Model interview: Sally Paton

Sally Paton photo by Romain Duquesne

Kaya Strehler interviews her friend and aesthetic pleasure, Perth-born, London-based model Sally Paton:

I thoroughly enjoy good-looking people. And I mean that in the most unshallow way possible. For me it’s like walking into a gallery and say ‘that’s a pretty painting, I enjoy directing my eyes in that direction’. Not that I’m saying pretty people are like artworks, that would be douchy. I’m just saying it’s nice to look, appreciate and think ‘whats got going on on your face there, I like that.’
 Maybe this is the reason I initially began doing odd jobs throughout the fashion industry. Being constantly surrounded by aesthetic pleasure was nice. It was most certainly was not because of the cash/glory/decent work hours/glamorous lifestyle.

All of which is my slightly tilted way of introducing a little Q&A I did with one of these ‘aesthetic pleasures’. The titillating Miss Sally Paton.

So Sally my darling, how did you get into the modelling game?

I began modelling when I was 17 for Perth artist David Collins. His work is very art nouveau and decadent. From there he encouraged me to go into an agency in Perth, which I only did around two years later after posing for various works with him and gaining more experience and a bit of a portfolio behind me. I got signed on the spot!

So what would you be doing RIGHT NOW if you weren’t doing what you’re doing RIGHT NOW? aka different paths.
I could see myself studying nutrition from a holistic perspective. I love cooking and food; my dad and his side of the family are food fanatics so I’ve grown up around it.

What is something that people often think about the industry that is so totally off?

That models are egotistic. I find majority of the time they’re incredibly self-deprecating. Some do hide it behind a false air of confidence but really, with all the critique, rejection and often harsh criticism models face on a daily basis at castings, it causes most of us to be the most self conscious people in the world. I know every single imperfection I have because my job is to either hide it or turn that into my point of difference.

You have a lot of boobies in your portfolio, so is it safe to presume you are down to get your kit off?
Haha, I am! Well my starting point of modelling was working with David and the majority of his work feature nudes, so my first ever modelling experience was topless. Since then I’ve modelled for him starkers many times. The first stripping right down was pretty confronting, but I love that I started there because now nothing else really seems intimidating. And now I’ve built a beautiful friendship with David and we still shoot together to this day – in fact he was in London last weekend and we fitted three shoots into his four days here!

I imagine getting naked for someone must build some kind of special bond.
Yeah it totally does! I felt like I really trusted David as soon as my first shoot with him was over. And I’ve modelled nude for a lot of people since and felt the same. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about modelling, some of my best friends scattered around the world are photographers because we’ve created something with each other. We’ve bared our souls and intimates to each other.

If you could get away with any one crime, what would you do, you naughty minx?

Public nudity? Hahaha, David and I have some really cool shoot ideas at the moment but they involve me being naked in some pretty public places. I can just imagine myself getting deported from London for indecent exposure. Mum would be so displeased.

What does your Mum think about the whole getting your kit off? Actually what does she think about the whole post phoning University and wandering the earth like a magnificent gypsy?

Haha I only show mum pictures where I’m topless, I figure pictures with my lady cat parts would be a bit much for her. She still asks questions like ‘what if you wind up in a job and the photos surface – you could get fired!’ She used to worry more, but the further I stray from home, the better we stay in touch, so she knows I’m doing fine. She always asks me when I’m going to finish my degree though!!

You also just had your Instagram account deleted. Am I mistaken in believing it was courtesy of pro boobie pics? Do you think that’s fair?
Argh, what a pain in the ass it was. I do quite a lot of nude/semi-nude/implied nude shoots, in a ‘fashiony’ way – I don’t know why but it’s so common for me. Once you pop you can’t stop eh? Anyhow I’ve become really good with censoring my photos for Instagram- blocking out nipples and such. So I re-posted a photo of myself which had been taken behind the scenes of a photoshoot from earlier that day. But because it was just a repost it skipped my mind to censor it. Within an hour my account was deleted and never to be seen again- no warning, nothing. I understand why it happened, but fair? I don’t think so. It is actually a really frustrating experience as I make a lot if contacts and book work through my instagram account.

sara-saniUh huh. ‘The Man’ ruining instagram one gorgeous pair of boobs at a time – annoying. What is the most annoying question people (idiots) ask you when they find out you’re a model?
Well I often get ‘oh THATS why your so tall.’ As if it was a conscious business decision to be my height.

Most overrated model?

I know people dig her, well that’s the idea of the question, but Karlie Kloss. Body YES, face – doesn’t really do it for me.

If you could put yourself in the life of anyone for a day who would you be?
Frank Zappa. Because Captain Beefheart would be my best friend. And, well, I would be Frank Zappa.

Given the opportunity would you go back in time, get rid of Gail Zappa so you could seduce him yourself?

Maybe… But then I always imagined myself married to Neil Young. I think if I had a time machine at my disposal I’d do that – and he’s still actually alive so we could have a long and happy life together…

What genre would your hypothetical band play?

Well on the previous note something blending 60s/70s rock, blues and psychedelic with a wacky edge like Captain Beefheart and Zappa but with the storytelling of Tom Waits. I’d have to have some kind of incredible low-voiced crazy front man and I’d wail out on the guitar, provide backup singing and sing a few of songs.

Hmm, you seem to have thought this through before, I have to question why hasn’t anything happened yet? I’ve heard you wail along to the top selling ballads of the 90′s, very promising…

Hahaha I seem to have a talent at retaining lyrics for 90s pop, you’re correct. I keep moving away from potential band members! Next time I settle I’ll do it – promise.

What do you think of London?

It’s such an exciting and alive city – it’s got everything. The galleries are mind blowing, sick music scene and every musician tours here, and its proximity to the rest of Europe is baffling for a Perth girl (most isolated city in the world). But it’s cold. So cold, I love London but I love the sunshine more. I love being ridiculously sweltering, exhaustingly, sweatily overheated.

Where else would you grace?
I think I want to go to LA soon to catch some of the sunshine there – then head to NY once it starts defrosting. I’ve never been to the States but I can see myself really liking the energy there.

For more Sally in your life, stalk her on her new (nipple free) Instagram.



Sally Paton interview by Kaya Strehler. For photo credits, click the individual pictures.