From spell in prison to model professional
Twisted Angel is covered in tattoos and body piercings and has half of her head shaved — she’s working on a horror-themed calendar.
The British model’s look is typical for Bermudian Seven Philpott’s agency, Geminii Ltd.
He started the Shropshire company five years ago, two years after he left the island for the United Kingdom.
“I always refer to my girls as rock stars,” the 36-year-old said. “I know that sounds really cliché, but they are all kooky and weird like me.”
The former rapper got interested in the business while involved in the music scene here.
“I needed a photographer to help me with models for album covers,” he said. “Voorhees Joell Jr got me to step in front of the camera a few times. He said I was a natural at it. I did some model scouting work for another photographer, Bryant Richards Jr of Geminii Photography. The first name of my company is really an ode to him, and a thanks for helping me out.”
Twenty-two people are involved with Geminii, a mixture of models, photographers, make-up artists and hairstylists.
“We are like a really weird family,” Mr Philpott said. “We have a lot of fun together.
“We’ve had girls wear bikinis walking through a very conservative village. We held up flyers with our contact information on it. We’ve been kicked out of places.
“Our biggest success is the fact that I have caught the attention of certain people through Facebook and Instagram.”
Alternative models struggled to find work in the past. Mr Philpott places his with amateur photographers and various companies.
“There are different levels of modelling,” he said. “Sometimes someone will just want to photograph a model’s hands, for example.
“It’s not as difficult as it used to be. With new Photoshop techniques, make-up and new latex skins, an alternative model can be transformed if need be.
“It’s all about their body of work or the agent representing them.”
The most difficult thing about running the business for him has been learning to be competitive and understanding the industry.
“Everyone does things differently,” he said. “It has been about finding the right formula.”
Most of his models are women. He does take on more traditional models, but only if they have a unique look.
“Our model, Sarah, is not alternative but she has an extremely toned body,” he said. “I’m talking six-pack abs, long legs and neck. And then Katie looks like a sweet innocent girl next door but her blue eyes are so haunting they just draw you in.
“It’s more difficult to work with men, believe it or not. They have a lot more baggage. If they’re not trying to hook-up with the other models they have mates who show up to photo shoots.”
He met Twisted Angel at a party and had to work hard to sign her.
“It was just our schedules were both busy,” he said. “And she’s a published model; she’s appeared in publications such as the Daily Mail.”
He prefers working with models that are “kooky and weird” because he’s a bit of that himself.
“I have bipolar disorder,” he said. “Sometimes in a manic phase I’ll work all night.
“The girls I work with aren’t surprised anymore to get an e-mail from me at 2am.
“But then sometimes I crash. My bipolar disorder makes me talk loudly or really quickly at times, and I do random impulsive stuff.
“My models are weird too. Twisted Angel, for example, likes dark things and weird shoots. She likes to be naked and she is a hunter. I mean, she’s a real hunter. She likes to go hunting with her dogs.”
Mr Philpott had a rough childhood. He left Bermuda in 2010 looking for a better life.
“I wasn’t really sad to leave,” he said. “I always felt weird in Bermuda, and Bermuda didn’t really do weird.
“I lost my mom a few days before my ninth or tenth birthday, I was raised by my uncle and my grandmother.”
In his early 20s he moved to California. He became part of a north California gang and started selling drugs.
“Everything went well for about a month, and then I learnt it’s survival of the fittest,” he said. “I thought I was a badass, but it turns out I’m just a bit of a nut job. I ended up going to prison after I was caught with drugs and weapons.”
The contraband was discovered after he was pulled over for a blown headlight.
He spent 18 months in jail before he was released and deported to Bermuda. For the next few years he bounced around, living off the generosity of friends.
“Then I had to pull myself together,” he said. “I have children. I just decided there has to be more to life than always struggling.”
He recently started a branch of Geminii Ltd here.
“I have three Bermuda girls I’m working with so far,” he said. “One of them is 80 per cent covered in tattoos. I’m also hoping to branch out to Manchester.”
He got married a year ago; he and his wife have a seven-month-old child.
“Running my own business allows me to spend time with my son,” he said. “I have problems like everyone else does. I am not the smartest person in the world, but I know how to get things done.”
• Look for Geminii Ltd on Facebook and Instagram.
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