Photographer: Garry Black
Photographer: Joshua Wright
Photographer: Robbani Gulam, FX MUA: Anthonia Bejide
Photographer: Chase Miller
Photographer: Tarek Ghanem, FX Body Paint Artist. Samantha-Ann Marie Comeau
Photographer: Jef Harris, MUA: Melanie Dallaire
Photographer: My World In Photographs, MUA: Melanie Dallaire (This was published and created for the Ray of Light Charity)
September 19th, 2018
The first time I saw an image of Mylee Rae Batista I thought it was a really cool and wicked shot. The second time I was blown away by how much she looks like a living piece of artwork. And then I was hooked! Her Instagram is completely original with every style and theme covered. Easily one of the most versatile models in the Ottawa area, her work truly invokes emotions and just makes you feel in complete awe.
She is also a strong voice for mental health and uses her work as a way to give a voice to those who do not have one. She’s very inspiring and it’s easy to see why so many photographers are partnering and working with her to create some magnificent original creative art.
Where are you from?
I am originally from the United States! Proud and born Texan. I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario Canada and I am half Portuguese from my father's side! A mix of everything and I LOVE it!
How did you get started in modelling?
I was doing prom photos and the photographer and MUA [make-up artist] said I should model. We had fun and did a few shoots and then I worked with a Fashion Photographer who opened all kinds of doors in the industry. It was never a passion or goal, heck I didn't even think I was pretty but here I am now trying as hard as a I can to break the stigma of other people deciding who is pretty enough or good enough to be a "model". We are ALL beautiful in our souls.
What inspires your work?
My disability! I have a rare form of dementia, so my feelings or emotions help me create a mood. Also, I have an extreme love for art (in any form) and the photographers I work with are equally as artistic and we create and inspire each other. Our unplanned last minute shoots seem to be the best and most telling.
How do you prepare for a shoot?
MUSIC! Need I say more?
What kind of music do you like?
I love everything, but my favourite is 80’s music. It was a great era.
What is the worst job you've had and why?
Dressing up in Halloween costumes at a Halloween store. So this might sound fun, BUT I got stuck as a banana EVERY shift, walking a main street in my city! The honks and comments I got were so embarrassing! But hey, it earned me some "play money"!
What types of shoots do you love to do?
Artistic, Out of the Box, Moody, Bodyscapes, Macros and ones NOT copied! I try as hard as I can to be original!
How have you changed since you started modelling?
I have grown to be secure in my own skin! To accept what I cannot change and accept all my flaws and use them as my unique characteristics. I'm not judgemental, but I still have an opinion (I'm human). I also believe that everyone has a story to tell and no matter who they are don't judge as they may be battling something we know nothing about.
What is your favourite dinosaur?
Well, this is hard to answer. I would say T-Rex, but that doesn't sit well with me because I was mocked as looking like one. (I can laugh about it now), so in actuality maybe it has now become my favourite because it was made fun of for its tiny arms, but it can rip you to shreds. Hmm, maybe I just had a revelation here! ;-)
Have you gotten behind the lens? If so, what did that feel like and would you do it more?
I have a couple of times when I traveled on contracts and the photographers wanted to show me what they see and how to focus and look at different natural lights. I would LOVE to learn more in the future.
For you personally, what have you found to be the most important part of a successful photo shoot?
Adapting to any situation and have it be a "Team Effort". You need to be willing to be on time, dedicated, and ok with the original plans changing. An idea we may have may redirect once a setting or mood takes over.
What do you want people to feel when they see your work?
Pure Emotions! I want them to be able to relate to a photo and say "Wow, this is me"! Almost like song lyrics!
How do you think models are perceived in popular culture? Do you think it's a fair representation?
This is a tricky question in that the industry is evolving right now and becoming more accepting. I think generally models are perceived as snobby, pretentious, self absorbed and living a glamourous life. In fact it is just the opposite! Most models are insecure, just trying to make it, using modelling as a way to express themselves because in the general population they can't. We actually have a very busy life! Long days, little sleep, high expectations. The industry is evolving and more accepting of body types, ethnicities, disabilities and not fitting a "carbon copy". I am proud it is headed in this direction.
How did your Ray of Light Ottawa Charity come to be?
In the beginning, to bring attention to those suffering from mental health issues that weren't getting the help they needed. I have a brother who suffers from ADHD/Extreme Depression/Anxiety. Thanks to a proactive specialist and an Aunt that was a child psychologist, we were able to get him on a steady, healthy path of normalcy. Then there are those who are neglected by the system, part of statistics, crying and dying inside and could use that ONE group or info session that speaks to them. Then when I started modelling I was overwhelmed with people in the industry who were modelling, doing photography, makeup, designers and artists of all kinds battling mental health issues. This was an outlet to keep them going, express themselves and not be judged in the process. So I reached out to our Mental Health Hospital and found out that most of their programs are run solely on donations. Without the money they would not exist. I decided to create my own Charity so that I can raise money and awareness and disperse to these groups to keep them going. I am also in the process of offering free art nights to those who want to come and socialize in a non judgemental environment of like minded people to redirect their problems in a more positive therapeutic manner. We are still growing and will be having a charity event in February 2019 to hopefully raise even more money and awareness to locals and offer support and information.
What is next for you? World Domination?
I would love to travel more and make it to my father's homeland of Lisbon, Portugal. I want to walk the cobblestone streets, smell the fresh bread bakeries, meet family I've only heard of and see the beautiful buildings and ocean. Then I would like to move into production. I have been in movies and short films and would love to assist a director and become even more visual, but the most important thing will always be my charity and charitable work. Giving back is the best thing as a human that we can do.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
Cheesecake! Oh wait, that wasn't a choice! Oddly enough I'm not a sweet eater. I LOVE trying new exotic fruits. I try to always find something in the grocery store or at a fruit market I haven't tried before, but if I had to choose, Oreos!