Caoimhe Lionheart, through this podium I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to know you more.
Debby Sharma: Tell us something about Lil Cao. How much is she similar to the real life Cao?
Caomihe Lionheart: My Lil Cao is very similar to the real life me, I am her, she is me and we are we. We are both solitary in nature, bookish and a little gawkish, we have a love of art, writing and creativity. Throw in to the mix a little bit of fashion and our color palate is almost complete.
Debby Sharma: Who are your inspirations in styling and what inspires you?
Caomihe Lionheart: I un-repentantly don’t really have any particular “who” whom inspires me, a lot of designers seem to mimic one another these days. (please come back Alexander McQueen) But me and Cao love colors you can taste and smell, the orange of a citrusy orange, buttery yellow, chocolate brown, the passion of a cinnamon red, the downy soft airy-ness of blue. We adore playful shapes in virtual clothes, a skirt that looks like a drop of fondant on a cake, or shirts made of cubes. Those types of outlandish outfits that cause you to hold your breath and ponder their unique brilliance in a mundane world and make you wonder how you ever lived without them before!
Photograph Credits: Caoimhe Lionheart
Debby Sharma: With what mind set do you start writing? Do you picture the theme before hand or does it just flows by?
Caomihe Lionheart: It depends, often I draw from experience those around me or I am having at a particular moment in time. Though, when I am stuck for ideas, I sometimes play “dictionary.” Do you ever play? Visualize taking this really huge dictionary of all the words in the world. Close your eyes, lovingly stroke the page, where your finger stops is the word you blog that day. I find it mad about of fun. Here is a time I played this way. And from one or two words, my madness of being in love with words flows from my heart to “paper.”
Debby Sharma: Your photographs are simple and yet speak louder than words. Would you like to share your windlight settings with us or may be a short tutorial?
Caomihe Lionheart: I am a poor excuse for a photographer, in all honesty. I seldom do more than crop and upload, so I’ve not really any sorts of photoshop skills to linger on. My biggest “grief” in Second Life is it just seems to consume so much time. I typically use white backgrounds for two reasons. First is the selfishness of time. I find I prefer to wander outdoors in the real world far more than I want to wander the virtual planet, so staying on my platform in the heavens is perhaps my wisest practice for my sanity. The second is because I truly don’t want to be the subject of the photograph. SL clothes are such works of art in themselves; it’s like wearing a Picasso! You put on an item that some other artist has created and you get to showcase its beauty. I think of my pics as more pictures of statuary more than pictures of a retired Second Life Model wearing clothes. As to windlights, I love the Strawberry Singh ones, and I use so many of the windlights that are available in the Ctrl-Alt-Studio viewer. My one modification is I always adjust the “time of day” setting and the sun’s angle until I find the sun hits just right or the shadows create their own interest.
Debby Sharma: Do you use Lumi Pro? What are your thoughts on this add on device?
Caomihe Lionheart: I do happen to use the Lumi-pro though I am probably not a great advocate for it. I use it every single time to adjust the eyes, but that hardly makes the price practical and I think there are much cheaper products available for holding the eyes. It is a phenomenal product for shots that require studio lighting. I love a night windlight with the Lumipro lamps, so if a user is going to be a study of virtual world photography, I would highly recommend it, if a person is just taking photos about the world, I think using windlights is certainly enough, and using the Ctrl-Alt-Studio viewer’s Camera tools leads to professional quality prints, with practice, and it’s free.
Photograph Credits: Caoimhe Lionheart
Debby Sharma: We see a little cow in the bottom of your pictures often. What’s the story?
Caomihe Lionheart: It’s no secret my name is a bit of a booger to say. Add the mix to people who speak other languages and I imagine it can be a nightmare. Although my name is Caoimhe (kee-vah), which is gaelic for “gentle, beautiful, precious.” Early on, to make it easier to type in chat, someone shortened my name to Cao (cho). But, well, I’m pretty sure quite a few would write Cao and in their head they heard Cow. For a fashion model, I’ve always been short, probably only 6’5” or so and in a world of 7’plus models I’m a scrawny little thing. So somewhere along the way I just became known as the Lil Cao (cow).
Debby Sharma: In an interview with SL Enquirer, you said, you like outfits with “3 dimensional with unusual shapes, quirky-ness or outlandishly different”. Most people have a little difficulty styling them, how is it a cup of tea for you?
Caomihe Lionheart: I’m not sure I would say they are ALL a “cup of Tea” but for the most part I love to dabble in the different. The thing about creating a look from a 3 dimensional outfit is to recall that less is always more and the only focal point should be the outfit itself. These outfits seldom act as “building blocks” to a style; they usually are the only block. Most of the time if you take a quirky outfit and add wild hair and jewelry; you tend to look like a hot mess when you are done. But if you take the same outfit and wear minimal hair and makeup, and no jewelry, you find you’ve created the eye-catching style.
Photograph Credits: Caoimhe Lionheart
Debby Sharma: Do you make it a point to shop at the fairs in Second Life?
Caomihe Lionheart: I actually don’t, by the time I can get into these lag-fests most items have been seen by half the world. If something is really cool though, I’ve often waited until near the end of the event, purchased the item, tucked it into inventory in a “must try” folder and bring it back out about a year later. In reality, I try to make a point to not shop a’tall but that makes for a boring blogger. For the most part, I am probably a blog shopper. I look at others blogs and if I see an outfit, or more likely a part of an outfit, I write the name down and where it’s from and go specifically for the one item to try with something else. For some reason, my mind doesn’t see an entire look but instantly breaks it apart into its segments. Sadly though, with the advent of mesh, this is becoming harder and harder to do because a lot of outfits no longer have “attachments” but are sold in one un-editable piece.
Debby Sharma: Do you visit other virtual worlds? If so, which are they and what do you do there?
Caomihe Lionheart: A friend once asked me to, but no I never have. I truly don’t wander about in any virtual world for very long but Second Life has all of the world I need.
Debby Sharma: If you were given 5 minutes to think of a new styling outfit, what would you wear? Could you share a picture too.
Caomihe Lionheart: It generally takes me about five minutes to style any picture for my blog, if, I have them items in my inventory. Which takes me back to my list and pieces and parts from other blogs; I usually have all the elements to a style in my head (or on the paper) before I begin to style. Although this isn’t one of my best pictures, it definitely shows what I mean. Before I logged in Second Life, I saw these bracelets and the chest piece (.aisling.) from the “We <3 Role Play” event, on another bloggers blog. It struck a chord in me because I remembered seeing the Dragon Pauldrons from ie QED on another friends blog a few weeks earlier. Since everyone was blogging the “We <3 Role Play” in the obvious way (as role play) I decided to blog it as Couture. But for some of the more detailed styles I’ve done, like for Miss Virtual World or the fantasy pictures Skip Staheli creates for me, it can often take a week or two of steady styling to create because there is a lot of studying, prim editing and shopping to find the perfect elements.