Meet the lady who could travel the world on glit­ter

STYLE MAG­A­ZINE CHATS WITH THE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER BE­HIND THE WORLD­WIDE BODY GLIT­TER PHE­NOM­E­NON, JESS ILLICHMANN

Style Magazine - - Contents - BY JES­SICA KRAMER

“I could travel the world on glit­ter.”

Jess Illichmann makes this bold state­ment, sit­ting op­po­site me as glit­ter gen­tly drifts through the air.

Bet­ter known as al­ter­nate por­trait pho­tog­ra­pher Mad Dame, Jess is an eye-catch­ing fig­ure.

She in­sists on wear­ing her rain­bow-coloured uni­corn coat as we take her por­trait, mov­ing through the room with a nat­u­rally en­er­getic step.

“Glit­ter is some­thing people need,” Jess says. “It gets down into your soul.” Mad Dame is part of a “glit­ter rev­o­lu­tion”, where people cover them­selves in glit­ter for a pho­to­shoot.

Toowoomba pin-up mod­els Miss Di­a­mond Di­vine and Scar­lett Noir put the call out for the glit­ter sen­sa­tion to come to the Gar­den City and so, in late May, Jess ar­rived with glit­ter and cam­era in tow.

“It’s re­ally nice to be wel­comed for your art,” Jess says.

Jess has been syn­ony­mous with Mad Dame for more than half her life.

The name be­gan back in her mid-teen in­ter­net days us­ing MSN Mes­sen­ger, where her screen name was Madame (insert feel­ing here).

One day the word “Madame” was ac­ci­den­tally split into “Mad Dame” and the rest, as they say, was his­tory.

The artist has come to accept that Mad

“I don’t think I know of any­one who trav­els the world glit­ter­ing people for a job. MAD DAME, JESS ILLICHMANN

Dame and Jess Illichmann are in some re­spects one and the same, and to com­pletely ab­sorb her­self in the cre­ative process.

“You’ve just got to accept it’s come to you,” Jess says about creativ­ity. “It’s cho­sen me, and I’ve ac­cepted it.” Due to ex­pe­ri­ence, Jess be­lieves glit­ter can – and does – free or heal people.

“You’re drawn in by the pret­ti­ness and the sparkli­ness, but be­fore you know it you’re thrown into this self-love awak­en­ing,” she says,

“I’ve watched women heal them­selves of their anx­i­ety through these shoots.

“I get down to their level and talk to them and dis­tract them and glit­ter them, and then they feel amaz­ing.”

When the clients see their pho­tos, it’s as if they re­alise how beau­ti­ful they truly are, and it gives them a con­fi­dence boost.

Jess be­lieves part of the beauty of the glit­ter move­ment has to do with the re­cent tear­ing down of stereo­typ­i­cal model ap­pear­ances.

“People are re­al­is­ing you don’t need to air­brush, you just put things on like glit­ter or tat­toos and you’re your­self.”

The other part Jess loves about her job is help­ing people cel­e­brate mile­stones, like one lady who had just fin­ished che­mother­apy.

Mad Dame’s sparkly jour­ney be­gan back in Septem­ber 2012 – the be­gin­ning of a glit­ter rev­o­lu­tion.

Pre­vi­ously, Mad Dame’s por­traits had in­cluded body paint and body art as well as a lit­tle glit­ter, but noth­ing to this ex­tent.

In or­der to present it to the world “right”, Mad Dame kept the full-body glit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence a se­cret un­til the re­lease of a spe­cial glit­ter-themed edi­tion of her mag­a­zine Damed.

“I knew it was go­ing to take off,” Jess says.

“It was the first time the Aus­tralian mar­ket had seen any­thing like it.”

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