The Or-Kids

A KALTBLUT exclusive. Photography by Stephanie Pearl. Creative direction by Sophie Mackerel. Models are Sophie Gouk, Anesu Noelle and Freya Randle-Helgesson. Makeup by Sophie Mackerel and Panda Cooper. Hair by Lucie Doughty and 
Noogie Thai.

Sophie Gouk, also known as Mackerel Monday is an unearthly chameleon emerging in London with their creature creating skills. Through the art of makeup, body paint, prosthetics, styling and more, their work spans galaxies as their mind hacks biology to create new and exciting species.

Sophie draws inspiration predominantly from the natural world, specifically underwater landscapes. They see the connections between imagined creatures from space and species in the deep ocean. For example in bioluminescent, glossy, iridescent and scaley forms. They embody the fluidity of the ocean with fish and coral inspired looks. The Mackerel is also a drag creature in the making, pushing the boundaries of drag with genderless characters whist keeping it high fashion. 

@sophiegouk or @mackerelmonday

Artist Quote: ‘I don’t want to make any of my work too costumey or generic, I like to think out of the box and use direct inspiration from plants and animals themselves to create believable characters clad in the clothes I find fascinating and peculiar.’ 

STEPHANIE PEARL @stephaniepearlphotography

Stephanie is a surrealist photographer, creative director and stylist. She constructs otherworldly scenes and creatures, exploring themes of escapism, environmental destruction, the lure of nature and a decaying society. Stephanie’s work has melancholic notes which are expressed through organic beauty and softness. 


Her recent series “Fragile Beasts” uses the personification of fauna and flora to bring people closer to nature. Through this process, she speaks out about environmentalism to spark a thoughtful empathy for the diversity of creatures on our planet.

When Sophie Mackerel pitched “Or-Kids”, Stephanie realised that new makeup and hair disciplines had the ability to alter the worlds created through her photography in a more tangible way than through digital painting. This understanding changed Stephanie’s game. Since then, she has been exploring the worlds of extreme beauty and drag by shooting “Or-Kids”, more creatures elsewhere and an editorial of alien drag artist “Salvia” which is yet to be published.

THE OR-KIDS – The beginning of a new reality.

Other-worldly, futuristic and surreal. Or-kids takes floral faerie creatures and tips them on their heads to reveal androgyny and fashion anarchy. This was the dream child of Sophie Gouk aka Mackerel Monday. Taking inspiration from their botanical drawings at Kew Gardens, their love of queer culture, fantasy and fashion blended in perfect harmony with Stephanie’s new direction of photographing “personified creatures.” These characters are directly inspired by orchids and their symbolism of sensuality and love. Like the plants they have the ability to blossom, grow and evolve within a lot of different conditions and landscapes. With a focus on creating a dreamlike escapism, the team of all femme and queer artists created their scenes, depicting warrior-like, powerful and ethereal stories. “The feeling of empowerment and self expression among us queer folks was exuberating as we frolicked through pastel and floral scenes. truly embodying these fantastical flirty creatures, we felt free.”

Prosthetics and shape-altering hair were a large focus of the editorial, in order to achieve a deviation from the expected human form. Panda worked so hard in such a short amount of time and added accents and details as we went along. Award winning Lucie Doughty and Noogie Thai did an amazing job sculpting colourful hair into organic forms. Designers were chosen for their silhoutte altering properties. Ana Ljubinkovic is known for her retro-futuristic and couture elements and Wolfe Chainz, a non binary punk accessory designer, brought their amazing tailored pierced elf ears. Designer Syban Syban brought tendril-like garments to the editorial, forming orchid like bodies in nature’s magic golden hour. The pastel colours and textures of garments by Pheonix Yang sang a sweet harmony with the corsets. 

“For my first time creating prosthetics from scratch I am really pleased with the results!” Says Sophie Mackerel.“I spent a week with my dad in the garden casting my face and making moulds to bring my creatures to life. They add character and depth and completely change our human faces which I think is very exciting! I love to transform, it’s one of my favourite things. Thats why I’d call myself a chameleon. I like to adapt to my surroundings, but blending into the crowd is never something I could possibly achieve. I feel strength in being as different as possible, the elaborate and more avante garde my looks are, the better. I love to push the boundaries of conventional beauty and present something new and fresh. I don’t expect everyone to like it, but I feel so much happiness when I create. I feel like I’m an infinite pool of different faces and looks, it feels like an unstoppable force that I need to constantly channel.”

The world is full of the mundane, the silenced and the overwhelming force of the systems in place to keep us in our tiny little boxes. Let art be a catalyst to building our own worlds.

Creative Director: Sophie Mackerel / @mackerelmonday
Photographer: Stephanie Pearl / @stephaniepearlphotography
Models: Sophie Gouk / @sophiegouk or @mackerelmonday

Anesu Noelle / @anesu.noelle
Freya Randle-Helgesson / @wolfechainz
Stylists: Sophie Mackerel / @mackerelmonday Stephanie Pearl / @stephaniepearlphotography
Prosthetics: Sophie Mackerel / @mackerelmonday
 Paul Gouk
Makeup: Sophie Mackerel / @mackerelmonday
Panda Cooper / @paintedpeachuk
Hair: Lucie Doughty / @luciedoughty  
Noogie Thai / @noogiethai
Designers: Ana Ljubinkovic / @ana_ljubinkovic at I.DEA PR
Syban Velardi-laufer / @sybansyban
Wolfechainz / @wolfechainz Pheonix Yang / @phoenixyang_official

The Or-Kids Write Up

SOPHIE MACKEREL @mackerelmonday