Sarah Hunter aka Lady Clankington

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Model, actress, designer, and purveyor of ‘carnal curiosities,’ Sarah Hunter is a woman who knows how to own a scene. She works as a “sexy lab assistant” for Brute Force Studios, and her face is one of the best known in the subgenre. Literally!

She stopped to say hello before she joins us in April as one of the Guests of Honor at this year’s International Steampunk Symposium.

Sarah Hunter FB2

Me: A lot of people find their niche and stick with it. You’ve taken a different road. Model, actress, designer, shop owner… Do you find it difficult juggling so many hats or does the variety suit you?

Sarah Hunter: Actually, I enjoy the challenge of…oh, who am I kidding? It’s nearly maddening trying to keep everything together. Success is hard work! Extreme results require extreme effort and it’s sometimes hard to juggle modeling and performing with production, marketing, and upcoming projects. That being said, I think I would get burned out really easily if I put all my eggs in one basket, only focusing on one project. Variety keeps me sane. Being on the road most of the year has forced me to become very outgoing and self-reliant – I can no longer afford to be my naturally shy self. Part of successful marketing is putting oneself out there. You are your own best advocate for your product.

Me: Steampunk is based on a strange appreciation for and simultaneous inversion of the Victorian era. This seems especially true of the sexier side of steampunk, which plays all kinds of lovely havoc with Victorian morality. How does this dynamic influence your work?

Getting her nerd-on at the set of “Castle”

Sarah Hunter: I love to poke badgers with spoons. I aggressively support a sex-positive outlook in the community and I like to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable with my art, as they say. Also, when I find something that I think is interesting, I tend to want to share it with everyone, whether they’re interested or not. I also like to debunk people’s misconceptions about Victorian sexuality but honestly, I’m not here to bludgeon people with it. I try to exhibit a sense of humor and lightheartedness about such things. I’ve done a great deal of study, both at university and recreationally, about society’s morals and practices from late pre-industrial through the modern era. My collection of contemporary and antiquarian books on the subject is beginning to overflow my home library.

Me: You’ve been featured in dozens of books and magazines, not to mention your film and television credits but you’ve stayed involved with steampunk. What keeps you interested in this subgenre?

Sarah Hunter: Mainstream culture bores me. I’ve always enjoyed the Victorian aesthetic and steampunk is a wonderful outlet for my interests and creative urges. In the modeling and acting world, pretty girls are a dime a dozen but models with their own sci-fi/fantasy/historic wardrobe, prop shop, sets, photographers, and 10,000 square feet of available studio space at their disposal on a moment’s notice are definitely in the minority. Can you imagine working at Brute Force Studios and not being dragged into steampunk?

Me: How does it feel to be one of the most recognizable faces in steampunk? You’re destined to find a certain portrait of Lady Clankington (photographer: Julie Ray; MUAH: Debra Weite) after all, whenever you search “steampunk.”

lady-clankington-photo-by-txsportspix

Literally the face of Steampunk!

Sarah Hunter: You know what? It feels pretty good. I’ve been modeling professionally since 2006 and had moderate success in the fetish and alt fashion community. I loved steampunk from the moment I discovered it in 2010.  That photo was taken in 2011. Becoming “that steampunk model” has helped given me more focus in my career. Loads of models exist never knowing where to place their energies or feel resentful that they have to work in a genre they don’t like. I’m happy that I’ve found a community where I can be who I truly am.

Me: You work closely with Brute Force Studios. What does working as a “sexy lab assistant” entail?

Sarah Hunter: Mostly, it entails learning how to be a better maker. I decided a while ago that I wanted to make my own products, props, and costumes, so I worked with Brute Force to hone the skills necessary to make that happen. Learning mold-making and other construction skills has made producing the Little Death Rays and the Red Zeppelin much easier. In exchange for this knowledge, I also handle Brute Force’s bookkeeping, customer service, shipping and receiving, fetching coffee and tea, modeling and styling photo shoots, and other duties, as required.

Me: Imagine an endless budget and all the time in the world. What would you choose to create? Would you showcase just one of your talents, or would you bring in the whole hat rack?

Sarah Hunter: I want to write the worst full length, terribly-written, horrendously-acted, Syfy-quality soft-core steampunk movie ever made. I want all my friends to buy it and be proud, yet slightly embarrassed to admit they know me. I think it would be hilarious.

For more about Sarah Hunter, check out her website, her Facebook, or her Twitter. If you’d like to see her in person, be sure to get tickets to the International Steampunk Symposium.

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