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Pushing The Small Town Envelope With Dwella

Dwella is a model, photographer, makeup & hair artist, actress, and fashion designer. She likes her work to speak loudly not only for herself but for others as well. She mostly likes to show her love for all people through the work she does. You can find her onInstagram!

Was there a moment in time when you realized you were an artist?

Absolutely. It was when I started to get more into conceptual shoots. It was as if I could do anything my mind made up. Usually, people have a whole team on set but it’s usually just me and the photographer making the vision come to life.

Your aesthetic is very dark and mysterious. Where do you take your inspiration for it from?

Growing up I’ve always loved darker fashion. My older sister Violet was a big influence on my style too. She’s always had a dark punky vibe to her. Metal, punk, and rock music have always been a part of my life.

What made you want to become a model? Makeup artist?

I don’t think I ever wanted to become a model. It just sort of happened. Modeling was never the goal or intention. It never struck me that I could display my creativity through it as I have. I was told by many that I have a “look” and should do a photoshoot sometime. So a photographer I was a huge fan of asked me to come to shoot with them. I fell in love with it that day. I have been doing makeup since 7th grade. I never really thought of doing makeup on others until I got into the modeling/photography community. Now being an MUA is one of my favorite jobs!

Photographer: @scrappyradish

Your modeling is definitely something outside of the box. What motivates you to do what you do?

My motivation comes in many forms. Social media helps me see new things and keep motivation by seeing others’ creativity flow. Friends and family keep me motivated by encouraging me and helping me when I’m in a creative rut. Thinking of the future I can achieve helps motivate me to stay outside of the box and push it.

Modeling can sometimes be a scary and dangerous industry. How do you stay safe but carefree at the same time?

There have been moments where I haven’t been safe and there wasn’t a whole lot I could have done to prevent the situation. But there are precautions I take. I ask models about their experience with the photographer and vice-versa. Also, just messaging the person and seeing the vibe they give off tells me about their professionalism.

What kind of look is your “go-to” makeup look?

My go-to makeup look would be a glowy highlight, winged eyeliner, and fake lashes.

Besides modeling and makeup, you also act. Do you think these things go hand and hand? What was the most fun thing you’ve acted in?

I do think modeling, makeup, and acting all go very hand in hand. A lot of times I’m doing models and actors makeup. Also, modeling is a form of acting sometimes. You need to play a role and really take that character to make the photos feel real and come to life. The most fun thing I’ve acted in would probably be the Queen of All Hearts music video by Fathom Lane. I got to wear the coolest outfit and headpiece along with acting with other people yet playing the main role.

Specifically coming from a small town in Minnesota, has your work affected the way people view you and does it motivate you to do more?

Coming from a small town, I thought I was going to be the weirdo everyone hated. But quite the opposite. Many say they look up to me and I’ve been gaining a lot of respect as I grow in my art and people get more aware of what’s trending. I love that I’m in this small town right now because people don’t make me feel so small like I would feel in Minneapolis.

What was your first “makeup moment” and what do you wear today?

I would say my first “makeup moment” would have been once I discovered YouTube and tutorials. I learned so many new things and just knew that was what I wanted to do. I usually wear winged eyeliner every day as people tell me it’s a signature for me.

Photographer: @alexander_just

Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?

There is totally a relationship with my identity and the photos I’m in. From it being my Native American background, bisexuality, and being a woman. I like to make it all known and have people become more comfortable with those things.

Tell us about an exciting and/or new work/project/thing you’re working on; how did it originate? How is it related to other work you’ve done?

An exciting project I’m currently working on would be fashion designing and making clothes! It’s all in the works but I have a dream to have my own clothing line. Stay tuned!

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