Photo: Colin Sussingham

 

Heaven Starr is a model and muse currently residing in Austin, TX. She travels back to New York every so often for modeling and is also working on her upcoming project, Chiquita Magazine. Chiquita Magazine primarily focuses on embracing the natural and powerful individuality of women.

Heaven’s Instagram || Chiquita’s Instagram

 

ANON: So Heaven, what exactly do you do and how did you start seeking interest in these things?

Heaven: Well I started modeling at the age of 12, my dad was big into photography and he would always take photos of me growing up with his canon A1 film camera. When I was 17, I moved to New York and my career started taking a different path. I was still modeling but I met a photographer in an elevator that suggested working together but posing nude. I’m somewhat of a curious cat and never had worked as a muse, per se, so I agreed. Being a muse to me was a lot different in the way that you weren’t standing, posing but just being. It was very natural, almost intimate, and I loved it. From there I continued working with various artists in New York. I moved all over the tristate area and had the opportunity to meet and work with some very inspiring artists. Today, I fly back pretty frequently to work; create!

 

A: As you were growing up, did anything in particular inspire you so much to the point that you knew you wanted to work as a model and creative?

H: I’m from the valley, born and raised in Edinburg, which is a very quaint town. The culture and my family mostly inspired me to create. Growing up I would write, paint and dance, so I’ve always been artistic in a sense. I’ve always looked for an outlet to be creative. When I started modeling it was more of a hobby, it wasn’t very realistic for me to rely on modeling as a way to live/make money. It wasn’t until I moved to New York did I realize it was possible to be an artist and still survive. It’s not easy but I think that’s what makes it all worth it.

 

A: Out of all the places you have lived, which would you say is your favorite and why?

H: My parents had me move to South Korea when 16. My father is a marine so he’s been all over the world and thought it was an important part of growing up. So I flew over there by myself and stayed in a flat with my cousin. I fell in love with the city, I lived in Incheon and it was beautiful. The food was absolutely fucking fantastic. Everything is so fresh and delicious. Shabu Shabu, haemul pajeon, Samgyupsal, it was all amazing. I only hope to return.

 

A: Before meeting you I knew you were a model, but what has been your favorite shooting experience? With what photographer?

H: The coolest shoot I’ve done was for FOX Network. Richard Kern had actually called me the day before and asked if I would be interested in being the “naked girl” for this shoot for a show called The Following. I said yes and went to the shoot the next day knowing nothing but the fact that I was the naked girl. I finally found the studio and they had me lying down for about 2.5 hours as a few people were writing words all over my body from the neck down. Then they had my lay on an athletic bend that was about 6/7 feet in the air. Mind you, I thought I was one of the extras so that fact that all this was happening was amazing. After having me lay on the bend and they took the ladder out of the frame they brought in about fifty extras. They had them all stand under either me with their hands in the air as if the were holding me.  The whole crew on set was great. It was a great experience.

 

A: What was it like photographing with Richard Kern?

H: Richard is a beautiful person; I love that man! I’ve even babysat his kids a time or two. Once I met him, as artists we clicked, we keep in touch and work together quite frequently. He’s actually coming to Austin in July and we’re working on two different projects together. He has inspired me a lot when it comes to shooting as a muse. He taught me to throw all posing out of the window, just relax and be more ‘natural’. He’s also helped my network tremendously; he has referred me to a lot of people and I’m very grateful to him.

 

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A: I’m really excited about your upcoming project, Chiquita Mag, how did this idea form? Where do you see this going?

H: Chiquita, I feel, kind of crept up on me. I had been having these visions and ideas that I wanted to create (not for any particular purpose) but never was motivated enough to pursue them. Once I produced the first project, which was the first official shoot for Chiquita and video promo that I directed, it didn’t feel so difficult anymore. So then I realized this art-influenced love child that I created needed a name. Growing up my dad called me Chiquita as a nickname and the way my family viewed the body, beauty, and women was very different. This is probably my main inspiration and my reason for doing everything. My family raised me to love what you have and not try and cover it up because it may make other people uncomfortable. If only people could see the beauty in the one thing they’re trying to hide or cover up (i.e. faces with make up, plastic surgery, bodies with baggy clothes), I feel like the world would be a different place. Chiquita was made to embrace yourself, embrace being a real, strong, confident, powerful human being by also being vulnerable at the same time. Where do I see Chiquita going? I try to remain optimistic of the journey Chiquita will take. I can only hope that people enjoy my vision and become inspired.

 

A: I read online that you are a muse for some photographers; do you have any muses in particular?

H: I am a muse. Not only for photographers but also for painters and sculptors as well (i.e. Painter: Walter Robinson, Sculptor: Brian Booth Craig). My muses consist of Jim Morrison, Bridget Bardot, Francios Hardy, Vivien Leigh, Marilyn obviously and Amy Hood. Also erotica from the 1700s/1800s and also early 1900s are all very inspiring to me. I try to find people, objects and things that aren’t too cool to where you could consider them trendy because trends die. Only stellar, because you can’t redesign the stars – they’ll always be that way.

 

 

 

 

Photos: Yona Shaw