress on my getting in shape/skinnier. I haven't really lost any weight, pounds wise, and I so far really haven't lost much off of my main measurements, but my stomach looks alot flatter, and my legs are firmer. Not a dramatic change, but its a start. I did lose half an inch off of my thigh measurement.
So I know, I know, you're reading this going WTF crazy things is this already basically thin chick doing to try to lose weight? So here is a real life confession..

I have been working out twice a day if possible. Generally I do anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour on the treadmill, and weights, and possibly a little bike or eliptical. And squats and such around the house.

And I have been majorly watching what I eat. And keeping track of it. And in the interest of confession, here is a typical day. I am not saying this is the healthiest way to eat, I'm not recommending you eat this way, and I won't keep going like this forever- but for strictly anthropological documentation purposes, here it is:

On Mon Dec 8th I ate:
10 am- bloody Mary with no alcohol, (Virgin mary?) lots of celery
1 pm- instant coffee, a few mini rice cakes, a few craisins
4 pm- a few wedding style after dinner mints
4:30 Starbucks coffee, sugar free syrup (I was waiting for my car to be fixed)
7:45 wheat french bread pizza- I'd estimate about 5 inches of the bread, with pizza sauce, tomatos, and a tiny tiny bit of feta cheese on it
8 pm a few craisins
11:30 brown rice, lettuce, tomatoes and taco chicken with green salsa. It wasn't very good.
I probably had a few more craisins before bed.

Today I am taking sort of a cheat day. It is stressful to keep going thinking this hard about it for weeks on end. So in my estimation, today I had.. coffee with splenda, fresco burrito supreme no beans from taco bell, fruit and yogurt parfait, craisins, 100 cal of popcorn, light yogurt, some rice cakes, and a sugar free jello. I'll prob eat something kind of "normal' if I'm feeling wild.

And my final thought... Yes it is a sacrifice. Alot of people probably wouldn't agree with me trying to lose any fat/weight at all, but I don't really have an issue with it. Its just what I have to do for the job. And although its a pain in the ass, it really is advantageous to me that I have to be really skinny to model. I know that if i'm disciplined and work hard, I can do it. Not everyone can. And it is what I can do that not everyone can that I can get paid for.

Furthermore, when I worked at Denny's, i had to work the smoking section. Was it healthy? No. But you've got to make a living.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Working on New Goals

It's been awhile since I have written. I have been trying to do more strictly fashion test shoots, and trying to get in ridiculous, Heidi Klum-esque shape. For the record, the agency never used the words "lose weight" with me, they told me my legs and belly needed some toning, and they were right. But, I know the score, and I know what I am competing with, and I am trying to lose a little. For better or worse, that is what I need to do to be marketed as a fashion model. But maybe I'll do a blog strictly on that later.

I did two shoots on Saturday. one I got pictures back from already. So here are a few. These were with Manuel Crespo, and the lovely makeup artist Michelle Rodgers.

More of Manuel"s stuff-

More of Michelle's-

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mostly makeup, clothes, and a little food.

I'm in a good mood for no particular reason so I thought I'd pay tribute to some products/things that actually do what they are supposed to.. Without further delay.. Things that make me happy:

-Smashbox Color Correcting Primer. I use the purple one. I didn't think purple face stuff sounded like a good idea, but I got convinced. It feels like velvet coating for your face and helps ease my chronic greasiness.

-Wearing only powder makeup with my Smashbox primer. I'm using some sort of Red Earth mineral stuff right now, buffed in thoroughly with a good brush. This is what I'm using in most of my Tim Bennett pics and in the recent Marcus Lopez shoot.

-Expensive makeup in general. It really is better. The pigment is better, and the lip gloss stays on better with less sticky feel.

-That said- Loreal Colour Riche lipgloss. "A Lighter Shade of Hope" limited edition is my current favorite, even if they did use Scarlette Johanasson to advertise it.

-Celestial Seasonings Sugar Plum Spice Tea. It's at Big Lots right now, LOL. While I'm on the Subject, Big Lots makes me happy. I expect/hope that this will always be the case, even when I'm filthy rich...

-Calvin Klien lingerie. They actually come in 32D.. but I'm down to a C now so I don't need that anymore. They use good fabric, and designs which aren't cheesy sexy, but aren't dumpy-practical looking either. And they're comfortable.

-Healthy Sexy Hair Pumpkin potion leave in Conditioner.

-Harrison Funk is a ray of f-in sunshine!

-Perfumes from Victoria's Secret smell like Christmas/winter to me.. thier smells somehow hang in the air and are recognizible yet not overpowering. Except for Rapture. I hate Rapture. Very Sexy smells like excitement and new possibilities, Love Spell smells like... good things but too many people wear it for me to wear it, Dream Angels Heavenly smells like my friend Sara... :) Supermodel smells good enough to make up for having a cheesy name, and that is the next fragrance I want to aquire. And Body by Victoria smells like cleanliness and sensibility.

-Chip and Pepper's line for JCPenney. Too bad I bought the pair I have when I was tubbier than I am now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

And I also shot with Marcus Lopez on

And heres one from VI- haven't got many yet.. This one by Toby Miller.
Sigh... Now that I have good stuff to write about, I never have time. So I got back from the Virgin Islands, did the Dallas Fashion and Art runway show, then had to go down to San Antonio. At the same time, my dad came down to TX to San Angelo to work, and we've been trying to get to the same place at the same time.. but he got hurt and can't leave San Ang until he sees the doctor again. I got back from San Antonio on Sunday, and met with the Clutts Agency on Tuesday.. and I'm signing with them! I fianally found an agent who seems to see me the same way I see me.
But.. now I have to spend Thanksgiving trying to lose the jiggle off of my thighs.. which I really should have already done, but not having too many food choices and not being able to work out in the Islands had made the whole situation more grave than it should have been.
Also, they are giving me back my E- they want me to go by Erika.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm leaving the Islands today. Last night I took a small boat from Water Island to Hassle Island and scrambled across the line of boulder to climb up to an old fort for a shoot. And then came down in the complete dark. When we got back to our cottages, the photographer asked me if I thought that having to do that was too much for a photoshoot. To me that is what makes it worthwhile. I didn't get into it for the hair and makeup. Its the potential to see the stars from the top of a stone wall on a tiny island, with the lights of St. Thomas wraping around the horizon that keeps me in love with this job.

I will write more about this later, and hopefully post some better pictures soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the Islands..

I got to the Virgin Islands on Tuesday after some delay. Our internet is not that reliable, so I'm not going to post anything too long. I am on Water Island, which is a little island near St.Thomas. It is hot and humid, but the water here is sparkling intense blue and clear, and the beaches are nice.
I've done a handful of shoots already, and have alot more to come. So I'll write you a more poetic one later.. If the internet holds out.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Here are a couple shots from the last shoot I did with Tim Bennett.

I've got to go pack some stuff.. I'm leaving for the Virgin Islands early in the morning!

Between Drain STH and Cherry Darling

Saturday night I was once again flying down 75 with the lights of Dallas snaking all around me, as I often find myself.. always with someplace to be, and usually right after I get done being somewhere else. I had Drain STH's version of Ace of Spades playing and as I sang with her " win some, lose some, its all the same to me- The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say.." I thought about all the other times I'd sang along with that album and where I was driving all those times. I think about driving back home sometimes, and how if I drive from Allen downtown and get off at say exit 1A, that's as far as it is between Dieterich and Effingham, a drive I made so often down the lonely highway driving fast in the dark. Because I'd made the drive so many time it felt like an eternity to drive it one more time.
I do miss the feeling sometimes of being able to get out on a county highway and just drive, alone, with no cars. Drive down the center line if you want.
But back to Saturday. Where I was going was Carson's Live, a club in North Dallas. And once there I wound up dabbling in the traditional moonlighting gig of models, actresses, and ballet dancers everywhere... go-go dancing.
Don't worry Mom, I wasn't naked. As the night went on, I began to suspect that the bikini-sized costume was less for the purpose of being sexy, and more because you wouldn't survive the dancing if you were wearing much more clothes. Its about the best workout I've ever had. It's more or less like nights I spent with my sister at Upside Downtown, a gay bar back in glamorous Carbondale, IL, except for the most part no lesbians buy you drinks. And of course you can never slow down. And I get paid to do it. Go-go dancing isn't the only job available in club promotions, there are also shot girls and minglers and I hear next time we will have girls on swings. But personally my first pick would be go-go. I'd rather be on stage than in the crowd, as always.
I had glowing rings on my fingers, and a black fan in my hand and just danced as long and hard as I could.. And I didn't share Cherry Darling's sentiments at all. To me its almost like getting paid to go out. And I think, like going out to the club as a patron, it can be as skanky as you make it. Or you can not make it skanky.
By the end of the night, I had realized that probably the important thing about go-go dancers is not providing eye candy, but inciting the female club goers to get wild. Some girl in the back of the room was up on a table by the end of the night, I'd like to think I helped inspire that. I had also pulled every muscle between my abs and my knees, and I never wanted to look at my six inch heels again.
I drove home at 2:30, with the moon low and full and weird in my rear view, feeling like I was in a bubble because the outside sounds were having a hard time getting through the speaker ring in my ears. Pretty oddly similar to being back in IL, stumbling into the Steak n Shake after screaming my heart out with the band. And I don't know that anyone from back home would be proud of my most recent addition to the resume, but when you think about it its really not a bad fit for me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shooting with Tim Bennett and my obsession with the shadows on my nose

One of my designs shot by Tim

As I said in my last post, a couple of nights ago I shot with my friend Tim Bennett. We basically like to work on our own projects together most of the time, and that night the inspiration was Stacy Kiebler's Maxim shoot, and Gisele's Dolce and Gabbana The One ad. So basically we used that as a starting point, and then just let the shots go wherever they went from there. I think we were quite successful, but I don't have many of the pictures back yet to show you.
I have been shooting with Tim for awhile now, and it seems like we just go crazy when we shoot, we race from one idea to the next and sometimes do two wildly different shoots in the same day. The candy necklace picture is from our first shoot ever.
I really like the way Tim is able to control the light in his photos. He always uses magical combinations of light which make me look awesomely toned in the shots. Sometimes I get a picture back from a shoot and its overall a good shot, but the way the light hit on my stomach caused a shadow making it look way pudgier than it is or something like that and it's really disappointing. But that never happens with Tim, he pays close attention to all of that stuff. And interestingly enough, he's also a pilot. How crazy is that?
You can see his website at or

Another of my favorite one of Tim's shots from a previous shoot.

During a shoot, as I see the pictures on the camera, (if I get the chance to) I am always critiquing myself and thinking about what I can do better. During this last shoot I was thinking about the angles of my face and how to hold my head for the most flattering results. I have kind of an odd nose. It looks pretty ordinary from certain angles, dramatically and attractively different in others, and just weird in a bad way in a few certain ones that I have trained myself to avoid. I think all models have certain things they are always concerned about in pictures, mine is my nose. I used to hate my nose, when I was in high school I secretly hated seeing pictures of myself in profile. Now I'm glad I have it, it gives me the ability to pull off a bit more of a fashion look. But the most dramatic features are the ones we have to be most careful of in how they are presented.

A blog I wish I had the energy to write..

In the past couple days I have... worked in the showroom, did a photoshoot with my friend Tim Bennett, went in to do some lingerie modeling for, and went to talk to E Models, an agency which I am going to start working with, and there I wound up doing just a couple pics.

And I'm too tired to write about it all, but this doesn't work if I don't document what happens. I will write about some of it in detail tomorrow I hope.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I want this.

I think I want something like this for my next shoot- which looks like it's going to be in the Virgin Islands. And the good thing is, I can make it. I think I'll go with a brighter color though. I'm undecided on fabric- have to see what strikes my fancy. It's actually really similar to something I bought when I went to Honduras- but I don't know what happened to that. The photo is from by the way, From Hermes' Spring show. The model is Naomi Campbell of course.

Working at Dallas Market Week

The glorious view from the atrium..

Actually written Oct 31 2008..

I worked Dallas market week last week, and it was a really good experience. I was originally hired to model in the showroom, but Steve, the showroom owner, found out that I have a degree in Fashion Design, and my job title quickly became more flexible. It was really quite interesting watching the buyers shop lines and listening to all the conversation around me- kind of like being the proverbial fly on the wall. I worked very long hours- not to mention the hour it takes to make my hair behave like it belongs to a model- and at the end of market I never wanted to work again. But now I’d be ready to do it again next week if I could.

Dallas Market Center may be the most wonderful place in the world. If there is a more wonderful place, I’m sure its in New York or Paris or Milan. Or maybe in London, but that’s really not fair- the English accent makes everything more appealing. There are 15 floors, with a huge gaping atrium in the center that cuts down through all of them so that when you ride the clear elevator up you can window shop every floor for just a moment. Just going up to the 14th floor where I worked made me feel like I was getting ready to do something quite glamorous and exciting.

When the place fills up with buyers, it suddenly becomes very hard not to go around blatantly checking out everyone’s shoes. It may be a stereotype, but it is true- for the most part, buyers are very glamorous. I often wished that I could be the Sartorialist ( and just go around taking pictures of them all. But instead I had to stand and look pretty and be the object of attention. While there are young, trendy buyers to be seen, a lot of them are nearer to my mother’s age, or even her mother’s age for that matter. These were the women I was most fascinated with- you see glamorous twenty-something women in every magazine, (although sometimes all a story contains is young women who are presented as glamorous, although the particular specimens may or may not be.) But at market I saw so many women in their forties and sixties with devastating style and confidence.

The modeling in a showroom can run the gamut between the easiest kind of modeling and the hardest. In and of itself, the job is easy. Just stand and display a garment, turn when told to, put on something else when told to. The hard part is this- Market Center was FREEZING the entire time, and many of the garments I had to display were rather tiny swimsuits from Cia Maritima. Putting on a swimsuit is easy enough, but at the end of a day spent concentrating on smiling and not letting myself shiver I find I’m much more tired than I otherwise would have been. That said, I absolutely loved the bikinis- even the Brazilian cut ones- and the thought of how good they looked on me went a long ways toward keeping me warm. Plus everyone I got to work with was really cool.

Steve also has the distinction of having played guitar with John Denver- and I’m quite fond of John Denver so it was cool to hear some stories about that- and we also got to hear Steve play at Market Center one night! His website is, you can see info about both the showroom and his music there.

I also got to show a few lines from time to time. I have never really thought of myself as a “seller” personality type but I must admit I did find it quite enjoyable. It’s not about convincing someone that they should buy something. It’s just about connecting a person who already wants a product to the correct product. I will most likely continue doing some work in the showroom for Steve, which I am looking forward to. Although I am focused on and enjoying the heck out of my modeling, it is good to feel like my degree is getting a bit of use.

An outfit I put together with some of the showroom samples

A Basic Timeline of Rika's Existence

The end of the eighties.. Rika’s memory starts here. She spent her childhood in the country in Effingham County Illinois- which is far far away from Chicago but only a couple hours from St. Louis. Rika has three sisters and one brother. Dad works on oil rigs, Mom stayed home for the first several years of Rika’s life. A good day for Rika during these years involves some of her cousins visiting. The TV only gets two channels, but Rika watches Ninja Turtles and Mario Brothers nearly religiously. She likes to play outside and frequently has boys’ haircuts.

Elementary school- Rika goes to Dieterich Elementary school. She is not very good at being a kid and never understands what the other kids are talking about because of her lack of watching TV and movies. She likes to read anything historical and is sort of a quiet dork.

Rika’s older sister has a 110 camera and she and Rika begin to take posed pictures of each other. Eventually they move on to 35 mm and eventually older sister emerges as the photographer and Rika becomes the model.

Rika's youngest sister participating in Oldest Sister's early photographic habit

Junior high- Still going to Dieterich, just a different hallway now. Rika does solos at chorus concerts and school variety shows. Starts to play bass guitar. Begins to discover the entertainment value of being odd. Older sister is the “hot girl” at school, Rika is generally well tolerated because of this. Rika starts dying her hair the night of 8th grade graduation and keeps switching her hair color constantly until after college.

Rika (with wrench at left) with siblings. Photo by Carpe Diem Photography (Oldest Sister and her husband)

High school- Rika plays music with various buddies, eventually spend a significant amount of time playing heavy metal in Nine Circles with best friend/boyfriend Thom, her brother Levi, and neighbor Poe. Destroys a good percent of her voice this way.

Sews her own clothes because the nearest Hot Topic is almost an hour away in Terre Haute, Indiana. Works fast food and waitressing jobs. Gets good roles in school plays and does the announcements every morning on high school cable channel- allowing the whole school to quickly check out what she is wearing. Generally refuses to do homework and graduates 22 out of 42.

Y2K- The coming of the millennium is somewhat uneventful as Rika’s parents make her come home by midnight. Older sister salvages some of the night by insisting on bringing Rika home about a half hour late. J

Older sister becomes a serious photographer sometime during this era.

The graduation cap and the butch haircut caused by too much dying- photo by Christa Tibbs

Rika majors in Fashion Design in college. She works her ass off in school for the first time in her life and also works jobs like Denny’s and Casey’s gas station. Doesn’t have time to do much but school and work. Models occasionally for school fashion shows, ect., sometimes her own designs. Wins first place in eveningwear at Emerging Young Designer in St. Louis- gets a badass embroidery machine. Almost signs with a modeling agent in St. Louis, decides the guy is a creep. Graduates May 2008.

Models in Rika's creations for her senior thesis collection

June 2008- Moves somewhat inexplicably to Dallas TX, starts modeling seriously, and stops dying her hair.

I can't turn off my inner dialog.

I was thinking one day and realized my life was getting kind of interesting, so I decided to make a blog about it. I've been writing pieces for it for a while as I shopped around for the best site for it, so I'll be posting those all today, although they were written at different times. I should be good at blogging, seeing as how I can't turn off my inner dialog.