Visual References for As Above, So Below

I’ve talked before about the first photograph that inspired the character Lorelei in my original short story about the succubus who falls in love with the angel. The story sprang from a photo in Access magazine that accompanied an interview with Angelina Jolie just after Hackers came out.

As far as I am concerned, Angelina was the best part of Hackers. I loved the effortless sexuality she portrayed, the manipulative intelligence. And the snakeskin dress didn’t hurt when I combined the Kate Libby character with the devil girl I wanted to write about.

Once I mentioned Angelina as the inspiration for Lorelei, my co-writer Brian (who was working in the 20th Century Fox research library at the time) went on a mission to find more images of Angelina as Lorelei:

Angelina from the June 2000 issue of Maxim in a story to promote Girl, Interrupted.

From the cover story in the June/July 2000 issue of Talk magazine. The text that came with the photo talks about Angelina and her dad John Voight, so I wonder if she was filming the Lara Croft movie about this time.

I’m not sure where this photo came from. Maybe this is around the time Gia came out?

Brian and I talked about who might embody the look of Lorelei’s sister succubus, Floria. In the books, we describe Lorelei as voluptuous and dark while Floria is thinner and blond as a ray of light. Brian suggested Charlize Theron:

I’m not sure which magazine this came from, but doesn’t Charlize look like fun? There’s even a glimpse of the tattoo inside her ankle to hint that there’s more to her than glamour.

I love this cover of the January 1999 Vanity Fair. That expression is more like I think of Floria: She’ll perform when her prey requires it, but really, she is done with this whole business.

I only ever had this one photo that represented Azaziel, an image of Rafe Fiennes from Strange Days. I couldn’t bring myself to like the movie, but the battered man with everything slipping through his fingers symbolized the angel who couldn’t see beyond his own loneliness.

It’s funny, but Brian sent me a whole lot more images to represent Yasmina, the temptress who wants to be Azaziel’s nemesis. The character of Yasmina was inspired — and took her name from — one the Victoria’s Secret models of the era, but Brian sent me some wonderfully snakelike visuals for the temptress with a taste for designer gowns:

I wish I knew where this photo came from. It’s clearly a runway show, but I can’t identify the designer or the model. She really captures the fierce, snakelike character Yasmina.

This leather jacket and skirt came from Gianfranco Ferre. It seems like exactly the sort of thing Yasmina would wear. In the books, she’s always entertaining herself by flaunting the serpent in her nature.

This is actress Carrie Ann Moss, soon after the first Matrix movie came out. She’s wearing a black leather dress by Richard Tyler for an interview in Movieline magazine.

Finally, Brian sent me some images to get the flavor of how he imagined the demons of LA ran their businesses. These guys don’t actually embody the demons we describe in the books, but they capture their spirits.

Now that you’ve got the images in your head, you can read the stories inspired by them! If I did this right, you can just click on the banner and be taken to Amazon. If not, the link is

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at, I blog about my morbid life at
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