The Challenges Of Modeling

If you’ve never balanced on a craggy boulder, while freezing your ass off and also managing to muster a facial expression which makes everyone believe that you are having the time of your life, then you have no idea what models often have to endure in order to get “the shot”.

Shot by the late Weiferd Watts in 2010

Modeling often is hard work. Those of you who are snickering need to hear me out. Those elegant or sexy poses which you will often see models in are often incredibly uncomfortable, especially when there are boulders, creepy crawly things, nasty wind gusts, and weather extremes to negotiate as well. Outdoor locations can be teeming with insects, or they may have shards of broken glass everywhere which makes it quite treacherous for a model to strike a pose. Models often have to “cheat” a shoulder or limb, meaning that they have to turn a body part in a certain way to create an angle which looks right in the camera lens, but which feels completely unnatural and often sparks muscle cramps which linger for days after the shoot wraps. I still remember holding a pretzel pose for a full ten minutes while the photographer happily shot away (see blog image at top of this post), but because I put myself into a bit of a meditative state, I was able to hold the pose without much discomfort. Alas, as I have gotten older, my joints are far less forgiving, and I must take a brief break after several frames are shot.

Another major challenge which models constantly face is that they have to evoke certain moods and looks at the drop of a hat, even if they feel ill, tired, bloated, or otherwise uninspired to shoot. If a model can’t convince the photographer, and more importantly, the camera lens, that she is indeed the vision which is called for in a campaign, she can forget about lining up much work as time goes on.

Over the decades in which I have been modeling, I have learned so many tricks which increase efficiency and reduce the risk of injury while on the job. I know what essentials to pack in my bag, even if I end up not using them at all. When shooting on location, I always bring a large black robe, which I refer to as my changing robe, and which gets so much flak from the photographers because it makes me look like a transient when I wear it. If I have to put my bikini-clad ass on a felled tree stump which threatens to deposit some splinters into my flesh, I grab a small towel or scarf to protect my skin. I have also adopted the habit of wearing aqua shoes when on location so that my feet don’t get scorched by hot sand or torn up by rough terrain.

Believe me when I say that being a model isn’t just about standing in front of a camera and looking pretty. Good models WORK HARD, and they maintain a positive, cooperative attitude. Even when the ocean water is freezing cold, or the weather is so blazing hot that makeup is literally melting off, models who know how to be professional will honestly grin and bear it unless it is actually causing frank injury.

New Vino D. Shootout Locations

Vino Darius Calloway has outdone himself again, with new shoot locations for the Vino D. Utah Shootout for next June! I had the opportunity to shoot at these new locations last month, so I wanted to provide the models with some tips on how to prepare for them.

INFINITE TATTOO AND ART GALLERY:

This awesome location is in downtown Ogden, which is about an hour away from Park City. It’s a great place to shoot in if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and most of the shoot locations are inside the building. Infinite Tattoo and Art Gallery is a tattoo parlor, an art gallery, and a barber shop, and is filled with great furniture, art pieces, and outdoor murals. There is a lot of red and burgundy in this establishment, so colors which pop against red tones work best in this location. If Vino chooses this location, you will most likely leave the house late, perhaps around 3 pm, since you would be able to shoot until around 9 pm during the summer.

MOAB:

Moab was an amazing find, and though it is quite far from Park City, it is well worth the long drive. Moab is a four hour trek from Park City, situated in the southeast border of Utah, and is blessed with the warmest temperatures, making it a great shoot location if mother nature decides to fling some cold weather and wicked wind around Utah. Prepare to leave the house around noon. Once wrapped at this location, you ladies won’t return to the house until 1 am or later! Be sure to pack food for this long trip. Restroom facilities are VERY scarce in Moab, so be prepared to wrap a beach towel around you and find a bush to crouch behind to do your business. I always recommend carrying some tissue or a roll of toilet paper with you for those situations.

Shot at Infinite Tattoo and Art Gallery

Moab has some beautiful spots to shoot in, with panoramic canyon views, but the silt is slippery, there are rocks, twigs and brambles everywhere, and broken glass also litters some spots. For these reasons, it is imperative that you wear rubber-soled shoes or aqua shoes while climbing around in those areas! Keep your eyes open for any broken glass, and hold on to sturdy branches while climbing up and down the embankments.

You might be thinking that it would be better to avoid drinking any fluids, just so you can minimize your restroom breaks, but with the hot weather, you should hydrate throughout the day. Bring water with you to drink while traveling in the van. Every day that I was in Utah for the 2017 Shootout, I drank close to a gallon of water. My skin looked great as a result, and I didn’t have any issues with belly bloat.

It’s also a good idea to carry some extra water which you can use to rinse your feet and legs when at Moab, Salt Flats or Little Sahara.

Moab, Salt Flats, Little Sahara and the marina can get VERY windy. If you have long hair, I recommend shooting so that you are facing the oncoming wind. This way, you’ll avoid having your hair whip in your face and ruin the shots. I also recommend putting your hair in a very durable style, such as crimped waves which won’t unravel when the wind blows. Use a good setting spray to hold your hairstyle in place.

The sun’s rays can be brutal on location, so make sure you slather on sunblock, and use sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun. If you shoot without sunglasses, and you have difficulty with squinting while facing the sun, close your eyes and have the photographer count to three, then open your eyes for the shot.

Jerry Frederick Of Ironman Magazine Fame

While at Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach event on Labor Day, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing Jerry Frederick, whom I hadn’t seen in several years. He was sitting under the main canopy, with his ever-present breakaway reading glasses around his neck. I was just tickled to see him. For those of you in the bodybuilding world, you know that this man had worked for Ironman Magazine as one of their staff photographers for several decades. He has always had a strong passion for the world of competitive bodybuilding, and has gone out of his way to create content with athletes such as myself to use for features within the publication.

Jerry and I chatted for several minutes, and he was full of smiles and that sweet, gentle demeanor which makes him so loveable. I was saddened to hear that he has a neuromuscular disorder which could be Parkinson’s but which hasn’t been definitively diagnosed yet. Hopefully Jerry will be placed on a treatment plan which halts the progression of the disorder.

Proposed Event and Shoot Schedule For 2017

It looks like the remainder of 2017 will be very busy indeed. Here is my tentative event and shoot schedule for those of you who are interested. My work schedule as a physician is steady, so whenever I am in Los Angeles, I work Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please go to http://www.drstaceynaito.com to schedule a medical appointment.

July 29th-30th: San Jose Fit Expo

early August: Shoot in San Francisco
mid August: Shoot in Tahoe
August 26th-27th: Anaheim Fit Expo

Monday, September 4th: Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach in Venice
second week of September: Shoot in Calgary
September 14th-17th: Olympia in Las Vegas
September 22nd-27th: Shoot in Utah

early October: Shoot in Indianapolis
mid October: Shoot in Reno
October 21st-22nd: Fort Lauderdale Fit Expo
late October: Shoot in Las Vegas

early November: Body Painting/Shoot in Phoenix
November 18th-19th: Ferrigno Legacy in Rancho Mirage

Vino D. Utah Shootout Survival Guide

If you have been fortunate enough to get an invitation to the Vino D. Utah Shootout which occurs in June of each year, congratulations! The event is truly amazing, and affords models the opportunity to work with top photographers and videographers.

This guide is filled with tips and guidelines on how to have an enjoyable experience. A little preparation goes a long way!

PACKING FOR TRIP:
I always advise packing a couple of days beforehand so you make sure you have everything you need. It’s actually better to pack more wardrobe than you think you’ll need, because you never know what photographers want to shoot you in. You can never go wrong with brightly colored bikinis (red, orange, yellow, purple, etc.) and lingerie. Gold and silver wardrobe items look amazing out on the Bonneville Salt Flats too! Long slinky dresses, robes, and colorful scarves also look incredible when the wind is blowing.

FOOD:
Make sure to submit your food requests in advance to Vino so that he can make a grocery store run. I also strongly advise bringing a box of your favorite snacks to have on hand. Put your name on your personal food items so that others don’t eat it!

I think it is in very poor taste to booze it up while at this event. Some girls in the past have started drinking as soon as they awoke, continued their drinkfest throughout the day, and repeated the process every single day they were in Utah. It’s HORRIBLE for your skin, and if you are hungover, you won’t take pretty pictures! Save your partying for your last shoot day, after you wrap.

TOILETRIES:
Vino usually buys body wash for the bathrooms in the house, and towels tend to be pretty plentiful as well. However, you might want to pick up a bag of Epsom salts from the store to slough your skin in preparation for the shoots.

GENERAL ETIQUETTE:
Typically there are a lot of people packed in the house, so be sure to have a good attitude, and be nice to others. A bitchy and entitled attitude will only win the hatred of others in the house, and may push you off the invite list for future years. Keep noise levels down, especially late at night and in the early morning when others are trying to sleep.

Also, please don’t be a slob! There are so many others in the house that everyone needs to clean up and keep their items out of the way. Be considerate of the others who are sharing a room with you, and keep your suitcases in one small area.

MAKEUP AND HAIR:
If you decide to get your makeup and/or hair done, make sure to tell Jamie the day before so she can coordinate her work schedule and ensure that all you ladies are ready when it’s time to leave the house.

LEAVING THE HOUSE:
Be ready to go when Vino says so! He runs a tight ship, and when he says we’re leaving the house at 2 pm, we really will leave the house at 2 pm. Make sure you have your wardrobe, accessories, food, water, and wallet packed and ready to go. All of the luggage is transported in a pickup truck, while the models (and some photographers) will ride in the van, so if you need to have any items on hand while en route to the shoot location, put them in a smaller bag which you can bring on the van.

TIMETABLE:
We usually leave the house at 1 pm or 2 pm. It typically takes anywhere from 2-/12 to 3 hours to get to Little Sahara or the Bonneville Salt Flats with the stops we make. If we travel to the marina, we’ll arrive about 1 to 1-1/2 hours after leaving the house. Once we arrive at a shoot location, we will shoot until sundown, which is around 9-9:15 pm. Be prepared for a mad scramble at sunset, because the best lighting occurs then.

We will pack up pretty quickly once we wrap at a shoot location, then head back to the house. Typically we will return to the house around midnight.

EN ROUTE AND ON LOCATION:
Use the restroom whenever you have a chance to do so, because Vino only stops 2 or 3 times while en route to a shoot location. I also recommend taking a toilet seat cover (take the second one in for hygiene reasons) for blotting oil from your face while you are at shoot location. Little Sahara has restrooms, but the other shoot locations (Salt Flats, marina, ruins) do not. You’ll have to get accustomed to finding a secluded spot in the bushes for your potty breaks. I always recommend carrying some tissue or a roll of toilet paper with you for those situations.

You might be thinking that it would be better to avoid drinking any fluids, just so you can minimize your restroom breaks, but with the hot weather, you should hydrate throughout the day. Bring water with you to drink while traveling in the van. Every day that I was in Utah for the 2017 Shootout, I drank close to a gallon of water. My skin looked great as a result, and I didn’t have any issues with belly bloat.

It’s also a good idea to carry some extra water which you can use to rinse your feet and legs when at the Salt Flats or Little Sahara.

The Salt Flats, Little Sahara and the marina can get VERY windy. If you have long hair, I recommend shooting so that you are facing the oncoming wind. This way, you’ll avoid having your hair whip in your face and ruin the shots. I also recommend putting your hair in a very durable style, such as crimped waves which won’t unravel when the wind blows. Use a good setting spray to hold your hairstyle in place.

The sun’s rays can be brutal on location, so make sure you slather on sunblock, and use sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun. If you shoot without sunglasses, and you have difficulty with squinting while facing the sun, close your eyes and have the photographer count to three, then open your eyes for the shot.

SPECIFIC LOCATION HAZARDS:

BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS: The Salt Flats provide a spectacular location for photo shoots, so it’s worth the pain of dealing with the elements there.
The wind can be brutal out there, so hang onto any lightweight clothing items, or they will be swept up by the wind. The mercury can also drop dramatically, so bring a warm sweatshirt or coat for that location. Perhaps the greatest hazard at the Salt Flats is the salt itself. The mineral deposits, while beautiful, are very abrasive, and when covered with water, the minerals turn razorblade-sharp. Many of the photographers will ask you to get on your knees, to sit on the salt, or to lie on it. Make sure to put something protective down as a cushion between your skin and the salt! I used white kneepads to kneel on while there in 2017, and they saved my knees from lacerations and rashes which are the inevitable consequence of exposing skin to the salt. Next year, I plan to cut a white tarp down into sections so that I can lie on that without having to worry about being all cut up. You may think it’s not a big deal to lie on the salt, until you do it. Those cuts and rashes are brutal, and they’ll make your subsequent shoots difficult because your injuries will need to be Photoshopped, and you’ll also be in pain.

LITTLE SAHARA: The sand dunes present a different set of challenges. If there are sand storms, the sand can actually abrade your skin, and if that sand gets in your eyes while you are wearing contacts, you’ll be miserable. For this reason, I strongly recommend wearing sunglasses whenever you are on the sand dunes. Another issue on the sand dunes is the incredibly hot sand. You will burn your feet if you try to walk on the sand barefoot, so I recommend wearing water shoes or sneakers to protect your feet while walking.

MARINA: The marina offers dazzling sunsets which make for some amazing images. In addition, the reeds can be quite nice to shoot in when the sunlight has softened a bit. However, the marina stinks, there’s a sludge-filled area which is full of bugs, and the large rock formation smells like urine and is plastered with ugly graffiti.

RUINS: It is astounding how much broken glass is at the ruins. It is imperative that you wear shoes while walking around the ruins! In addition, there are lots of bugs such as mosquitoes in the ruins, so make sure to spray yourself with bug spray before shooting.

When you are at a shoot location, be proactive about seeking out photographers to shoot with. There will be intervals in which you have to wait your turn, but for the most part, you should be able to shoot almost nonstop. Conversely, don’t hog time with a particular photographer. Remember that other models want an opportunity to shoot with all of the photographers.

Above all else, be THANKFUL for experience. It is an honor to be a part of the group, and wonderful friendships are forged from the experience.

Vino D. Utah Shootout Packing List

The Bonneville Salt Flats are amazing to shoot at, but there are hazards there. Be prepared and pack well!

After attending the Vino D. Utah Shootout event both last year and this year, I felt compelled to compile a survival guide for fellow models who intend on coming to future events. The Shootout is a stellar event, and everyone who attends has the potential to create amazing content which can either be used for portfolios or submissions to publications. However, there are hazards to shooting at the chosen locations, and if you aren’t prepared, your body can get pretty battered.

I paid attention to some key issues which arose last June while on location in Utah, and as a result, I was much better prepared for this year’s event. In an effort to pass some tips along, I have compiled a packing list, with explanations as to why most of these items should be considered essential for the Shootout. Some are pretty obvious, while others may seem strange before you read the explanation.

Sweatshirt or jacket (It can get COLD on location, and the evenings are also brisk.)
Beach towel (This can be used to wipe off sand and salt, and can be rigged up to change wardrobe.)
First aid kit (You can get scrapes, cuts, etc., while on location, so a small first aid kit is definitely good to have.)
Bug spray (There are insects at the ruins and at other locations, and they bite!)
Sunblock (The sun’s rays are BRUTAL on location.)
Sunglasses (Most days are sunny, so you will need shades. Also, the sand dunes are very dusty, so the sunglasses will protect your eyes from flying sand.)
Double-sided tape (This is great to have for those outfits which threaten to create a wardrobe malfunction when the wind whips up.)
Trash bags (These are great for throwing wardrobe in and carrying around while you shoot on the sand and salt.)
Water shoes (These are INDISPENSIBLE for walking on the hot sand of Little Sahara, the salt flats, and the broken glass-littered ruins. Trust me, for less than $10, you can get a pair and protect your feet, while also saving your better shoes from being completely destroyed by the elements.)
Safety pins (Have these in your travel bag in case a clothing item rips or a bra strap breaks.)
Knee pads (These are fantastic for that standard bikini model pose on your knees, especially on the Salt Flats. You can also cushion other body areas, such as your booty and your hips if you are lying on your side. I recommend getting WHITE since it will blend in better with the salt and sand.)
Body wash (Body wash tends to disappear in the house, so I advise packing extra, or a bar of soap, so you aren’t forced to take a shower with no soap!)
Muscle rub like Biofreeze, Tiger Balm or Icy Hot(Not a bad idea, especially considering the pretzel poses we are often asked to hold!)
Lotion (Choose an emollient lotion which really hydrates your skin.)
False lashes and lash adhesive (Pack extra sets…the windy conditions can literally rip the lashes off your lids!)
Scarves (Pick large, flowy scarves which can pick up the wind and make a nice shape behind you.)
Extra hold hairspray (The wind threatens to undo any hairstyle, so if you use hairspray, get the kind that is maximum hold.)
Hair styling tools (Blow dryer, flat iron, waver, curling wand)
Makeup
Sharpie marker (This is for marking your food items so that no one else eats them!)
Phone charger
Battery charger for cell phone
Earbuds (If you want to listen to music in the van, or if you want to wind down at night and shut out extraneous noise, these are good to have.)
Earplugs (The house can be NOISY all hours of the night, so these are also a good idea to wear while you sleep.)
Eye mask for sleep (Since people fly in at all hours, you may be interrupted in the middle of the night by a new roomie, so an eye mask can ensure that your slumber is relatively undisturbed.)
Brimmed hat (This is for the brutal sun’s rays.)
Small scissors (Good to have if you have tags to remove, etc.)
Hydrocortisone (Bug bites and random rashes respond well to this.)
Advil or Tylenol (You never know if you might develop a headache, muscle ache, etc.)
Panty liners and tampons (You never know when Aunt Flow may make a sudden visit.)
Chapstick (The windy conditions really dry out your skin, including your lips.)
Lots of bikinis, lingerie, etc.
CHEAP shoes and boots (Ladies, please don’t take expensive shoes and boots with you to shoot in. The salt from the Salt Flats will DESTROY them. Pack cheaper options which won’t upset you when and if they get chewed up.)
Jewelry (Once again, cheaper options are better than expensive pieces you may lament the loss of. Bold pieces can look amazing on location. Hit places like Forever 21, H and M, Amazon, and the stripper stores for items.)
Body jewelry (This kind of embellishment looks so beautiful when juxtapositioned against the sand or salt flats. I’ve found nice pieces at Aldo, Forever 21, and H and M.)
Tote bag or backpack (A nice, rugged, water-resistant tote bag or backpack is great for carrying your wardrobe items with you on location. You can use the trash bags to carry a few items to a specific shooting spot once you are on location.)
Snack bars (I suggest packing a box or two of your favorite snack or protein bars. Food availability is quite unpredictable on location, en route and at the house. Be prepared!)

If you are flying on Southwest Airlines, take advantage of the two bag allowance and pack a LARGE suitcase with all wardrobe items, and a second medium to large suitcase with your essentials, regular clothing, and any overflow of wardrobe.