It was pretty sad news indeed. I did shoot with Monique Charriere once but I don’t remember that much of it. It didn’t go that well to begin with.
The make-up and hair artist I hired did not get that much free space because she wasn’t allowed to change her hair and make-up. Also the shots were pretty much directed and there was not much variety.
I do have some great shots of her but just not that many. After the shoot she got more relaxed and more open and we had some nice conversations.
[Jacco is being modest: his picture of Monique wearing a leather corset dress from BizarreDesign — see the Other Photographers gallery on page 1 — has rightly become one of her best-known images — Ed]
I did not know about her death until you told me and I am in shock. Not so long ago I talked with someone about her, because of the pictures of her on my wall. For me she seemed to have fallen off the earth. I had not seen any new stuff or heard from her in a long time.
I only met Monique Charriere two or three times. The first time was in my atelier — she was coming to fit and select some corsets for a shoot.
Due to her appearance I expected a bitch — someone with whom you have to be careful what you are saying because she’ll bite your head off if you say something wrong (to her ears). So I was a bit prepared for that.
She was brought to my atelier by a very big man in a dark suit, who did not come in but waited near the car. It had a bit of a mafia vibe to be honest!
To my surprise she was very soft-spoken — almost shy — and very friendly. But it was such a big contrast with what I expected that it always stuck in my mind.
A very intriguing woman for me, but I never got to know her better. She brought the corsets back and I met her at a party, but I don’t know if she knew who I was. She did some more shoots in my corsets but I was not involved in those.
Monique Charriere was one of my favourite models. I found it at the same time easy and difficult to work with her, but it was always worth it.
Later on we became good friends and chatted a lot when she was living abroad. I noticed how much she had going on inside, but also how sad and alone she was. She was free, but caught in the cage she put herself in.
I tried to convince her to write a book about all the crazy things she experienced, because her travel stories never failed to make me laugh.
I have to say that the death of Monique comes with a delay for me. When I first heard about it I didn’t feel much, because she told me [that she would do it] so many times.
But this goodbye text she posted [the Poe verse] is killing me. I remember how much she was looking for love and happiness, like the rest of us, but she did (in my opinion) everything wrong.
She only attracted stupid people. If you make yourself look like this 24/7, how likely is it to find a good guy? Maybe that is a very conservative outlook, but then again, I was exactly like this.
And all the sex chat she did… what is that doing to your soul and your view of the world?
I think the poem [posted June 6] is really how Monique Charriere felt, as she told me this many times.
I met Micky, aka Monique Charriere, through a mutual friend, Marina, who is from Pomoria in Bulgaria, which is the same town Micky‘s ex is from.
Marina, who was living at the apartment of Jon Kenny, landlord of Coriander filmmaker SG Collins, invited her to come visit Amsterdam. When Micky finally made it to Amsterdam, we all found her amazing, odd, beautiful and difficult.
Then Collins made The Trouble with Coriander. Micky and I had a strange, mutual attraction, BDSM sort of, bi-attraction kind of, and something else…
Somehow we sensed a similarity between us. In retrospect I think it was this: we were both women with brains who’d had a hard time with men, plus we never felt like we ‘fitted in’ anywhere.
It wasn’t until sometime in early July that Jon Kenny called me to ask if I had heard about Micky. I hadn’t. I did notice that she wasn’t on Facebook for a while but didn’t think much of it.
Then I looked at her [Midori Gigovierre] Facebook page and found the last post I remembered, the ‘statement’ [on June 6] about being lost and sad and alone. And then I read all the comments which confirmed she was gone from us.
I know I didn’t ‘kill her’ by my casual reply to her previous post about not having slept in 30 hours. But damn, I wish I had realised she was so bad. I wish she had come to visit me, I wish I had really pushed her to visit Amsterdam, I wish I could go back in time…
I wish I had done more, something, anything to change what happened, but in the end, she chose this. She didn’t want to try any more. It was just too hard for her.
I suggested a few times that Micky should try meditation. Told her that it really helped me to calm the noise of life. She said she couldn’t do it.
Sometimes when I meditate I try to talk to her. To send her the love she always needed but never felt. I tell her we miss her and hope she is at peace. I think she is.
Michele De Saint has kindly provided transcripts of some online conversations she had with Monique Charriere (‘Micky’) between January and April this year when, as Michele puts it, “I stupidly dropped the ball”. The exchanges have been lightly edited for the sake of clarity. To read them, click the dropdown panel below.
The first time I saw Monique Charriere at a fetish party, I was blown away. So much energy, perfection and attitude on the dance floor!
I grabbed all my courage and asked her if she ever wanted to do a photo-shoot, and instead of the blunt stuck-up reaction I expected, she was super sweet and really enthusiastic.
This again proves how looks can deceive… and assumptions usually are totally wrong.
During one of our last shoots (which happened in 2010) she gave me the biggest compliment ever. She told me she was always happy to do a shoot with me and felt completely at ease in my studio.
You don’t expect a beautiful bombshell like her to be quite a shy girl.
She was really picky when it came to publishing pictures of her. She wanted them to be perfect, but with a bit of luck and expertise I always got some good results we both liked.
But I really had to work for it. As you can see in my pictures there was a lot of fun and laughter, and this is what counts.
I also heard stories about her from other photographers that she wasn’t okay all the time; that although she had a super nice side, it wasn’t there for everyone.
She was kind of a broken girl. Fucking sad.
Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet Monique Charriere in person. But I had been following and admiring her work for years.
When you see a lot of pictures from someone and you see that you know many of the same people, it’s hard (for me at least) not to feel like you don’t know them ‘a little’ in some way, I guess.
Which is probably part of why I felt quite an intense sadness when I heard that she had passed.
Also for me it reflected on a more personal aspect of being a girl and/or modelling — where in a way, I (and many other girls) tend to assume that with better looks and greater appreciation for them by others, you do in fact become a happier person.
It’s hard to see that someone who was looking in such a way that she was largely admired (including by me) still felt so unhappy as to take her own life.
I think it’s a bit confrontational and hits home for a lot of girls, especially in modelling where looking a certain way does actually increase your success and thus creates a certain focus.
I met Monique Charriere back in 2009 in Amsterdam at Vault Productions’ Obscene party through a mutual friend, who insisted she and I should shoot together. When I saw her looks at the party I agreed to shoot with her.
Monique was a very sweet girl with an unlikely morbid sense of humour, and was also very shy.
Many people in the Dutch fetish scene mistook her shyness for arrogance but she was anything but arrogant if you got to know her.
She was mostly worried that people would find her weird if she opened up to them. During the years she lived in Holland I shot with her four times, including a flyer shoot for the Boudoir Fetish party.
She and my former girlfriend connected very well and we used to meet up at parties and hang out backstage with her.
Because we had a good connection, and especially after I learnt she had a fetish for blood as well, she also became a part of my Bloodsquad performance group back in 2010.
She did two acts with Bloodsquad for the 15th anniversary of Wasteland and a season première party for the True Blood TV series.
When she left Holland, for the first year she would still send me videos and pictures of bloody stuff.
One time it was really graphic and I was like, “Damn that’s really bad,” and she replied, “Really? I thought you would like that.”
During her time in Asia, which I believe was (at least) from 2014 to 2016, we didn’t communicate much.
Yet in January of this year she contacted me after I posted a collage of some of my work, which included one of her photos from our DeMask shoot.
She said she was coming back to Amsterdam later this year and that we should shoot again. I was excited about this, and in May I contacted her again to see if her plans were coming through.
She said she was coming to Amsterdam for one or two months to stay with a friend and we would meet up once she was here.
Less than a month later I found out about her death. It really came as a shock to me. I will miss her and her weird kind of humour.
All very sad indeed. I never actually worked with Monique Charriere but we had conversations with that in mind until quite recently. I did think that we would, one day, but of course that will never happen now.
One great quote from her on a post with her beautiful face was “today was a waste of make-up”. She also posted about being abducted by aliens and taken to a better place, which makes more sense now.
Always original with a very unique, special look. She will be sadly missed.
Michelle writes: Micky sent me an excerpt of a text conversation she had with a guy she sort of liked (she didn’t really like anyone completely, ever, never).
Him: Really I’m suspecting you have placed me under mind control when we first met. And don’t think I didn’t notice.
Her?: Never mind.
Him: Is that the super power you would have?
Him: What would it be? Aside from your current powers of course…
Her: My current powers? I’m unaware of them.
Him: The ability to make people feel good?
Her: Well I’m glad I made you feel good.
Him: Also sarcasm.
Her: The ability to make grown men say stupid things?
Not sure who: Grown men say stupid things anyway.
Him: The ability to make people open up to you?
Her: Ummm, ok.
Him: Also the ability to leg press 100kg.
Her: I can’t do that anymore.
Him: You could though. That’s all that matters.
Her: Plus I haven’t worked out in 6 months.
Him: Do you want to though?
Him: What is stopping you currently?
Her: Doesn’t matter.
After reading this conversation I decided to say…
Me: Do you want me to be honest or tell you what I think you might want to hear about it?
Her: Sure I want you to be honest… *preparing myself*
Me: Ok… I think you know this already but you are too sensitive and ready to be disappointed by someone so you look for something to confirm your fear of that happening.
Her: Hmm I can agree with that Michele.
Me: If I read the stream correctly he said you make people feel good. Then it looks like you blast him for that statement because of your own personal doubts which have nothing to do with him. But maybe I’m reading it wrong.
Her: No you are not.The thing is, I couldn’t stand going home that evening and I invited myself to his place (it wasn’t him who invited me).
Her: Then I had some wine and we started talking. I told him I’m depressed to be back in the UK and gradually the conversation moved onto his hair loss. He talked about it, and I told him I find him more attractive now as it’s an interesting look. Then we kissed. I guess I am self-conscious and I feel as if he kissed me because I gave him a compliment.
That conversation was followed by a series of statements from her a few minutes later:
I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with men.
I don’t like myself more.
Also I haven’t had a relationship in 5 years.
I don’t take any shit, that’s all.
MARCH 2, 2017
Her: I’m having meltdowns every day.
Haha, Yeah silly.
Me: You are really wacky but in a fabulous way.
I’m very socially awkward now.
When we met, I just acted silly until Collins said I’m pretending to be stupid. Then I just decided to act like me, which is awkward.
(This is her talking about the Trouble with Coriander film, and when we met.)
Her: If I can’t attract the right people I’d rather be alone. Not sure why I still haven’t given up on the bf quest.
Her: I just wonder what were all these experiences preparing me for? A lifetime of disappointment? Or the opposite?
Me: To know how you don’t want to be treated.
Her: I’m glad these things happened. I had a similar experience 2-3 years ago.
I guess I needed to wake up.
So now I am. As my flatmate says, a ‘drama queen’. I just think I’m cautious and pick up cues.
APRIL 6, 2017
I asked her to come visit me, but she wasn’t sure when or if she would. I continued to ask her to come…
Her: I’ve no idea when and if I am coming to Amsterdam, although I’d like to.
I just freaked out a little today and started thinking about sellling my kidney. Kind of crazy.
And this was our last exchange on Facebook Messenger after that statement:
Me: Take some deep breaths and try to get your mind out of your life. Do something distracting that’s interesting.
Her: Yeah I try to. I just got very pissed off [that] one of the websites I work for suspended me for 2 weeks just because I have a photo which is also uploaded on another site.
I work 8 hours a day and pay them 20 pounds just to be featured and they do that.
The next interaction we had was on Facebook itself, on her Midori Gigovierre profile, where I saw she posted about not sleeping for 30 hours. I thought to myself, Girl, get some sleep. But my actual comment was:
Why, are you going for a record or horrible insomnia?
I sooo wish she had come to visit, I so wish I had texted her more, made a date to Skype, helped her more and not made the last thing I said to her so casual, and the last thing I thought, that she should go to sleep. Which is exactly what she did.
MICHELE DE SAINT
BELOW: SG Collins’ two Monique Charriere films, The Trouble With Coriander and Come Out Of Me
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