As most of you know by now, I am not so much a photographer or blogger, rather I am the stalker of them. *ahem* I love looking at their talents and skills – whether it is their photography, their avatars, their stylings, or their setup of a scene. As a result, I spend a lot of time looking from one stream to another, and following various developmental aspects of members of this community. This is very similar to my activity on YouTube, where I start from some small artist, and then keep exploring and suddenly I find myself on someone’s amazing music video that has been watched only 8K times. That’s when it becomes my mission to introduce all my friends to that music. But, before I go down the wrong tangent, let me come back to the avatar I am bringing you today. She has traveled a path on her own, and is already at a place where she is well-known for a number of her skills: Linda Reddevil.
In spite of my swiss cheese memory, I remember the first time I took notice of Linda. I was looking through a stream of a photographer friend, and noticed this ball of fire wrapped in fur. The photograph was, of course, nicely done. After all, who can deny the contributions of photographers to most aspects of SL. But, what caught my attention was her style. It was her own. So, I started paying attention to her. In the past few years, I have watched her bloom into a full-on style guru and her photography getting more and more refined. I don’t know if she has the time to add another full time career to her SLife, but I would not be surprised if we would have her back before too long for our Meet SL Photographer series.
Naturally, I got in touch with Linda, and she was gracious enough to meet me a few days before April 15th, which is a very busy RL time for her. She was kind and humble, two characteristics that immediately engage you when you meet well-established people. In my experience of meeting well-known people (be it models, designers, photographers, sim-builders), the more skilled & knowledgeable they are, the kinder and humbler they are. I am not going to name any names, but this is not *always* the case, as I am sure you would agree. Back to the story, in which Linda teleported me to her house for a chat and a photo shoot. I was put at ease the moment I met her and we started talking.
Leda Carter: Linda, it is wonderful to meet you in-avi. Thank you so much for opening your house to me.
Linda Reddevil: Nice to meet you too! You look lovely, and oh I want hair like yours, but they never make it in red! *shakes fist*
Leda: Well, you have so much talent in looking lovely that you won’t miss this hair much. Speaking of hair, are you a redhead in RL?
Linda: Yesssss. In fact, I was out shopping in SL one day, and saw a girl with the most wonderful outfit – the most realistic, chic outfit I had seen in SL since I had started playing the game 4 years before. I went to the store, and stood in awe of the outfits, as well as the vendor ads. I thought that it must be really cool to have your pictures up in a store, even if it was a virtual store. Then, as I looked around the store, I noticed there were no redheads in any of the ads. So, my mission began!
Leda: Before you found your mission, what had brought you to SL to begin with?
Linda: I heard about Second Life, in November 2006, from an article in our local newspaper. Obviously, there was something that intrigued me about the write-up, because I tore out the article, and stuck it in my purse to give it a try when I got home. Honestly, after downloading the game and logging on, I couldn’t quite understand the thrill of it. I was unable to leave Korea9, for about 2 weeks, until some 12 year-old dressed as a dragon suggested that I adjust my screen size in order to see the teleport button. I never looked back after that. I suppose I should say a big thank you to him now, because I never teleported back to do it then.
Leda: After escaping from Korea9 (hopefully they are not looking for you still), how did you land in the world of modeling?
Linda: In the beginning, the main attractions I had towards modeling in SL were simple, in that I wanted to have my picture up in a store and to prove that redheads were just as beautiful as the many blondes and brunettes that you usually find in modeling. I soon found out that my goal wasn’t as simple as “Take a class & Viola! Mission accomplished!” The long road to fulfilling my goal has been truly worthwhile.
You know I could just ultimately say that I took numerous classes at different academies to learn the technical aspects of the job. But, as I sit here to ponder, I realize that I really have to give credit where credit is due. Of course, nothing can beat a good academy or school to learn the basics. But, it’s really the teachers who make an academy worth its weight in gold. I have had some really great teachers, who not only taught informative classes, but each brought something different to the table. I have to give myself some credit too, because I had an extreme willingness to learn from each of my teachers. I think that also makes a huge difference in what I do.
Leda: Besides the technical qualifications, there are other skills that contribute to a model’s success. You do have a unique style of your own, which I think is essential for any artist. How was your sense of style developed; where does it come from?
Linda: Anyone who has visited my blog would see a quote from Gilda Radner at the very top of the home page: “I base my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch”.
For me, this quote rings so true. I’ll be honest; I don’t follow fashion in RL and have no real concept of RL designers or models. I mainly wear what I think will look good on me. I like bold colors and different types of textures, so I’m always on the lookout for them.
Leda: Does this mean you have the same sense of style in RL?
Linda: I basically have the same sense of style in both lives. Although, I don’t have as many clothes or shoes in RL as I do in SL. Nor can I get away in RL with wearing some of the styles I wear in SL. If only we had alpha masks in RL to hide those tummy bulges!
One thing I do have a leg up on is the fact that I’m a true redhead in RL, so I know what colors look good on me. Knowing what colors suit you, your skin tone, and hair color is a crucial concept. It can mean the difference between wearing an outfit or having the outfit wear you. When we do runway shows in SL, we’re not always lucky enough to have someone give us the design in the color that works best for us. This means that you just make the best of it, by using poses and accessories. Own it and work it so no one will ever know it’s not your perfect color match!
Leda: Speaking of accessorizing, I always wonder how stylers, models, and bloggers such as yourself keep their inventory organized, to know when that there is something there at the bottom of the closet that would match this new dress that has just arrived. Do you have a method and/or gadget for organizing?
Linda: Right now, my inventory is a complete mess because I went on a huge shopping spree. But, usually, I am pretty organized. I have a bunch of different folders with everything separated by item, and the by color. I also have a gadget that I started to use. It allows you to take pictures and send it to your closet. But, frankly, I buy things much faster than I can organize them, so I have partially given up on that. *laughs* I had good intentions though!
Leda: In addition to apparel, in SL we have the luxury of changing shapes and skins. But, it can be tricky to match them. How do you choose your skin and shape?
Linda: I try on a skin and if it looks good without my having to tweak my shape, then I pull out my wallet. I have a few criteria for skins, although I’m protective of my skin choices. As a redhead in SL, it’s very difficult to find just the right skin that comes with red eyebrows. I’m a little freaky about that, because there’s nothing worse than a redhead with black eyebrows. In addition, I’ve had someone try to copy my look in the past, so I pretty much keep mum about what skins I wear these days. Nevertheless, my general criterion is that the skin has to look realistic. Otherwise, it could ruin the look of everything I’m wearing. Another thing that is important to me is that the skin photographs well. Sometimes, even the best skins can look muddy in a photograph.
I bought my current shape when I started to model. I have changed it often along the way, and now have a zillion different copies of it in my inventory. I have only recently tweaked my facial features, because I felt it needed upgrading and I wanted to look a bit more editorial than I have in the past.
Leda: The challenge from where I am sitting, which is not inside the modeling circle, is to look unique. That’s what I like about your style, as well as your face and shape. I can tell it is you in a photograph, without having to read the name. There are some who are very successful at that, Cao or Absinthe to name a couple. (Note to our readers: please know that this is by no means an exhaustive list. I just listed the couple with exceptional faces who came to my mind at the time).
Linda: I am always afraid that I am not recognizable. And, this is not because I am conceited. It is because it is important to have a certain look of your own. Absinthe and Cao definitely have that nailed down, so I am glad that you think I might have too! Thank you *smiles widely*
Leda: When you are not working as a model, do you change your hair and skin often, or do you pick favorites and stay with those?
Linda: I change my hair all the time to suit whatever I’m wearing, but I’m pretty lazy about changing my skin. Typically, I wear the same skin most of the time, especially if it photographs well. As far as hair goes….oh boy, do I love hair in SL! Because I have so many favorites, I can’t name just one, or even a few hair designers without slighting someone. It’s safe to say that every hair style I’ve purchased is my favorite.
Leda: Any particular skins you like to photograph?
Linda: I do happen to like Glam Affair for photos. I also like a fairly new skin-maker Akeruka.
Leda: Ooh, I will have to check that out. I love learning about new makers! *smiles* So, after all this discussion of shape, hair, and skin, how would you describe Linda; is she a reflection of who you are in RL, or is she a fantasy?
Linda: Most of all, my hair color is definitely a reflection of who I am in RL. It hasn’t been easy being a redhead in RL, especially when I was a kid. I had to learn to love it over the years. Now, I don’t know how to be anything else! So, being a redhead in SL was natural.
My shape is definitely a fantasy. I’m not sure that, even if I spent every minute of every day in a gym in RL, I would have a shape like my avatar. *laughs* Finally, skins come and go in SL and I get bored just like everyone else. I change skin every so often. I happen to like my current skin more than any I have had in the past, because I can totally change the look of it by a simple lipstick and eyeliner. That’s not easy to do with most skins in SL.
Leda: Aha, you must be buying a lot of hairs, skins, and clothes then! *chuckles* What would you say you own/buy the most of?
Linda: Hair and shoes are my weaknesses definitely. I am a slacker when it comes to jewelry, because I don’t usually wear jewelry in RL. Nevertheless, I am building that up, here in SL. In RL, I am a basic girl (some guy would love me, wouldn’t he? *laughs*). I can’t find good shoes in RL to save my life. I have maybe 2 pairs of black shoes that I wear. I am a sneaker gal!
Leda: You referred to skins that photograph well. I cannot help but notice that your photography skills have changed over the years. Did you learn that on your own?
Linda: First, let me say that I’m certainly not an authority on photography. I still have a lot to learn. But, what I’ve learned, I’ve mostly learned on my own by doing research and watching a whole lot of video tutorials on YouTube about how to use PS. I’ve had a few friends throw me the occasional bone, when I’ve asked how to do something in PS. However, I’ve had so many questions swimming in my head that I’m sure my friends would have muted me if I kept asking them, instead of Googling the answer.
Leda: This is not to reduce the amazingness of SL photographers, many of whom are my friends. But, I do wonder about the cost of that for models, if they have no photography skill on their own. Is that an issue?
Linda: I wanted to learn how to take good photographs, partly because as you mention having a professional photographer take all of them would be costly. I am not saying that those wonderful and skillful photographers are not worth every penny. But, I could not spend that kind of money to have a a picture done, every time I wanted to create a blog post. I also felt that it was important to have good photos for my blog, or I would not be taken seriously or seen as a professional. Learning photography and PS has become a passion of mine. One of these days, I’d like to find someone with enough patience to teach me some of their tips ‘n tricks. I am willing to pay handsomely! *laughs*
Leda: Now that we know your typist is a fiery redhead in RL, what else is there to know about her?
Linda: There is not much to tell, honestly. I’m an accountant in RL. I live a normal middle-class life in the U.S. I’ve recently reconnected with the love of my life, and he’ll be coming to live with me in the next few months, hopefully for the rest of my life. I’m excited and scared about that, all at the same time. But, it’s a new chapter and life is too short not to take chances, especially when you’ve been given a second chance, right?
Leda (yes, with my crazy hair), with the very stylish Linda Reddevil, photography courtesy of Miss Reddevil
Leda: Totally! That’s pretty exciting!
Linda: Yes! He is currently living out of the state I am in, but is planning on moving back here next month. so we can be together.
But, other than that, I pretty much keep SL and RL separate. I am fairly private and quiet in SL. I stay out of anything relating to drama, or at least I try to. I like people, so I am always willing to chat or give advice. But, I’m not the type to initiate most conversations. Maybe that makes me seem unapproachable, but that is far from the truth. I’m more concerned about not wanting to bother someone else. Probably the one thing about me in RL that seems to segue into my SL is my business background. I’ve been a general manager of a club, a COO of a modeling agency and a store manager in SL. So, it seems like some level of management always seems to creep in. I’m proud of that.
Leda: Any tips or experiences you care to share with other avatars who wish to upgrade their looks?
Linda: The most important advice I can give is that upgrading or changing is fine, but do it because of a personal preference rather than competitiveness. Don’t change your look because you feel that if you looked more like your friend who won a contest, then you’ll win the next one. Don’t try to copy the look of an established model, because you feel that if they’ve had success with their look, you’ll have the same success much quicker. We stress uniqueness in the modeling community for a reason. Besides, why would you want to look like someone else anyway? I’ve never understood that. Be your own person and reflect that in how you choose to look!
Leda: I want to thank you for taking the time to meet and chat. It has been a real pleasure!
Linda: Thank you so much, Leda. By the way, I adore your eyes.
Leda: You humble me, thank you! Also, thank you for the lovely picture you did of us. I treasure it.