Photography: Bex Day
Bex Day: We first met when I was living in New York two years ago, how do you feel your career has developed since then?
Sarah Abney: At that time, I was a new face so I was testing a lot and getting a grasp of the industry. Within those two years, I’ve been able to travel, see the world, and work with some of the greatest people in fashion and help see their creations come to life. I feel very grateful for all the experiences and opportunities I’ve had.
BD: Who’s been the most inspiring person you’ve shot with?
SA: That’s a really hard question to answer! There have been so many inspiring people, but one of my recent jobs was working with John Galliano at the Maison Margiela Spring/Summer Couture show. He’s brilliant! His clothes say it all. He’s never afraid to step outside the box and create something unique and powerful.
BD: What was he like as a person?
SA: I met him during my fitting and he looked me straight in the eye and shook my hand. His eyes were kind. He was very genuine and had such good energy about him. I really loved working with him and his team.
BD: What do you think of photographer / model relationships – do you think there needs to be a ‘vibe’ to create something great?
SA: Definitely! It’s a weird thing, and something I usually feel immediately when I step in front of the camera. When the chemistry is there between the two of us, I feel as if I’m almost dancing with my body. There’s very little spoken between us, we both just have an understanding of what the other wants. I enjoy getting into character and expressing myself through clothes, through movement, and my body. It can be very therapeutic at times when the connection is there.
BD: How did you feel when we shot this?
SA: I felt it was a very spontaneous shoot. It was unplanned but we both wanted to create something unusual that day. As soon as we started, I felt the vibe of the shoot. You directed me and I followed your lead and it felt fluid and smooth. I love working with you because you let me be weird and step out of my comfort zone.
BD: How do you think this shoot differs from the first one we did two years ago?
SA: The first shoot was spontaneous too. I remember I was sick all day in bed and my agent called me last minute asking if I’d like to do a shoot. It was a night shoot, I remember it was the middle of winter and I kept having to blow my nose, we just rolled with it! The shoot two years ago felt more ‘fashion’ because we had a stylist on set. But for this shoot we literally took your bed sheet off your bed and did whatever. There was no pressure of getting seven looks shot in four hours as is often the case. But, that feeling of chemistry and spontaneity – that’s always been there since day one.
BD: What would you have done if you weren’t modelling?
SA: Something creative. I think I would be pursuing music and film.
BD: Your Instagram videos are incredible, very surreal – what’s the inspiration behind them?
SA: I am a very visual person so anything that catches my eye as strange, unconventional and eerie immediately draws me in. Do you enjoy watching films?
BD: My parents never really watched films with me when I was growing up so I feel like a bit of an alien in that respect, but since starting photography I have started to watch more and more films for inspiration, they are so important for artistic process I think. I recently watched Almodovar’s new film Julieta which I thought was very good, have you seen it?
SA: I haven’t – I love films but unfortunately never have the time to watch them as much as I would like to. I recently saw the documentary One More Time With Feeling which is about Nick Cave and the passing of his son. It was so heavy and emotional – I would really recommend it.
BD: You are djing more and more, and I wanted to ask what it’s like? Do you think it’s important to have a variety of jobs rather than just solely relying on modelling?
SA: Yes, I think its unhealthy with anything to solely focus on one thing. Modelling is my job, but then I have other interests that mentally stimulate me. Djing is fun, I love discovering music and making playlists. I enjoy setting the mood for the night. Modelling isn’t a forever thing so, I think it’s important to explore and discover what else is out there.
BD: So how did you get into djing?
SA: I’ve always loved sharing music mixes with friends and wanted to learn so I reached out to my friend, Dave, who plays a lot of music and he taught me how to use the equipment.
BD: So these photos are for PYLOT which is a non-retouched publication – what are your thoughts on beauty retouching?
SA: I believe magazines such as PYLOT realise that beauty and appeal lay in an individual’s uniqueness and not some unrealistic cliché. Perfection is a myth and it’s those little imperfections that create character, identity and interest.
BD: You’re from San Francisco originally, how do you find being based in New York?
SA: With all of its opportunities and excitement, New York is a great place to be in your twenties. However, the boiling summers and freezing winters are a challenge, as are the tiny, overpriced apartments and fetid sidewalks. I fantasise about living and modelling in London which I feel offers the best of San Francisco and New York, plus great architecture and innovative fashion.