The Black Metal Barbie
The goal of this project is to ultimately open people’s minds. A lot of people form different opinions about others just from the way they look or the way they dress. The Black Metal Barbie and the gothic community as a whole is a perfect example. We want to show people that a first impression on someone, most of the time, is not the accurate representation of that person. We all fall into this. We see someone who looks different, or dresses unusually, and we automatically feel turned off by it. We sometimes don’t notice that what we see as “normal” is just one version of “normal.” As cliché as it sounds, everyone is different. As much as we all have been told this, do any of us really accept it? We sometimes forget that our reality might be someone’s complete fantasy. Stereotypes are something that won’t ever go away if we don’t allow ourselves to believe in a different reality, both for ourselves and for others. In this video, we show someone who is obviously different. But we go into who she is. We show both who the Black Metal Barbie is and who Zoie Campbell is. We want our viewers to see her for more than what they saw at first glance. We want to defeat negative stereotypes and demonstrate that no matter how different someone is, they are still just as normal.
In April of 2018, I received a Facebook message from a local model inquiring about possibly doing a collaborative shoot. As a photographer, a message like this comes as no new surprise, but when I looked through this model’s portfolio, I saw she wasn’t the average model. Her style was dark and edgy, which isn’t something you see very often in Arkansas. I did some research and found her Instagram. The first thing that popped out to me was the name of her Instagram account, “The Black Metal Barbie”. I remember wondering how she came up with something so creative and unique. As I kept scrolling through her Instagram, I could tell she was a natural model. Her posing didn’t look forced or unnatural. I decided to message her back with dates I was available and possible location ideas.
This shoot required me to step out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what to expect going into it. I didn’t know how she would act or let alone how I should act. Zoie wasn’t really what I had imagined. She seemed softer and gentler, while her pictures portrayed someone intimidating yet beautiful. Behind all the black attire and heavy makeup, she was a normal person.
After I published some of the photos on various social platforms, I received a mixture of positive and negative feedback. A lot of people found it strange that I would want to work with someone who dresses the way Zoie does. I felt slightly discouraged that these images were being torn down due to Zoie’s style. I saw this as an opportunity to try and show people what I saw. I hope that after watching this documentary, you are able to see that she isn’t really different from the rest of us.
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