Interview with model Flo Lacey
Q: Can you describe how each prosthetic changed how you felt - did you feel as if you were becoming a different character, or did you still feel like yourself?
A: Maybe it’s distance, but I think that I still felt like myself. I enjoyed the theatre of the prosthetics and recognised them as costume, but I wouldn’t say they altered the way I moved. Each of the pieces was modelled from my own lips, ear, nose, despite the obvious exaggeration, and their surreal nature. I found it fascinating to see how they came up in Fleur’s shots though, how I was at once recognisable but not.
Perhaps my movement and feelings would have been different if I’d attempted more mundane, day-to-day activities without an entourage or a camera. I wonder if walking to work or getting a drink with an enlarged nose would make me feel more like a different character, more self-conscious or aware.
For me, the Ear was the most uncanny, but also the least intrusive. I say this in that it altered the map of my face the least. Almost impish, it was still the easiest to forget. In terms of beauty standards, ears are surely less of a preoccupation or insecurity for most. For me, when I think about my physical identity, my ears come into the picture less, they are easier to hide, too. The enlargement on the ear felt less like it could physically be my appearance. It was startlingly enlarged, even with Magda’s ability to make it look so like my own.
The lips that Magda created, and how I felt with them on, come into discourse more with physical augmentation and identity. Lip jobs and fillers are common, accepted, and accessible. You can get a quick injection at the dentist, on a 40-minute lunch break. Of course, my “new” lips took this to the extreme. They mimic a botched job, a grasp at a false ideal that has gone wrong and passed from “beauty” into the grotesque. They are swollen, and almost comic, in their spread. Despite this, they appealed to my vanity most of the three. Instagram filters allow a person to try on augmented faces, and celebrity culture has meant that many see this as a beauty ideal. Ultimately, it’s a trend which I suppose will fall out of favour. Still, for many, it causes an itch, an appeal. So I guess in a sense they did change how I felt, I leant into their extremity and absurdity, the set pout.
On the flip side, the nose is so far from a beauty ideal. It felt the most comic, and absurd. I’d be much less willing to wear it for a day, enact my life, with it on. I can question why, a little. Maybe it’s the goofiness, the sheer and clear exaggeration. The fact that though it is much larger, it’s still my nose, taken out of context then placed back into it.
Q: If it changed the way you moved and interacted with others, and if it did how?
A: The only thing that I can pinpoint is the mouth’s inhibition of speech – although I know this isn’t so much what is being asked. The prosthetics certainly had an effect on my movement and interactions, but so did the styling which I think worked to draw out each of the pieces.