Shifting between gears from being on the spotlight to the one behind the lens, ELLA MAI WEISSKAMP brings the fervency of female emotion front and center both in front of, and behind the camera.
Rarely do childhood dreams flourish into reality, but twenty-year-old Ella Mai Weisskamp manages to prove the cynics wrong with every photo. The natural beauty muses over her childhood, crediting her found passion for modeling to a young Ella eagerly browsing through her mom’s magazines and daydreaming about posing on the pages herself. “It’s all I can remember being passionate about. It was so normal for me to be locked in my room going through about 10 magazines a day, ripping out my favorite editorials” she recalls.
Fresh out of high school, Ella found herself falling in love with photography at first click. Unhappy with school and the measly retail job she took on, she eventually dropped everything to take a shot at her modeling full time. “It took me two years to get signed but it was worth all the hard work and patience” she says. GQ approved, she’s clearly ready to make a name for herself in the big leagues with her plump lips and smoldering stares seemingly ridden with stories waiting to be told from behind those curated photos.
“Modeling, when done right, is an art form.”
Ella, however, isn’t just an Aphrodite in front of the camera, as she also creates her own works of art from behind the scenes as a photographer. Her Instagram feed is a prime example of the trajectory she’s taking her photos, showcasing the rawness and vulnerability of the female form. “Truthfully girls and their ability to show emotion has always intrigued me” Ella explains. “I’ve always been a girls girl since I could remember, I think I’m just shooting what I want and that’s all there is to it. Maybe one day I’ll be inspired to shoot the male form, but as of now females are just so tender and inspiring.” With the advantage of dual pursuits tangent to one another in nature, Ella admits that she’s able to take her learnings from photography to better herself as a model. “I feel photography has taught me the most about modeling. I’ve learned that the best images are when you’re subject is at ease, so I apply that to myself as a model” she says, now undoubtedly living out her childhood fantasy and more.
“Truthfully girls and their ability to show emotion has always intrigued me.”
What or who were your influences that helped shape your passion?
Ella: The first model that spoke to me was Lara Stone, I remember at the time I had a gapped tooth and she made me feel so beautiful for having that. Kate moss has always been an inspiration for me as well; she’s effortless yet original and chic all at the same time. During my adolescence Abby Lee Kershaw was my all-time favorite. She was a huge fashion icon for me.
How would you describe your personal art direction?
E: My personal art direction is quite simple, I allow my subject to be as comfortable as possible, a small set of people that I work with continuously, and an easy idea that can be dressed up minimally. Whether that’s having a girl lay in a bath tub, hanging out at the park, laying on the floor in her apartment. I’ve always felt that simplicity is key. I like to get to the point with my subjects whilst having them dolled up in a comfortable setting.
What makes a photograph beautiful for you?
E: True emotion is what makes a photograph beautiful, the external beauty really doesn’t mean much to me. Genuine eye contact, eyes that can tell a story, maybe a story you can’t quite figure out, that’s beautiful to me.
Being in an industry that tends to be invasive, what are the challenges you’ve encountered? Despite it all, what do you love most about modeling?
E: I think the most challenging part for me was having someone understand my look as well as my body type. Having that one person see the potential in me was the hardest part. I’m lucky enough to now be signed in LA as well as NY. Modeling, when done right, is an art form. I love the challenges behind it all and I love being able to transform into many different characters or even alter egos. It’s a glamorous lifestyle with many bumps in the road, but that’s what keeps my job it exciting.
What comes next for you, Ella?
E: I’m leaving that up to destiny and the universe! I’m starting fresh with my photography and would like to start shooting for magazines, as well as campaigns. Modeling wise my goal is to land a cover, and of course a campaign! I’m very excited for my future and am intrigued to see where my path will take me. I hope to use my platform one day to have a voice for girls and show them that through hard work and determination you can get through anything, and achieve your wildest dreams.