Isa: How did Brit-X come about?
Laredo: Myself and Kat (Kat Kassner, the other co-owner of Brit-X) have been running sims for a few years now, I joined her as a sim-runner back in 2009, and we'd been doing annual yearbooks of boys and girls who frequented the London Village sim. Each year we'd do a call out for sim regulars (and anyone who was passing by) to join us in an annual photo shoot. The Ladies of London Village and the Lads of London Village. The girls was Kat's domain, I shot the guys. We get people to send in a few pictures of them as they wanted to be seen. Could be sexy or funny, and at the end of the year we'd publish two annual books of collected shoots conducted by the models themselves. It was a bit of a fun, the boys version was obviously more silly, the girls tended to be a little more aesthetically driven. But that really means doing an adult magazine had its roots in what we'd been doing for years, major difference was more nudity (though tasteful nudity had been part of the mags if people wished) and we were assign photographers.
The theme we kept was the British identity - Brit-X is a homage to the top shelf mags of the 1980s which we felt was a niche that other mags weren't done.
Isa: How do you and Kat divide responsibilities at Brit-X?
Laredo: I've always been a believer that good projects, especially unpaid ones, need one vision. Kat runs as "editor in chief" for want of a title. She'll assign generally who photos who. I do at least two sets per issue as photographer. We'll talk about who we like, who we think would be good to snap, what themes we're after. But ultimately, you need to have one voice in such projects.
Isa: Do your models have to be British?
Laredo: No, they're from around the world. They are all girls; again, that's the homage to the British adult mag industry we grew up with. British adult mags were under a lot of restrictions and catered for heterosexual male audiences where nudity had very specific rules. Very straight laced to what you could see.
Isa: If one of my readers were interested in either modeling for Brit-X, or providing pictures for Brit-X, how could they do that - or can they?
Laredo: I would say note card their details to myself or Kat. We don't run an open door policy, while it is free and fun, we reserve the right to choose who we might ask for an issue, so we can't say if one sends a submission request (or pics) that we will definitely use them. That's not out of any arrogance or sense of power, we just see the magazine as a project and we do think quite seriously who will work best for each issue. That said, we do like to see new faces. That's sometimes quite hard - finding fresh faces that offer something unique and exciting. I think with SL models, especially new aspiring ones, my advice is to try and look to find your own style. I think that can be quite rare in SL.
I think one of the dangers of mesh is it can create a generic look very easily, so one has to consider what makes them stand out rather than what actually looks the prettiest, oddly.
Isa: Mesh heads have definitely become quite popular. Thoughts?
Laredo: My issue is I've seen a lot of girls who had good legacy head looks lose it to mesh. And now they look bland, if polished. I think for avatars in SL I can see their appeal, but myself and Kat - and a lot of the Brit-X "house girls" are non-mesh heads and in my opinion they are some of the strongest lookers I know, so I do think it's a bandwagon models are jumping on too fast. They're great for SLers but for models, I think they need to think hard. A model should be memorable, and mesh heads can be a problem.
Please check out the Brit-X blog at http://britanniaxxx.blogspot.co.uk. All issues of Brit-X are available on the Market Place or at select locations around SL. A huge thank you to Laredo for taking the time to speak with me. And thank you to Sunday for another amazing pictorial.
XO - Isa