This time for Goth Life I’m talking to Lolita Laytex. Based in Leeds, she juggles performing as a burlesque performer, personal training, modelling and a day job – all while looking awesome. I talk to her about dreadlocks, personal style and her work.
Take me through a typical day for you
Depends on the day of the week. Four days a week I work as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. I work in a day service where I help adults to interact in the community, socialise, work or go to the gym. Once I finish work I go train either in the gym or do aerial trapeze and hoop with my teacher Deborah Sanderson of Urban Angels Circus. Then it’s usually home, cook for the next day, eat and pass out.
If it’s a day I’m not supporting, I have a lay-in and breakfast then train in the gym for a couple if hours before getting packed and ready if I have a burlesque performance in the evening.
How long have you had dreads for? What kind of a reaction do they get?
I’ve had dreadlocks for approximately 4 years now. The reaction I get to them varies hugely but usually it’s a positive one. Most people will come up and tell me they like them or that they think they look cool and often this leads to really awesome conversations about other things. So I guess they are a nice icebreaker.
I have had a few negative comments but usually this just comes from ignorance and a lack of understanding, such as ‘erg but you don’t wash your dreads do you?’. I do wash my dreads in fact. Very regularly with shampoo and hot water just like everyone else.
You recently announced that you’re represented by Rogue Model Management – Congrats! Tell me about your modelling career. How did it start, what kind of things do you like doing, etc.
Thank you very much. I have been modelling in studio and on catwalk for 7 years now. It began when I started performing burlesque. I realised that I needed promo photos to send to promoters for flyers etc so I did a few photo-shoots and realised it was another creative outlet I could explore. Plus doing catwalk work means I get to met new cool people and go awesome places.
The main looks I model tend to be latex, lingerie, boudoir, Gothic and pinup but I also really like high fashion/editorial, landscape and street photography.
You’re also a personal trainer. What does that involve?
So my role as personal trainer is to help people achieve their goals using exercise either at home, the gym or other areas like a park or even in the office. Everyone’s goal are different and unique to them, whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle or recover from an injury, but my role is pretty fixed; to keep them on track and motivated, supporting them to get to where they want to be in a healthy and safe way.
Photos by Jamie Huntley and Marc Bryam respectively
You do a lot of different things, how do you keep motivated/organised?
Ha I don’t! I am very motivated but as any of my friends will tell you, I am not exactly organised. I have a shocking memory. I would like to think I have gotten a little better as I’ve got older. I use a phone and a paper diary, I prepare things the night before and write to do lists now.
What/who is your style inspiration?
My style inspiration always has been my ‘Auntie’ Fran. We met when I was 14 and doing work experience in the charity shop she managed. I had never met anyone with such an awesome sense of style and she was so humble about it. She always looked beautiful and amazing but always in HER own way.
She started taking me to Whitby Goth Weekend as her assistant as she was a window dresser for the Shelter shop. Through watching her work I learned out how to create different looks and most importantly to not give a stuff about the latest fashion or how to fit in, but to express who you are by how you look and to never be ashamed of that.
Favourite go to outfit?
If it’s night time usually a slinky figure hugging dress, of which I have far too many, and a big (faux) fur coat, or if its day time tight black jeans, top and leather jacket.
And always boots. Whether its day or night I always wear boots when I don’t need trainers for the gym or heels for stage.
What makes you happy when you’re feeling down in the dumps?
Exercise is a massive help to me when I’m feeling off or low. It might be hard to motivate yourself when you do feel like this but I can’t recommend it enough to people. Whether it’s going to the gym, running, swimming, even having a walk, just the process of moving in some way helps your body release endorphin’s and increases Serotonin levels.
Training doesn’t fix all my problems but I do find it helps me clear my head a little so I can focus on solving the issues I’m dealing with.
Cuddles with my cat Sebastian and wallowing in bed with icecream and a film are also legitimate forms of self therapy!
Photos by Chips and Gravy and Photo-Manic respectively
Do you ever suffer with low body confidence? How do you combat it?
Yes sometimes I do.
I don’t think there is one person who hasn’t suffer with low body confidence at some point. It’s natural to be self critical and look to your peers and wish you looked like the people you admire.
I try to be as rational as I can about it. For me something called ‘self talk’ was a big help. It’s the concept of how you talk to yourself internally. You can talk positively or negatively to yourself and this directly affects how you see yourself and how you perform everyday tasks.
For example, if you constantly berate yourself for been ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’ you are essentially bullying yourself and knocking your own confidence. When I catch myself thinking negative thoughts like this I try to externalise it.
I think ‘would I say this to a friend? Would I call them stupid or ugly or bad?’. The answer is no, I wouldn’t.
So why would I, or anyone, do that to themselves? Conversely, I try to encourage positive self talk. What do I like about myself? What is something nice I can say or think about me? Do I feel I look nice today? Has someone praised me on a good piece of work? Have a had a particularly productive day?
I actively try to squash the bad thoughts and encourage the good ones and I’ve found this has really helped me maintain a much healthier self image and confidence than when I was say , a teenager.
Which brands do you think are killing it at the moment?
I absolutely love USA Pro for training gear. I love their bright colours and funky patterns and everything fits really well.
I also love Hysteria Machine. The headdresses are simply beautiful!
Thank you Lolita! Follow her on Instagram here.