We are proud to present our first pictorial feature. Devi is a model, photographer, caseworker, and all around bad ass.
What were you doing before your modeling career?
I did some of my very first shoots right after graduating from UC Davis, and it was kind of on a whim. The Great Recession was at its peak, and there weren’t a ton of “real jobs” that were hiring, so I signed up for a few random modeling gigs. I didn’t have super great experiences, and thus, I didn’t end up pursuing anything in any serious way until a few years later. I worked as a field manager at a political canvassing firm for a while, and then quit to go to massage school. I actually worked as both a massage therapist and model for several years.
How did you start modeling?
I revisited modeling when I was around 26 and met my partner, who does art photography as a hobby. Just for the hell of it we shot some nudes together on Mt Diablo, and I liked them. After I shared them online, I started getting inquiries to do art modeling gigs. So that was it, basically—I decided then to pursue working as an art model, mostly just viewing it as a way to make some extra income. I didn’t have any lofty aspirations or anything — I mean, really, nor do I now.
How do you define your artwork?
It’s kind of just a way of life—or a meditation, maybe? The practice of discovering what’s visually compelling around me, and creating a type of synergy with my body and the environment; it’s just good for the soul. I’m able to be fully present and authentic. I think there’s a simplicity and sacredness in capturing the human body in its natural form, so I share my imagery with whoever finds value in it—it’s just basically me living my life, expressing myself as the sensual and creative creature that I am.
You are based in San Francisco. How has that shaped your life and career?
As a Bay Area native, I have a lot of pride about where I’m from, and I could probably be pretty insufferable about it if I’m not careful. I mean, honestly that’s a pretty tough question because I could go off in a lot of different directions, but I’ll just say that I’m sure my worldview has been thoroughly shaped by the radical politics, diversity, and immense natural beauty that the area is known for historically. And I’ll bet it’s a lot easier to be a nude model here than it is in many of parts of the world.
How has your art changed overtime?
Well, for one, I’ve gotten older and my body has changed, which is interesting, particularly in terms of how I’m viewed. As a curvier brown woman, I’ve never really seen myself as having the stereotypical “ideal” nude model body type, but as I’ve aged, my ability to promote and celebrate a different version of beauty is even more potent. It’s both challenging and rewarding.
How has the coronavirus impacted you? How have you spent the past few months in lockdown?
Well, I’m also a caseworker that serves the severely mentally ill and homeless in SF, and as an essential worker, I’m still at the office a few days a week. Other than that, I do content with my partner for Patreon, and here and there, I do both outdoor, socially-distanced shoots and virtual (i.e. Zoom/ FaceTime) shoots. Honestly, I’m pretty damn fortunate, compared to many of my model colleagues who depend on traveling and doing in-person gigs. I still have a job and steady income, so I really can’t complain too much. On a more pleasant note, I’ve used some of my newfound free time to paint, learn guitar, and binge watch old classics; just trying to make the best of a pretty dark period, I guess.
What are you going to do after the coronavirus is over? Is there anywhere you would like to travel to?
Dude, don’t even get me started! Before this thing erupted I had all these plans, and I’m trying not to get too emotionally invested in any of them. Who knows what craziness will befall us, or when we will see normalcy again. But if we’re gonna play that game—never been and need to go to Thailand, Brazil, and Scandinavia.