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September 16, 2014

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From overeaters to tatted tarts, these local models aren’t the usual runway queens

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Christopher DeVargas

VNTM: Helena Strong, WonderHussy and Bambu Jessica get fierce.

Las Vegas is full of models. Booth babes, bikini bunnies, party perkers, runway walkers, print girls—we’ve got ’em all. But there are lots of local models whose jobs don’t fall into traditional categories. Three of them—alternative beauty Bambu Jessica, belly fetish model Helena Strong and professional dress-up player WonderHussy (aka Sarah Jane Woodall)—sat down to discuss the flip side of the modeling industry.

Bambu Jessica

Let’s say I walk up to you at a bar and ask what you do. What do you say?

I usually say that I’m a professional hot geek. I don’t like to give a straight answer to that question.

Why not?

I don’t want to put a label on it. If I had to, I’d like to say I’m an artist, but so many people think an artist is just somebody who paints.

How did you get your look?

When I started, I wanted to do proper runway modeling. And I did, but then I got a couple of tattoos, and immediately I stopped getting work. They told me it was because of the tattoos. So I retaliated by getting my face tattooed. I was like, “I’m not turning back; I’m going to go for it.”

What draws you to modeling?

This might sound corny, but it’s true: Everything I do is for love. I’m so pro-love and pro-positivity. I want women to feel beautiful, no matter what they look like. Whatever you look like, just work it, own it. Beauty can be anything, and I hope to show that by poking fun at traditional high-fashion couture looks.

Want more Jessica? Visit bambujessica.com.

WonderHussy (aka Sarah Jane Woodall)

How’d this all start?

My house was underwater, so I turned to nude modeling to make some extra income. Eventually, I gave up on the house but decided to keep the modeling because, it turns out, I really enjoy it.

What do you like about it?

I like to shock people. I like to push boundaries; I’m a born exhibitionist, and ... I’m lazy. I don’t want a full time nine-to-five—I’d slit my wrists.

Going through your Facebook page, you’ve got lots of photos of yourself in various outfits ...

I never progressed beyond the age of 8. I still love playing dress-up. I have a costume addiction and a wig addiction. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t have the balls to color my hair, like Bambu, so I get a bunch of wigs instead. The plus side is, with my regular hair, I can do glamour modeling, too.

And sometimes you work in costume.

I do mascot work at conventions. I’ve done Elmo and a peanut M&M, and last week I did this weird Spanish character at some Mexican kids’ event. It’s nice because I don’t have to smile or put on makeup. And I can be hungover.

How long do you plan to model?

I started at 31. That’s late in the game. But with specialty modeling, you can do it into your 40s and 50s. Especially if I do more dominatrix work. The older, nastier, sterner you look, the better.

Read WonderHussy’s blog at wonderhussy.com.

Helena Strong

Tell me about your job.

People admire my belly. I eat, I gain inches on my waist, and I do it fully clothed. The only thing I expose is my belly.

Is that by choice? Do you get pressured to work nude?

No, actually. Most guys with belly fetishes get embarrassed if they see me fully naked. We’ve done nude projects, but they don’t sell as well as the fully clothed projects.

What is it about your belly that turns guys on?

I honestly don’t know. I just know there are guys out there who like big, round, smooth bellies, and they like to see them grow.

Do you do other types of modeling?

Sometimes I work as an Amazon model. I’ll wear nine-inch heels and pose with guys who are 5 feet tall. Carry them around, maybe. That’s fully clothed, too.

What’s the most common misconception about your work?

Everybody thinks I’m a BBW [big beautiful woman] model. I’m not. That’s a totally different thing.

What’s the most annoying question you get?

Are you pregnant? I’m not.

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