For the 2016 Pirelli Calendar, Annie Leibovitz chose to photograph women whose achievements demonstrate a different kind of beauty from what the calendar has traditionally showcased. I'm still shocked to be included among so many people who've long influenced not just my work, but how I see the world, and try to see myself.
Annie photographed me one year earlier in the pink velvet dress I'd originally bought for prom, in my parents' backyard. At that time, it was still my backyard, too, and had functioned since I was a little kid as a personal photo studio, study, and consistent reminder that I was bigger than I had been the year before, and the year before that, and that this would only keep happening. (I'm still v short, but: relatively speaking.) It was where I learned that as your childhood shrinks around you, so will your sense of wonder, unless you choose to pay close attention to what surrounds you at new heights.
When Annie shot me for Pirelli, we were just a few blocks from my new home in NYC. A lot happens in that first year, and not knowing the geography of the city makes every encounter feel totally isolated from the rest of the world, like a castle on a cloud. At the time of this shoot, I was parsing what in this year had seemed significant just because it was new, and then what was enriching. I was exhausted by the sheen, and desperate to develop a kind of discernment which would make me so healthy, so OK with myself, that genuine wonder would return--gravitation towards stuff that isn't just shiny, but illuminates the same sorts of truths I'd learned as a fan of Patti, Yoko, and other women who happen to be in this calendar, too.
I decided to cut my hair on the shoot, rid myself of any excess. Annie made me feel completely comfortable, like I was the same person as the year before, but indeed older. Again, still very physically short. My foot is peeking out of that shoe.
I urge you to look at the other portraits, all so stunning, bold & nearly impossible to turn away from. They are strongest as a group, but I wanted to share what mine means to me and thank you for following what I do in such a way that has allowed for this to happen.