Alina Phillips: The creative spirit in front of the lens

Andrea Garrity by on September 8, 2015

Alina Phillips, who also goes by the moniker Thumbelina, at the young age of 20 has worked with reputable photographers Ryan Muirhead, Raul Gonzo, Nirav Patel, and Whitney Hayes, to name a few. Alina is an artist and her creative soul is evident when you look at her photographs. Alina has undertaken self-portraiture and is currently exploring a range of creative pursuits including acting, singing, and more. I was interested in hearing more from Alina and learning about what her experience has been like collaborating with photographers and other artists.  Alina’s goal is to create art and I believe that this 5’2’’ beauty will continue to do so. 

By Charles Hildreth

By Charles Hildreth

Meet Alina Phillips:

Alina Philips was born in North Carolina but spent much of her young life in Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Canada, and most recently in Portland, Oregon before moving to Northern California.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into modeling?

I started seriously modeling after moving to Portland in Sept 2013, I had done it a little bit when I lived in Canada but there weren’t many photographers where I was living. 

You work with a variety of different photographers, tell us about what that is like? Do the photographers approach you directly?

My favorite thing about modeling is meeting people, I’ve met so many unique and wonderful beings. Each of them approached me differently, but two things that everyone who I’ve ended up becoming friends with did was be professional and have a good sense of humor.

Favorite photo or shoot that you have been involved in?

I can’t choose a specific photo or shoot…My favorite experiences have been with people who are very artistic/talented and I know throughout the process that we’re creating something honest and beautiful. Or with people, like boyfriend Raul Gonzo, who go into it 100%- they have a solid concept, makeup/hair idea, and location (and it’s actually really good haha)!

By Raul Gonzo

Do you feel fulfilled creatively?

No. I don’t know how anyone can. But I especially don’t lately because I am tired of working with people who aren’t as experienced or creative as I am. And I’m just not really satisfied modeling,  sometimes it can feel like you’re an important piece to the final product but a lot of the time I feel totally replaceable.

Future projects that you would love to work on?

Short films. Elaborate shoots. Commercial work.

Long term goals?

To continue to love and learn, and to find the creative outlet that I enjoy best so I can put love and energy into that.

By Nirav Patel

Is there a photographer you haven’t worked with that you would like to?

Fabrice Mabillot, Myles Aldridge would be a dream, and I’m just going to throw out Tim Burton because what model doesn’t wish that. Also, I would like to work with Aneta Bartos. 

How do you approach each shoot, how to help to carry out the photographer and creative director’s vision?

I get a feel for what the photographer wants, which can usually be done just by knowing the photographers work or what the shoot is going to be like.  Then I try different styles of expression/mood/poses and take hints about what they want by how they react to each look.

What is the collaborative process with the photographer like?

It’s different for every photographer, some know exactly what they want down to the pose and expression, others have no idea.

Do you feel creatively challenged?

Yes and no. I’m trying to find new creative outlets and it’s more frustrating than challenging. The word “challenged” makes me think of being inspired, feeling a fire inside to push onward. I don’t feel that right now.

What has the move to California been like?

It’s been really good. I get to live with my amazing boyfriend in an interesting and new city. And I’m also being forced into a new chapter, I’m figuring out what I want and who I am. This is definitely a growth period for me and I love nothing more than growing.

What do you miss most about Portland?

I miss some very special people, the weather, the houses, and just the general feeling of Portland. Every city has it’s own vibe and Portland’s is really special.

Favorite food?

I don’t think I could choose! I love all food. Ethiopian was my favorite when I was a kid and I have nostalgia for it so maybe that.

What do you do when you are not out modeling?

Right now I’m doing very little modeling. I travel, read a lot, write, take classes (singing, improv, and acting right now and soon I’m going to be taking college classes online for fun), spend time with people I love, and try to get out of my comfort zone.

Learn more about Alina Phillips here or visit her blog here.

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