Although I am now through college and work full-time as a high school teacher, I occasionally still work for individual artists, but I used to be a full time life model, working for the local college art department, individual artists, casual groups, and evening classes.

In total I've done this for over 7 years.

Here are a couple of examples of artists' work (sfw as they're all drawings):

These might seem pretty normal, but when I started I was hugely overweight...

Here is a sketch from those 'dark days':

Ask me anything!


Aaaaaaaand, an example of why I sometimes felt my job was not worthwhile:

And because there have been one or two who have questioned whether or not I am a chick and I am in possession of all of these works:

EDIT: My eyes. They feel like they're going to bleed. I'm going to bed. Thanks for all the positive comments/interesting questions, portrait requests! I'll catch any unanswered questions tomorrow. Oh, and FINE, I'll post a photo of my actual self, from Halloween a couple of years ago (I was a zebra): Imgur Night!

Comments: 2080 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

cackalacka737 karma

How do you model when you're on your period? I took a life drawing class for a year and when we had female models their 'parts' were always very visible. Even if you used tampons there's the string....I'm a female by the way and actually genuinely curious.

may_contain_nuts787 karma

There was an element of 'string dangle'. To get extra graphic, you could kind of manoeuvre the string so that it was hidden enough, but pretty much if you were bleeding, everyone knew about it.

parkinglotguy717 karma

Not a question, but I wanted to say thanks to you and other artists' models for what you do. There is nothing more rewarding or interesting to me than drawing from a live model, male or female, nude or otherwise. I draw from photos quite a bit, but there's nothing like seeing and drawing an actual person and how they exist in 3 dimensional space. Thanks again!

may_contain_nuts539 karma

Thank you! Not everyone is as appreciative! I once had a mildly crazy instructor ask me to hold a pose balancing on one leg for 3 and a half hours for a class. I got two ten minute breaks. I wanted my life to end, but because I was new to it, I assumed that's what everyone did. I know better now....

Dildo_Ball_Baggins201 karma

The combination of your username and the title of this post had me thinking you were likely a male.

Well played..

And kudos to you for having the "nuts" to stand naked in front of complete strangers for hours. This is an AMA.. So:

What was your first job like? On a scale of 1 - absolutely terrified, how nervous were you?

may_contain_nuts497 karma

Ha ha well, only when my bf is balls deep may I contain nuts. Or after a cashew binge.

may_contain_nuts201 karma

I would rate it as 6 (for being terrified) until the first few minutes were over. But also a 6 for exhilaration. And a 9 for 'hungover'.

Dildo_Ball_Baggins96 karma

The 9 for hungover probably helped with the nerves then. I tend to have a no-fucks-given attitude during a hangover.

songwind101 karma

The last time I had a hangover, I couldn't have held a pose for any length of time unless that pose was "laying on my face with my arms over my head."

may_contain_nuts28 karma

That was so comfy, FYI.



may_contain_nuts1021 karma


Mockymark463 karma

Are you aware/conscious of how visible you butthole is? Does this affect your choice of pose ever?

may_contain_nuts509 karma

When I get to choose my pose, I usually do not choose one that showcases my butthole/vagina. When others choose my pose, I go with the flow. I have had to lie on my back, on a plank of wood suspended between two chairs, with my legs either side, and someone with a stellar view of my womb before. If people want to draw that, I don't care. If people don't (they usually don't), they can move about the room to get an angle that is less full-on.

Babysealkllr379 karma

I was hoping you were going to be a guy. I wanted to know the secrets of how to handle a cold/drafty room.

may_contain_nuts549 karma

Ha ha, I guess just deal with it. When I'm posing for a class of fresh-out-of-high-school kids there are usually quite a few giggles over nudity, but after a couple of classes, they're over it. There was a guy who worked at the college who frequently got semis, but everyone usually just drew a different part of him until it had deflated. So I guess what I'm saying is - there are worse things than a drafty room!

Kazataniplayer316 karma

Can you draw me like one of your French girls?

may_contain_nuts453 karma

Ha ha, if you upload a photo of yourself, I will do my best to draw you.

may_contain_nuts607 karma

I'm still waiting..... :(

epatti0914160 karma

Not the OP, but I have just the photo if you want to give it a shot.

My stupid ass couldn't stay focused during a friend's photoshoot...

may_contain_nuts126 karma

Ha ha, I'm on it.

epatti0914166 karma

I... I feel beautiful.

may_contain_nuts62 karma

Ha ha, I'm sorry it's kind of blurry.

epatti091488 karma

Are you kidding? It's my new facebook profile picture.

If I had any money, I'd give you reddit gold.

may_contain_nuts120 karma

I don't know what reddit gold is, but thank you!

appocomaster57 karma

kudos to you for hanging around waiting for OP.

random question(s): how is your drawing, and have you ever tried drawing a nude model yourself?

may_contain_nuts16 karma

I've been to one life drawing class. And my drawing is not terrible. I wanted to go to art school, but thought my dad (who would be funding me) would prefer I do something more academic...

Amir15244 karma

How did you get into the business?

may_contain_nuts435 karma

I needed money to buy my boyfriend at the time a Christmas present. I went to the university job centre and there was an advert for life models, with those little bits of paper with contact details on them. I took a number, phoned the guy, and my first job was modelling for a friendly group of 'older' folk at a local community centre for 3 hours on a Saturday morning. The original guy I phoned has hired me for private work, and even let me live in his studio when I was 'between homes'.

mistatroll712 karma

The original guy I phoned has hired me for private work, and even let me live in his studio when I was 'between homes'.


may_contain_nuts649 karma

Let me expand... In his studio, which is a room in his house, where his wife and two children live. I also tutored his daughter for school.

joos198659 karma

Oh, this brings a couple of questions to mind;

  • Did you ask/tell your boyfriend about your modeling gig beforehand? (I'm asking because you were trying to earn money to buy him a gift, I'm assuming it was meant to be a surprise).
  • How did your boyfriend initially react to you telling him about it?
  • Since then was your modelling ever an issue for you guys?
  • Has he ever asked to come and be present during one of your sessions?
  • Would him being there be awkward for you, or affect you in anyway?

Sorry for the rapid gunfire questions :)

edit: I noticed you kind of answered questions about your (ex)bf further down, I still figure my questions are a bit more detailed, so feel free to answer (or not) to add any new bits.

may_contain_nuts134 karma

Ha ha, no problemo. Um, let's see. I'm pretty sure I told him I was doing it so he would get a Christmas present, and if he had a problem with it, I'd buy myself with the money instead. He was OK with it. My modelling has never been an issue. He has never asked to be present, but my current b/f has joked that he could stand in with his amazing physique. Him being there would probably be odd for all of 5 seconds. Then he would get bored, and leave.

the_red_scimitar200 karma

My GF has been doing this for close to 10 years. She also has a vintage (clothes) store, and in general is a hell of a visual artist. But the bulk of her income comes from modeling. It's kind of fascinating to hear about this, and I've met a number of artists who've painted or drawn her, and seen a lot of interesting works with her as the model.

Also interesting is going to parties - lots of artist's models and artists. Very interesting crew.

She takes the job of "being a muse" very seriously, and is annoyed when she models for a class where the instructor doesn't really provide any value to his/her students.

may_contain_nuts259 karma

I partly took it seriously, but when you're modelling for a class who are only taking it because it is a mandatory part of their 'Fashion and Textiles' course, it's pretty difficult. And I've heard 'Wow, didn't recognize you with your clothes on [loud, obnoxious laughter]' so many times....

the_red_scimitar119 karma

Yeah - the GF has been doing this long enough to know who's real and who's not. She just won't work for people who don't take what she does seriously, are rude or inconsiderate to the models, underpay, take too long to pay, etc.

Luckily, here in LA, there's quite a lot of demand for models. One interesting public: professional animators. Several studios have weekly/monthly drawing workshops for their in-house animators, just to keep their skills sharp. A lot of these are speed poses, where they have 5 or 10 minutes to draw, then the pose changes.

Of course, art schools and such. Cal Arts is a big one.

She doesn't do "drawing parties", where anybody can pay to come in and draw, as it's really a party first. But drawing workshops, run by artists who give a damn, are fine.

may_contain_nuts113 karma

Ah, yeah, I worked for a video game developers course in London but it was full of annoying teens. I can see how it would be more bearable if it was for a company. With real adults.

jayadrath93 karma

What does it feel like to be naked in front of a room full of hormone filled teens?

may_contain_nuts255 karma


Ilahkcheese155 karma

Does the job pay well?

may_contain_nuts259 karma

When you're used to minimum wage bar jobs, yes.

When I started, minimum wage was something like £4.10/hr and the lowest I got paid for being a model was £7.50/hr. In London I got as much as £30/hr, but just now you'd be looking at somewhere between £10-15/hr. It can be pretty physically (and mentally - oh my god, mentally) challenging though.

Tibokio141 karma

Care to elaborate on the mental part of the job?

may_contain_nuts522 karma

Well, you have to stay really still in a room of people who are usually busy concentrating on drawing you. So they don't talk. So you can't even eavesdrop on conversations. It get's really, really boring, so I usually run through the alphabet and try to think of a band that begins with each letter, then a song that begins with each letter, then an animal that begins with each letter, etc.

Again, the informal groups are not like that (so much). Sometimes they talk to you. Sometimes they tell you jokes! And one individual artist I work for would set up your pose so that you were facing a TV, then stick a DVD in for two hours. AND - his wife cooks dinner for you (that is definitely not the norm, but it is very much appreciated).

There's also the super critical tutors telling people they haven't dawn enough 'folds' in the belly (that'll be 'fat rolls' to you and I), or that the thighs should be 'thicker'. It's not ideal to hear that stuff first thing in the morning.

MystcPizza50 karma

I would love to hear OPs thoughts on this as well, from my experience holding a position for longer than 3 minutes is not only taxing on the body, but it's a mental practice as well. Especially if the position requires standing or some form of balance on the models part. The best way I could describe it is meditating during a thunderstorm. There are millions of distractions but all you can think about is "don't move, don't move, don't move."

Edit: Example: for a 10 minute or longer pose, never take a squatting position. Oh the muscle ache

may_contain_nuts95 karma

Anything with any pressure on one area, or twists.... Horrible as well. And for the love of god, no arms overhead!

Herdnerfer129 karma

Any sexual gratification in doing this for you?

may_contain_nuts378 karma

None whatsoever, although there clearly is for some who do it. I lived briefly in London and I once turned up for a job, but when I arrived they dropped the bombshell that it was an 'erotic life drawing class'. When it became clear that this involved having actual sex with some dude while people 'drew me', I cut my losses and took the tube home.

you_____________suck454 karma

"took the tube"

you sure you went home?

may_contain_nuts654 karma

I literally just shook my head at the screen. Terrible.

raziphel257 karma

that's not the sort of thing you surprise a model with...

may_contain_nuts400 karma

Some guy's erect dong? No, no it isn't. I agree.

tietgen120 karma

What is the most awkward or fun position you have ever modelled?

may_contain_nuts322 karma

Awkward was probably either the 3.5 hour balancing on one leg thing, or possibly when a tutor for an evening class wanted to dress me up 'as a prostitute' for that authentic Victorian life drawing experience. Or maybe when I was doing my teacher training course and there were 6th year school kids attending one of the classes. Any class during my period kind of made me self-conscious as well. Oh, and the time I was modelling privately for a woman who had a photograph of a kid I knew from school (turned out she was his grandmother) on the shelf, staring at me...

Fun? There was a group of hippies that liked to drink tea (or so they claim) and play music for me to dance to so they could capture the 'essence of movement'. That was strangely amusing. And informal groups where you get to know everyone and they bring you food. That's always good.

LallyMonkey111 karma

My university puts up posters looking for models for clothed and nude drawings, and I was thinking of doing some for a bit of extra cash. Any advice for the first few times?

may_contain_nuts229 karma

Don't lean on one arm, don't hold any object in the air, ask for breaks when you feel you need them, and be honest about the level of experience you have. :)

weisblattsnut98 karma

Is that a cyst on your right butt cheek in picture 2?

may_contain_nuts183 karma

Nope, that's just one (of several) examples of somebody not being able to draw perfectly. :)

vdelz85 karma

As a student in art school, thanks a lot for what you do. At first it was really awkward, for about 5 seconds, to have a nude model just walk in. And i'm sorry for the immature fucks who don't get over that. Then, after the first 5 seconds, the model's body stops being a person and just turns into shapes and forms.

  1. ^ Is that weird to you?
  2. How do you hold your position for so damn long?
  3. What do you think about when you pose?
  4. Do you draw or make art as well? How does it feel to be on the other side of the model stand?
  5. There's a drawing class project that I saw where the models and the students switched places (pretty much everyone was a model), which really changed the structure of the class. Would you like to be part of something like that? Or is it weird?

may_contain_nuts40 karma

  1. No
  2. Endurance!
  3. All sorts.
  4. Sometimes, but not figure drawing.
  5. I wouldn't 'not'be a part of that. I'm OK at drawing, but have only been to one life drawing class as an artist.

jayadrath85 karma

How does your boyfriend feel of you doing it?Is he jealous?

may_contain_nuts200 karma

The boyfriend I was seeing when I started I dumped a few years later. Mostly because he was a dirty lying cheat. But he didn't care how I earned money because for the most part, I paid for everything. My current boyfriend (of nearly 5 years) doesn't mind, apart from one or two individual artists who he thinks are 'creepy'. (They kind of are, but they're harmless)

jayadrath72 karma

How did he react the first time you told him?

may_contain_nuts194 karma

I actually can't remember. It was probably just: 'Oh, huh, you mean, like, naked?'

Han_Solo_Concerto83 karma

Did the shading on your upper lip take like 3 hours?

For reference and such:

may_contain_nuts48 karma

Their class lasted for an hour and a half, so they are obviously much quicker workers. :)

mydrunkpigeon67 karma

Do you feel any pressure to keep your body looking a certain way?

may_contain_nuts146 karma

Not from anyone in the classes, but from myself, yes. I got in shape after I started modelling and enjoyed looking at more flattering drawings as I got fitter/slimmer. Also, it's helpful to have decent muscle definition/parts of bones showing for the 'anatomy' lessons. But I hate the anatomy lessons, because they involve me standing tall with my arms raised. That hurts after not very long at all. But yes, it was a gym 7-day-a-week thing. Sometimes twice.

jayadrath59 karma

How did it feel the first time when you did it?

may_contain_nuts222 karma

Well... I was about 80lbs. heavier than I am now, so I was not all that body confident, but just adopted one of those 'fuck it' attitudes when I arranged to take the job. I was nervous, but looking around the room I realized that everything on my body was probably at least 6 inches higher than the equivalent parts of the drawers' bodies, and just flung my dressing gown off. For about 5 minutes the only thing going through my mind was 'OHMYGODI'MNAKEDOHMYGODI'MNAKED', but after 5 minutes parts of me started to hurt/go numb. The pain is what consumed every though until the end of the class.

Afterwards I felt a mixture of pride and shame. Pride because I'd just been confident enough to let people see me naked for 3 hours. Shame because of what I'd seen them draw. And then I lost 80lbs. When I look back at some of those sketches I am actually horrified.

Camca47 karma

Do the students give you paintings?

may_contain_nuts88 karma

Sometimes. If it's a class for credit, they usually need to keep everything for their portfolios, but usually people from evening classes/informal classes will part with their work. You have to ask though. If I like something and I know they wont give it up, I sometimes ask for a quick photo. There have been piles of student work that's been left behind (with good reason), and you can usually find some hilarious pictures of yourself in those cases. I'll see if I can dig a couple out. They're bad.

[edit] I've added a photo.

chicknaggie40 karma

I did this for a couple of years in college as well. After having kids though, I'm not sure if my body is something people want to draw anymore! It really is an awesome experience. I loved seeing everyones artwork as well.

Edit to clarify: I'm definitely being sarcastic about my post baby body. I was not perfect before, but having children is a whirlwind of changes on your body that you just can't fathom until it happens. It's taken me a few years to be just as happy and comfortable with the new me post children as I was before. Part of the reason I modeled is because I really feel like the human body is an amazing piece of art, regardless of imperfections, and I loved seeing what the artists could do with so many different types of drawings with the human form. I'm at a place now (about 3 years after having my second child) where I am definitely comfortable enough in my own skin again, that I would model if I knew of someone/thing/department that needed models again. We're not in the same area that we were when I did it before though.

may_contain_nuts67 karma

Man, my body has seen some rough days. Young men like perfectly formed women, people in general like imperfections.

may_contain_nuts40 karma

Seeing the end product can be fun/hilarious/emotionally crushing. I've said it before here, but any body is a body for life drawing! :)

maruraba36 karma

Anyone ever make a pass at you while you've been modeling?

Has anyone ever turned that incredibly awkward situation into a successful date?

may_contain_nuts62 karma

Yes, but no. One of the instructors was a bit of a creep, and openly hit on all the female models. And one of the class participants ran into me in a nightclub, drunk, and tried, remarkably unsuccessfully, to get me to give him a 'private session'...

amisexythroway29 karma

the 2nd of the two by request pictures, who drew that and was it on purpose??

may_contain_nuts54 karma

It was a local woman, and yes. She likes to paint 'freely' and asks me to dance to Shakira until she sees something she likes. Usually she roughly sketches for 30 seconds to a minute, then we move on. I actually asked her for this (she was going to throw it out).

chupa7222 karma

Have you done any photo shoots?

may_contain_nuts35 karma

I have done clothed photo shoots, and one nude, but for a man I knew well, trusted, and who lived quite a distance out of the city so it wasn't convenient for him to travel in to draw me all the time since he painted with oils. I doubt I'd be OK with anyone else taking photos.