By Florence Kosky
Having worked as a model for nearly 10 years, dressing up is something that I now feel comes naturally to me. You pull identities on for a day and then discard them with the help of some Bioderma and the wipe of a cotton pad. The thing with modelling, however, is that it’s never an identity you pick yourself - people choose your face out of a casting packet to see if you will fit the character they want to create.
To me, it feels like a reflection of what we all go through on a day to day basis. We see strangers on the street, make an assumption based on appearance and file them away into categories. A huge intersection of issues tangle up in this, but as a white cisgender woman (whose livelihood for the last decade has been based upon selling womenswear), the way our visual choices, or indeed the choices pushed upon us, reflect gender roles was something I wanted to explore.
I had encountered Cesar Jentley’s work in the drag lip-sync film I’m A Man at Raindance Film Festival, and then six months later I was lucky enough to meet Kit Griffiths at a Time Out x Shorts On Tap screening of films from London-based filmmakers. I had a comedy/fantasy short playing about periods and Kit had a self-shot documentary about her relationships with drag and gender called Dic Pic. I resonated with both Kit and Cesar’s work, so when I was thinking about creatives to collaborate on this project they immediately sprang to mind.
Making this film was an incredible experience that pushed me beyond my own fixation on aesthetics. What I learnt from both Kit and Cesar was that identity isn’t really about what onlookers take from your presentation, but rather that you can change how you feel internally by experimenting externally. Seeing Cesar still maintain his masculinity despite the femme swimsuits was inspirational for me. It's been helping me unlearn the idea that our identities are defined by others' assumptions. No matter what is projected onto us, once we get to know ourselves, people’s opinions fall away.
Starring Kit Griffiths as Cesar Jently
Directed by Florence Kosky
Cinematography by Martha Treves
Stills and Production Design by Lottie Hayes
Edited by Reeta Varpama
Sound Design by Emanuele Costantini
Music by Spoke Music