‘It’s the spirit and the style that attracts me…I wanna show HK what this really is. This is not a costume. It’s me.’
Natasha Noir is a Hong Kong-based rockabilly lover who began modelling at 16. She had a chat with Victory Lamour about her love of all things rockabilly and retro, her tattoos, the ups and downs of modelling life in Hong Kong, and how rockabilly style is, to date, still rare in her city.
What draws you to rockabilly and pin-up style?
It’s the spirit and the style that attracts me. I like how eye catching it is and I love it how the size doesn’t matter… No matter big or thick or tiny or skinny, you still can rock it. I saw the look on the internet. It was about 2 years ago. It’s different from all other people here [in Hong Kong].
I love the music. I got into all this pin-up thing because of music and the internet. I starting to like jazz, then jazz leaded me to electro swing, and that leads me to vintage style. Once I found out I’m attracted to vintage style I starting to dig deep, wanting to learn more about it. I started to dress like them and live like them, do their makeup and I found myself so happy about it, about myself being like this. I was mocked by some but kept going.
Rockabilly is not currently a well established scene or look in Hong Kong. Do you think that may change?
HK trends are all about Japan and Korea. I guess girls here are more shy and not bold enough to try something a little bit different. I think it’s about the culture and old school mind as well. Yes, in the far future maybe it’s gonna change at some point, but I don’t think I’ll live to see it unfortunately. It’s gonna be slow, I think.
What music do you like?
Parov Stelar, Tape Five, Caravan Palace – these 3 I love the most! Black Cotton Blues and Dixie Biscuit by Tape five and Catgroove, Booty Swing by Parov Stelar. If you have time make sure you check it out!
You said some clients won’t take you seriously because of your tattoos. Do models usually not have tattoos in Hong Kong? Are tattoos popular there? (I have quite a few…)
I used to work for the great tattoo artist who tattooed David Beckham’s Chinese tattoo on his ribs. While I was working there as a receptionist, I always got free tattoos by the tattoo artists. Back then I was still a kid and I wasn’t afraid to do anything, so I got whatever tattoo that looked pretty and cool to me. I guess they are all a reminder to show how crazy and carefree and reckless I was back when I was younger. Good times.
My first first tattoo is a tiny star size like a coin. I actually paid for that one, about $200 HKD, because I just wanted to experience the tattoo feeling and actually have a real tattoo instead of sharpie. *laughs* My favorite one is the lighting bolt on my left thigh with 3D studs on. But all my tattoos can be covered perfect by clothes even T-shirt and shorts because I still haven’t get my parents permission.
The model standard pisses me off. I can’t blame anyone but I think it’s too mainstream and commercial. No offence, but white people in HK are basically gods, which irritates me a little – like if you’re white you get all the good stuff, you even get more paid doing the same modeling job, cause what? Some have tattoos as well! But its okay ’cause they’re white.
The standards applied to white models and models of colour can be very different indeed. In modelling, there isn’t a lot of space given to women or colour.
I can’t say models here can’t have tattoos. You get what I’m saying? But of course if you don’t have any tattoos you’d definitely get way more chance to do modeling here. I don’t see why tattoos are such a big deal, seeing as all companies photoshop the pictures anyway.
Even walking down the street you’ll get weird stares. It’s so crazy. But tattoos are getting much more popular than before nowdays, which is good! People here really needs to change their point of view, but in the modelling industry I still don’t see anything changed yet. I can only get some jobs, by client who are usually white people. I appreciate that they appreciate us. It’s funny how local people are kissing foreigner’s ass, and how foreigners are actually liking us.
What are your plans for the future?
I wanna do what I like to do. I wanna be a pin-up model or maybe just simply an alternative model. I love being under the spotlight and I’m super comfortable in front of camera. It’s like I can finally get a chance to express myself in this mainstream HK society. I wanna go to the States or just anywhere that I can do what I want to do well. I heard Melbourne is pretty good too!
I just want to do what I love. I wanna show HK what this really is. This is not a costume. It’s me.
To contact Natasha Noir, check out her contact page.