Because Modeling 101 – “A Model’s Diary” didn’t exist back in 2004, I wasn’t able to blog about my experience shooting and being chosen as JET Magazine’s “Beauty of the Week” so I figured, why not reminisce about that experience here?
I actually got into the JET gig while doing an unrelated project. I had just taken on a TV hosting project that was going to take me down to Los Angeles, where I was scheduled to co-host a pilot episode of a new show that was hoping to be picked up by a station. The person in charge of the project was a part-time photographer who had a lot of great connections within the industry. One of those connections happened to be photographer LaMonte McLemore, a widely acclaimed photographer who has shot for Playboy, Ebony, Jet, People, and Harper's Bazaar, among others. The plan was to kill two birds with one stone by combining the red carpet hosting event with a test shoot for JET Magazine. Three other models were along for the road trip and the plan was to head for Las Vegas first to test shoot with LaMonte McLemore for JET and then go to Los Angeles for the hosting gig at the BET Awards Show at the Kodak Theatre.
As is custom of Las Vegas, it was hot as hell. The shoot took place at LaMonte’s very huge house, which had plenty of setups for photoshoots. We were asked to fill out the application for the magazine, which basically asked for our measurements, contact information, and asked what our interests were. At the time I wasn’t using a model alias so I used my legal name. We were hustled into hair and makeup and then each took turns shooting in swimwear with LaMonte. I got to pose with a scooter as a prop and was shot against a white backdrop setup in the garage. My face keep melting off in the 100+ degree weather, which called for plenty of powder and fanning. I also shot in front of a black gate that led to the front of the house. After about 30-45 minutes of shooting, I was done.
After the trip I returned back home. It was July and I enjoyed the rest of my summer out of school (I was in college at the time). In October, I received a phone call from the photographer/director who hired me for the hosting gig and was told that LaMonte let him know that my photo had been chosen for one of JET’s upcoming November issues. Needless to say, I jumped for joy, I was so excited! Funny enough, I got the call as I was standing at the front door of a friend’s house and hadn’t had a chance to knock yet. My friend came rushing to the door when he heard my screams of excitement—he thought I was getting robbed! Ha ha. A few weeks later I managed to get all the copies from the shoot, which was pretty cool. I do have a videotape of me at the shoot, but since it’s on VHS I need to make time to convert it to a digital file, that hopefully I’ll be able to post online in the near future. People always get all excited when I tell them I have such footage. Trust me, it’s long and boring, but it really shows how photoshoots work. Once people watch it, they get what I mean.
When November came around I received a package in the mail, which contained a check for $100, a letter congratulating me, and a free copy of the issue I appeared in. I wasn’t thrilled about the picture they chose but then again, it wasn’t my decision to make…but I was thankful to have been chosen at all. I quickly went from store to store in my town, buying as many copies as I could. A few days later I began receiving calls from family members all over the country. Apparently, they all subscribe to JET Magazine and didn’t expect to see their niece/cousin/granddaughter in a swimsuit in their magazine!
I am definitely thankful for the opportunity to be in JET and I am thankful for those that played a part in making it possible. Because of that exposure, I was being seen all over and it is a great credit to my resume that I am proud of. I highly encourage anyone, model or aspiring, to give JET a shot and hopefully they’ll get to experience what I did when I got that amazing phone call.