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Second Life Spotlight - Cajsa Lilliehook

Linden Lab


Today we’re shining a spotlight on Cajsa Lilliehook, a pillar of strength and support within the Second Life community. Cajsa's dedication to uplifting artists through her discerning "Cajsa's Choices" and her unwavering commitment to social activism stand as a testament to her influential presence in the virtual world and beyond.

Second Life Spotlight - Cajsa Lilliehook.png
Photo by LessThen Zero

How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?
Since July, 2007.  I downloaded demos of several games one night while I was recovering from an injury to my foot. I was so surprised by it and stayed. 

"It's Only Fashion" has been a staple in the Second Life fashion community for many years. What motivated you to start this blog, and fashion blogging as a whole? 
Blogging gave a purpose to my shopping. It legitimized what I did in Second Life, at least for me. Now, of course, it is Gidge Uriza and Rose Mistletoe who do all the blogging.

Cajsa Lilliehook - 1.jpg
Photo taken in 2017

"Cajsa's Choices" on the New World Notes blog is known for showcasing the artistic talents within Second Life. Can you share what inspired you to start this column and what you look for when selecting works to feature?
It all began with a plurker who posted WTF picture critiques. They were unkind. One of my friends was heartbroken after being named and wanted to quit blogging. She only wrote a few more posts and not long after, she left SL. I wouldn't blame one plurk for her leaving SL, but it played a role. The critic often said it was cruel to be kind about bad pictures and her goal was to help everyone do better pics. 

I reasoned people would learn from praise for good pics. I began doing plurks about good pics. I started my What I Like column at Shopping Cart Disco, then I wrote a few for It's Only Fashion after SCD closed. I was pretty sporadic when it was for my own site. Then Hamlet Au asked me to write for New World Notes. This is my 99th month writing my column, three days a week, plus a Friday column on blogs I like. 

What I look for is hard to describe. I like arresting photos that make me want to stop scrolling. I like it when someone clearly follows some easily explained rule of composition. I like pictures that tell a story, that challenge reality, that say something beyond “look at me.” I love it when someone has a fixation that inspires themes in their pictures, like Skippy Beresford and ships. I love it when pictures are about something. 

I like pictures where people wear clothes. They are becoming rare as SL Flickr becomes more and more about the male gaze. I mean count the number of pictures with clothed men and nude, or nearly nude women. Now try to find one with a fully clothed woman and a nude man. I did a lighthearted, but negative column once, trying to stress how boring these implausible bodies are - SL/Flicker Cliche Bingo

I do want people to let me know they want me to look at their pictures. Every day I find people I had never heard of who just blow me away. They can tag me on a specific picture or send me a Flickr mail or IM me in-world or tag me on social media. I think it's absolutely right and proper to say, "Hey, look at my pictures." I try to find new people by looking at people's favorites so I don't just look at people already in my following list.

Cajsa Lilliehook - 2008.jpg
Photo taken in 2008

What advice would you give to newcomers in Second Life who aspire to contribute creatively to the community, whether in fashion, photography, or other artistic avenues?
Do what you love. Then tell people you did it. I am sure there are people in SL with no creative impulses, but I haven't met them. The hard part about making great art, clothing, houses, music, dance, whatever it is that inspires your creative passion, you have to get the word out because you aren't going to be discovered at a soda fountain in Second Life. I know it's unfair to people who are introverted. I bet there are publicists in SL. There should be.

Cajsa Lilliehook - 2009.jpg
Photo taken in 2009

With your interests in real-world book reviews and activism, how do these outside passions influence your contributions to Second Life?
Well, I did try to do YouTube video book reviews but they even bored me. I am an um'er. I might have done better off the top of my head. For a good laugh, check this YouTube channel.

My books and my activism are reflections of my values which remain constant in and out of Second Life. I mean, in real life I can't afford a tenth of the clothing I enjoy in SL, but I still oppose systems of oppression and hope for a world where marginalized people are liberated. I mean more than just having laws to protect them from others, but to eventually create a world without precarity in which people can be the people they want to be, free, without fear. 

Cajsa Lilliehook - 2.png
Photo taken in 2017

Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL who inspire you and whose work you admire.
Oh wow, have you seen my columns? Hundreds inspire with their pictures. But going beyond pictures, I am inspired by the people who persevere year after year after year. 

Folks like Daniel Voyager, Inara Pey, and Hamlet Au, who keep writing about Second Life so doggedly. They have their niche and they fill it. 

Then there are the Tubthumping heroes who get knocked down and get up again, folks like Gidge Uriza, Maxwell Graf, Nimil Blackflag, Sophia Harlow, and Sanura Snowpaw....and so many others whose real lives can get hard, terrifying, and full of grief, but who just will "never let you keep me down." 

Fashion bloggers, well, my friend and blog partner Gidge is my favorite. Have you read her stuff? She is hilarious. I like the bloggers who write about the clothes, that explain why they like them, and even shockingly, they sometimes suggest improvement, bloggers like Gogo, Grazia Horwitz, Sasy Scarborough, and Sydd Sinister

Again, folks who persevere year in and year out. I guess I am sort of biased toward the old guard. And of course, speaking of persevering, Sasy with Hair Fair year after year. People do great things in Second Life. 

Cajsa Lilliehook - Eclipse.jpg
Photo by LessThen Zero

Where can people see your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.
Well, my columns are tagged so you can see them all at nwn.blogs.com/nwn/cajsas-choices 
singleservingrecipes.wordpress.com  (on hiatus until I replace my camera) 

Thank you, Cajsa, for your invaluable contributions to the Second Life community, and for setting a precedent as one of the original fashion bloggers, inspiring countless others along your journey.

Each of our Spotlight posts features a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup 

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