We had the good fortune of connecting with Connor Carlson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connor, how does your business help the community?
First I want to begin by describing my line of work, I work professionally as a photographer and model. Through my photography, I am able to highlight the darker lines of work that do not get much appreciation. One being the sex industry, I have photographed the most amazing women who work as strippers. In a way, I’m able to give a brighter hue to the judgement that is normally cast down on these Goddesses. The ones I’ve shot didn’t grow up saying they wanted to be a stripper, it was due to their dysfunctional family, abusive relationships, and deep inner trauma’s that they chose that line of work. So, in a way, I’m able to help heal them through the uplifting style of photography I portray. As far as modeling, I am not your typical model, I do not have the nice hairline. In fact, I have no hair at all due to this rare autoimmune disorder known as Alopecia Universalis. Through modeling, I am able to show courage amidst adversity. I have battled suicidal depression more times than I can count. Since I started modeling, I have been able to see myself in a new light and through this newfound courage, provide work that uplifts those that are growing through the same disorder. Not only that, I am an androgynous model. For those that don’t know the term androgynous, it is partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex. Yes, I am a man and have a d*ck. But I have feminine features, my smooth, long, legs. Curvy back and soft, long fingers, that blend with my masculine side in a balanced light. With the androgyny, I am able to portray the hidden feminine energy all men contain but are afraid to accept. The emotional side, the loving side, the sensitive side. One of my sets is called, Prince of Petals where I have a flower crown. I believe my work is slowly helping to change the societal paradigm of what it means to be a man in 2021. We don’t have to always be so hard, rigid, and unemotional. It’s okay to break down and be seen. It’s okay to love and be loved. Vulnerability is courageous.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think all artists have had or have depression on some level. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, to the point of confusing sadness with joy. From losing my hair at the age of 11, I have dealt with overwhelming feelings of loneliness. My journey into my art has been my awakening to the gems inside of me and now, it is metamorphosing into the photography I take, the modeling, and the connections that are manifesting. I now help men who have/had alopecia share their stories through a movement called, Men of Alopecia where we host talk shows, online hangouts, and more www.menofalopeica.com I made it through the countless dark nights with that faint little whisper in my head telling me.. the rain won’t last forever.. the pain won’t last forever.. believe in a better day.. Music has had a profound impact on the way I see the world, I HIGHLY advise anyone that is dealing with any form of depression, anxiety or mental health issue to listen to the artist Londrelle. He has saved my life more than once. That last question is profound.. If I were to tell the world something about my brand, the Monarch, it would be this. How in the hell does a slimy lil caterpillar become such a bright, magnificent, and almost holy creature like the butterfly? Only through chaos, destruction, and immense inner and outer transformation. In order to become the person we want to be, we must go through a period of darkness. In the dark, where there is no light, you learn to shine your own. You learn that you’ve had your light the entire time. When society told you to dim it, I’m here to say shine it so damn bright that it burns everyone’s eyes because your light is what will save you, your loved ones, and the masses. If a slimy lil pillar can become a butterfly, then so can we.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would the morning with some Vietnamese coffee at Ca phe Phin, if you’ve never had it, it. will. change. your. life. Goodbye starbuck, Vietnamese coffee is sweeter, stronger, and way smoother Then I would take them through Galveston to the Rainforest pyramid, it’s like being in Egypt mixed with an Amazonian vibe, but in Houston. Then we would hit up the Cockrell Butterfly Center because if you’ve never experienced heaven, walking through this butterfly sanctuary is the next closest thing After the butterfly center, I’d take them to learn about life and art at the immersive Pink Floyd theater experience at the Houston Museum of Natural Science After getting our minds blown at the museum, we would go fill our bellies with some of Houston’s best tacos at the El Taconazo Taco Truck Then finish up the day by going for a swim at the Marriott Marquis Houston which has a texas shaped lazy river on the top of it’s building. You already know I’ll bring my camera and monarch floaty Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been so many angels in my life that have blessed me in ways I’m unable to articulate. The first being my sister Brandi for her love, support, and uplifting spirit. She has never left my side, since changing my diapers to helping me begin my own business as a self-employed artist. My cousin Dawn, even through her own battles, she shows up to guide, love, and support me. Even when I’m balling my eyes out, she intuitively knows how to care fully for me. My brotha from an asian motha, Michael Ma! We’ve only known each other for a year but it feels like lifetimes. Thank you for helping kickstart my photography business with connections, courage, and support. The men I’ve met through Men of alopecia Children’s alopecia project the models, photographers, artists, rappers, strippers, and all around amazing individuals I’ve gotten the opportunity to work and collab with since I began my journey as an artist