'Because of my profession as a fashion model, I have allowed my inner perception of my self-image and my perception of my outer image to bridge the real and the ideal. This brings my reality and fantasy life together in allowing me to be who I am.
My job requires a chameleon-like identity. It's allowed me to explore different dimensions of myself, as I'm asked to evoke different layers of personae. It has been very interesting to discover different aspects of myself.
As an 18 year old entering the fashion industry, it's true to say that I didn't necessarily feel a strong sense my femininity. Through my work, it was consequently easy to distance the obvious, girly identity without feeling compromised. Conversely, playing with my masculine persona has been empowering and also liberating.
Actually, by cutting my hair short and ditching the padded bras I felt a great sense of relief. Trying to be the 'ideal woman' aesthetically left me feeling trapped and unable to conform. In freeing myself from this aesthetic and confronting the fact that I would never represent those values, I gained my own identity and a stronger sense of self.'
Erin O'Connor, July 2003