The success of my 2016 and 2017 Real Women campaigns took me by surprise. In 2016 I thought it might be a nice idea to photograph some friends wearing my jewellery and luckily for me my pals Gabe, Hayley, Amanda and Jax were really into it. The photos and words accompanying them resonated with so many of my other customers that I was spurred on to do it again in 2017 and was incredibly fortunate to have Anika Moa volunteer to be a CP model.
So this year I decided to take it further and instead of me choosing from my friends, I decided to cast the net wider and put a casting call out to my customers in a more official capacity. The main criteria were that the applicants HAD to be 100% authentic Cathy Pope jewellery owners and customers. Authenticity is one of the most important elements of this campaign and for many shoots I do during the year. Campaign collection shoots have to look sharp and very professional, showcasing the jewellery in the best possible light as they get used for website, social media and wholesale selling, but I prefer to use non-models for anything else.
I was overwhelmed for choice as the applications for groups of friends and sisters flooded in, making the decision really tough! Sacha and I met up one day and went through them all and we finally came up with our new faces for Real 2018. Originally we were only going with one group of 3-4 but as usual we decided to push our limits and shoot two groups. Sacha and I are a good team, we work fast and efficiently and with my experience as a stylist we can achieve a lot in a day.
I pulled together an amazing team of hair and makeup stylists, Morgan Manson and Frana Evans as well as Skye Hurst helping us out. It was a very hectic day but I’m absolutely thrilled with the results. The women who we chose had two distinctly different looks. Te, Maria and Jordan are three friends in their 20s who met working in tv production and formed a close friendship that's endured the test of tough jobs, overseas travel and everyday life. Jordan roped Te and Maria into the shoot and despite there being some nerves early on in the day everyone ended up really enjoying themselves. I loved their mixed cultural backgrounds of Maori and Pacific island and I felt they represented a big group of CP customers who I’ve met so many times rocking my pieces. These girls were alive, refreshing and so strong and independent.
The next group was made up of three sisters Johanna, Kate and Michelle. Their fourth sister Donna wasn’t part of the shoot but there in spirit and their words about sisterhood also reflect their bond as four, despite only being three in the photos. These women in their 30s are also busy professionals, Johanna has a young family, Michelle is seven months pregnant with her first and Kate the youngest, content to be aunt for now. I loved the contrast of the fair, blonde and red hair against the exotic darkness of the other girls this group of women looked sensational when we photographed them together.
We’ll be rolling out this campaign over the next few months and you’ll be getting to know each of the women more intimately. I asked them a few poignant questions about what lessons they’ve learned in life, what advice they’d give their 16 year old self and what their bond as sisters and friends means to them. Best of all they all look absolutely incredible in these images and Sacha and I believe we’ve captured their essence really nicely. I hope you enjoy the 2018 Real Women series.