Constance Bashford is an enigma. She began modelling only a few years ago and has built herself up seemingly from nowhere to become an iconic figure in European steampunk. For the two years that Steampunk Doncaster has been running, she’s been on hand to help notable steampunk photographer Ruud de Korte with his workshops. Photographers like me can only wish for an alliance such as they have where they work for each other and get the quality photographs that they produce each shoot.
I managed to pull Constance to one side after a shoot workshop at Steampunk Doncaster and I had a chat with her about her modelling, what her future plans are and her obsession with Kato.
Would you categorise yourself as a steampunk model?
And did you just fall into it or is this how you set yourself up?
A few years ago, I went to a Ren’ Fayre (Renaissance Fayre) and I saw steampunks for the first time and I thought “Woah, I want to do that.” I went there with my Mother and sister. I saw the steampunks and I was so impressed and I got really into it, so started to find objects online that I could use with outfits. The following year I did my first steampunk event and I used the mask. I suppose that was the moment I realised that Constance was born.
It was supposed to be a one time thing, but everyone loved the outfit and loved the character so I kept doing it and got requests for shoots. I grew into it from there. I didn’t think it would go like this.
So you didn’t start out to be a steampunk model?
Have you had any well known publications or photographers ask you to work for them?
Yes, I’ve been published in Ladies of Steampunk twice now; once Ladies of Steampunk, once in the Bronze Age magazine. I’ve been approached by Steamgirl – you know Kato?
Yes, of course
I’ve been approached by them, but I haven’t figured out yet if I’m going to do it, it’s er..
It’s a different style of photography, shall we say?
(Laughs) Yes! I’m not sure if I want to go that far yet.
I’ve never looked on Steamgirl, but I don’t think they go.. to the end, if you like.
I talked to Professor Elemental and he said that by the end of the shoot I have to be naked.
I don’t think that will be Professor Elemental, then. Although I don’t think he’d object.
Yes, that’s the fellow!
I can see the headline “Professor Elemental gets women naked”. His wife will love that!
The internet world is so funny, because you meet so many people like you and Kato. Steampunk Boba Fett is a great friend of mine. I haven’t spoken to Kato yet, but I would like to.
She’s from Wales originally.
I wrote an article on Steampunk Couture, her business model. She’s extremely driven, always doing something be it making clothes or taking photographs. She never seems to just stop.
With that in mind, is their anyone that you really want to work with?
I think Kato. She’s on my wish list. Just to have and to keep in my house, like on a shelf.
Like a little doll.
Yes, I’d love to meet her. Also, Ophelia Overdose, she’s a latex model. She’s such an inspiration to me. There’s a lot of people in America that I’d like to meet and I’m planning on going to Dragoncon next year so I hope I meet some people there.
Do you think you’re settled in the Netherlands or do you see yourself moving out to America?
That’s a good question. I’m a modest person, but I don’t think there’s a lot of me to achieve in Europe any more. America would be the place to go, but I’m not sure what I would do there. I have my job here, my friends and family. It’s a big step to take and if I get there, will people pay me to work for them? At the moment I don’t think so.
So I’ll just go there for a month or so and do some shoots, meet some people but I don’t think there’s an actual future for me there. I would love to make my money with this.
You have a wonderful outfit, does it take a long time to get yourself ready for an event?
Well I start by doing my make-up..
Do you just do the bit that people can see or your whole face?
I do my whole face as I do have to take the mask off and it would look unusual with just the top of my face in make-up.
But you’re the only one seeing it.
(Laughs) You’re right, but I hate doing my make-up. Some shoots I have a make-up artist to do it, but sometimes I have to do it myself. Today went “ok”.
It would take about an hour and a half to get completely ready.
Are you thinking of changing the colour of your hair?
I really like my red hair, but I have some different coloured wigs, to change it up from time to time.I have a curly wig that is a reddish brown and I use that for the sweet and softer shoots. I also have a blonde wig at home, but Constance looks bad in it. It doesn’t work at all.
I imagine that you’d look like Babydoll from the Sucker Punch film. Would you be the person to pull off a steampunk Babydoll?
I’m not sure if it would label as Constance if I did that. I like Sucker Punch even though a lot of people hate it.
I agree, who wouldn’t like girls in armour running around fighting Dragons, Nazis and Demon Samurai?
I know, right?
So what do you think your next steps are career-wise?
That’s a tough question. I’ve started selling photographs recently, so there’s some money in that. It’s hard to know what you can achieve even with 3,200 people following me on Facebook. So I try to sell pictures and it’s going ok. I’m here doing workshops with Ruud (de Korte), that’s a lot of fun to do. I don’t think there’s a lot more to do. I need to get some more publications. I have some fun stuff planned with Ladies of Steampunk for the next year.
So I’m just rolling with it, I like doing what I’m doing and I like the results. I like the feedback that I get from the people on the workshops.
I can give you a hint that I’m working on a very special project at the moment with my Airship The Peregrine. Our new attire, as you’ve seen me wear today is a teaser of what’s to come.
That sounds interesting. Is Ruud the only steampunk photographer you work with?
It’s hard to categorise someone as a steampunk photographer. I work with a lot of photographers that do many styles including steampunk.
Fair enough, well let me rephrase it then. Is Ruud the only photographer that you shoot steampunk with?
No, I also work with three other photographers. Ruud shoots the most powerful images.
Do you prefer the gritty, adventure style images?
Sometimes, not always. I recently did a shoot with Emma McMurphy and Lennart Tange on a motorbike which was very different. Roy Blokvoort is the one I did the lingerie shoot with. He shoots the softer side of Constance and I love his style.
You can learn more about Captain Constance Bashford by visiting her website:
One thing you should do above all else is follow her on her Facebook page:
Capt. Constance Bashford Facebook page