Much like her beauty, her talents are dynamic, complex, and multi-faceted, each sculpted with artistic purpose and inspired by a deep love for art, expression and all things creative. CRAVE Magazine is pleased to welcome artist & model Laura Thomas as our August ITgirl.

Admittedly, Thomas has had a late start on her career as a model after a lifetime spent pursuing her creative passion as an artist.

“I found at an early age the only way I could express myself was through art, and for that found talent I am forever grateful,” Thomas explains in a CRAVE Magazine interview.

Though she briefly considered modeling in her teens after receiving a great deal of encouragement and even an agency signing offer, it was not until the adventurous age of 30 that the Nederland, Colorado native finally embraced her modeling talent. Until then, art remained the single most powerful force in her life.

“In my early 20s I began to experience panic attacks, so severe I found it hard to be around people, I felt I didn’t trust the world, and these continued for quite some time. Throughout this period in my life the one constant was my art; it became my therapy.”

It was during this turbulent time in Thomas’ life, after having suffered the trauma of witnessing a suicide, that she realized the power of her art and its potential to impact not only her own life but the lives of others too. The revelation came when she was asked to contribute her work to a Soup for the Soul charity auction. Jumping at the chance to share her artwork for the benefit of others, Thomas donated a large painting and several sculptures.

“I felt so proud knowing my art had helped such a wonderful organization and in a way helped me break a little more out of my shell and expose myself to the world I feared at the time.”

Continuing in her journey to help others and break further out of her shell, Thomas decided to follow in the footsteps of many family members before her by pursuing a career in the medical field. Though she advanced quickly and excelled in the industry, something was missing.

“I was still painting, sculpting and drawing in my free time but felt an urge to find a way to make some sort of a living doing art.”

With a personal interest in the art of tattooing, she mentioned the idea to a family member and doors began to open. She has since been tattooing at The Blue Door Tattoo Shop for 9 years and counting.

It was this career as a tattoo artist that ultimately led her back to the world of modeling.

“When I was 30, I had donated my time and henna skills for a clothing release party, and it was there that I was approached by a photographer asking if I’d be interested in modeling for him,” Thomas explains. “Being asked once again to model, I felt excited, nervous and ready to tackle another artistic aspect I hadn’t fully learned about within myself. It was an amazing photo shoot, and once I got the photos from him I began to submit them to various photographers, designers and people looking for models just to see what would happen.”

Thomas hasn’t looked back since, booking runway fashion shows, photo shoots, and even being hired to appear in a music video for a very talented and upcoming local artist named SF1. The blossoming model said she has welcomed the opportunity to model with open arms.

“I soon realized the modeling I was doing, even while being terrified at times, was inspiring me in a way I never expected, was helping me believe in myself and feel a pride in my inner beauty and my outer flaws,” she says, continuing, “I truly love all the creative people I have been lucky enough to have met and worked for and with in this industry. I feel just over the last few years I see the modeling scene in Denver growing, and the people involved in it that I’ve come across seem to be so welcoming to models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and walks of life. I feel so lucky to bear witness to it, and hopefully contribute in whatever way I can to [inspire] those around me.”

We wish you the best of luck in your journey Laura! You are one amazing CRAVE ITgirl!

Photography: Visionart Photography by Tanya Walter
Makeup Artist: Jenn Nolt
Design: Blackberry Maverick

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next CRAVE ITgirl, submit your application now!

ITgirl Xtra >>> Visionart Photography by Tanya Walter

For this month’s mid-summer shoot, our August ITgirl teamed up with Colorado Springs photographer Tanya Walter and found a unique way to beat the heat while capturing the essence of summer fun: an underwater photo shoot.

Walter, who has been behind the lens for more years than she can count, is no stranger to submerged sessions. In fact, it’s one of her specialties.

“I have been always been drawn to underwater photography,” Walter explains. “There is something about being able to defy gravity, the reflections and the models’ hair flowing in the water; It’s pure beauty. So why not have the ITgirl underwater?”

Tanya Walter Photographer Colorado Springs

And though our August ITgirl photo collection might look effortless, Walter says that easy-going, weightless beauty is not always easy to capture.

“Whenever you have a new person that has not modeled underwater, it is always a fear that they will be scared or holding their nose. It’s one thing to say, ‘Oh yeah, I can swim,’ but it’s another thing to be comfortable and to just be able to go with the flow of being weightless.”

Fortunately our August ITgirl was up to the challenge.

“Laura was so great and willing to try anything and everything,” Walter says of working with Thomas. “She did not even skip a beat when it was time to put on the roller skates.”

When asked about a funny underwater moment with Thomas, Walter answers with emphasis, “What happens in the pool, stays in the pool,” adding, “Let’s just say that modeling underwater is not always the most attractive thing above water, but the outcome is amazing.”

Based in Colorado Springs, Tanya Walter is currently a part-time photographer pursuing her passion to become a full-time professional in the industry.