Meet the Muse: Chanel Baran

Meet the Muse: Chanel Baran
How did you feel being the focus of the camera, rather than the photographer?

I absolutely loved being in front of the camera. As a photographer it is so refreshing to be on the other side of the lens. As a radiant Leo myself I love the spotlight. I love to let my lioness mane free and to strut my stuff. Being a model gives me so much insight into how my subject feels when they are in front of my lens. It helps me develop tips and tricks on how to move nervous or uncomfortable feelings. I find breathing, dancing and moving helps me move heavier energies and gets me into my body and out of my mind. 

In your own words, how would you describe the collection you were photographed in, Free Love?

Free Love is a collection for the Bohemian Queens who love to let their garments fly in the wind and who love to Sachey all day. Beautiful fabrics, colour tones and designs for women of all sizes. Being an 'Extra Luscious' Woman the Free Size fits me beautifully. 

In the past, you were living all around Australia - what made you fall in love with Cairns?
I am a Cairns local, born and raised. I have had a deep passion for travelling in my early 20's with my camera in hand. I travelled to Hawaii, California, Colorado, Nevada, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Italy & Hungary. I absolutely love experiencing new lands and new cultures. However I always return back here to my home lands here in Cairns. After all my travels Cairns is the place where my heart is the most happy plus my beautiful parents live here. Cairns is a magical place where the Rainforest meets the Reef. Two World Heritage Areas side by side. I have a deep love for the Rainforest and the Ocean. The waterfalls here are pure magic. I love my community here in Cairns. I am very grateful that I can call this place my home. It is a Photographers Wonderland. 

You rave about the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway where you work, what makes it special?
I have worked for Skyrail for over 3 years in the Operations Team and have recently joined the Environment Team and am training to be a Skyrail Ranger. Working in Eco Tourism feels really in alignment for me as a Forest & Nature Lover. I love that Skyrail shows people from all around Australia and the world the beauty and magic of the Oldest Continually Surviving Rainforest on the planet. This Ancient Rainforest is a remnant of what Australia would have looked like Millions of years ago when it was covered in Rainforest. I love flying over the rainforest in the Gondolas.  It is a very unique experience and the views are spectacular. I love to work surrounded by forest, in Paradise. I love that Skyrail is educating and inspiring people from all over to admire, look after, protect and conserve the Rainforest. 

The fashion industry is starting to wake up to body inclusivity. In what ways do you think it's doing well and what needs improvement?
I am loving the global movement of body inclusivity and celebration of all body types. These beautiful bodies of ours are the temples for our soul. As an Extra Luscious Woman I have really enjoyed more beautiful garments and dresses that are my size and my style coming more available in recent years. Fashion is a great way to express your unique personality and I feel Tree of Life is catering beautifully with their Free Size garments and beautiful designs that flatter a larger women's figure. My go to style are dresses with waistbands and inbuilt drawstrings that help accentuate my waist and figure or a high waisted skirt and a blouse.  I love to show off my figure. If you got it, flaunt it. I feel improvements could be more media and photoshoots with Women of all sizes, cultures and skin tones. The more the merrier. As content creators it is our mission to create positive change and positive media in the world. 

At what point in your photographic career did you shift your focus to the human body?
The human body and human form has inspired me from the beginning of my photography journey and career. When I studied at James Cook University in Townsville, there was an INCREDIBLE PHOTO STUDIO there. I loved to get super creative with concepts for my assignments and my friends were always my models. We had so much fun getting creative together. From then my passion for celebrating the female form began. Throughout my life and travels across the world, my focus on Female Empowerment really bloomed. I love to create spaces for women to feel safe, express their true authentic self, be free, be fully supported, admired and celebrated. I have seen time and time again people flourish and blossom before my eyes. Having a photoshoot done can be a very transformational and healing process if that is your intention. I have also deeply loved photography pregnant women and couples in love. I also feel very honoured that people come to me and want to embark on a journey of exploration and transformation. I love to work with entrepreneurs as we create content to promote themselves and share their gifts with the world. I love to photograph people in nature and witness their connection grow to the natural world around them. 

You were so confident being photographed in the Free Love collection! What is the definition of confidence to you?
Thank you so much <3 To me confidence is the willingness to be seen and to shine my light and unique soul expression as bright as I can. I have built and cultivated my confidence for many many years. It has been a huge journey for me. Growing up in a society who idolises the more slender woman, being a thicker young lady had its challenges. It took alot of strength and determination to reprogram my mind to create a blueprint of Self Love and Acceptance of my beautiful Body Temple. 
Integrating 'Self Love' and 'Self Care' practices to be at the forefront of my priorities in my life has been really important. I try to keep my cup as full as possible. Maintaining strong mental health is essential. Thinking kind, loving, nourishing and supportive thoughts about yourself is so important. We all bloom in our own time. Like plants, we need sunshine, water and nourishment. Surrounding myself with a tribe of people who are supportive, loving, kind, caring and who encourage me to be myself and to share my gifts with the world has been so healing and nourishing for my soul as well.

Photography by Britt Murphy

View Chanel's incredible photography through her website and Instagram