Editor’s Note: This recap of the first photo shoot for Twelve High Chicks — which became “The Smoke Diaries” in Volume 1 — was originally published on November 12, 2014. Layout and phrasing have been updated for our current format.
When asked to write for Twelve High Chicks I had an idea of what I was getting into. But once I reached the location of the first photo shoot the experience became much more real. I’ve always been curious of what a photo shoot would be like, photography being an interest of mine, and here was my chance to see firsthand.
Twelve High Chicks’ First Photo Shoot
I was greeted by the always cheerful Pennie Belle taking a break from the action inside. She looked stunning in her long silk robe, gently blowing in the cool breeze. She warned me of the chaos going on inside: glitter and corsets and, most importantly, weed everywhere.
After a moment, Ajia Mae Moon, the brains and visionary behind this website, joined us on the front steps of the charming Burnaby home. We only had a minute to chat about her concept before she had to get back in front of the camera. Then I followed her into the house to settle in and start making notes.
The first thing that hit me as I crossed the threshold was the billowing smoke; mixed with the sunlight streaming through the curtains it made for a surreal backdrop. I instantly fell in love with the charm and character of this house and could see why they chose this location.
Scantily clad models gathered around in all the rooms primping and chatting, changing outfits and touching up makeup before the talented photographer, MaryBeth Lafferty, directed them for their next shot.
The overall atmosphere in the house was vivacious and upbeat — after all, everyone was happily stoned. Bags and jars and bowls of pot were scattered about here and there. Joints and pipes and a hookah made for excellent props.
After a few moments I got to touch base again with Ajia to discuss some details and ideas. I have to admit I was feeling apprehensive yet excited to be a part of something that she feels so passionately about. Her enthusiasm certainly has a way of rubbing off on others.
While we talked we watched on as a few models were photographed in the front room window. I still can’t get over how perfectly the sunlight was cooperating on that chilly November day.
I had to step out to run a quick errand while they finished up. Upon my return I was shocked when asked if I would join in for some group shots. But I knew this would be an experience I would never forget so I didn’t allow myself a chance to think it over or I would end up second guessing my decision.
After a quick wardrobe change into something sexier, I pulled my hair from its customary ponytail and gave it a quick tousle, slipped on some heels, and without even looking in a mirror I was ready to go.
The models took their places and props were passed around as our photographer tested the lighting. I was grateful to be handed a joint to quickly put my anxiety to rest.
As MaryBeth started snapping away and my high kicked in, I began to feel more at ease.
We finished up with the final shots of the first photo shoot just as the sunlight started to fade away. Everyone bustled around to tidy and pack their things. The models went home happy and probably hungry after a long day.
All in all it was it was a whirlwind afternoon. But it was also quite inspiring to see these women laughing and enjoying each other’s company. All for the common goal of raising visibility of women who use cannabis.
Special thanks to the house owner for the use of their home. And thanks to the brilliant photographer, the gorgeous models, and the ever-talented Ajia Mae Moon.