During my career I’ve worked on advertising and PR campaigns for numerous clients including The Ford Motor Company, Diet Coke, The NHS, Panasonic, Walkers Crisps and Universal Pictures. One of the main concerns for many clients is the question of how much, or how little, models involved in their campaign should wear. This is a particular concern for advertising, events or campaigns where female models are being painted. The choice of underwear does usually depend on the marketing campaign in mind, e.g. the venue or promotional vehicle and the target audience.
For instance at trade shows it can be a fine line between attracting potential customers to your stand or offending them if you get it wrong. So with regard your target audience, if they are visitors to an event like a fine food fair, they aren’t likely to want to look at a topless or nearly naked model whilst eating their artisan cheese and chutney! A discreet set of underwear that can be painted over in a pretty design would be more appropriate.
All the models that I paint wear a minimum of a thong or pants and variations from topless, to body painted clothing and everything else in between. Your model choice is also important. For trade events it’s good to use a professional model who is confident when body painted and will engage with the public in a friendly manner to help to promote your product or draw visitors in to your stand. Some clients prefer the model to be fully painted and ready before the event. Other clients prefer to have the model body painted ‘live’ at the event as this can be guaranteed to attract a steady stream of visitors to the stand.
With most celebrity body painting that I’ve done, the models, both male and female, prefer to be as covered as possible before the painting begins.
So if you are thinking of using body painting for a photoshoot, promotional purposes or an advertising campaign and require most of the body to be painted, what are the underwear choices for your model/s?
For male models, again it does depend on the venue or event. If I’m painting jeans on a guy the underwear selection is very important. They need to be tight fitting and as seam free as possible as they have to virtually disappear and become part of the body painted garment. Large white cotton Y fronts are never going to work. For other events the men have worn boxer shorts, trunks and jockey shorts.
For female models, first of all we have the topless option. The models are just that, completely topless, but wear a thong or small pants. Most competition work is done with topless models and some advertising campaigns and events prefer it if the models are only wearing pants. Most models are comfortable with this, but it’s wise to check first. You don’t want to get to the studio/event to find that your model refuses to take her bra off.
Just about all of the models that I’ve worked with say that once you’re body painted you do actually feel covered and as if you are wearing clothing.
Nipple Covers or Pasties
Then we have the nipple covers or pasties! They are small round covers that stick on to the breast and completely cover the nipples and give a slightly more discreet look.
If they are used in conjunction with a plain body painted design they are still visible but if the design is more intricate they can be hidden more easily within the design.
Bra tops or Bikinis
The next option is a bra top or bikini top that can be painted over with the design.
Sometimes the bras need to be virtually invisible, but for some events where any suggestion of partial nudity might be an issue, the clients prefer the bra tops to be more obvious so that the overall look is more discreet.
For an even more discreet option there is the bandeau top. These give great coverage so are more appropriate for events where any hint of nudity might be a problem.
These can either be in a design or colour that will blend in with the painting, or be a complete contrast that still compliments the body painting.
Body Suits or Leotards.
I’ve painted quite a few models who have worn lycra body suits or leotards. From my point of view it is slightly more difficult as body paint is meant for bodies not clothing. Any mistakes are harder to rectify as you can’t just wipe the paint off as easily as you would on a body. But the end result can be just as good as painting directly onto the body and can be a less embarrassing experience for the apprehensive model. For the camouflage body painting in ‘Dumb and Dumber To’, American actor Rob Riggle wore a full body suit and the finished painting was exactly what the producers wanted and Rob completely disappeared into the background wall and vending machine!
There are times when the models will have to wear clothing that can be completely painted over. This is often the choice with camouflage work where the model needs to be remain partially visible instead of disappearing completely into the background.
For example I worked on a campaign for Unicef where children needed to be painted to highlight the hidden nature of child trafficking. The child models all wore clothing that myself and my team painted to blend them in to various backgrounds.
Half body or torso shoots only.
If it’s not a full body paint the models can wear some clothing to compliment the painted parts of their bodies. Some shoots require only torso painting, so then the models can wear trousers, shorts skirts etc.
The image on the right shows celebrity Jennifer Ellison wearing a blouse and shorts combination for this torso body painting for a Kelloggs ‘Healthy Eating’ promotion.
So if you’re considering using body painting for marketing purposes including advertising, product launches or publicity stunts and would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your requirements in more detail.