A nude model and a linguist Roslyn Fuller is a very unusual writer indeed. She tells Hot Press why the Irish need to loosen up.
Perhaps we Irish aren’t as liberated as we’d like to imagine ourselves. That’s the only logical conclusion to be drawn from a conversation with novelist, PhD student and nude model Roslyn Fuller, who insists that most, if not all, of the nude models working here are actually foreign nationals!
In fact, there appears to be less than a dozen nude ‘art’ models here, and they are predominantly of Eastern European extraction. Apart from being a published author, the Canadian-born Fuller, presents a show on an internet radio station and – to paraphrase James Bond – is a ‘cunning linguist’ who passed the First Bar Exams in Germany!
“A lot of people see me and they don’t realise that I have a brain at all! Growing up, I was always perceived as the smart one, so it’s funny how suddenly you go from being the smart one to the sexy one! You can be both of course! So far, there has been no reaction to my modelling in Trinity because I don’t think they know! But I think they’ll find out now after this appears in Hot Press!” she laughs.
Roslyn, who moved to Ireland two years ago after almost seven years in Germany, reckons one of the reasons why she is so in demand as a nude model here is because Irish women are simply too inhibited for this line of work.
“There are maybe between five and ten people who do nude modelling in Ireland ,”she says. “I think I’m probably the most popular because partly there are few, if any, Irish girls who will do it as they’re afraid of friends and neighbours seeing them naked in a photograph.
“People presume I’m a little bit of a slut because I do nude modelling,” she adds. “Irish people are very prudish on the surface, but not underneath it – probably less so than Germans or Austrians who are very open on the surface but, in the end, they take things a lot more seriously. To be honest, everyone should try it because, I think, a lot of people have a really bad perception of how they look. They think they look terrible but they don’t, they just haven’t been photographed by a really good photographer.”
Roslyn is critical of what the late Katy French once described in Hot Press as ‘dolly bird’ modelling syndrome in this country. When asked for her thoughts on Irish models parading around in bikinis for photoshoots, Roslyn states: “It looks so ’50s! It reminds me of a game show or something. When I came here I saw models in magazines and, I thought, ‘Good Lord! They don’t have any ability for expression’. I’m more into art than commercials really – obviously to do commercial you have to be pushing a product and I’m not precisely a huge fan of rampant consumerism, anyway. I like to make really good photos.
“Also, there are some people who do nude modelling that think all you have to do is strip off naked – but that’s just the beginning. You have to be able to express yourself in the photo. And you have to be able to do it at a drop of a dime, even if you are feeling really awful about yourself. You have to understand what people find sexy and communicate that. That’s what a photo is about – it should say something to the viewer. It’s not just a naked chick – that’s just porn.”
Speaking of porn, has she ever done it?
“Sure, people ask me to do porn, but I just tell them, ‘No, thank you!’” she reveals. “You do get what you the Irish call ‘dirty old men’ emailing, pretending to be photographers, but you can just tell by the way they’re talking that they don’t know what they’re talking about. I just try to be polite and say, ‘Thank you, but I’m very busy right now’. While I would never do porn, I’d like the chance to have some hot pictures in a high-circulation mag. Girlie, not-girlie, whatever. Hot picture of me, that’s the bottom line. I wouldn’t be completely averse to it. It would depend on how you’re portrayed. Are you really just portrayed as a total sex object of some replaceable bimbo with breast implants? Or are you more of a person? You can be a sex object or a sex subject – they are two different things.”
At 5ft 2”, Roslyn is small: she’d struggle to find work in the fashion industry.
“My height goes against me big time,” she complains. “There really is height discrimination. It really ticks me off. I always get the reaction, ‘I thought you’d be taller!’ It just seems so stupid to me. Why do you have to be tall? I understand you have to be tall for fashion modelling, because designers cut their clothes that way. For anything else – who cares?”
Roslyn’s debut novel Isak, which received positive reviews on its release in Canada and Germany in 2006, dealt with the issue of international terrorism in a futuristic setting. She is currently working on her second novel, Frustration of Line, which deals with the issue of hedonism and non-conformism from a female perspective.
“I maybe shouldn’t say that my character in Frustration of Line is a slut, but rather that she’s very independent in a sexual way. I personally think that feminism has experienced some reversals in the last decade or so – you only need to look at the copious amounts of chicklit with which women stultify their brains and the overemphasis on alleged ‘glamour’ to see this. Not that there’s anything wrong with being glamorous, but you should do it to please yourself and not anyone else, least of all some guy. It’s better to have people’s respect than their approval.”
While working on her new book, Roslyn has spent a lot of time pondering sex.
“The only real turn-on in life is passion. Nothing else matters and anyone who tells you otherwise is a poser. In my humble opinion, so long as you have some sort of genuine relationship with whoever you are fucking, and they are a fairly trustworthy person – i.e. not selfish and not a backstabber – and you’re both making an effort, then it can’t go wrong,” she reveals.
“Like, you can read what a person is thinking from their face – by the same token, it’s not hard to figure out their body once you’re screwing. I find that it’s best in life just not to bother with expectations or have any hard and fast ideas of what you like or don’t like (in bed). Fucking obviously depends on who you’re fucking – so whatever you like or don’t like, or whatever, is going to depend on the relationship you have with whoever you’re screwing. It follows from that, not the other way around. And I’ve never had to fake an orgasm in my life. That’s all I have to say. Far from it. So my philosophy has served me well.”
Roslyn is a member of the Irish Writers’ Exchange group who meet every second Tuesday evening at the Gresham Hotel. Coincidentally, all members are a cosmopolitan bunch of ex-pat females residing in Dublin.
“We don’t mean to be a group of immigrants or just women, so if there are any Irish people out there – especially any Irish guys – some of our members would be particularly interested in you! We basically got together to support each other in our writing.
“A lot of our writing is quite different than what a lot of Irish people would write,” she says. “Probably a lot more alternative and a lot more controversial.”
Roslyn Fuller is giving a workshop on self-publishing at the Irish Writers’ Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, on March 14 between 10am and 4pm. Tickets cost €70 per person. For booking contact the Irish Writers’ Centre: Tel. 01-872-1302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on her modelling log onto her website:
www.roslynfuller.com. For more on the Irish Writers Exchange see:
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