Amber Rose Get Comfortable with Robert Maxwell for GQ
In many ways we are all beholden to our identities. How people see us in the world and define our pasts can often dictate where we’re going. It’s so easy to succumb to the pitfalls of popular opinion, but if we stay agile and energized, we don’t have to let exterior forces define who we are. Few figures encapsulate this truth better than Amber Rose. A storied and controversial past has created a narrative of who she is. She doesn’t apologize, she doesn’t make excuses, but she is proud of who she is and what she’s doing. GQ caught up with the young social maven for their latest story and connected her with Robert Maxwell to get portraits that were both personal and provocative, just like Amber Rose herself.
Amber surprised Robert because she was something different than what he expected. “I was expecting a higher maintenance type gal and she was the polar opposite. She was sweet to everybody. It was just a really, really good vibe in the studio that day because of her,” says Robert. “A lot of times people are nice to the photographer and then rude to others, but she was nothing like that. She was just a complete doll.” That kindness bled to other aspects of the shoot, creating a supportive and positive set that made the whole process a delight.
Part of Robert’s assignment was to get a few nude portraits of Rose. She’s not shy of her body at all (why should she be?), but sometimes asking a subject to undress all the way day can be a tricky topic. Most photographers wait until the end of a shoot to suggest the total disrobing, but Robert prefers a different strategy that he finds builds more positive and creative relationships. “Instead of waiting until the end of the shoot to ask, I told her right upfront,” says Robert. “The standard photographer’s approach is to ease into it. I always found people feel hoodwinked. I prefer to tell them right up front. That way they understand I’m being upfront, honest, and transparent. I think to shoot good nudes you need trust. Otherwise they don’t look good. And she’s kind of owning it. She’s completely comfortable, her expression’s comfortable.” That comfort has a lot to do with her love for her own body, but also for the comfortable working relationship that she created with Robert.
One of the most arresting aspects of the shoot is a pair of bunny ears that extends into a veil that Rose is wearing in the blockbuster image from the shoot. It’s such a dominant part of the composition, and something that Robert grabbed as a creative impulse. “I just through it would make for a little bit more interesting portrait,” says Robert. “I brought that on a whim, as I do with a lot of my shoots, I’ll bring my own accessories or props. She loved it. We even put her in a tutu. She was down for everything, that’s what I loved about her.” The flexibility that Amber Rose and Robert Maxwell found with each other on set meant they were able to explore and have fun. That's something we could all learn and bring into our own experiences.