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Meet Your Models: Theresa Shugrue

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Shugrue’s memorable locks are an artist favorite. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

Many who know her can’t help but picture Theresa Shugrue bombing down a San Francisco hill on a pair of roller skates, her long braids catching the wind behind her. Just as much a maverick as she is a muse, Shugrue is part comedian and part blonde bombshell with a healthy pinch of panache thrown in for spice. After entertaining students and instructors for 17 years, she has perfectly honed her skills as both a lyrical figure and character model. When Shugrue is present, it is not a hard stretch to believe you are in the company of a striking Valkyrie goddess or feeding chickens with a back woods frontiers woman, depending on where her whimsy takes her.

Where were you born?

Marin General Hospital in Marin, California. I’m a true native to the Bay Area. 

How did you become an artist model?

I didn’t know it was even a thing! It was my ex-boyfriend’s idea to come down and talk to the old coordinator Rick. They needed someone that very day with Chuck Pyle for his pioneer day. Which I still model for!

List three words to describe your modeling style:

Intuitive, inventive and fun, because I think that when it’s fun you get the students interested and it relaxes them. It’s helped me bring out the comedian in myself. Subtle without words, just silly faces. 

Who are your personal muses?

Frida Kahlo, because she’s emotional and symbolic. 

Favorite characters to portray?

Hillbillies, because I’ve been doing them so long, and witches. I have about five different types of witches I can be. Wicked, Victorian, etc.

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Shugrue reprising her role as a pioneer woman in Chuck Pyle’s clothed figure course. Photo by Sarafina Murphy-Gibson.

Favorite teacher to work for?

What a thing to ask! There’s so many, I’m refusing to answer as it will incriminate me.

Favorite part of being a model?

Being around the creative energy and watching people turn into good artists.

What might surprise people about artist modeling?

That it’s very physically demanding.

Best music to pose to?

I like listening to bebop jazz. Mellow and old fashion. I also love listening to soundtracks.

If you could be drawn by any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

It would be cool to have a classic. Paul Gauguin.

Hobbies outside modeling?

Sleeping! [Laughs] Trying to fix my body! You learn so much about your body as a model. I enjoy gardening and nature. I’m also an artist and I spend time drawing things like lichen.

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Calamity Theresa on the hunt! Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

Last book you read?

I read all the time! The Biology of Desire by Mark Lewis. It’s all about the brain and addiction. 

If you joined the circus, who would you be?

A clown?

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

I’d like the tropics, without the mosquitos and tourists.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A big cat.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

Regeneration! Immortality!

Favorite fictional characters?

Sebastian St. Cyr, from a murder mystery series I read. Romantic characters who kick rear ends.

Who would play you in your biography?

Mae West! One of those gorgeous blondes.

Do you have any hidden talents?

[Coy] They’re hidden.

Final Quote?

Breathe.