The underlying theme of virtual worlds is that they open your mind to imagination, dark secrets, and other ways of seeing any world around us. Rebels, Lovers, and the Totally Unhinged can all express themselves. I love that about virtual worlds, and Opensim in particular.
Although we make worlds that reflect us, including our beliefs, culture, and ideas - not everyone is going to understand us. Our reputation can exceed our actuality. Yet there is still our perspective to be heard, if you have an open mind and can listen.
Having read the HB Magazine article calling out the Sacrarium grid for various offenses, my first thought wasn’t how dare Sacrarium do that, it was, those poor people to be publicly accused without Judge or Jury, without even a chance to explain their side of things. None of us would want to be publicly treated in that manner.
Maria has expressed herself and I usually agree with her. Yet, don't we need another perspective, too? It feels very unbalanced. The combination of that article and my reaction motivated me to find the opportunity to try to get to know Sacrarium, meaning the residents there, to listen to their perspective.
The perfect opportunity presented itself when reading Opensimworld. There was a post by Luna Lunaria about the items she was offering at her region. One item, Linda Kellie’s Na’ vi outfit. I commented how Linda had helped me by creating the Na’ vi outfit when I asked, in 2010 at Virtual Highway. Linda generously gave of her time and created within a day for us, thank you, Linda.
As a response, Betty Fashion Lover of the Sacrarium grid commented that all she knew of Linda Kellie were the negative things. And that opened a two-way exchange between us, the basis of listening. So I had an opportunity to discuss things regarding Sacrarium. I was even invited to their Sacrarium social site by Aferistka, which I accepted, and have since gotten to know some of the residents better. I used the opportunity to interview Betty Fashion Lover, hopefully allowing her to clarify a few things, to be fair, for balance.
I specifically challenged them regarding the “Never Buy In Opensim” slogan and explained how I felt that it can be both commercial and free in Opensim, I feel people should have options, which encompasses free and affordable.
Here's what I heard, in my opinion: at first, in the beginning, some players may have gotten careless, but for the most part, Sacrarium is like any other grid with a community of residents who work towards a common goal to accomplish a result of supplying the opensim community with qualitative goods. In my experience, which forms my opinion, almost every open grid has noted that traditional opensim freebies originally met requirements, because the requirements were "we are free" (on a few levels). And that has not changed. Freedom of expression, freedom of beliefs, as well as affordability have been persistent in Opensim. One of my beliefs is affability, too. We move through emotions towards peaceful coexistence.
We all have thrown the accusations and doubts, the more they were thrown the louder and more unbelievable the accusations became. It is time to take that breath, count to your favorite number. Allow us, require each of us to hear multiple perspectives, would that be so much to give for a better Opensim? It is why we are here, open minded to freedom.
Betty Fashion Lover, I would like to thank you for taking the time to reflect on your virtual life and your future goals. We would like to feature you and Fashionista Island, with hopes that the opensim community will get to know you a little better.
MM-If there was only one thing you would want persons to know about you, what would that be? Please elaborate there is plenty of room here for your reply.
BFL-Thank you Marianna ♥.
Yes, there is one thing I always like to share with people I first meet and I consider it describes my online identity. I am here just because of my joy taking pictures and being a flicker, so everything around me, including my region, is existing to serve my joy as a fashion photographer and poser. Freebie is just a product of sharing my joy and not the purpose.
MM-Misunderstandings happen all the time in Virtual Worlds because of lack of communication and we don’t have eyes to look into. What would you like to communicate with everyone?
BFL- Assuming you mean a failure to understand something correctly, due to the multilingual, multicultural and multiage environment, Yes, I have seen some times misunderstandings are existing, but I have never seen any serious one, except when techies are showing off knowledge that others cannot follow. I commented many times that the entertainment part of virtual lives has to be disconnected from the techie part. Is weird to join a club event and find out in local chat discussions about OS versions and robust databases. Is like you enjoy road trip landscape and the co-driver is measuring crankshaft’s torque. :)
MM-Many people would like to know how did the Athena avatar evolve where did she originate from? If you know. She is the main Mesh Avatar for your styling proposals or do you create proposals too for other avatars? Like the Decadence?
BFL- I will maybe disappoint with my answer, but I am only 2 years in Opensim and most of you are more familiar with Athena’s history and origination. I am wearing the FEMME body that is Athena compatible with less complexity and better HUD my opinion. All my styling proposals are a synthesis of assets rigged for the body I am wearing.
MM-What brought you to virtual worlds? How long have you been a member of the Sacrarium grid and why did you choose this grid to call home?
BFL- Back on September 2017, I was reading the news on a site that I visit daily. Linked titles were appearing left and right. One title was about "Gothic slaves in virtual worlds", I got excited and I pressed the link. I read about SL, I created an account, I spent few hours to take the driving license :)...and I created Betty, the potential Gothic slave. Finally, Betty never became a Gothic slave but she became a Barbie doll addicted to mesh clothes and accessories.
In my real life I dislike credit cards and I use just the debit ones, that SL dislikes, so I faced an issue of buying L$ more than a limit, and being addicted to marketplace, this limit was not enough, neither the money I was earning as a dancer in pink velvet club (yes I became a dancer to find a solution to access L$). What the addicted is doing?? Googling for solutions!!! So, I found a site that I could buy L$ using my PayPal and L$ would be transferred online by an avatar .... VOILA!!! I became L$ millionaire and started buying no limits :) But my joy did not last a lot!! Looks like Lindens do not like this parallel gray L$ market and they banned my avatar, my IP and my laptop.
So, started googling again to find a place to do my pictures, an alternative to SL, I found inworlds (if I recall well), was a paradise to my disappointment at that moment, but the mesh clothes’ quality and quantity were far away from my SL wardrobe and that Saphira body was not Maitreya.
Searching more, I found Kitely and I finally landed in OS with my own region. It was matter of time to discover places offering the Athena mesh body and many qualitative mesh clothes and accessories. Why to lose time? I immediately started styling my new gorgeous body and happily taking pictures again for my Flickr page becoming so proud of myself that I was even participating the weekly Kitely meetings dressed with what I collected around :) I have to mention that at that moment I did not know even to rez a cube, neither the conspiracies existing between grids about assets. I was completely rookie and naïve, just clicking copy and increasing my inventory and my choices of creating better styling and better pictures. But soon I discovered that I was in the wrong grid to show off my mesh body and my lovely mesh clothes. I became a Kitely forum title, and soon I was discovered by a journalist that made a story of me and my region in a well-known opensim forum. Out of the blue I started receiving hundreds of messages by both the in-conflict parts. For the one part I was a hero and for the other part I had to think twice what if I see someone stealing my neighbor’s car :) It was a mess period!! Ilan was great to me, anyway I always say that he is maybe the only real manager between the OS grid owners, and he just closed my region to visitors, allowing me to continue till I would clean my inventory. Meanwhile many grid owners started offering me space in their grids, between them White Angel Deed, the owner of Sacrarium. I finally decided to move to Sacrarium because at that period they were the most protective to me and the ones that wanted to help me understand what the reality behind the scenes is. I never regretted my decision and I am happy I belong to this great team for more than 2 years.
MM-Your island is beautiful. When creating this what did you want to convey with the theme and design?
BFL- Glad you like my island. Have been built gradually and following my priorities. It is a 4x4 region with 4 thematic areas. The "Beauty zone” where I expose my styling proposals, the "Mediterranean village" which is a mix of Italy and French Riviera, the “Chicago 1920” and finally the “Greek Cycladic island” which was built last and is my favorite part due to my Greek origin.
MM-Many ask where do you obtain all the beautiful outfits that you create for your styling proposals? Do other creators contribute to the outfits?
BFL- All my styling proposals are set of various creators’ clothes and accessories, worn together to create an outfit that matches my criteria.
MM-The images in your ads are stunning, where did you learn to photograph virtually so beautifully? Do you use special lighting? What are your tips? How do you design your backdrops or background? Do you have a Flickr account you can share?
BFL- I found out about virtual photography while I was in SL, from a friend that had a studio. She taught me the basics and later, when I joined OS, I practiced more technics and my eye became more experienced in angles and distances that is a talent you improve continuously by doing more and more pictures. Of course, are really stunning virtually photographers in Flickr, that I have long road to become close to them, if I ever. About special lighting, I sometimes use a ball prim with light effect, but usually my facelights are enough. For backdrops, I am visiting the “backdrop sacrarium” region where you can rez your pose stands if you’re are a group member. What I always do, except setting graphics to the highest possible for my poor laptop, I edit the selected sky, changing parameters to achieve my best for the specific picture. Finally, I use paint shop to add filters, sunshine and detail extractor being my favorite ones. What is time consuming when I am doing a picture is the pose creation, that except few pictures the majority are my own creations using blender.
My Flickr page
MM-I gave you a bracelet as a gift, you took it to your software program and edited it, and took a picture to show me it was a heavy avatar cost which I overlooked, this impressed me. I normally check but this piece on this day escaped me, it was a busy day. You helped me to see the piece needed to be cleaned up. Do you work in Blender or what is the software you use? How long?
BFL- The moment I got banned from SL and I started googling for alternative worlds, the search results were more educating than just finding a new world. I started reading and getting familiar with the engineering behind the joy, part of this knowledge was blender. I quit many times the idea of learning blender environment, and this is because the blender environment itself, finally, with the help of tutorials, I can use a part of blender abilities that helps me to improve meshes or modify them to a customized result. I mean I know more than creating 3D letters but less than creating a Disney movie.
MM-Do you create 3D Clothes? Have you ever used Marvelous Designer or Avastar?
BFL- I used to have a copy of MD4 in my hard drive and I spent some time creating, nothing more than a simple skirt. Avastar is not an add-on for creating clothes, but I use it almost every day, mostly to create my poses and for rigging.
MM-Do you do any model rigging or are the clothes already rigged. I have purchased Meli Imako .dae files which are already rigged, do you purchase .dae files or find them at online resource sites?
BFL- Yes, I do model rigging for mesh bodies that I have the dev kit, even though is not always necessary as you mentioned. But I can prove many hours of model rigging in my virtual CV
MM-What made you decide to pursue designing in fashion? The way you design your fashion proposals receives many likes from the Opensimworld community.
BFL- The short period I was in SL, I used to have a Visual Wardrobe application and is the best you can buy in SL with 699L$. What I realized after moving to OS, missing that application, was that users are not so interested to fat packs and 100 colors, than to a complete styling that they can see it in a picture and wear it with one-click. Then I thought that this is what I do every time I am taking a picture, and is just a vendor missing in which I can put the picture, give a name and upload what I am wearing in that picture. If the likes, my styling proposals receiving are so many as you said, looks like I was right.
MM-What do you consider the most important facets of the fashion industry in virtual worlds?
BFL- I always insist that fashion industry in virtual worlds has to try more layering. I am getting bored to see the same dae, different texture, 20+ different sellers …. Since you have the .dae paid, CTM rights received, edit it in blender, push a little, pull a little and layer it with another one. This way you create a new clothe and you do not multiply an existing one.
MM-What do you think are the current and future trends in fashion in virtual worlds?
BFL- Fortunately, both current and future trends, will always be more skin visible :) , leather and latex materials for the Mistresses that in virtual worlds are competing the number of mosquitoes in real world :) Anyway, we are cartoons playing a game and having some fun out of our real life issues, and this is great and more important than following fashion rules. But, because I am observing continuously the female avatars’ styling connected to their country of origin, I can say that the Brazil ones are the most fashioned and taking care of details.
BFL- :) Is an old word, have been defined years ago !! Kiss you
MM- It has been such a pleasure asking these questions, that you would be so kind as to reply. Thank you, BettyFL