Natura: Ferocium Spiritus
Eccentric / Halcyon / Focused
Canadian fashion model Imogen Cookie-Bailey is a personal trainer and the founder of Venerate Supplements (VenerateSupps.ca) as well as creative director and primary interviewer for Malabolgia Creative. As a model, her first fashion show was in high school and has since grown to include print, web, film, and tv.
Outgoing and eccentric, her versatility as a performer has led to Imogen being a regular panelist on The Comediorological Report, student pilot, and fire performer with a love of hard rock music and combat sports. Her signature style has been inspired by artists like Herve Legere and Rene Magritte. When not immersed in fashion, fitness, or photography, she can be found at the Art Farm (ArtFarm.ca), hiking through the forest, or developing the next project.
With an irreverent sense of fun and clearly defined style, Imogen is a force of nature who is becoming an international fashion icon making waves in the industry.
Follow Imogen on social media or go to her personal website www.Imogen.in for a glimpse at her wonderfully unpredictable and surreal life.
Moevir Magazine February Issue 2023 featured edition
[Natura: Ferocium Spiritus]
Female Model Imogen Cookie-Bailey @World Management @imogencookiebailey
Photographer Babz @artofbabz
Tell us something about you. Maybe your life, profession, habit, dream.
I get restless and have to keep moving. I’m very into fitness and was not satisfied by the supplements that were available so I started my own company, Venerate Supplements. I also do a lot of photography, mostly for musicians and athletes.
I started doing photography and modeling at around the same time. Learning them together really helped develop a meaningful understanding of how to compose an image. The movement and energy of what I take pictures of often inspires elements of my visual identity. It’s good to know brilliantly colourful people who really bring out that eccentricity.
What makes you choose this profession?
The choice was not conscious. When thinking about career choices I never sat down and thought "I want to be a model." It was just an evolution of creative expression and an organic extension of my creative voice. It happened so naturally that I can’t imagine not doing it.
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?
Expansion is the byproduct of exploration. I gravitate to colorful people who keep moving and are always pushing themselves artistically and intellectually. The textural and architectural juxtaposition of those traits is an adventure that keeps it fresh and exciting. It’s fertile terrain for the imagination.
In your daily routine, what resources do you like to learn new things about art, fashion?
I’m surrounded by some very talented artists. They are always pushing themselves to go farther and find new ways to develop their skills. Their self-criticism and introspection really exposes their creative processes and gives so much insight into concept development. There is a lot to be learned from anyone with a larger-than-life personality and the ability to frame what they do.
Is art, fashion important in your life? Why?
Definitely. I look backwards in time for insights. Styles from other eras can provide poetic commentary on social trends. By understanding where we came from it's easier to understand where we are going and why. Some things are timeless, others become stale but have wonderful elements that can be reworked and revived.
Do you have any problems with your profession? How did you solve it?
When I first started modeling I spoke to many agencies. At that time everyone said that I was too short and too fat. They didn’t realize that the market was changing. Women in fashion had to be quite tall and very thin. I am not that so I took control. I handled my own production teams, maintained creative control, and directed most shoots. The market had changed and the public embraced what I was doing, even if the agencies did not.
Who do people impact most in your profession? What do you learn from them?
There are so many inspiring people in this industry. In terms of fashion I’ve learned a lot from Bob Mackey, Alexander McQueen, Herve Leger, and Tim Burton. They all had a clear vision and flawless execution.
McQueen’s morbid faze towards the end of his life was very powerful. Mackey's Barbie collection from the nineties was absolutely stunning. Herve Leger’s bandage dress was extremely influential and is still a personal favorite to this day. Burton’s style was fun with a weirdly formal grace.
They all had bold, elegant styles that were accented by subtle, dark undercurrents. It’s hard not to be influenced by people who’s designs are so audacious but delicate. All of them had something unique that I can relate to. I learned a lot about fashion and form from their work and it’s shaped my aesthetic to this day.
What do you think about your work? Is it what you like, or simply saying a dream?
I am rarely satisfied with what I produce. I am always looking to improve. There is always room to build, develop, and grow. The reason I am so unsatisfied is that I rarely see it as complete. A good project can take a very long time. Deadlines don't always allow for that. I understand that the product may look good, but that doesn't mean that I feel it is finished.
In modern society, lots of people want to be famous, influential. What do you think about it?
Fame is fickle. There is a misconception about what it means to be famous. A lot of people have a very glamorized idea of it, but they don't really know what it means. One day you’re hot and the next you’re not. It’s important to have a wider skill set than just being good on camera.
To become famous, what kind of qualities do you think the person should have?
Definitely a very thick skin and an incredible work ethic. Criticism is ruthless. Being in the spotlight means being exposed. In a sense, you are naked. A lot of people are looking and they all have opinions. Many are not afraid to share them, no matter how harsh. It takes a lot of strength to deal with that.
What will be the suggestions to new photographers?
Before working with models, learn framing and composition by shooting landscapes. You can go slower without the pressure and distraction of another person’s perceived expectations. When learning with a model there is a tendency to try and rush a bit because, as a student, you don’t want them to get impatient or annoyed. It’s pressure that takes away from learning. Landscapes don’t get tired so you can take all day just working out the details.
What is your favorite camera? Why?
Cannon 60D. Not really sure why, but it has been my workhorse. It’s been battle tested and taken to a lot of projects.
How do you prepare for your new shoot?
Research, practice, and choreography… The amount of those things might vary, depending on the project, but they are always part of prep.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I surround myself with creative people. There are so many different personality types that sometimes the interplay of those personas can lead to some comedic outcomes. Some of the most inspiring people are the quiet ones, the ones you would never think of can have the biggest influence. One of the most influential people in my life is very quiet. It can be difficult to have a conversation but a few words go a long way. Absolutely the definition of the strong silent type. An impressive person who has inspired a lot and influences everyone around them.
What are the most difficulties during your shoots?
It depends on the nature of the shoot. For this one, we were dealing with nature. It was very cold, the rain started and the rocks were slippery. We lost light and nearly got lost in the woods trying to find our way out. We only had the light of our cell phones, my battery died and we were left in near pitch black to navigate the forest. A rainy, muddy trek with no light can be dangerous. On another set it might be technical difficulties, or a key part of our crew gets held up in traffic and doesn't show up and we have to figure things out without their skills on hand. Since a lot of what I do is outdoors, usually our biggest challenge is dealing with the elements. It can be unpredictable.
How often do you create new works?
Sometimes I’m blindsided by a concept that needs to be executed. Sometimes there are phases of crazy, creative energy and lots of imagery will be produced all at once. Sometimes weeks will go by with nothing. If that goes on too long I start to get anxious and have to resolve it. That’s where knowing artists and athletes comes in handy. There are always pictures to take and compositions to create.
What is the most important thing for creating new work?
Ideas. A gut feeling. Restlessness and the need to keep moving. The need to build something. My eye gets restless and needs to be appeased, so I find things that are calming and exciting and fun.
Do you have that feeling? When you have a look at the work you created 1 or 2 years ago, you still think it is in fashion.
Absolutely. The imagery that I produce is not defined by trends. I have never related to trends or understood them. Some elements can be pretty cool, but for the most part I see it as a fleeting thing. It is entertainment. The reason that trends come and go in cycles, is because there are timeless elements. Trends change, but the thing that brings them back is the element of composition.
Will you still create new works when you are old?
Absolutely. Even if no one ever sees it, I will still be doing it. This started as a form of personal expression. The fact that others seem to like it is very flattering. It’s nice to know that there are people who appreciate my voice and enjoy the crazy things I do.