Today I’m giving over my blog to Phil Marley, the photographer who shot the cover for Acting Brave. I was so pleased with the way the cover turned out that I asked him to do a piece on how he found Devon Mayson (there’ll be another piece on Harry May, who plays Ryan).
When Helena first asked me to shoot the cover (way back in early 2014) the first thing I did – after reading an outline of Acting Brave and devouring the first two books – was to start looking for a Jasmine. I knew the model would need to have Jasmine’s trademark long red hair but I was also after a very specific look. Jasmine in the books can look both sexy and innocent and, especially in Acting Brave, she goes through some very difficult, painful stuff. It wasn’t an easy part to cast.
By May 2014, I had a shortlist of eleven models. Then I saw a shot of Devon Mayson taken by Kris Karl and I literally threw my shortlist away and emailed Devon immediately. I know that sounds like I’m making it up for dramatic effect, but I’m not. She was that perfect. You can see Kris’s shot on model site PurplePort, here (warning: this shot is safe for work, but other shots on the same site aren’t).
Devon’s been modeling for over five years and, as well as being a Miss England finalist, she’s a country singer and songwriter (check out her Facebook page here and give her some love!)
As soon as I started working with her, I could see she had that stage presence that Jasmine’s meant to have. She could turn on the glitz and glamor and be Jasmine but she could also be the much more vulnerable Emma (that won’t make a lot of sense until you read the book. Just trust me on this one).
Asking models who’ve never met before to do these sorts of shots is always a risk, but Devon and Harry (more on Harry later this week) had great chemistry that really shows in the final shots. The whole day was a lot of fun. Oh, and there’s a scene in the book that Helena wrote in based on something that happened on the shoot. See if you can spot it 🙂