Fetish model and performer Mosh talks injured elbows, creative control, fetishes, competitive cheerleading and starting over.
Interview: Divertida Devotchka
You were born in Russia (which was then the Soviet Union.) Your bio states that you moved to the states at “a very young age.” How old were you exactly? At that same time your parents began your extensive training in gymnastics, which you did for more than 10 years. A devastating injury ended your aspirations of getting a college scholarship for gymnastics. Could you please describe for our readers how the injury happened and how you handled the drastic life changes that occurred as a result?
I believe I was around three years old when we moved to the states. Soon after I did start my training in gymnastics, with my parents as my coaches. The scholarship was really my mother’s plan to get me through college without the financial stress, however it wasn’t exactly an aspiration of mine. By high school I decided if I were to go to school, I wanted to go to art school, where a gymnastics scholarship wouldn’t have helped me anyways. The injury happened during my first year as an acrobat, where I fell from a stunt and injured my elbow. After some time and rehabilitation, I wasn’t able to fully go back to gymnastics, and switched to rhythmic gymnastics instead. Later I ended up joining high school cheerleading squads in two different states. I suppose the injury could be considered drastically life changing. In fact, had it not been for the injury, I may not have even had the opportunity to do what I do today. Life works out in interesting ways.
In addition to being a model, for the most part you are very particular about styling yourself and doing your own makeup. Are you entirely self-taught? Have you always done your own styling or did something happen to lead you to that decision? (I guess my question is that if you haven’t always done your own, did you have any really bad styling/makeup experiences that made you want to just do it all yourself, or was there another motivator?)
Yes I am entirely self-taught. When I started modeling and putting my shoots together, MUA’s weren’t really readily available for a new model, or required payment, which were funds I didn’t have. I’ve always had an interest in cosmetics too, and have been applying makeup on myself for years before my modeling for the competitive sports I participated in. So I picked up the styling and makeup myself, mostly due to interest, and partially due to necessity. Later I learned that I have particular things that I liked and disliked when it came to doing my makeup. There were certain looks I felt looked best on me, while an MUA might have other ideas. So it could become a battle for creative control. I decided I wanted to have full control over the looks I would create for myself, and just did all of my own makeup and styling.
Unless I’m mistaken, you started your modeling career simply using Model Mayhem when you were still in high school while also maintaining a job, an internship and extracurricular activities as well. Do you have any suggestions for other aspiring models who are trying to launch their careers?
Yes that’s correct, now when I think about those early years of modeling it makes my head spin! I really have no idea how I pulled together my schedule, but it worked. If you want something badly enough you’ll make almost anything work. My only general suggestion is that you keep your mind focused on your work and stick to it. Various things in life can distract you, and lead you further away from the goals you may wish to accomplish. Stick to your goals, concentrate on doing the best photo shoots you possibly can, and work hard. Modelmayhem.com is a great place to network. Spend your time connecting with photographers that inspire you. Always remember to have fun. When you thoroughly enjoy what you’re doing, it shows in your images. You’ll have no trouble finding yourself thinking about modeling regularly, planning for it, and creating beautiful work as a result. It’s a great thing to have something to look forward to during your regular job, it makes you want to work that much harder to create the best imagery you can. A strong portfolio leads to many opportunities, so use all the tools you can to build it.
In addition to your extensive modeling credits, you’re also a fetish performer and you do burlesque as well, correct? How long have you been performing and what are your aspirations as a performer?
I believe you could call me a fetish performer. I’ve done shows where I’m encased in latex, or the idea of the show has plenty of fetishistic elements a part of it. In fact, I believe all of my shows have that! Corsets, lingerie, and stockings can all be considered as part of a fetish. Although I primarily say I’m a burlesque performer when asked what I do for shows. I’ve been a performer for longer than my modeling career, and specifically a burlesque performer for about four years. My earlier performances were performed at half time shows and corporate events as an acrobat, dancer, tumbler, and fire performer. My burlesque shows came after a year of modeling. I combined the fetish elements of my work with the earlier performances I knew. My photos contained the same tease and the strip that burlesque held, so it seemed only natural to me to develop my own fully stylized shows, bringing my own creations to life like I would in a photograph. My aspirations as a performer are simply to bring my ideas to the stage, hoping that perhaps my simple strip tease and the complex and glamorous sets and costumes provoke the viewer’s imagination and emotions. I thoroughly enjoy performing, and feel lucky to have the ability to produce my own shows from scratch and then see them come to life on stage.
I loved being a competitive cheerleader. If I could do it all over again, I’d still be a part of a squad. The sport is thrilling, and requires a lot of endurance, preciseness, and trust. I was always a flyer, meaning I was the one being tossed in stunts. You’re up there several feet from the ground, balancing on one or two people below you. It’s quite dangerous, and quite exciting! When you see the coordination, the teamwork, that comes together when a routine is completed, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment all around. Three girls lifting a fourth one over their heads, while the top girl balances on one leg and pulls the other high over her head. Then you dismantle the stunt and run into position to do a fast dance sequence in a structured formation. Then you go do some flips, then go pull a few more stunts all while keeping up with the beat of the music. You must run a mile during one routine with all the zigzagging you do to get to all of your positions. This sport is astounding, I don’t think it receives the credit it deserves.
Your fetishes include everything from heels (especially six inches or more), corsets, stockings, latex and leather. Any other fetishes you’d care to share? Please tell us more about what led you to develop those fetishes, especially the specific photographers and/or images that inspired that in you.
Those are my main fetishes. There are a few more, but I find some fetishes more fun just to keep to myself! I found these fetishes here and there during my early teenage years. I somehow stumbled upon fetish imagery online. I found everything from photographs to illustrations, and found that I really enjoyed looking through them. There was everything from girls encased in latex, girls cinched in corsets, stocking clad legs, girls bound in ropes, etc. I found something more than just eroticism in the imagery. It was something more than erotic and enticing. I just felt “at home” looking at these images, imagining them as part of my own life. When I started modeling I immediately pulled my small collection of latex at the time, into all of the shoots I could.
After finally adjusting to life in the states on the east coast, you dropped everything and moved to LA to pursue a career as a full-time model and maintaining your paysite. Obviously the transition wasn’t as drastic as moving from Russia to the U.S. but what were the biggest challenges in taking the plunge and heading west? Do you miss the east coast, and if so, what specifically?
The biggest plunge was most likely quitting my regular day job. The recession was kicking into high gear at the time, and therefore probably the worst time I could pick to leave a stable job in favor for one that’s considered unstable, no matter what the economy is like. Then moving all the way to the opposite coast with nothing but a few suitcases, and start a new career from scratch. I was fortunate though, and had the support from someone close who would be there for me should my plans not work out. The other challenge was leaving my family and friends behind, as it would be for anyone. I do talk to them regularly though, and see them multiple times a year. Besides family, the only things I really miss about the east coast are the memories. I have had many experiences within those years to look back on, a lot of which shaped me as the person I am today. I also do miss the seasons, something that I immediately take back once I land back on the east coast in freezing weather after being comfortable warm in sunny Los Angeles. I do love the beginning of fall, the springtime, and even the humid summers. The other thing that I enjoy about the east is its architecture. The west coast is much newer compared to the east, and has stunning art deco buildings and striking mid century homes. The east however has an endless supply of architecture from the deco era and below. As much as I love mid century, there’s something enchanting about an older city that I get to enjoy during my visits. In terms of my move to the states, I came to the US at such a young age, I don’t even recall having to adjust! The east coast immediately became my home.
Between constantly shooting, emailing, editing images, and updating your site, you don’t have much free time. How do you relax when you are fortunate enough to have a free moment?
“Free time”, hmm, I believe I read those words in some fairy tale long ago. Joking aside, I don’t mind my constant busy schedule, in fact I’m very fortunate and happy to be able to continue my work in this manner! When this “free time” appears however, I like to spend it with a favorite person and enjoying a delectable meal together at a restaurant, taking a walk, or watching a good film. I also take any chance I get to hunt for antiques. eBay is great for when I’m too busy to go visit an actual shop or flea market, but when I get the opportunity, I love seeking out antiques and vintage pieces in person.
Anything you’d like to add?
Just a thank you!