• Jessica Melia

No one rare-a than Perera.

One mood board, two creatives, and a whole heap of different looks. This was my third trip to RAW Studios in Birmingham and as ever it did not disappoint. This time I was shooting with Rachel, who goes by Perera professionally, who is an accomplished a woman as they come. Rachel is a model, CEO, Photographer and Agent; she leads modelling workshops; runs a magazine; co-runs RAW Studio and just returned to tattooing. And she does all that while also being a bloody lovely person. Humble, knowledgeable and creative; her success is well earned. So to be invited to shoot solo with her after meeting at a RAW Studio networking event was an opportunity I was not going to miss.

Having already shot on location together just outside of RAW Studios (and with the weather taking a chilly turn recently) we agreed on a studio shoot; classic beauty looks with a little twist, leather looks, high fashion... fashion. Rachel created a mood-board and I couldn't have been happier with her styling ideas: she aims to capture images that stretch a model's current portfolio and push them out of their own 'ordinary' or 'expected'. Knowing that Rachel is on the other side of the camera as often as she is behind it is definitely a comfort when you're being pushed out of your comfort zone. Most model's you ask will say they want to shoot something new, but actually committing to something bold takes courage. And the right environment. The right working relationship.

Having received the mood-board the evening before our shoot I was able to plan my make-up look and pull together outfits and accessories that I felt would work considering the inspiration. My suitcase was packed full with leather, faux fur, check, scarfs, hats and chunky jewellery. And my make-up, while focusing on glowing skin, also featured a sleek eye look. A classic winged line with a small cut crease to draw focus when shooting close ups.

As for the longer and wider shots - well the styling helped dictate my modelling/posing. Strong stances when wearing a power suit jacket and leather pants, sultry glimpses to camera when hiding beneath a hat, smizing through a sea of petals and throwing shapes when Rachel took out the blue gels and shot with a slow shutter. And of course, channelling my inner Beyoncé when we brought the wind machine out to play.

Rachel worked on the final edits and got them over to me really quickly, and as she had encouraged throughout the whole collaboration, my portfolio had been spiced up to no end. I've still got images in the bank to release soon so if you haven't already subscribed to the blog, be sure to so you don't miss out!

As I've mentioned already, Rachel is a woman with many strings to her bow, and in the time between our shoot and my publishing this blog Rachel has committed to braving the shave on January 16th 2021 in support of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. To support her bravery and this worthy cause head to her just giving page by following the link below.

You can find Rachel on socials here:

Modelling @pereraUK

Magazine @sirensmagazine

Modelling Agency @valkyriemodels

Studio @rawstudiosuk

Photography Account @pereraphotographs

Modelling Community @siren.workshops

Just Giving Page

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