Hi, my name is Miranda Jane, and I'm misunderstood. To know me, you have to understand my family history. My mother and my aunties raised me. My grandmother was the matriarch, the pinnacle, the arch-feminist...the one who would flaunt whatever it was they didn't want her to flaunt; and who would discount and stomp on whatever it was they wanted her to cherish most dear.
In the 50s, one didn't divorce. So my Grandmother, Audrey Tufli-Fuss, stayed married to a husband she felt she didn't need until her last child was out of the house. My Grandfather, Oscar, promptly moved to digs of his own in nearby Laurel Canyon. My grandmother would go on to champion the Gay movement, the Feminist movement, the Native American movement, the Black Panther party, the Communist party, and everything else representing the anti-establishment where she could help organize people, lead a march, make a slogan, or effect change.
My mother, Deborah Murray Fuss Neidlinger Helms Hochman...who is now happily married to the Hochman and I'm certain her name will remain Deborah Murray Hochman for life...was a rebel. Oh, the crazy stories. Detained in a straight-jacket downsouth while on a days-long bad acid trip. Her days working as a playboy bunny cocktail waitress in one of Hef's first establishments, serving drinks to Mafiosos. The hippie years. The punkrock years. All I know for certain is what I saw, and what I heard.
When I was very, very young, my mother and her friends were at the forefront of L.A.'s "New Wave" music scene; the main players were my Godfather Peter Ivers, who was later mysteriously murdered in his downtown loft although he was a Black belt in Karate, Judo, and other martial arts. One of the minor players, Tequila Mockingbird, stayed in my head. All my life. Her name was catchy but that's not why. She was a big, beautiful, Black woman with an electric-green mohawk. At least that's the first hair I remember her having. I'd later see her in an Annie Lennox video, and although NO ONE KNEW HER NAME or that there would be no Eurythmics nor Annie Lennox if not for TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD...still she had arrived on my MTV.
My moms went on to work at an odditorium slash clothing store, Steps Into Space, and she went on to design her own clothing line, Milky Wear. Mostly leggings. And while wearing homemade clothing to school as a young youth filled me with shame at the time, I'm now proud that my mother made clothes. She was a young, beautiful divorcee with two children, living in a dusty Laurel Canyon house that was paid for, yet falling apart. Instead of letting her circumstances - my father's newfound wealth, his abandonment of us all, his abuse, his new wife - she became creative instead of crazy, driven instead of delusional. Mom, I love you for that.
Many people may not agree with the way my mother raised me, her daughter, her firstborn child. She first passed me a joint at the age of 9. She gave me hashish for my cramps when I was 12. And close to that time, at a house party comprised of a way-out melange of her friends, my friends, some random gangbangers who happened by, the Laurel Canyon intelligentsia, and some of the important behind-the-scenes Hollywood players of that day and time; one of said players passed around some coke (powder, not rock). My mom told me I should try it if I wanted to. I did a line and wasn't impressed with the results. (Who knew I'd later rock it up and sell it out of my dorm room when my father gave me $100 a month spending money to get me through college and I had too many classes to have time for a mall job!).
I remember a road trip where my mom was talking to her friend in the car. I think it was Karen L. They were telling each other about some recent sexcapade. At this time I already had way more body than my mom, which meant I was 11 or older. I was halfway listening, until my mom said "Well, it's a good thing you don't need tits to fuck!". They both laughed. I was embarrased, but only because I had big breasts and theirs were tiny. I was very young and they were very middle-aged.
Years later I saw the photo shoot of my mother 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with me, out in the woods of Laurel Canyon, fully nude. Her face was beautiful, her hair was long and luxurious, and her body looked amazing. Demi Moore in Vanity Fair is nothing compared to my flowerchild Mama in pregnant resplendance. I had a nude photo shoot of my own only a few months later, also in the hills, laid out on the floor amongst some fallen leaves. For those who care, the shoot included beaver shots and the whole nine yards. If there is a nude photograph of my father anywhere, there is a God because I haven't seen any of these photos.
A short time after my first photo spread, pun intended, my mother and I "came out" in the film "SHAMPOO" starring Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty. My mother is in the bar scene, wearing a dress, smoking a joint at the bar while breastfeeding me, with her breast exposed. Naturally the scene is cut when Shampoo airs on TV. At just months old, I was famous. And paid! I think they made a check for me for $1,000...I have to check on my Social Security statement to be sure.
I started taking serious photos at 10, and the most beautiful shots of me to this day
are circa those years, shot by my mom. No one other photographer has captured my beauty the same way. But she is a really, really good photographer.
About six months ago, I started noticing this Suicide Girls shit everywhere. I peeped some of the images, and I wasn't too impressed. Bad lighting. Tattoos for the sake of having a gang of tattoos. Girl on girl on girl for the sake of guys liking girls on girls. Faux punkrock style reeking of fashionista tendencies, not Suicidal ones. I'm not hating, GET MONEY girls, but there is a past, present and future for everything.
I had been had the notion to do some pinups. I wanted to get into slightly better shape, just for my own edification, but stay Rubenesque as always to show the world that big, beautiful women are to be respected and valued and prized for their size. I wanted to do my own photo shoots first, then show them to certain of my homegirls to show them not to be scared, and ask them to pose too. I never really wanted this to be an internet thing, because I value print photography, and Black & White, and I wanted to replicate the old-style movie posters and Pinup-girl Calendars of the 30s, 40s and 50s. I wanted B-Girls and Graf artists like Asia One, Peppa, A-B Girl, MEOW, and others to get down with me on this project to show that we're all different colors and sizes and shapes, but we represent HIP HOP CULTURE until the death.
So my idea is RIOT B*GRRRLS, lauding the Riot Grrrls, all B-Girls and Break Girls and Bronx Girls, and flipping "porn" on it's ear to include aspects of the feminist movement, showing women of all sizes, shapes, colors, races and ages who LOVE MEN, BUT LOVE THEMSELVES FIRST. You know, MY SHIT.
So here are some of the images of inspiration. I have to shout out my inspirations of beauty. My Granny, the most beautiful face ever photographed. My Mommy...still the most beautiful face EVER. My Auntie Judy, who was the baddest bitch in her day, and came out on the front cover of LIFE MAGAZINE on July 29, 1957, looking BEAUTIFUL in her role as a babysitter reading a book to a toddler. And like all the women in my family, my Auntie wasn't just another pretty face, she also edited a crucial anthology of children's books, NON-SEXIST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.
Finally, I have to shout out the two most glamourous women I've ever known, Ms. Takara Spencer and Ms. Vanylla Chile. Besides myself, Ms. Miranda James.
ONE THING WE HAVE IN COMMON...WE ALL GIVE GOOD FACE! (Boys, get your minds out of the gutter...for once...and don't cut your noses off to spite your faces.)