"I came up with this concept as I believe the obstacles in life only strengthen us.
Before becoming disabled I was an elementary teacher and middle and high school cross country and track coach. I did this for 8yrs. I still long for the days of being able to work 40hrs a week. It’s been 15+ yrs since I have had a single day without any pain. No matter how long it has been, no one really gets used to living life in a daily battle. Fibromyalgia may have taken away one of my greatest passions of teaching and coaching, but it also gave me new passions. It gave me a passion for connecting with others suffering with rare conditions and invisible illness. It also renewed my passion for art and being creative.
I know many people with a largely invisible disability can relate to feeling like you just want to die and give up on life; while at the same time appreciating the smallest things in life and tiny moments that bring a distraction from the daily battle. Many people with chronic pain either contemplate or attempt suicide as a solution to escape the constant physical pain. I am no different. The thing that kept me going was connecting with others like myself and realizing that I am not alone. Thank you to those brave souls that have shared their story with me."
Happy to have you here, Harley. Tell us your story, how did you get started modeling and where is your home at the moment?
I got started in modeling just under a year ago as an outlet for my creativity. I have most enjoyed coming up with creative concepts and making my own costumes. Modeling has been a great medicine for helping me cope with my disability (Fibromyalgia among a few other things).
Tell us more about yourself. What else do you do next to modeling?
Besides modeling; I am an artist in many ways.I make costumes/outfits, do creative directing, and can paint and draw. I also really enjoy dancing.
What do you love most about being a model? And, what do you least enjoy?
I most enjoy coming up with creative concepts for modeling. I least enjoy all the time and money put into getting “dolled up” for the camera.
What is the most challenging being a model?
The most challenging thing about being a model is the disgusting amount of predatory photographers and scammers. One really has to do their research, check the blacklist, and bring a friend when possible. Even still, bad things can happen and it’s a risk that is more prevalent in this industry.
If you could change something in the modeling world, what would it be?
Making it safer. We need to stop rape culture ideas and support victims. I would encourage anyone to report unprofessional photographers to the blacklist and share that blacklist with other models.
What fuels your imagination and provides you with inspiration?
A lot of inspiration comes from movies and music videos, other models, and nature.
What keeps you excited about life in general?
My drive to become a creative director.
Looking back how has modeling experience changed your personal/professional life? Have you grown more comfortable with yourself since you have started?
Before modeling, I would’ve never sent a photo of myself in lingerie to anyone. Now I have done more boudoir and nude modeling, I have found it to be extremely liberating. I no longer care what people think.
What kind of life would you like to have?
One with less pain from my chronic illness and surrounded by people that support and understand me.
What are the achievements you are proud of most of today?
I am most proud of the costumes I have made. I have had zero lessons and I just keep persevering until I figure it out.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
Readers can find me most active on Instagram at: Instagram.com/missharleypeach
Creative Director/Model/Fashion Designer/Makeup Artist/Retoucher: Harley Peach @missharleypeach Photographer: @me.greedy