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T's Photo Shoot – Becoming GAGA
6 Comments Photo Shoot

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Hey Supers, T here.

I am so excited to tell you about my fancy little escapade that I hardly know where to begin…

Starting at the beginning might be a good idea, eh? (my not-so-discreet Canadian shout-out for Lady J)

When Super Stereo was asked to play the Hard Rock Cafe show for March 26th, Lady Gaga’s Official Afterparty (I know, right?!), of course we were down like clowns. See our Shows tab for the event info. Then, the more giggle-inducing part came for me: “T, we want you to do a photo shoot for the flyer referencing Lady Gaga, herself.” My reaction: “Ohmygaga*! When?! When?!”  *Ohmygaga – coined phrase by good friend John Smith aka Couver87 on YouTube

Instantly, my mind was blasted with flashing images of massive hair pieces and strangling neck collars galore (photo would be just a head shot) and I knew three things right away. Daniel Kongos would do the stunning photography/editing, Sabel Shea would create my masterpiece locks, and Michèle Douglas would beautify my face until I could be confused for a porcelain doll. With the impressive amount of talent collaborating between these 3 key artists, I would be able to at least attempt to become the Mother Monster, Lady Gaga, for a day.

When I started drawing up a few ideas for neck collar pieces to create, I felt inspired. Then, I attempted a few things with extra fabrics strewn all over my bed from previous costume designing. I also attempted a project involving bendy straws (I LOVE bendy straws – who doesn’t…they’re the best) but that didn’t pan out so well either. I was getting

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discouraged and didn’t know how I was going to bring my ideas to fruition. Then I remembered a stellar photo shoot that Daniel did for amazing local fashion designer, Anya Melkozernova (LooksGoodAn-ya). The fashion photo shoot included a sharp metal Gaga-esque neck collar modeled by the gorgeous and talented fencing champion, Natalie Vie (see her featured on local mag Java’s front cover here – also currently ranked 5th in the U.S. on her way to the 2012 Olympics *crossing fingers ) and I knew this would be an absolutely perfect fit.

But I guess I kinda started in the middle with all of this, because Lady Gaga has been an inspiration to me for quite some time now. I am enthralled with her every decision in fashion, interviews, performances and music. She understands how to create the total package and involve other artists in the process. This is a huge goal, not only for me, but for everyone in Super Stereo to achieve as well. We want to create an atmosphere in which artists of every make and model can come together and create new modern marvels.

I knew this little pet project of mine was going to be tough work, but, in all reality, I had no idea what I was in for. I have an ever-increasing amount of respect for Lady Gaga to do what she does so well. She never stops her show. She lives her life as if she’s on a stage. Twelve straight hours of preparation later, for ONE photo just to TRY to be like her, and I was beat.

Step 1. MAKEUP (by Michèle Douglas)

Makeup Collage

BEFORE: 2:00pm Fresh-faced and ready to feel like a princess.

DURING: I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE getting my makeup done professionally (as does our friend, Lo) and this was no exception. Michèle used lots of purples in the shadows and blended and blended some more. She worked her magic, then put on some tiny individual fake lashes and BAM! I was a changed woman. Transformed. But only part of the way there…

Step 2. HAIR (by Sabel Shea (also did the hair for LPMB video and does all band members’ hair regularly, too) and Lawrence Yanez of

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Saints & Scissors – 1st Place in Hair Wars)

Hair Collage - T - Sabel Shea

BEFORE: 5:30pm My hair was clean, damp, limp and ready for some major sprucing up (Sabel is the go-to woman for the job!)

Hair Collage - T - Sabel Shea

Hair Collage - T - Sabel Shea

Hair Collage - T - Sabel Shea

PROCESS: Sabel and Lawrence had taken the two sketches I had drawn and combined them to form an initial design, then Sabel went to work. We used 2 packages of Yaki hair (think Barbie’s nylon hair) in slightly different colors for added dimension and wrapped them around a split section of a pool noodle, (lime green! – readily available at all times of the year in Arizona) spray-glued and bobby-pinned them and used a heat gun to shrink wrap the hair to the noodles. We added in the real hair extensions and assembled the noodles precariously to the side of my little head, then wrapped my hair around the noodles as well.  I might have made this process sound much simpler/easier than it actually was, but that’s because Sabel works magic :) However, I’ve never felt so many poking bobby pins or lopsided weight (I prefer cattywampus or discombobulated, but those sound too negative in this case) on my head in my life and I was glad I wasn’t wearing heels – I would’ve toppled right over! Side note: HUGE props to Mother Monster for wearing every hair extension, wig or inanimate object ever made by mankind on her head- all while wearing 10″ platforms and still dancing/singing/catwalking. Damn, woman!

Hair Collage - T- Sabel Shea

HAIR DID: Saints & Scissors is a kickass little salon in Scottsdale, AZ that has a the best of everything – music, staff, vibe, location, design and art. I even found the latest copy of Vogue – Best Dressed, where I happened to find my inspiration, herself – Lady Gaga (with pearls stuck to her face, hee hee.)

Step 3. PHOTOS (by Daniel Kongos – a Super Stereo favorite we have used many times for band photos)

BEFORE: 9:00pm First, I (with the help of my Lady J) had to secure Anya Melkozervona’s pointy-nailed collar around my neck (with a cute yellow ziptie – you can see it in the following raw photos poking out by my hair). Let me tell you, pain is beauty, my friends. I have no idea how Lady Gaga can look so natural and comfortable in the get-ups she wears. That’s probably why she mostly wears a leotard and no pants the rest of the time – pure comfort!

PROCESS: You will see the ideas we progressed through in the following video (set to the TABS Remix of Life Passed Me By – a free mp3 when you sign our mailing list!). I will let the video tell the story. I think our best idea was the apple and then Danny’s dog, Lulu, at a close second (please find my hints of sarcasm, haha).

Around the halfway point, Daniel sent a few examples to PM Nightly for feedback on my modeling faces (my face does weird things without me knowing about it – I really have little control!) and this was his first reply:

“You need to be more fierce and mysterious, Imagine you just shot up some H and killed your favorite cat.”  – PM Nightly

So I continued to struggle with my Gaga faces while being stabbed by the nails on the neck collar and my neck creaking from holding up my heavy hair-head. These instructions from PM Nightly to look strung out, mysterious, like my cat just died, ambivalent and fierce…all combined? Hmmph. Not as easy as it looks. I chose a select number of photos that I just had to show you below, some of which are obviously before PM’s advice (out of 400+):

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - Collage Fun1

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - CollageFun2

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - CollageFun3

SEMI-FINALISTS:

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - Finalists

WINNER (before/after editing):

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - Final - before-after-edit

Needless to say, Daniel also know how to work his magic, just like my ladies in waiting (Michèle, Sabel, Anya).

Step 4. T – TEAR DOWN

1:00am I finally get home and realize there’s still work left to do before I can crash!  I take out all 1,000 bobby pins and try not to rip any of my real hair out with the fake stuff. Then I use 5 washrags to take off the layers of makeup, work the glue out of individual fake lashes (I had to count how many I removed so I didn’t continue to pull out real lashes) and finally snuggle in my comfy sheets after a 45 minute process.

Super Stereo - T - Gaga - TearDown

So how does she do it? How does Lady Gaga spend every day of her life putting on shows like this? All I had to do was try to look decent for 1 out of 400 photos. She does this process EVERY DAY?!?! You must be kidding me. Um, WOW, she has the determination, drive, ambition and everything else you need to be this awesome. Now I finally have a taste of what it’s like, for one day, to be in her shoes* - replace shoes with neck collar or hair.

Lady Gaga never ceases to amaze me and the rest of the world. She is truly my greatest inspiration in what she stands for and values in life. I bet without her team of designers and artists all combining efforts to help make her who she is, she would still be a remarkable person. However, by involving and collaborating, they portray something super special with her image, fashion, music and messages, together.

I will make my mission, and Super Stereo’s mission, from this day forth, to become the equivalent of FIVE Lady Gagas! ARE YOU READY?!

A SUPER special THANK YOU to the artists who helped make this whole thing happen. You can view the final flyer/poster and the show event on our website HERE or on FACEBOOK.

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About the author

T has written 63 articles for Super Stereo

It's "T" time.

6 responses to "T's Photo Shoot – Becoming GAGA"

  1. Reply mom March 15, 2011 12:02 pm

    You are awesome and so was your story telling. Loved it and you!

    • Reply T March 15, 2011 12:59 pm

      Thanks mama! You’re always so supportive :) xoxo

  2. Reply Nicholas March 15, 2011 19:18 pm

    Haha, I love it: Becoming GAGA. aka. what random shit can I throw in front of the camera.

    You look beautiful, best of luck on your shows! See you soon!!

    • Reply T March 17, 2011 09:46 am

      Thanks, dear friend! I had so much fun being so random.

      Becoming GAGA. aka. what random shit can I wrap up in my hair or sew into a dress…

      See you at a show soon, N.G.!

  3. Reply julie March 23, 2011 10:23 am

    i did send a message when i saw this sooooooo beautiful and AMAZING , i would LOVE to have a hard copy of this to keep , thais an the pic bryon took with you in the hat in nyc… love andmiss you

    • Reply T March 23, 2011 10:49 am

      Ooh! Good idea, Julie! I should get some hard copies printed and send them to get you through your harsh Maine winter!!! xoxox miss you!

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