Monday, November 21, 2016

Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway

I had made plans to get together with Debra Rapoport while I was in New York, and she contacted me before I left home to say she had been asked by singer, songwriter, and recently, jewellery-maker, Jocelyn McKenzie to model some of McKenzie's jewellery for a photo shoot on the day we were going to get together.  She had mentioned to Jocelyn that I was coming to visit, and I was invited to  participate in the shoot as well.  Each time I visit New York, opportunities for new adventures present themselves and I make it a point to say YES to as many as possible.

Above is Jocelyn, wearing a hat she made at one of Debra's Rapoport's workshops.  On the table in front of her is the treasure trove of treats we were going to model.

The shoot took place at the Brooklyn home of Sonya Farrell, who was also our photographer.

Jocelyn styles Nicole for a photo

Nicole wearing the goldfish necklace, grapes necklace and giant skull earrings

I took this selfie, wearing the snake necklace and clacker earrings, while waiting for my turn in front of Sonya's camera.   Jocelyn let us pick the pieces we wanted to wear and provided some clothing (the denim jacket I'm wearing is hers) if we wanted to make a wardrobe change.  She and Sonya also provided snacks and beverages and the atmosphere was very relaxed.  The other models were enthusiastic and friendly, and the jewellery itself inspired us to play with different shapes and colour combinations.

I just love this photo of Jocelyn and Debra, captured as they were posing for Sonya.

Iyabo rocked the hell out of the Space Phaser necklace which went perfectly with her outfit.

Emily Hope Price,  a talented singer and musician, wearing the foozeball table necklace and giant circle earrings.

Jocelyn was one third of the indie-pop trio Pearl and the Beard ( with Emily Hope Price and Jeremy Styles). The band released their third and final album in 2015, and three of their songs were featured in Sally Field's recent film "Hello, My Name is Doris".   She recently released a solo E.P. and was holding a Songwriting Workshop in Brooklyn on the weekend.  McKenzie is totally adorable, with infectious positive energy and a saucy sense of humour;  I felt like she could have been my younger sister (we have the same taste in hair styles).

Debra working her magic in the snake necklace, "ribcage" necklace,  a clacker worn as a ring and stretchy rubber thingy earring.

Near the end of the shoot a couple of young men showed up who had been recruited by Jocelyn in hopes of getting some photos of guys wearing some of her pieces.  They seemed a bit bewildered by it all, and frankly, I think they were a little scared of the loud, quirky, (and in the case of Debra and me, much older) women they were asked to pose with.  Jocelyn asked one of them to put his arm around Debra, and you could just see the discomfort written across his face.  It probably didn't help that we were laughing and yelling encouragement - "pretend she's your grandmother".  That young man has no idea how many guys would love to put their arms around Debra.

The guys weren't the only ones who were uncomfortable.  The  other models had big, open-mouthed smiles and lovely straight white teeth (as you can see in the other photos), and I am very self-conscious about mine (they are very crooked, and one of my front teeth is dead so it is darker than the others), which is why you rarely see photos of me smiling with my mouth open.  Unfortunately, this means I can look pinched or as if I'm grimacing (see photo above of Jocelyn and I for evidence of this).   Jocelyn wanted us to laugh and be silly in some of the photos, and I expressed my discomfort to her about my teeth - she was encouraging and supportive, and in the end, I relaxed and laughed along with the rest of them.  I can't promise I won't be unhappy with some of the photos, but it was a "feel the fear and do it anyway" moments.

I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to meet and collaborate with Jocelyn.  One of the many things I admire about Debra Rapoport is that she is tremendously supportive of young artists, and social gatherings at her apartment always include people of all ages and backgrounds.  This mixing of young and old in social settings is not something you find often, especially where I live.   I have found in my visits to New York that there also seems to be a greater spirit of collaboration regardless of age, and the photo shoot was just one example of this.  It was a refreshing, and inspiring experience. 

How inspiring, you ask?

Enough that I put this photo of myself on my Instagram, teeth and all, wearing my new goldfish necklace (Jocelyn let us choose a couple of pieces of jewellery to take home).


  1. What a fabulous day - and I love your photo essay and goldfish! Glad to see you gave in to a big smile - you look terrific. xo

  2. What a great experience! I love that you did this.

    Also I have to say that is one of my favourite photos of you. We are always so critical of ourselves. You look great!


  3. I would have picked the goldfish too! I love that one! You look amazing, Shelley! I'm always self-conscious about my teeth, too. I have 2.5 fake ones in front that tend to be a different colour than the rest, depending on how much coffee/red wine I've had and how long it's been since my last dental cleaning. You have a beautiful smile and I would never have noticed your tooth if you hadn't said something (honest!) - it doesn't show at all in your picture. Thank you for this wonderful window in the NYC life!

  4. What fun! Those necklaces make my synthesiser one look positively tame.
    I love the snakes and the goldfish and agree with Suzanne and Sheila, you look absolutely ravishing in that last photo. Hey, I'm British, none of us have perfect teeth! xx

  5. First, I love that fab motto "feel fear and do it anyway", I would love to wear it on a t-shirt!. And second, there's nothing wrong in your smile, you look beautiful and happy! (I'm with Vix, we're europeans, none of us have perfect teeth!)
    Obviously, all those pieces look amazing and colorful and adorable!, and fabulous people having fun together and supporting a young creator, well, that sounds like heaven!

  6. I know about the self consciousness. With me it is my hair. And my teeth I had bleeched two years ago because they were so brown compared to my white-toothed friends sitting next to me. But bleeching is something I am very careful with. Once every four years at the utmost. After all it is vanity.
    I think your smile is so much better than a grimace. We (the readers) don't see anything wrong with your teeth, we just see this lovely charming friendly woman. With fish around her neck haha. Just kidding. I love the necklace. So quirky. Glad to see you wore the shorts ��.

  7. What a fun time you all had! Great post, thanks, Shelley.xx

  8. What a wonderful adventure with Debra! Love the jewelry, the photos and your story. The image of you laughing is priceless and joyful. Brava for feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Very inspirational!

  9. So lucky you, Shelley. And the goldfishes are the best! As well as your fearless smile. Or I should say feeling the fear and doing it anyway smile. It's the things other people don't even think of, that gets us caught up, isn't it? Kudos to you, girl.

  10. Please smile like that always. You are beautiful!