The Bikini Box

It may be considered strange by some people, but I perform scheduled purges of my belongings on a regular basis. Why? Because they enable me to stay organized, and they also force me to get rid of items I don’t need. Recently, I decided that as part of a household purge, I would go through every single bikini in my bikini box.

The bikini box I am referring to is an underbed storage box which holds all of my bikinis. I established this system several years ago when I began to accumulate bikinis and would use them in photo shoots. After struggling to sort through my collection when I packed for a slew of photo shoots over the summer, I realized that there were suits I had never worn, suits which had been shot too many times, suits which no longer fit, and suits which had never fit.

I tried on every single suit, assessed fit, and determined whether to keep it or give it away. If I decided to keep a suit, I then made sure the top was tied securely at the neck, and also secured the side ties on bottoms, to make it easier to put it on when at a shoot. I also cut off tags so that they wouldn’t poke at me or stick out and create extra editing work for photographers. I also labeled the bags I stored the bikinis in so that the styles could be easily identified without me having to remove the suit from the bag.

It took me five hours to go through that bikini box, which means I averaged about 20 suits per hour. I gave away close to 20 suits and kept the rest, making sure that each suit was in a slide lock sandwich size storage bag. The suits are organized by color, making it easier for me to select suits for a shoot.

Now I am ready to shoot!

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.

Weight Training Won’t Make You Big, Ladies!

This was taken the day I won my IFBB Pro Card. I was training 4-5 hours a day at the gym, lifting heavy. I never got bigger than this, nor did I want to.

It still boggles my mind how many women are afraid to lift weights for fear that they will become huge and look like big, hulking men. How wrong they are! I will tell you right now that the answer to the question which serves as the title of this feature is, completely, unequivocally, NO. I often speak with female clients and patients of all ages who lament the fact that they cannot get the sculpted, lean bodies they covet, despite working out regularly. The problem stems from a couple of things:

1. They do not feed their bodies properly.
2. They do not lift weights, or if they do, they do not practice a lifting regimen that would bring about the physical changes they want.

I see ladies at the gym who will jump on a cardio machine for 20 to 30 minutes of easy cardio, then, if they had an indulgent night of eating or partying, they may extend their cardio sessions for a longer period of time at the same intensity. Before or after this, they may hit a few sets of uninspired exercises with light weights. These women barely break a sweat, yet they expect their bodies to transform. I’ve got news for you: that type of workout will ensure that you remain at the same level of fitness, and over time, you will see what little conditioning you may have plummet despite all your consistency.

It is a gross misconception that by lifting light weights and taking it easy at the gym, they will avoid getting bulky and will tone their muscles. Women are built differently than men, and simply do not have the testosterone levels necessary to build significant, bulky muscle mass. You need to challenge your body and create the muscle microtears necessary to build shapely, lean muscle. That means you need to lift heavier weights and break a sweat!

There are a multitude of benefits to lifting heavier weights, which I detail below.

CURVY, LEAN MUSCLE:

When you lift heavier weights, you will be rewarded with better muscle definition. Lifting very light weights will never challenge the muscles, so the muscles will never grow. I know I have scared some ladies, but think about a woman who has great muscle tone, but is still lean and feminine. A woman like that lifts weights that are heavy enough to spark muscle growth. If you follow suit, you will end up lean and more defined without being bulky.

GREATER OVERALL STRENGTH:

By lifting heavier weights, you will become stronger, and everyday activities will become easier to perform. You will also gain more structural stability from the greater muscle density which can protect your back and your joints.

IMPROVED BALANCE, COORDINATION AND POSTURE:

By improving muscle tone through weight training, you will enjoy better balance, greater overall coordination, and better posture.

IMPROVED BONE DENSITY:

Resistance training improves bone density by stressing the bones, thus triggering bone growth. This confers a protective effect against development of osteoporosis, especially in petite women.

HIGHER METABOLISM:

When you work out with heavier weights, you create tears in the muscles worked. When you do this, you expend a greater number of calories in order to repair those microtears.

LOWER BODY FAT:

Your body fat stores, particularly in the midsection, will be better utilized when you perform weight training with heavier weights.

PREVENTION OF MAJOR DISEASES:

Challenging weight training with heavier weights will reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. It will also lower LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol. In addition, your risk of diabetes and breast cancer will drop significantly.

BETTER IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION:

Moderate exercise reduces stress, and by doing so, enables your body to produce more white blood cells to combat infection. In addition, the shift in attention from the troubles of the day while you are weight training will reduce the stress which can suppress your immune system.

GREATER WELL-BEING:

Vigorous resistance training boosts endorphin (natural opiates produced in the brain) levels, which create a sense of well-being. It will also stave off depression and produce a more restful sleep.

REDUCED PMS SYMPTOMS:

As stated previously, weight training is a terrific mood elevator and regulator. It also has a positive impact on hormone levels, increasing blood levels of estrogen, growth hormone, and testosterone. This counteracts the drop in estrogen and rise in progesterone which occurs right around the time before menstruation.

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.