Betha Maeve is an alternative model based in Manchester, whose excellent eyebrows and mental health openness are nothing short of inspiring. Read my interview with her below.
Where do you find style inspo?
I grab bits and pieces from Instagram users mostly. I really love plain clothes and I barely wear patterns. I love looking at what other models wear for shoots since most of my outfits are for shooting in and not day to day wear.
What’s your fave outfit?
Oooo this is a hard one! I really love comfort so probably pyjamas. It’s what I mostly wear! If I was going out, right now I’d wear my velvet Motel bodycon dress with a harness underneath, my Mary Jane lingerie martingale choker and probably some hold up stockings. I’d like to say I’d put my pair of black Primark heels with that but I’d probably end up going with my dark grey Nike hi-tops (I love Nike hi-tops, they are so comfy and supportive).
Who are your favourite alt models/bloggers at the moment?
Lithunium Snow (instagram lithunium.snow). I love him. He’s pretty much the only male alt guy who does alt fashion any justice. He’s also a very good friend of mine and is genuinely so lovely.
Tylah (tylvh on Instagram). I love her modelling and her YouTube videos. Every single shoot she looks flawless and she’s a complete angel.
Tiffany Hunt (notittiestiff/illumin_arty). This is my best friend. She’s amazing at makeup and she’s hilarious and we always have fun. She’s forever inspiring me with every shoot she does (or we do)!
How did you get into alt modelling?
I had an arty parent who took photos of me when I was younger but I took an interest in modelling when I was 14/15. I only shot a handful of days a year until last year when I just thought to hell with it. Alt modelling just fits my look and has this amazing community with it, that are for the most part, so supportive.
Did you have a slightly awkward, dorky goth tween phase (like I did) or were you one of those kids who was always as cool as you are now?
I was NEVER cool. I went through the most awkward goth stage at 10/11 but it didn’t stick. I lived in a small town with a lot of small minds and I was bullied a lot so I did what I could to fit in and blend in.
Your eyebrows are INCREDIBLE. Tell me about them.
Thank you! They grow on my face…
I’m kidding. They are a pain in my butt sometimes. One eyebrow grows hair downwards and gets really patchy when I’m ill so it’s harder to fill in and pluck right. The other brow is usually a dream. I do anxiety pluck sometimes though. Oops!
You are very open about your physical and mental health on social media, which I very much admire. Could you tell me how and why you decided to do this?
Oh thank you! I haven’t been physically well since I was 15, mostly on and off so it didn’t always effect my day to day life. So, when I got very sick when I was 20 and I couldn’t work and my energy levels crashed, everything changed. I went through a huge change. From social and active to a withering recluse. I lost my way in the world. I started to realise that there wasn’t really a place for the young chronically ill of the world and our voices are usually not heard, and are sometimes squashed by older voices or unbelieving voices. Judgemental voices. So I thought why not start just being as open as possible and allowing there to be a place where other people can share their experiences and talk about their health too.
It was very similar when I finally got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. It made my whole life make sense and as to why I felt how I did and I started to understand my thought processes. I’ve had more problems with being open about it than my physical health. Someone telling you your mental illness “doesn’t exist” hurts a lot more than “get a job”. I do make examples of public comments that contain stigma to educate others to why it isn’t OK.
You’ve mentioned that putting makeup on and shooting photos gives you confidence. Why do you think that is?
I can pretend to be a different person! I have this little model persona that comes out. It’s like taking a little break from your problems to have a little fun! Who doesn’t love drawing on their brows and cheekbones?! I make my face look like a different face.
Do you ever struggle with your body image? How do you combat it?
I do. I think I end up thinking that if I put on weight people won’t think I’m sick anymore or “sick enough”. I really struggle to put on weight and keep it on because I can’t eat much. Before I got really sick at 20, I was quite curvy. I miss having hips! I combat it by shooting! It’s so good for my body image because whilst I do still hate bits and pieces of me sometimes, it’s always better than the image of me in my head. That and dancing around in my underwear to some sassy empowering music (how ungoth of me)!
Follow Betha Maeve on Insta here.