Welcome to I AM. the podcast & the journal. I’m kicking off the premiere season with American beauty and LA-based model Chloe Belle who I photographed in LA a few months back. In this episode, recorded during the time of Covid-19 self-isolation, we talk about body confidence, the hard reality of eating disorders, life in lockdown – and so much more. I hope you find our conversation as honest and thought-provoking as I did. Show notes will follow at the end of the post. Let’s begin…

 

 

I AM. The podcast is available now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Breaker Audio, Radio Public and Anchor. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe!

 

     

 

 

THIS CONVERSATION WAS recorded remotely during the time of Covid-19 self-isolation, I hope you find our conversation as honest and thought-provoking as I did. Let’s begin…

Welcome to I AM – an experimental mixed media platform that is part photographic-journal / part-podcast. Join us here every week for candid, relaxed conversations where we traverse our intimate and often complex thoughts on self-love, style, ambition, art, wisdom, and everything in between. These are interviews and accompanying portraits to evoke, empower, and inspire because we all have a story to tell. What’s yours?

 

Chloe Belle: “Hello Amber?”

Amber Melody: “Hello! How are you?”

CB: “Good!”

AM: “Oh my goodness…”

CB: “I’ve connected to my laptop.”

AM: “Oh my God. Talk about forcing us all out of our comfort zones with technology. We’re like, yeah, we know how to use technology and then – oh shit! We have to learn everything. It’s good though. I like that.”

CB “It’s a lot. It’s, it’s like I took a dance class this morning on it. And especially like the older generations, I’m going to say are having a harder time with the Zoom [laughter] for sure.”

AM: “Is it through a certain studio that you were already going to pre-isolation?”

CB “Yeah, exactly. Yeah.”

AM: “That’s pretty cool. I haven’t started doing any exercise things. I saw that The Playground LA were doing, like, I think you can just download their classes or download routines. So I was going to try that, but I, I haven’t done any Zoom exercising myself yet.”

CB “Oh really? You know what, I prefer to do the video if somebody’s already recorded it and I can just kind of, like…”

AM: “Yeah”

CB “Then that way you can go back if you want to see a move again or you can um… Nobody’s watching you. There’s no technical difficulties, you know, it’s just like, I think it’s easier that way. So I mainly do that, but I do love this dance teacher that I worked with today. So I was like, I’ll try it out.”

 

A NEW KIND OF THERAPY

 

AM: “And you also just did a therapy session. Is that something that you’ve done before?”

CB “I did actually.”

AM: “Is that Zoom as well?”

CB “Yes, it was Zoom and I actually only, I’ve never done it with her through Zoom. I’ve always met up with her in person, but I did it through Zoom and it was like, I think, there’s nothing like human connection being front-face energy in the same room. But it definitely was still healing to just, you know, talk to somebody through video chat.”

AM: “Yeah, that’s super cool. With that, do you find that it’s something that you’ve used a lot over time or you’ve only just…”

CB “You know, it was something that has not been… nobody in my family really goes to therapy and it, it’s never really been brought up. But I started going, actually, I would say it’s been kind of on and off, but I started about three years ago. I had an eating disorder for a really long time and so I went into therapy through my doctor and it started through there. So definitely hear what you’re saying in terms of if there’s some type of trauma that I think that it really helps work through things and having that support and it’s somebody that you can go to with an unbiased opinion who doesn’t know you is really helpful in working through things. So for me, it’s just been extremely beneficial and having that support because a lot of times, to be honest, family members don’t know what to say.”

AM: “Yeah. And I think like lots of… I think I’m not very good at like giving that information to my friends. Like I would rather process things myself, but then because I don’t work with a therapist then you just don’t let it out [laughter]. It’s not necessarily the best way, you know, to look after yourself I guess. And are you open to discussing the eating disorder in this conversation? “

CB: “Yes”

AM: “Because obviously, you’re with a super cool agency now – we haven’t done an intro and we should go back and do an intro at the beginning – but with Natural Models it feels like they’re just very inclusive. And you know, there are so many beautiful, amazing models in that agency. But what is your sort of history of like having dealt with through all that stuff?”

 

“MY BODY IMAGE  WAS FOCUSED ON A LOT”

 

CB: “Yeah, so I actually… I think it was for me, my first year out of… my second year in college when I was going to a community college, I lived in the Bay area and I was in a dance group. And my body image was focused on a lot in that group. And I actually, I wasn’t modelling or anything at the time.”

AM: “How old were you?”

CB “I was 18.”

AM: “Okay.”

CB  “Yes, I was 18. I was, sorry, I was 17 when I started, but this was 18 when this happened. And I had put on some weight, but it was because my body was just developing as a woman and I was no longer a 17-year-old girl anymore. And some people in the group made some comments about my body and about how I was gaining weight and how it affected my dancing. And so I really took it to heart and made it my ultimate goal to become as thin as I possibly could. And that got dangerous real quick. And I lost maybe about 30 pounds and I ended up losing my period. So this went on for about two or three years. And I then got… Hit a point where I was like, okay, this is just, this is not healthy. Like I do not, I need to have my period. I do not want to be obsessing over my weight and over food for my whole life. And so I, I made a decision to… I went to see a therapist and they kind of were telling me what was going on with my body. And it’s what happens is like, you get to such a low body fat percentage, that your body’s like, okay, we’re going into survival mode. Like you’re not able to produce children, you’re not able to take care of yourself. So we’re not going to give you a period basically, because it’s like, it can’t, it can’t regulate those things. So that’ll be like the first thing to go.”

AM: “It couldn’t sustain…”

CB: “Yes, a child. Exactly. Yeah. So everything was kind of just off-balance. And then I had got, went into therapy and went into recovery and I put on some weight. I don’t even know exactly how much, cause I just didn’t allow myself to even look at a scale during that period.”

 

WANTING SOMETHING NEW

 

AM: “Wow. That’s the healthiest choice to be making. But I’m sure it was really hard…”

CB: “It was, really. Oh my gosh. And every time I had to go to the doctors, like, don’t tell me what it is, don’t tell me what it is. I don’t want to know because like they’ll tell you all the write it on something, so I had to like even be that cautious about it because it was just very triggering to even look at it. And so then after that I decided like I wanted to leave the Bay area and I wanted a change and I wanted something new and I just felt like I had a lot of trauma in the area and the dance group that I was with and that the friends that I was around. So I went up and left (for) LA by myself and I had a boyfriend at the time there. And that was it. And I got a job at a restaurant and I was going to community college there. And then Katie, the owner of Natural came and scouted me at the host stand.”

AM: “Wow. How crazy is that here that you’d gotten to the part where you were healing yourself and that’s when this new journey just like came to you… Because you’re obviously really beautiful. But obviously, you needed to own yourself and like go through that process and get out the other side, you know, for things to actually just even like fall into your lap.”

CB:“Yes. Yeah.”

AM:“Though I’m sure it never feels like it’s falling into your lap. You know, the thing about modelling is (that) it’s hard.”

 

SIGNING WITH NATURAL MODELS

 

CB: “It doesn’t. Exactly. Exactly. And I was very scared to sign. I was very scared. I actually even backed out. I called them… I went in for a meeting with them and I loved them. They’re so sweet and understanding and supportive. And I actually opened up to Katie about my eating disorder so she knew about it and she just listened. And the meeting went on for like two hours of just talking about body positivity and the, and just also we were all over the place talking about everything. And it was more than just being signed to the agency. They actually had wanted to know what I wanted to say and what I stood for as a person. And I really loved that about that meeting actually. But a couple of days after I had agreed to sign, I was kind of like freaking out. I was like, you know what? I don’t think I can do this. I don’t know if I can do this. Like I don’t feel beautiful in the size I am, I don’t feel beautiful as a person. How can I go and feel beautiful in front of a camera? Like it was just a lot of fears that were coming out. And when I spoke to Katie, she was, she just kind of assured me, she was like, there’s never going to feel like a right time. There’s never going to feel like “this is it. I feel good in my body” Like, it’s a work in progress. And it definitely is because I still don’t, I don’t…I haven’t felt like I’m like, “Oh, this is great. I feel great. Like now I’m ready”. You know, it just doesn’t work that way.”

AM: “Yeah. That’s so interesting from my perspective as the photographer and then like, I love having this open conversation about it because… It’d be interesting to hear how you felt when you saw the images that I gave you (Chloe and I shot a model test together in Los Angeles earlier in the year) and like when I look at them and through that shoot, I felt like you were remarkably open and honest and able to just be present in that shoot. But obviously hearing all the backstory, it’s like interesting to hear that, you know, it was a reasonably vulnerable shoot for you as well. Yeah. So it was just interesting to see like, despite all of that, I really felt like you were very, you gave yourself a lot and were really open and I mean, just, there was so much natural beauty there.”

CB: “Thank you. Yeah, it definitely was like a raw… It’s… when I shoot, I feel like I, I do tap into my emotions and most of the time when it’s obviously a test shoot – when I’m on set I’m kind of just playing the part – but when I am on a test shoot and I can have more creative… what’s the word for that?”

AM: “Ownership?”

CB: “Yeah. I guess. And I can kind of put my own feel to it. I, I tend to go deep into what I’m feeling in that moment. And that’s what I do love about those images that I feel like you really captured how I was feeling and I love that. I love it.”

 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER AS OBSERVER

 

AM: “Yeah. Because photography so captures a moment that you can never go back to…”

CB: “I was just going to say, I don’t know if this is the same thing for you, but when I do a shoot, I can kind of like look at that shoot and know exactly what I was feeling at that time and, and where I was in my life. Do you have that with photography where you see a test like anything you did and you’re like, Oh, this, this, this collection of photos brings up this for me cause this is where I was in my life? Does that make sense?”

AM: “I think does, but I think the interesting thing is that like as a photographer, you’re very much in the observer role. So I can see what I was observing but it, but it doesn’t take… Like I, but I’m quite separated from that in terms of like, I guess I’m not conscious of myself often in the shoot I’ll get lost in what I’m doing. And so I would have no I have a point of reference of being the observer in that. So I think it’s an interesting flip as the model because actually, you get to experience it, but then you see yourself as well. But yeah, and I can picture being in that, you know, the room that we shot these particular images in, but I can’t quite picture myself in there. It’s a funny thing.”

CB: “Ha. That’s interesting.”

 

NO EXCUSES

 

AM: “So hang on, we should go back slightly. And do a bit of an intro.”

CB: “Okay! [laughter]”

AM: “So, you are actually my very first, my very first guest on my makeshift “I’ve been thinking about it for 18 months, but hey, we’re in quarantine, so I should probably actually do this”-podcast. Yes, I feel like we all just have to actually activate a lot of the stuff that we’ve been thinking about.”

CB: “During these times. Yeah.”

AM: “Because why not.”

CB: “There’s no excuses right now.”

AM: “Yeah, there isn’t. And I, you know, like, I guess that’s a good release in a way. It’s like, well, you know, why not? Let’s just actually step out from behind all of the worry we had about certain things in this time and just be creative and feel things out and kind of make them happen. Even if they’re not the perfect, polished version or something that we might’ve imagined or wanted it to be or any of those things that’s like, well, I think we can hold ourselves back from so much stuff… Because we can continue to be busy, but at the moment it’s well, you can busy yourself in certain ways. You know, you can also be decisive and decide to just make things happen.”

CB: “Yeah.”

 I AM…

 

AM: “But in going back to that… so… Hi! I forgot to introduce you at the very beginning. So I’m going to let you introduce yourself now.”

CB: “Hi everyone. Wait – how are we doing this? [laughter]”

AM: “Well, basically it’s like a multimedia project that I’m working on. So we’ll do the podcast in tandem with putting up a blog post of the images. So the podcast and the blog journal are called I AM. So I guess it’s about your interpretation of that. So your introduction can be “I am Chloe” and then I am also other things.”

CB: “Mmmm. Okay. Let’s see. So should I also mention my agency?”

AM: “Yeah, if you’d like to. I feel like, you know, I am – you know, you are a model, you are these things, but I guess you are also more so, you know, it just depends what you want to bring up is probably… Completely, I’m open to anything.”

CB: “Okay. Hello everyone. My name is Chloe Belle and I am with Natural Models, LA. On top of being a model with them. I am as well an artist, a dancer, a singer. I am… a work in progress every day. I am healing. And… I am free.”

AM: “Ohhhh… I actually got welled up in the middle of that.”

CB: [laughter]

AM: “Hi Chloe. It’s so beautiful… It’s so like, oh, I love that. I so love that you actually really liked what I just introduced as a concept of bringing the I am to be more than just your name or than just that one job that, you know… yeah, because we’re so much more complex than the one thing.”

CB: “We also have the ability to change that. Any second, or any day.”

AM: “Yeah…. the fluidity of that.”

CB: “Or whatever we want. To change what we want it to be…”

AM: “Which is like the most powerful message I guess that we can share with people that, you know, choice, you know, you made that choice to take yourself out of an eating disorder, which I’m sure was not like, “Hey, one day I’m just going to be cool with that”. But you could have let that define yourself in so many ways and in a way you’ve grown into a position where there is so much abundance coming towards you because you’ve been able to process that stuff and not just be held captive by it.”

 

CONFIDENCE

 

CB: “Yeah. And I think something like that I also want to state that I think is important is a lot of people can view images and think like, especially when, you know, we’re topless or we have less clothing on and we’re being more, more vulnerable, that we’re very… we’re feeling confident and good in our skin. And, and a lot of the times that’s not true and it can be perceived that way. But I think that like this is speaking personally, but for me, most of the times that I am with less clothing on or even in tight clothing and stuff that shows more of my body. And I’m being more vulnerable is actually when I am feeling like the most uncomfortable. And it’s, it’s almost like as a model and you, you kind of learned to, to act and to portray something that you’re not sometimes. And I think that that can be misconceived by some people, that, that we’re feeling absolutely great and we’re feeling amazing in our body and that we’re confident and I’m going to be so open and honest that in that particular shoot, I am currently having that same, the same issues that I’ve had earlier with struggles with my body and how I’m feeling with my body because I got really sick and I lost a lot of weight and now I’m kind of in this boat of the fear of gaining the weight and gain going back to my regular size. And so to see those images, it kind of brings back those, it brings back those feelings for me because that’s what I meant, where I could see the, I could see the emotions that I could see how I was feeling in my skin at that time. And it’s so much, a lot of people don’t realise there’s so much more going on in that photo than what you see.”

AM:“Yeah. That’s so insightful. I feel like… I so appreciate you being so honest about that because I think as the photographer who basically, you know, you hand over copyright to, I’m just always so aware that with that there is a great responsibility. So do you feel like you were… you, your weight… like these images are after you had lost weight and naturally you would weigh more and therefore that’s uncomfortable? Because you see these and… what’s the relationship there?”

 

COMING TO ACCEPTANCE

 

CB: “I think that it’s not… instead of looking at it like… I could look at it in that sense or I can be like, well, I’m… my body’s going to change throughout my life. It’s going to be different sizes. It’s going to be, and I’m…. I need to feel beautiful and good in my skin, and comfortable in my skin no matter what size it is. And I’ve gotten to a point where it’s not even, for me I feel, like about loving my body and loving how it looks, but it’s coming to acceptance with it and it’s just being able to accept it and accepting me for me… no matter, sick or unsick or 20 pounds (more) or 20 pounds less. It’s just I think for me more about self-accepting and accepting for what my body wants to be and as long as it is healthy you know?”

AM: “Yeah. And where you are. I guess hearing that hits me with the responsibility of what I share for you as well. Do you know what I mean? Like I guess, as a woman, I would never want to share things that people feel uncomfortable with. It’s so tricky when you’re trying to balance out what really is a beautiful image for the observer as an art form that documents a moment in time but also with that subjects psychological stuff around an image or you know, like it’s interesting trying to sort of even just in my own mind balance those two concerns out, you know, art and, and how you react to an image.”

CB: “Right. And I think that that’s it. It comes down to the model and how they choose to perceive it and how they choose to choose what is comfortable and uncomfortable for them if that makes sense. But like I, I wouldn’t be, I don’t feel uncomfortable in those pictures – I absolutely love them – going out or, or being, you know, posted just because I’m in a, a different size because you know, like before – when is there ever really a right, a right time or a right size or a right anything, you know?”

 

TRYING TO PSYCHOANALYSE ourselves

 

AM: “Yeah. And I think in a way I think as a beauty photographer you’re trying to like find that most beautiful image, but also just about really capturing something that is authentic of that moment. And that’s a good way to, I think when you described that before, it documents that day and those two hours and that’s what, that’s all it is… A moment in time, regardless of how beautiful or how not-beautiful it was. It doesn’t define anything other than that time. And, and I guess so much gets read into images because they can exist forever, but they really, you know, it’s really good to be aware that they only really captured that one moment and that moment was gone. And I guess that’s the beauty and also the recklessness of that, of that time, you know what I mean? And then it doesn’t exist. I’m like trying to psychoanalyse myself now as the photographer [ laughter ] But yeah. I feel it’s so insightful just to have those conversations and, and think through these things because I work with clients who a lot of my studio stuff is working with clients who haven’t really ever been photographed before and you know, I want to bring that confidence out in them. And so much of that is about showing them how beautiful they are when they really haven’t ever seen it or ever really been in connection with that. So it is quite different for me when I’m shooting with a model because models are more experienced and they are more used to seeing themselves photographed. It’s all really interesting to think about from both perspectives.”

CB: “Yeah. I know. One other interesting thing to think about is how that photo comes out. And like you said, you know, it, it comes out and people are gonna still… every person is going to perceive it in a different way. They’re going to take it how they want to take it, you know. So for example, with a beauty photo, it’s like kind of you set an intention with what you want to create, I’m guessing, kind of like a goal and maybe the model will set up an intention of what she wants to create or what they want to create. But still, when that image comes out, each viewer, each person who sees it is going to take what they want from that photo. And most of the time is nothing what you either were trying to portray or what the model was trying to portray or what you wanted to stand out. You know what I mean? So I just, I love that aspect of it as well, but I mean, it can get dangerous in that way too. I think when it comes to just the media and what we portray, which is a whole other story.”

 

LIFE IN LOCKDOWN

 

AM: “Well it’s kind of been amazing just talking through this stuff with you Chloe, but can I take you out of this subject and ask you about lockdown? How is life in lockdown and what does lockdown look like for you in LA?”

CB: “I am actually one of those introverts who is loving lockdown right now.” [laughter]

AM: “I honestly feel like so many people are in this and actually this morning I felt like I had anxiety that – Oh my God, what if they decide that we can actually all go back to normal next week?”

CB: “Exactly. I am loving every moment.”

AM: “It’s like I’m not ready.”

CB: “I really feel like the world needed this. I know I needed this time too with so much like so many emotions and feelings that I have been putting off that I don’t want to sit with that I think that we tend to like put aside because we tell ourselves that we have all these other things that we have to deal with and now we have to really sit in them because there’s nothing else that we have to deal with but taking care of ourselves day-to-day. And for me, it’s definitely been a process of healing and growth and also just allowing myself to be so creative like every day when I’m not emotionally breaking down.” [laughter]

AM: “I mean, how cool to be able to be in this thing where you’re all in flux and where it’s appropriate that you also are emotional and anxious and whatever – that we have all of that. Everyone’s like ‘of course you do.’ I feel like an acceptance of all of that spectrum is on the table for everyone.”

 

STAYING CREATIVE

 

CB: “Right yeah, so. I’ve just been staying creative. And, with my roommates, I made everybody sit down. I’m kind of like, I feel like an instructor, like a teacher in my household because I’ll get everybody together in the living room and I’m like, okay, we’re going to sit here and we’re going to write a list of all the things that we’ve always wanted to do, but we haven’t. Yeah. So we sat through and then we kind of all shared our lists and throughout the weeks I kind of just like, like one of my roommates was like, she had never baked before and she wanted to bake from scratch. So one night we baked from scratch and then one of my other roommates’ was to do this huge puzzle and she did the puzzle. Mine was to paint cause I’ve never painted and I painted something. And so I think like touching into those things that you’ve put aside and you’ve always wanted to do like this is the time to do those things.”

AM: “Yeah, exactly. But that’s what I’m almost talking about; it’s like, do you start bubbling up all of these ideas and then it’s – oh hang on, if they end this really quickly, I’ve got all these things I’m now committing myself to – I’m finding all of the little projects that I’ve been putting on the back burner for years.”

CB: “Have you done anything like that? I mean, well this is one of them…”

 

STALLING

 

AM: “I feel like this is definitely one of them, but I definitely have been stalling, like I have a lot of retouching to do for things that I shot in LA. But I’ve had a lot of practical things where I’ve had to help my family get organized and help my husband pivot on his work and things like that. So that kind of took up the first few weeks and just literally getting back to Australia and trying to work out where to live because we weren’t meant to be here right now. So that kind of took up most of it until now. Like this feels like the first week where I can go, okay, but I have all these things that I would want to do and I’d like to start shooting some remote quarantine photoshoots and things like that, which seemed to be such a bizarre way approach photography. But I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes, you know, because I, I miss that, that interaction. But aside from that, I feel like, yeah, cooking, I’ve been doing heaps of cooking and trying to bake and I feel like we’re lucky where we, we ended up settling, so we’re near the beach. So I’m trying to do lots of walking and in LA I didn’t have my dog and I’ve got my dog back now. He has literally been the glue holding us all together. So that’s been just such an amazing part of just finding what the things you need are. Yes. You need cuddles with a big fluffy thing. And yes you need to go out and have fresh air. We don’t have… You guys have got the rule where you have to wear facemasks yeah if you go out?”

CB: “You guys don’t have that there?”

AM: “We don’t have to no. They haven’t passed any rules on that. I mean, I kind of like that, also, that they’ve told you in the States that you have to make one because you can’t wear the medical-grade masks or whatever. I like this, that sort of crafty element of Hey, just cut up your tee shirt or that it’s a bit sort of gone rogue. I think that’s, that’s cool. And there’s also like when I do go to the store and I do wear a mask or whatever, then you have this extra level of anonymity, [ laughter ] which is kind of interesting. I feel like it will be so fascinating to see what comes out of life when we can sort of actually go back to some version of normal and how many of those things we want to sort of keep. So I’m just going to ask you some actual practical questions for the last little bit and then I’ll let you go back to your day. Practical questions, things that you’re actively doing and use in terms of self-care and skincare or any of those things that you want to share with us.”

 

MEDITATION  METHODS

 

CB: “Yeah. Let’s see. Definitely, first, mental is a huge thing for me. That is like the powerhouse to everything. Everything physical is your mental. So right now I’ve been working on meditating and trying to meditate every morning. I have not got past 10 minutes because my mind does not like to sit still, but I’m working on it.” [laughter]

AM: “You’re 10 minutes in advance of me then. I find meditation… I think I find it in other ways. That is; I get into a meditative state, but when I actually try to meditate it makes me feel anxious.”

CB: “It’s hard to sit there with ourselves too which is another thing. But it’s like how much of the day are we, you know, we’re always, we’re talking to people, we’re interacting and all of those things are great, but how much of the time are we really sitting with ourselves and with our thoughts and recognizing what we are thinking about. And a lot of stuff comes up. So I think that, even for me, I was like, ‘I don’t – I can’t meditate. I’m just thinking all the time’. And what my therapist actually once told me was, well, it’s okay for thoughts to come up when you’re meditating. Like that’s okay, but you just have to acknowledge them and let them go. It’s not about sitting in complete silence, you know. So I’ve been trying that. Sometimes I’ll just do it with like, I don’t know, like Spanish guitar or silence or other times I’ll use ahh – what is this app called? I think it’s called Headspace. Yeah, I think that’s the one I use. You can even look it up on YouTube. I’m sure they have so many.”

AM: “I hear that’s a really popular one.”

CB: “Oh, I love it.”

AM: “I love the Spanish guitar idea though, that’s nice. I can picture that being that thing that you can go back to. Okay… just stop thinking but listen. You know, I think that’s what I like. Guided meditation is my favourite way to do it. I can do it if I have something to hone in on,  you know when you do that full-body one where you start at your toes and for me, that really works. It’s the nothingness, which is obviously like the premium level of meditation you want to get to. But even just having something like Spanish guitar or something that you can just like bring yourself back to. I like that idea.”

 

BANANA HAIR & WATER

 

CB: “And my hair, I’ve completely – just during this time – have stopped putting any conditioner or shampoo on it. I’ve just been letting it do its thing because as a model, a lot of models know that we are getting stuff in our hair all the time, products that we don’t know what they are or what’s in them. And even with our regular shampoo and conditioners, we don’t really know what (is in them) and we’re like, okay, it works, but you don’t really know what’s in it or what it’s doing. So my hair was getting like, really the texture was just becoming weird and like I felt like I had a lot of buildup. So I was like, you know what, I’m just going to let my hair and my curls run their course. And I’m just going to use water and do maybe a hair mask or a hair treatment and I’ve been making my own – which is like literally, it’ll just be like… ummm… I do olive oil, banana, honey and avocado.”

AM: “Wow. What does the banana do?”

CB: “Yeah. that’s a really good question. I don’t know. I got it from this book. [laughter] I have no idea.”

AM: “Cut to me and everyone who listened to this, later on, just rubbing fruit through our hair.”

CB: “I completely forgot what the banana does. I forgot.”

AM: “I’m so fascinated. But it’s so true. Two things; one, you just literally have the most beautiful hair ever naturally, which is just a blessing, but two, I am so with you – I’ve taken a step back from chemical products and things like that. There’s no reason to wear any deodorant. I feel like that stuff is going to have a big impact on how we go forward because we’ve had a moment to go, ‘Oh hang on. I actually didn’t like all of that stuff that I was doing to myself’. Yeah. And it will be interesting to see how much of it we accept and go ‘Oh thank God. That’s good I can do that again’. And how much are we going to go ‘actually I want to make a choice not to put those chemicals on my body’ and things like that in the future. So I love that, and what about your skin?

CB: “Definitely. Skin; honestly I’ve just been letting it ride it’s course as well. I’ve been washing it with water. But I haven’t really been using products on it cause I haven’t been wearing makeup as well. A lot of people are still doing their makeup and getting ready and creating content. But that hasn’t been me.”

 

THE BEST STUFF COMES WHEN IT’S NOT CONTROLLED

 

CB: “I loved this conversation and all the topics and I love how it just flowed.”

AM: “Well you have been amazing.”

CB: “That’s when the best stuff comes out is when it’s like, you know, just not controlled.”

AM: “Yeah. I feel like that’s what I really want from this. And you know, if anything I might need to restructure how, from my perspective of not necessarily doing an intro at the beginning etc, you know, I want to sort of work some of that out. But what I really wanted to sort of get to was very much what we have touched on. Just more authentic stuff, you know, and, and stepping behind. The whole idea I guess is – yes, you have these images and beautiful images of somebody but there is so much more behind that, you know. And I really want to sort of get into conversations that probably feel universal for a lot of people and just expand on experiences and just go places that we all probably, have some point of reference to, you know – body image. And  I guess the tagline that I’m using for the, for the whole project is ‘Stories to evoke, empower and inspire’. And so I feel like there’s so much that we can learn from everybody in all walks of life. You have such a… you fill me with optimism, you know what I mean? You are looking at the positive side of all of this and still finding truth and honesty in how you’re feeling about things, but not letting it bring in a whole bunch of negativity and I’m sure we all like flux between the anxiety of it, but I feel like you have such an optimistic energy about yourself and it’s so lovely.”

CB: “Thank you.”

[Call drops out unexpectedly]

 

AND WE’RE BACK

 

AM: “Hiiiii”

CB: “Hello? We’re back!”

AM: “We are just pushing through.”

CB: “We are like, we have all the time. So we’ve got to make it work.”

AM: “I love it. I love that you are in your car recording. Okay. So I was saying thank you to you before we cut out. So thank you so much for talking to me and for being so open and so honest and such a beautiful soul. I feel like it was such a privilege to meet you and to connect with you. And now that little pocket of time that I was in LA feels like such a fairytale in retrospect. So I, you know, I really look forward to whatever timeframe it is that I’m back in LA and, and getting to see you again and shoot again and sort of continue this conversation and this connection because you’re amazing and you’re a lovely, a lovely soul as well as a beautiful person. So I feel very grateful that you have taken the time to talk through so much, you know, personal stuff as well as just, you know, skincare and banana in the hair.”

CB: [laughter] “Thank you so much. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing; giving models and non-models – or anybody – a voice behind their photos because there is so much more. I love that you’re doing that. So thank you.”

AM: “You actually just gave me goosebumps because it’s so nice to hear someone’s interpretation of what I guess my intention is and you were on point there and I appreciate that so much. I feel like as we sort of went and touched on in our conversation, it’s such an interesting dynamic and so I love that idea of taking the time to dig deeper into both sides of the conversation and both sides of the experience. And I appreciate you doing that so beautifully just now. I will add your details obviously to our show notes, but if you would like to add your Instagram handle or anything else now so people who are listening can connect with you as well.”

CB: “Yeah. My Instagram… wait, I should just say it?”

AM: “Yeah!”

CB: “It’s so funny to just say that [laughter] It’s like I’m shouting myself out.”

AM: “Yeah do your own shout out!”

GLOW

CB: “My Instagram is @goldenchlo So it’s golden G-O-L-D-E-N and Chlo C-H-L-O.”

AM: “Perfect. It feels like you’re on The Voice or something where at the end and they tell you what number to ring to vote for you.”

CB: [laughter]

AM: “Can I just say as well that I love @goldenchlo as your handle. I presume there were other Chloe Belles. Is that why you didn’t use Chloe Belle as your name?”

CB: “No, it was actually a nickname when I was younger. Somebody would call me in my family ‘Glow’ and then somebody else would call me ‘Golden’ like the golden one of the family. So then I just put it next to Chlo’ and that’s how it came about.”

AM:“I love that. I was thinking about it ahead of our conversation. It makes me realize the mind connection of… like, whenever I see your name on there, it has that golden (glow); I just feel optimistic I think even just seeing your handle, which is interesting. It makes you sort of think that there are so many things that we can just layer into our lives that are positive and that have like good word associations. I like that.”

CB: [laughter] “Thank you.”

AM: “I think it’s a beautiful name. So @goldenchlo. Everyone go and have a look at this beautiful young woman’s life. And I was going to say – photos – but you are more than just your photos.”

CB: “And anybody feel free to DM me or reach out to me that is struggling with eating disorders or any of that. I’m always open and free to talk so I just want to put that out there as well.”

AM: “I really hope that people do connect with you in that way and you are a real guiding light on that front. And I love that you’re still healing and still working through stuff yourself, but your openness to talk about it, I feel like is going to have a big impact on other people and that’s a precious gift that you can share.”

CB: “Thank you.”

AM: “Thank you so much beautiful, darling girl”

CB: “Thank you so much for having me.”

AM: “And I can’t wait to see you on the flip side.”

CB: “I know it’s early there, so have a lovely rest of your day.”

 

I AM. Is hosted and produced by me, Amber Melody, and you can talk directly to me on Instagram @ambermelody and @i.am.thepodcast Thank you for listening. Please rate, review and subscribe to I AM. The podcast if you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week!

 

 

 

 

 

I AM the podcast and the journal with photographer AMBER MELODY Episode 01 CHLOE BELLE cover

 

Body Confidence and Self-Acceptance // an open conversation with model Chloe Belle + photographer Amber Melody

Body Confidence and Self-Acceptance // an open conversation with model Chloe Belle + photographer Amber Melody

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