Venus Envy

Venus Envy is a portrait series featuring people I meet who have a way of connecting, loving, and/or expressing beauty in ways that inspire me to do it better or come at it from an angle new to me. I will be featuring longer interviews with my subjects and more photo’s in the months ahead, but for now, here’s a taster:

Leslie Jordan

Scorpio Rising, Aries Venus sextile Mars in Gemini

I took these photographs of Leslie at his home in Los Angeles. Leslie is an Emmy award winning actor and writer currently touring the world performing his one man show detailing his love affairs with young straight men he’s known. It’s called “Cheese, My Love Affair with the Camera.”

“You know, I think we need to be surrounded by beauty ‘cause there’s so much ugliness in the world (laughs) there’s just so much ugliness in the world. My dream, my ultimate dream is to buy a pony farm. There’s an island of the coast of Virginia, Chincoteague Island, and they don’t know if a Spanish galleon sunk in the 1700’s or what, but these horses swam to this island and for 89 years the fire department has swum over and culled the herd and swims them to the mainland and gentles them and sells them at the big pony auction. But then people ride them and stuff and I want to return them to the wild, I want to buy land in Tennessee, and wherever and I want to have a pony farm (chuckles) with wild Chincoteague horses, they’re gorgeous!

Take something like that and return it to the wild – return things to the way they are. You know, leaving things, letting things be as they are.”

Alyce Bonura

Leo Venus opposite Saturn in Aquarius, Libra Rising

I took this photograph of Alyce for the book cover of her memoir, “Mother Rabbit” about her time as a den mother to Playboy Bunnies in the 1960’s. Alyce currently owns a thriving business as a tax accountant.

“I get up in the morning and I don’t want to go to work, I say, “Ok, I gotta go to work, and I say, first things first let me start something. I never let a day go by even if I don’t feel good. What’s that got to do with anything? (laughs) Anything? This morning I got up and I didn’t want to do anything and I wasn’t feeling that great, and I sat down and I figured it out and I said, “well, I better get going,” and I do. And then I do the whole day. I get by that. Every day I get by that. I can feel, “oh my god, somebody’s let me down, Oh my god look what’s happening, Oh this is a disaster, I want to go back to bed,” but I don’t. I just plod on.”

Mary Passmore

Scorpio Venus opposite Taurus Moon in the 10th house

I took this photo of my mother, Mary, sitting at the window watching the sun rise in the Himalayan mountains when she took me there in 2012.

“I’m very forceful, and bossy, but people sort of like that. (laughs) because people really like having someone who has an idea, “let’s do something!” with enthusiasm, which I have a lot of. Because I like engaging in the world in a whole lot of different ways. How I actually connect with people, is that we’re going to do something together, I’ve been a central figure in getting people to do stuff, you know, “let’s go to the ocean” in the middle of the night, and… (laughs) stuff like that, …I think I always was a core person for getting people to do things, because I’m a doer, I do stuff. I just really enjoy life.”

Lisa Shoemaker

Libra Venus in the 10th house

I took this photo of Lisa relaxing in the evening on vacation in Topanga Canyon. Lisa is a Singer and Actress currently starring in the Broadway hit “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

“When I think about what is beautiful it’s always nature, being amongst trees, being with nature makes me feel grounded and whole in a way that nothing else does. When I’m in the city for too long I don’t feel very grounded, I don’t feel very close to myself, my heart feels – you know, when I get into nature it just makes me feel, it’s just so beautiful in my mind, you know, being near the ocean, or being on a mountain top, there’s just something about that, because it’s made by God. Man made things can be very beautiful, but something that’s just, you know, imperfect, it’s the imperfections that make it so beautiful. No two trees are the same, no two waves are the same, and that’s what makes things beautiful.

Even though you can look at a person that has a perfectly symmetrical face and think that it’s beautiful, for me that’s not what I’m drawn to, even in people, it’s people with more quirky characteristics that I think are more interesting, but then I critique myself and want myself to be that idea of beautiful that it’s never going to be, but it’s like I can’t see my own imperfection as being beautiful, but that’s how I view others, which is very strange. I mean, I can also appreciate beautiful people that are societies idea of beautiful people, like models or actresses, I get it, but I don’t think it’s what I’m, like, when I’m just sitting on the subway in New York and I’m people watching, there’s so much beauty in people, who are unaware that they’re being watched and they’re just kind of being, I love that. I love watching people just being. You know what it is? It’s people that are authentic, people that are just true to themselves. I think the most unattractive thing to me is when someone is just trying too hard to be something.

It’s really unattractive. It’s a lesson. No matter how much you think you may be imperfect, it’s those imperfections that people find interesting and attractive in you.”