What are you working for your living?
I work in an internet startup company. I wear a lot of different hats, but my official title is HR/Operations Manager. It’s fun because I get to do many different things throughout my day, but generally I manage HR, payroll, basic accounting, office management (though now I have an assistant for that), benefits administration, taxes, audits, and government reporting. In addition, I help our V.P. of marketing with some design, ad creation, and general marketing operations.
I’m someone who tends to need to keep my brain very active, so having a job that makes me juggle many responsibilities keeps me much happier.
Where do you live?
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California.
When you should describe yourself, how would you describe yourself?
It’s sometimes hard to describe myself. I feel like that quote from Possession, by A.S. Byatt, “They say that women change: ‘tis so: but you are ever-constant in your changefulness.” I’m not silly enough to think you can say this about all women, or even a majority, but I feel that it often fits me pretty well.
What other hobbies do you have (than wearing beautiful lingerie)? It must be at least sports (regarding to your model body).
I love to read, and I like hiking and being outside. I also love being in gardens and looking at plants. But honestly, my biggest hobby currently is streaming video games after work for an audience on Twitch. I am a variety streamer on Twitch. I didn’t grow up with video games (or TVs or computers), so I’m not generally very good, but I have a lot of fun. I also use the time to do some creative projects, eat fun candies, and interact with my audience. But I don’t tell them about my lingerie Instagram account, because that’s not what it’s for, and I tend to keep the two hobbies very separate.
Why did you start your Instagram lingerie blog?
I love lingerie. I have my MFA in Women’s Fashion Design, and if I worked in the fashion industry I would want to be with a lingerie company. I love the structure, the architecture, juxtaposed against the softness, the curves and the femininity. I found myself starting to purchase really lovely lingerie, but then I felt really disconnected to any community where I could talk about it. Especially as I am in HR for work, and then stream to a mostly male audience on Twitch.
So part of starting my account was to connect with other lingerie lovers, find new and interesting brands, and share my collection. But another part of why I wanted to start the account will be covered in the last question regarding why I chose the name the_invisible_nao.
You have studied fashion? Does this fact impact your lingerie passion?
I did graduate from my MFA with a degree in women’s fashion design, but I do not consider myself a fashion designer. I look pretty normal in real life. People tend to like what I wear, but I don’t look like a magazine spread, and I certainly don’t stay up-to-date with trends. Some of this is because I like to try to live a bit simply, only buy things I really love and desire, and part of it is that I do not have the money to really pursue high fashion as a hobby. I’m not sure I would even if I did have the money. I do wear jeans quite a lot, but I don’t often wear sneakers.
Part of my inability to work within the fashion world is that I have a really hard time ethically with a lot of what fashion does to the environment and the people working along the production chain. As a consumer I try to be really careful with what I buy, but as a designer I felt my moral obligation kicked up a notch, but the sad reality is that in a large fashion company designers don’t have a say in where something is made once the design leaves their hands. I couldn’t handle that.
Do you collect lingerie? When did you start?
I didn’t realize that I was collecting lingerie until it was too late! I was already addicted. But yes, I think in a way I now collect lingerie because I love it. I have been very carefully buying beautiful lingerie for probably the last 6 years, but only within the last 2 have I been able to get more than 1 set a year because of price restrictions.
How did you become a lingerie fan, was there a special incident?
I’ve always loved beautiful, well-constructed clothing. Lingerie is a natural extension of that. In addition, I also enjoy the feeling of having my own secret, a weapon against the world that can sometimes try to take so much from us. Having beautiful lingerie can function as that weapon, that secret that keeps me going through a day that might not be the best—knowing that I’m wearing something beautiful and powerful and all for me. It’s a bit of a pick-me-up, even on great days!
Lingerie is also a form of self-love. My mother had stage 4 breast cancer starting when I just turned 19. I’m very close to my mom, and watching her go through the pain and suffering of fast scheduled chemo and radiation was incredibly challenging to me. I felt as though the female body had betrayed us. For a long time I didn’t want to touch my boobs; I hated them. I didn’t want anyone else to touch them either, and I wanted them ignored. I never wore any lingerie, or even bras at all. When I was finally ready to let go of that anger, buying beautiful lingerie was a way for me to reconnect with my body. By the way, my mom is in total remission and doing great!
These is a very private and intimate subject. Are you sure you want to publish this to a bigger audience?
One is for sure, talking about such dramatic and private issues will surely help and give hope to people who are sickened by similar disease. But it also makes you vulnerable
I am absolutely fine with you publishing my answer to your question. I think that vulnerability and honesty is a great thing. A lot of online platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook, paint a picture of everyone having a beautiful, charmed life. It creates a lot of problems and an entirely skewed world-view. I think having the opportunity to acknowledge struggle, tragedy, and even mental-health challenges in a matter of fact and open way hopefully helps others who feel like they are the only ones experiencing such things.
What does it mean to you wearing nice lingerie?
Wearing nice lingerie is a way for me to take care of myself, to do something just for me, to touch and feel a form of luxury I might not get in other ways. It’s an act of pampering, it’s an act of self-love, and it’s an act of empowerment. Besides, I love cute and beautiful things!!
What aspects are important to you when buying lingerie?
When I buy lingerie I want it to be well-constructed, with beautiful fabric. I don’t buy a lot, and so I want the things I do buy to last and last well.
Do you remember your first lingerie set you bought/owned? What did it mean to you?
I don’t really remember, I’m sorry. 😉
You need a lot of underwear for your shootings. How many lingerie sets do you own?
I own about 17 sets of lingerie, though most are just a bra and panty match. One of those sets is just a bra and nothing else. Two of those sets have a garter belt, and then I have a single garter belt that doesn’t match anything else. In addition I have a few sets of stockings, a teddy, a baby-doll dress, and a ribbon corset. This is probably a lot of lingerie for an average person, but I have to admit that I’m excited to hopefully see my collection grow.
Do you have a favourite lingerie brand? Which one is it and why?
There are so many amazing brands!!! I have more Lonely Lingerie than any other brand, so perhaps I can say that’s my current favourite. I love the fit, style, design, and finally the ethics behind that brand.
Are there any lingerie trends you are excited about? Which one?
The fact that so many brands are going in lots of different directions, cute, bondage, fluffy, sleek, is really exciting to me. I know that straps are really really in right now, and I like it. It’s fun to have a bondage inspired set, yet juxtapose it with girly colors or lace. I’m also happy to see a lot more deep greens in lingerie—a color that’s often overlooked but gorgeously saturated and rich.
Why do you cite quotes of books in your posts? Where are they from?
All books I quote in my posts are books that I have personally read. I use Goodreads to keep track of books that I’ve read, and I’ll usually browse my personal library, see a book I want to highlight that goes with my mood, and then search for quotes.
It seems you are reading a lot. How many books do you read per month, what are you interested in?
Because I stream on most of my time off, I unfortunately only read about 1-3 books a month depending on the month. 3 in a good month, maybe 1 or not even 1 if I’m really busy. If I wasn’t streaming I’d definitely read more. For instance, when I took a vacation recently for about 2.5 weeks I ended up reading 6 books.
What kind of books do you read, do you like?
I generally like fiction, though there are some non-fiction books I enjoy quite a lot as well. Usually if it is well-written and interesting I will enjoy it! I just love to read. I generally don’t read biographies and auto-biographies though, which is a little odd when I think about it.
You are acting like a professional in front of the camera. Are you a natural or did/do you work in the model business?
I have never worked as a professional model. I am quite shy, and if I was working with a photographer I didn’t know, I have a feeling the pictures wouldn’t turn out. Right now my partner takes most of pictures, though I take some, and it works really well! He’s incredibly supportive and patient as I work through my ideas of what I want for a particular shoot.
How much time do you spend on your the_invisible_nao (per day)?
I don’t know. I wish I had more time to interact within the community and comment on other people’s posts and be even more supportive, but unfortunately I don’t end up spending much time with it. I tend to take shoots maybe once a week, sometimes more sometimes less, and then I stretch those out by just posting once a day. Sometimes I don’t even get to post that often.
Do your partner/family/friends/colleagues know about the_invisible_nao, what do they say? Aren’t you afraid of getting confronted with your photos?
My partner, my mom, and a few friends know about my lingerie account. Most people know that I love clothing and lingerie because I studied it. The only thing that worries me is my Twitch community and the fact that I work in HR. However, I must admit, I’m not all THAT worried. At the end of the day I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, and so I’m happy that I have been able to explore my interests in this format.
I have had several challenging life events over the past 5 years, including being on suicide watch for a close member of the family in a foreign country on my own, my sister going through a difficult heart transplant process after getting an LVAD, my MFA program being somewhat a mess and unsupportive, as well as my own mental health taking a slow downward spiral.
This is not to say that I haven’t had beautiful and wonderful things happen as well—I absolutely have. But in my job, as HR, and on Twitch, as a broadcaster, I’m somewhat required to have a happy, cheerful, and fun demeanor. And I guess I needed a space in which to express the other side of my personality—which can be deeply melancholic, unsettled, dissatisfied, and yet romantic and filled with longing. I didn’t do it on purpose, but yeah, it seems that the_invisible_nao has become my safe space for expressing these otherwise hidden aspects of my personality.
How do you get your ideas finding the sets for your shootings (My all-time favourite: the shower!)
Often my ideas for shoots come from the location I’m in and the lingerie set I’m wanting to show off. I’d love to vary it up even more, but without a car, and just at my home, it can be difficult. Especially as I have housemates. The shower one was easy, because I was in an Airbnb, saw the color of the shower and knew it would be perfect with my yellow Elle Macpherson set.
I love combining colors and textures, but I also enjoy having a simple aesthetic, so I try to show both in my photos to various degrees of success and failure.
Your best/worst experience you made with the_invisible_nao (are there any)?
My best experiences, by far, are being able to connect with other lingerie lovers!! It’s also really exciting when a brand uses my images too, it feels really fun to be connected to brands I admire. Finally, this has allowed me to be connected to Lingerie Lowdown, a company that let’s lingerie lovers, like myself, review lingerie on a subscription based platform to help other people be informed about brands and how they fit.
Worst? I haven’t had that many bad experiences so I’m not too sure.
I have no other platforms currently that go along with this account. If I had more time I would love to start a blog, but I don’t see that happening in the immediate future.
What are your plans for the_invisible_nao, are there benchmarks you want to reach (number of followers, earning money, becoming a top lingerie influencer, etc.)?
I love being involved in a lingerie community. If this Instagram account allowed me to interface more with lingerie brands, other lingerie lovers, and allows people to be encouraged to find their own self-expression I count that as a win. I didn’t start it with a specific agenda other than to be a place for me to express myself, some of my feelings and moods, capture who I am at this specific time in my life, and connect with lingerie.
As I’m getting more into it and gaining some small traction I do admit that I dream a bit more. And when I dream, of course I think it would be awesome to be a lingerie influencer, early adopter, and serious brand reviewer. However, I honestly don’t know if it will become anything bigger than just me, having fun and sharing my own aesthetic and lingerie collection.
If there were a lingerie fairy giving you one wish, what would that be?
This is an incredibly challenging question because there are so many beautiful lingerie brands and sets. However, I’d have to say probably one of the gorgeous sets from Bordelle. The price point is a bit out of my range, but I’d love to eventually have something from them. In addition, when I buy for myself I tend to go for small indie brands, because that’s who I like to support, so while I’d LOVE to have a set from Bordelle, I don’t see it happening any time soon unless I was given it by a lingerie fairy!
I knew right away that I wanted to reference one of my favorite books in my Instagram name: A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. It’s a book I feel deeply connected to, and one of the characters is named Nao. Not only did it play on my love of that character, but it also relates to the Now, or the Present Moment that I wanted to capture in my account (something that’s mentioned in the book as well). I’m somewhat obsessed with ideas of time and movement and space, and I wanted to try to capture the me that is right now, even if it becomes somewhat impossible.
This is a side of myself that not many people in my life see or understand, and this was what influenced my choice for “invisible.” In addition, I feel that as people get older they become more and more invisible to others—something that I want to combat. We often have an obsession with a certain style of youth and beauty, and I don’t want that to be the case. Finally, sometimes I feel invisible.
What do you mean with „sometimes you feel like you are invisible“, can you describe it?
I’m sure there are many people who feel this sort of melancholic, invisible feeling. Our world is large, full of people all absorbed doing their activities and focusing on what’s around them. I think sometimes when I contemplate humanity it becomes easy to feel as though a small, rather unimportant person in the San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t matter. I know that I have people who see me, and that I’m important to them, but that doesn’t fix the fact that sometimes I feel as though I hardly exist at all.