Modelling in a dress was life-changing – despite getting homophobic abuse

The photos are great, but they were pretty mentally exhausting (Photo: JustJess Photography)

Even in the busy areas of London where I was marching, the honking of cars was constant.

The driver shouted homosexual abuse through the window. Their language was incomprehensible, but full of poison and malice. The flash of sideways, bewildered face said it all.

This happened when my husband Jay and I were modeling in big dresses during a recent photo shoot on the streets of London.

This incident made me feel triggered and unsafe, but in reality it only strengthened my resolve to remain unapologetically queer and live my life my way.

Expressing yourself through fashion is important to me. Especially as a queer who can’t feel comfortable going about her daily life without fear of being criticized or worse.

Jay and I have been modeling together for the last few years.

It all started when an old college friend of his (now a wedding photographer) asked if he would attend a workshop she was hosting. It takes her a full day teaching other inexperienced photographers valuable skills such as how to direct a model and how to get the best lighting.

As someone who has modeled before, Jay immediately said yes. On the other hand, I wasn’t too sure. Because, as a typical introvert, this was way beyond my comfort zone.

Now that I am older and more confident, I am the type of person who likes to try new things. The model was certainly scared because I think it’s important to do scary things, but she said yes.

That first model job was a day-long event on Kent’s gorgeous expansive fields during the summer of 2020, when small windows were allowed.

Samuel Sims and his partner Jay model in dresses

Couldn’t be more prepared for a recent shoot we did in and around Hyde Park (Photo: JustJess Photography)

Before filming began, we were ushered into our bedrooms and set up, dressed in tan suits, trilbys, and cowboy boots. In my day-to-day life, I don’t dress super smart.

As soon as I left my bedroom, the photographers started taking pictures and said we were great. I didn’t care if they were just saying it to make us smile – like when Beyoncé became full-fledged Sasha Fierce, I felt great.

I became a different person – not shy or self-conscious. Jay nearly lost his finger trying to feed his horse, but I felt great the whole time.

Since that first job, we have been making models on a regular basis.

We shot in various styles of Asos order suits, wore cozy knitwear and laughed maniacally together in the middle of the busy roads of Regent Street.

By being openly queer as a couple and showing not only how open we are, but how proud we are of that, we’re taking modeling in a different direction in 2021. rice field.

We hate the way people are put into gender-specific boxes depending on whether they were born female or male. Why should we traditionally only wear men’s clothing?

So we shot in the Lake District and knocked out the rigors of gender fashion by wearing a wedding dress.

We were totally submerged in the freezing lake, but we were so inspired to do this, the photos turned out incredible.

But nothing could prepare me for my recent shoot in and around Hyde Park. We had something to say.

Samuel Sims and his partner Jay modeling in dresses under an archway

I felt self-conscious, but I tried to stay in character and get on with it (Photo: JustJess Photography)

Jay arranged it with a photographer, decked out in pastel-colored designer dresses made to be worn on the red carpet and otherwise very impractical. It was over-the-top and ultra-feminine.

In our opinion, this will be the ultimate F-you for those who think we should stay in our little confined boxes. There were two men here who wanted to

Up until that point, shoots of gender fluid had taken place in private or controlled spaces, so I didn’t have to think about what I was going to say until the photo was posted on Instagram.

The idea of ​​being around people who might not like what they see can be very strong, even in what many assume to be the safe streets of London. I knew that in order to build my confidence and follow through, I had to wear everything I had ever worn.

For the most part, I was able to get over my anxiety. Many passers-by have encouraged and liked the declarations we are making.

We got a lot of “Yes Queens!” Tourists on the passing bus were also waving and taking pictures. There are also requests to take pictures, and it feels like a celebrity. It was nice to know they were here for us.

Some people didn’t understand, but it didn’t surprise me. People laughed at us, whispered and stared at us as we passed, and shouted abuse from their cars as mentioned above.

Sure, I felt self-conscious, but I tried to stay in character and go through with it by remembering the statement we were trying to make and who we were doing it to.

But by the time we finished filming, all the attention, even the positive ones, started to wear me down. It’s not healthy for introverts to get a lot of attention and feel like they’re in the spotlight all the time.

I just can’t imagine how it feels for people who dress non-gender binary every day. No matter where you are, you are bound to get some kind of abuse from people who feel the need to say that you are a weirdo and disagree with how liberating you are.

Samuel Sims and his partner Jay model in dresses

I feel this photo shoot changed my life (Photo: JustJess Photography)

I definitely refrain from routine. People who wear what they want should be celebrated – they are my heroes.

But I’m very proud to have done the photo shoot. Jay says he wants to do something like that again soon. I honestly don’t know if I would. At least not now.

I felt incredibly empowered by the statements and photos we were making, but it was mentally quite exhausting.

This shoot felt treacherous at times, but we knew our amazing photographer would push us back and we wanted to finish the day in a quick taxi back to our hotel. If you think about it, she’ll be completely calm about it.

At the same time, and definitely in hindsight, this photo shoot felt life-changing.

It’s hard to believe you walked around one of London’s busiest neighborhoods in a giant pink dress and acting like a Monopoly winner. But I did. It just shows what we can do if we put our hearts into it.

If I can go from a shy, introverted personality to a frilly-covered icon who treats London like a catwalk, you can do whatever you want too.

I understand why some people were shocked by our appearance.

But it pisses me off when people feel they need to put us down. not.

I have no doubt that this attitude will continue, but Jay and I will continue to plow with two fingers up.

I hope one day I can be as confident as him and not care what people think.

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