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- Meet Sheri Chiu exclusively dansNormal Magazine n°6 and n°1 -

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How did you come to be a model?
Growing up in Hong Kong and New York, I was always involved in organizing my schools fashion charity gala. After spending years behind the scenes, my curiosity propelled me to center stage, to the catwalks. I auditioned to model at college fashion shows, got cast, and started building a portfolio. I became an art model later, as a desire for approval, and recognition. Growing up in a fashion-oriented environment in Hong Kong, and then growing up in the free and seductive city of New York, I was oblivious to my actions. I often reacted to things that were done to me, always looking for a way to feed my low self-esteem and gain a little sense of power.

Your relationship to the nude?
I was very lost when I started modeling, and I wanted to use this form of expression as a tool to mend my broken image. When I started, I relied on compliments from photographers to boost my self-esteem: being naked meant being beautiful. Today, being an art model means using my body as a tool for self-expression, as a way to communicate the photographer's vision. Most importantly, nudity is liberation itself and I find true happiness in that. 

Is being a model being an exhibitionist?
I believe that a model and an exhibitionist are two different entities, but I am both at the same time. I don't necessarily seek attention like an exhibitionist. I love to play, I like to perform while being watched. If you meet me outside of a photo shoot, I'm quite simple!

Your driving force in life?
My husband ! Not only did he encourage me to do things I would never have done (like approach Eugenio Recuenco during Paris Photo and asking him to be a model). My husband helps me ask myself the right questions, including  about my journey and the turns I should take. He's my best friend and life coach!

Your worst photographic experience?
None !

The best ?
I am so incredibly lucky to have so many great experiences that to pick just one would be an injustice to others! But the most memorable shoots remain those made with Eugenio Recuenco, Ren Hang, Jean François Gschwindt, Formento + Formento, Bretagne Markert, Gary Breckheimer, and Nicolas Guérin. I work with most of these photographers on a regular basis, and it has created a real friendship that goes beyond photography. Working with Recuenco was incredible for the value of the production: it was my first time with a photographer of this caliber! I was extremely nervous about the excessive staging, with different games over two days: an entire “forest” built out of vehicle tires. I was Little Red Riding Hood trying to find her way! Another staging has been set up to make it look like I'm diving underwater,  in snorkeling,  with no water involved. One of my favorite shoots remains with Nicolas, an editorial on bondage produced for Khube Magazine. The shooting took place in our old concrete studio. For any accessory a kimono, natural light, and a shibari artist. Unlike Recuenco, the production was minimalist, but the photos taken remain my favorite after all these years, because they prove that a beautiful image can result from simplicity.

The qualities of a good model?
I think a good model should be educated and have some understanding of dance and visual arts. Being able to give a variety of movements and poses and not being afraid of ridicule. It's always easier to master a model that offers a lot, than to try to push a model to do more. I believe that a good model is able to render emotions and to act. He must be able to listen to the directions of the photographers and interpret them in his own way.

The places for te relax ?
I like to relax in parks, near canals, and in quiet cafes. 

The most photogenic place for you?
I really appreciate the variety of landscapes in  California and the intensity of New York.

Your bedside book?
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Contemporary photographers that you admire?
Andreas Gursky, Gregory Crewdson, Nadav Kandar, Steve McCurry, Erwin Olaf, Nick Knight, Roger Ballen, Paolo Roversi, Ruan McGinley, Nobuyoshi Araki, Gregory Colbert, Eugenio Recuenco, Todd Hido, Sarah Moon...

Does nudity in photography tend towards sexualization?
Nudity is our natural state! This state has been distorted by its perception in the media. Often, nudity is associated with pornography or art, but does not extend to other mediums. It tends to skew everyone. We can be naked without being sexy, and we can also be sexy without being naked! 

What are you defending?
Women's rights, animal rights, and equal education for all! 

An anecdote during a shoot?
My most difficult shoot was with Ren Hang where I was suspended. I had already put a dead pigeon in my mouth, octopus tentacles in my vagina, a fish head on my shoulder, and a cherry tomato in my ass for his various projects! But more recently, I worked with Ren on a project where I had ropes tied around my ankles: I was suspended in the air and he asked me to put my head in a plastic bag filled with water. water, and which contained goldfish. This is one of the most difficult shoots I've done! Not only was all my blood rushing to my head, but I couldn't breathe in the bag and the water was gradually getting into my nostrils. The question remains: why do I have to do such things? Because I trust Ren's vision. I understand that when the model gives blood and sweat for the image, the photo is as much her creation as it is of the photographer. 

Your type of day?
I cook and I do yoga every day! I train our cat, Shadow, to do tricks. Now I am a private English instructor for French children. I normally end the day by curling up in bed with my husband and watching a good movie.

Your projects ?
I plan to come back to New York and pursue another career outside of fashion. Maybe go back to school. Maybe I'll work with animals. But one thing is certain: I will continue to pose naked!

- Meet Sheri Chiu exclusively dansNormal Magazine n°6 and n°1 -

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