(l. to r.) Michael James Schneider, Michelle Lesniak Franklin. Photo and mask construction by Summer Olsson, digital artistry by Tucker Cullinan.
Do what you love. Be brave. Take a chance.
These are all things I’ve talked about often on this blog, since my decision to take an artistic sabbatical and share the journey with others. Recently, I met someone else who took a similar leap: Michelle Lesniak-Franklin, winner of Season 11 of Project Runway (yup, it was her I was writing about at the end of this previous post). You’ll remember her personal style and razor-sharp wit, and probably her obsession with wolves, too.
I met the Portland native at her studio this week to chat, and she was just as funny, tough, and candid as she appeared to be on the show. She was also game for a photo shoot in Portland’s Japanese Gardens, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic, “Princess Mononoke”.
BLCKSMTH: You were excited when I brought up the “Princess Mononoke” concept of the photo shoot, are you a fan of Miyazaki?
Michelle Lesniak-Franklin: I am, definitely!
Explain a little bit of the wolf obsession, please.
At the time of being on the show, you’re alone during filming, and you don’t have your friends and family there. You don’t have your support system for weeks and weeks, and you’re cut off from the world. I felt, too, that my garments weren’t being received very well. Not having the fashion background, it started making me think, “Oh, I’m not good at this, no one will like my aesthetic, it’s not supposed to be out there in the world.” It started getting me down, and I felt like “You can’t be in this dark space, think of a power animal, put yourself into an animal that can survive through all odds.” And it was the wolf. And I ended up being pretty dangerous for the other people. Continue reading