Influence: Iekeliene Stange

 

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I’m afraid my internet sleuthing skills have disappointed; I can’t find the original creator of this.  If anyone has any inkling, please let me know, because it’s pretty clear a lot of time went creating it! 

Welcome one and all to the very second Influence feature!  Now, I realize Miep Gies is a preettttty tough act to follow, but we’ll try our best.  Too many role models, too little time.  Our second person to be featured in Influence is also from the Netherlands (perhaps we should have a sub-category of Dutch Influence all-stars?)   Iekeliene Stange is a Dutch fashion model, photographer and all-around creative force to be reckoned with.  Born on July 27th, 1984, she was initially scouted in Rotterdam, where she was enrolled in a multi-media design program, and then in London, where she had started to study photography.   Although Iekeliene hardly thought herself model material (she protested “But I’m not beautiful!” to her model scout, Victor de Bie), she gamely decided to give modeling a try with the intent of continuing it for a year or so in order to help fund her photography studies.   That plan of a one-year stint was parlayed into a significantly longer career; no easy feat, given that the modeling industry is a notoriously fickle.  Girls can be quickly replaced and discarded with an unsettling ease.   A model’s longevity can be generally be attributed to a good work ethic, artistic ability, ability to fit the particular “look” of the season and a variety of other factors mainly out of one’s control.  Iekeliene’s success in fashion land owes itself to a little something extra: her ability to stay completely and proudly true to herself.

iekeliene stange pretty much rules

I’ll confess the fangirling upfront: Iekeliene Stange is one of my favourite models.  I first heard of her when I stumbled upon her LiveJournal blog via Elyse Sewell’s LiveJournal (mild tangent alert: I can’t recommend Elyse’s LJ enough!  It reinforces why the internet is such a spectacular thing.  Alas, it seems like she doesn’t update much anymore, but the archives are all there for the reading.)  I was immediately captivated by Iekeliene’s thoughtful and whimsical outlook on life.  She has a very sharp, extremely distinctive face (think the personification of a female elf), and completely and confidently owns it.  From her colourful outfits that are re-imagined in a variety of ways, her chronicles of “Bjornvild: The Traveling Pony,” to pancake parties and adventuring photoshoots with friends, she is unapologetically imaginative.  It’s a rare person who can sport a tutu on the regular without veering into hopelessly twee territory… or, y’know, ridiculous territory.  Her enjoyment of simple pleasures and her resolution to make her own fun was misinterpreted by some, who saw all of this as “childish” rather than “childlike.”  The demise of her LiveJournal happened when some member of some horrid model-rating community started leaving vicious comments about her appearance.  I just can’t fathom why or how some people could be so deliberately malicious to someone they’ve never met, just for the sake of being cruel.  A flurry of comments- – both defending Iek and agreeing with the internet ghouls- -ensued.  Iekeliene kept posting a few more times, but these few people kept up with their negativity.  Finally, she closed down her blog, explaining that it was originally just intended for friends and family anyway.  I felt a bit dejected about this end, especially about the circumstances in which it came about. 

About six months passed, until, in a particularly epic bout of procrastination (and having seen her in a pirate-themed Galliano show), I looked up her name.  Lo and behold, Iekeliene just had her first solo photography exhibition, and it featured some of my favourite pictures she had taken.  And the title of the show?  I Like Ponies.  Ah!  I felt joyful and triumphant and as if all was right with the world.  It was a nice little reminder that just by being true to yourself, the world is so much better off for it.  You are so much better off for it.  Let the haters drink their haterade.

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A section of the I Like Ponies exhibit


One Response to “Influence: Iekeliene Stange”

  • Your sister from the same mister Says:

    The sense of warm joy I got from this only equals Mary’s cupcake and candy-filled wedding reception. And Peruvian coffee. Yay for witty, literary talents who defy the whole “models are stupid” stereotype-which is so far from the truth, as this website proves and will continue to prove as long as you can write!

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