Manzin is a unique individual if there ever was one. His gender bending model madness has appeared in print and online so much that it’ll make your eyes bleed. You know him, know of him, or have at least seen his face somewhere. We took the time to go in and see what makes this man tick.
How do you keep up with all the fans? Do you ever feel threatened by any?Admittedly it’s become a lot more difficult to keep up with people, fans and friends alike. Take Facebook, for example. I have profiles on most of the major networking sites and I really wanted a profile that I could keep just for my friends and the people who matter to me, but little by little it was infiltrated and I’m up over 1000 on there now. Maybe closing in on 1500 by the time this goes to press. This past week I was the featured member on VampireFreaks and the traffic over there skyrocketed as a direct result, I’ve had my hands full replying to all the messages from that. The number of people I interact with on a daily basis can be alternately enjoyable and overwhelming. Sometimes I welcome it, sometimes I avoid it. I’ve never felt like I was in serious danger from any of them, though. Granted there have been a few who have been a bit stifling and excessive with their attentions and I felt like they were definitely pushing some boundaries I wasn’t willing to let them cross. It’s difficult to gauge online where you stand with people, some seem to take my standard level of friendliness to be a genuine friendship and that never ends well. For them, I mean.
What magazines have you been in?I’ve been in BIZARRE, Gothic Beauty, American Gothique, Devolution Magazine, Auxiliary Magazine and Alt NOIR to date. Many more to come, I’m hoping. 2010 has been very generous so far and I intend to ride it out and use the momentum to make 2011 my bitch as well.
What was the turning point in your life?Personally my life hit the brakes when I first got ahold of Marilyn Manson, that first time I heard Sweet Dreams. The deeper I got into the band and the man and the messages in the music the more I felt empowered enough to grab the wheel and get everything on a track that worked for me. It was a long skid, ahaha. I spent a long, long time thinking there was a lot wrong with me. Not to say that there wasn’t, or even that what was wrong with me still isn’t an issue. But I was able to own it, to come to grips that maybe if other people felt the way I did, especially someone as beautiful and smart and dynamic and powerful as Manson, that maybe there was hope. Dressing like him was my way of cementing the bond I felt with him, photographing the results was my attempt at striking up a conversation with other fans, and it all came from that. The professional turning point came somewhere in there, when other people started to see what I was doing and wanted a piece of me for themselves. Then things really started cranking along once I started networking more. It’s been wild.
I know that you self shoot. How do get your shots dead on like that? What kind of equipment do you use??Getting everything just right is the product of a lot of work. 25% of that is researching the shot or the look that I want to terrifying levels, frame by frame screenshots at 200% magnification, keywords in search engines looking for just the right accessory, hours of driving from thrift store to craft store and back to find the right bases and trims. 25% is taking that information and actually doing things with it, setting up the light and getting the props that I want in there and tinkering for another hour with hair and makeup and everything. 25% is actually shooting it, with the mood music cranked and constant checks to the back of the camera and the laptop to be sure that I’m getting what I wanted to get, that I’m not missing anything important. And the last bit is all in post, correcting anything I might’ve left out, compensating for shitty lighting, healing up the inevitable giant zit that I’ll end up with the night before I want to do something important. Honestly I’ve started to get a little more lax when it comes to being Perfect. I’ve started to understand that while there’s a lot Manson’s done that is phenomenal, there’s a lot he either didn’t do or that we haven’t seen that I wished he’d show. So sometimes I’ll do shots that I wish he’d done. I just want to see it happen, if he won’t do it then I will. That kind of thing. Though I do have an absolutely huge project coming up in the next few months that I’ve been agonizing over since May, coordinating the designers and photographer, the other model, the whole thing. It’s definitely the biggest Manson-based project I’ve ever done and I’m very eager to see how it comes together. When I work by myself I use a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 though most of my back catalog was shot with a Fujifilm S5000. For lighting I use those full spectrum light bulbs to try to minimize the yellowness you get with normal bulbs, and I’ll throw them in a hanging work light or one of those reflective clamp lights. I’ve shot some with a giant blue floodlight. I also occasionally work with those small round peel n stick LED click lights. I’m in love with the ultra cool temperature of the lighting but not with the size, so I use them in threes and fours. Still looking for a better solution.
Have you ever received a gift that weirded you out?I’ve had quite a few gifts over the years, most of it art but several have been a bit questionable. A girl gave me an odd purple multi-speed bullet vibrator once. Granted I was sleeping with her but I thought it was an odd gift. Another girl who had a crush on me gave me two voodoo dolls. I still haven’t figured out if it’s safe to throw them away or not.
How do you stay in shape the way you do?I think I stay in the shape I’m in because I eat very frequently, I’m a lazy bastard who rarely does anything more physical than carry grocery bags up two flights of stairs, and I’m lucky that I can grab my ankles without hurting anything. I really ought to be taking better care of myself and I occasionally will get on a kick where I try to do a Pilates video every day or so, but laziness always wins out and I’m right back where I started.
What’s your favorite kind of music?I listen to a lot of different music. Manson, of course, above and beyond everything else but probably not nearly what you may have been led to believe. I love David Bowie, Depeche Mode, The Cure, old NIN, IAMX, Firewater, PIG, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra and Radiohead. I have albums by Babybird, Rob Dougan, Justin Timberlake, Zeromancer, Clan of Xymox and Placebo. The most recent band I discovered is Beats Antique and I also got ahold of about two dozen Ultra Lounge albums so I can get my swanky cha-cha on. After I’m done being a badass, of course.
For more amazing work by the one and only Manzin, feel free to check him out at Manzin.net