Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A cover model comes to the Playground...

This is Lauren...

This is also Lauren...

Very cool, huh? Lauren contacted me back in December trying to find copies of this book as a Christmas present for her mom. Me (being the nice person I am, of course) offered her one of my copies in return for her agreeing to come by the blog today. I've never met any of the people who model for my covers, so being contacted by her was a real treat.

I was pleased to find out that the model for my brainy heroine Ally has a great brain behind that pretty face. When she's not modeling, she's quite involved with marine biology and ocean policy. She just recently returned from Florida (her home state -- let's hear it for Southern Girls!), where she was working on a web series about protecting ocean life.

But she's here today to talk modeling and romance covers...

Was this your first time modeling for a romance cover? How’d you land the job?

Yes, this was actually my first time modeling for a romance cover. I was contacted by my agent and she explained that the job would be for a book cover and so I went to the photographer's studio to meet with them. After the photographer saw me at the casting, she called my agent to book me on this job.

Are you told anything about the book you’ll be gracing? Title? Plot basics?

No, that's what's funny about it! I wasn't told anything. I was literally told that I should bring a bikini..that's it! This is actually how it happens sometimes...they don't tell you very much information, so you have to be ready to take all the curve balls. When I booked a job for Cosmo, we shot in a beautiful apartment in SoHo. The wardrobe stylist gave me a tube top and yoga pants to wear. The photographer told me to lie on the sofa, and tilt my head back and laugh. I didn't think anything of it, because after all, it's not like I was nude. It was shot from behind the sofa so all you can see are my face and shoulders; you couldn't see the tube top or the rest of my clothed body. When the article came out, to my surprise, it was entitled "Cosmo Climax Clinic" and there is a full page picture of me not looking like I was just tilting my head back and laughing...my mother said she probably wouldn't be showing this one to the elderly neighbors back in Florida and we all had a good laugh.

So what’s it like – the actual photo shoot? How long did it take?

When I got to the studio, I was given a dressing room to change in, and do hair and makeup. As, a model, it's really important to be able to do your own hair and makeup and know what looks good on you because you might have a makeup artist and you might not, so if you don't, you have to be prepared. The makeup table at the studio had what I call the "Hollywood Star Lights"; the mirror that has all the bright lights around the perimeter so you can really see what you're doing. Good lights are really important! The shoot was about 2 hours long.

You’re in a hot clinch with (I assume) a total stranger. And neither of you are wearing much. What’s that like? What’s the professional etiquette for steamy snuggling with someone you just met?

Well, I was kind of nervous when I got to the studio, as this was my first time. But it turns out, I knew the other model. We had worked together on a job a while back and that made things much more comfortable because we could joke around. Even thought New York City is a big place, I find that a lot of times you run into the same people on jobs, and that's really fun because it's like working with your friends.

The male model on the cover is still a bit of a mystery. I can’t even see his face (because he’s nuzzling your neck!). Can you tell us anything about him?

His name is Todd and he is really tall! I had to stand on an apple box, which is just a wooden box used on film sets, to be a good height to cuddle with him. So its a good thing you can't see my feet because otherwise you would know I was cheating!

Are you a romance reader?

What I really enjoy about modeling and acting is that when you book different jobs, you get exposed to things you may not know about in your own life and it really broadens your interests. This job piqued my interest in romance novels so I can now say I am a romance reader. Besides, I think it's pretty cool to say the first romance novel I read was "about me."

Have you been on any other covers? Any plans to? Have you done other modeling recently?

I will be on the January cover of a German magazine called "Hair und Beauty". I have been in Cosmo, Gourmet Magazine, People in Espanol, Real Simple, and Parade Magazine. I am also a shoe, hand, and hair model, and I am one of the fitness models for Women's World Magazine. Currently, I am producing and hosting a web series about protecting ocean life, called The Blue Room. I would love to be on another romance cover...I think Ally needs to have another adventure!

Lauren has agreed to hang out on the Playground today and answer any questions y'all may have about romance covers, modeling, etc.

Thanks, Lauren! We're glad you're here!


Angel said...

How totally cool!!!! So wonderful to see you here today.

Isn't that funny that you show up and they don't necessarily give you details. As authors, we're so used to those details being the important part that we use to sell our books to readers and editors. But the cover models just have to look pretty (and this cover is great, BTW!).

Do you do most of your work around New York? What prompted you to enter the modelling industry?

Thanks again for hanging out with us!


Playground Monitor said...

Welcome Lauren! It's great to have you here -- Ally in the flesh.

Could you tell us about shoe, hair and hand modeling? I've never really thought about that before but SOMEBODY'S hands have to be in that lotion ad.

Smarty Pants said...

Very cool. Thanks for coming by today. Its kinda weird that they don't tell you anything about what you're doing. I guess as a model you don't need as much backstory, but you think it would help.

The story about Cosmo is funny - I guess with Cosmo you can never really know what they're going to use the picture for. They tell you to "Look surprised!" and the next thing you know, you're the lead photo for the "20 questions you are afraid to ask about down there" article. :)

What are you hoping to do next with your career?

Problem Child said...

Okay, I really need to stop inviting the pretty, skinny girls to hang out on the Playground. I'm getting a complex...

But welcome, Lauren!

I'm so tickled with my cover, because Todd and Lauren do look a lot like I pictured Ally and Chris.

Instigator said...

Lauren, it's great to have you here today! I loved hearing the details about a cover shoot. It's so much fun to learn about the process that happens after we turn in the book.

I've visited the art department before and was amazed at what they could do with a simple photograph (the right editing software rocks!). I watched him move a zipper on a jump suit in like five seconds flat. And alter a Santa hat that the model wasn't even wearing...a producer held it into the frame. There's so much that goes on behind the scenes that you just can't tell from the polished and finished product. (BTW, you rocked that cover!)

Instigator - who is grumbling about PC's skinny, pretty comment. Especially since I'm going to be exercising next to her skinny rear tonight.

actress_lauren said...

Hi Angel,

Thats the fun of this job- its very spontaneous...and things get changed all the time...so its important to be flexible and always have a smile :)

Yes, i do most of my work in NYC. Sometimes jobs will shoot out of town but most of it is in the city. I didn't really start modeling until after I finished school. My parents were really big on education so that was my focus.

I became interested in modeling because I have always loved clothes...I mean who doesnt? I got into it as a way to finance my acting and then one thing just led to another. I'm very fortunate to be able to do this full time.
x L

actress_lauren said...

Hi Playground Monitor,

It's funny right? I never thought to be a hair model...but once you start looking at how many advertisements there are, there are lots of possibilities to use all your assets lol!

I was booked on a shoe modeling job last week. I was modeling the designs for fall 2010, because in the fashion world, you're always at least 1 season ahead. And it's cool because you get to see all the trends that are coming up
x L

actress_lauren said...

Hey Smarty Pants,

I like to have several projects going on at the same time. Right now, I'm working on designing my own website- which is a challenge but it's really fun! And I shot a commercial for MTV over the weekend with Whitney Port (from The Hills). She has designed her own line of dresses so I was playing a model that she is fitting clothes on.

I am always auditioning and going on modeling castings so only the future will tell what kind of projects I will work on. My dream director would be to work with Julie Taymor- she did films like Frida, Across the Universe, the most amazing film version of Titus Andronicus, and the broadway version of The Lion King. There are some great tv shows that shoot in New York- Damages, Gossip Girl, The Good Wife...all with strong female leads which are awesome to see!
x L

Magnolia said...

I learned something new today. I had no idea the covers were done based on real people. I always thought they were created completely by the artist. How did you get your start in modeling?


Stephanie said...

Hi Lauren,
thanks for visiting with us all.
You looked great on the cover. I think it is interesting that Ally is involved with marine biology and you are making a web series about protecting the ocean.

Can you tell us more about that series along with when and where we might see it?

Again, thanks for chatting with us. It is nice to get to know you better.

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Lauren! This is great! A real live cover model. It's really interesting to hear how the picture on the cover really happens.
Sounds like you lead a very busy life between your modeling/acting career and your work with marine biology. Do you ever get to just throw your feet up on the sofa and veg out in front of the TV? LOL

It was so nice to meet you and Good Luck!

Actress_Lauren said...

Well Magnolia, My very first modeling job was when I was 10 years old. The local hardware store had lawn chairs out on display and my sister and I got paid $1 per hour to sit in them with our trendy heart shaped sunglasses while our mom was there supervising. Needless to say...this didn't last very long...I mean how long can a 10 year old and a 8 year old stay still?

I really got started in modeling through a friend of mine who is a model and an actress. At her birthday party, she invited some of her modeling agents and introduced me to them. They told me to call their office the next day and I went in with my acting headshot. After that, I tested with a couple of photographers to put together my card and started going out on castings. The rest is history!
x L

Actress_Lauren said...

Hi Stephanie, thanks for your nice words :) the series is going to be about different aspect of protecting the ocean. I just shot an episode about sea turtles and what hazards affect them. I was able to visit a sea turtle
rehabilitation center and talk to the workers about the problems they currently face. I believe it's really important to become aware about environmental issues, both on a regional and gobal basis.

I am a big supporter of choosing sustainable seafood- fish that have been harvested in the least harmful way- to the species and the environment. Check out the website of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, you can download a seafood guide that tells you which kinds of fish are good and bad choice based on how sustainable they are. There is also a seafood watch app for the iPhone which I love!
x L

Actress_Lauren said...

Hey Sherry,

what I love about New York is that it's incredibly fast paced and go go go all the time. That being said, it makes me appreciate the time when I do get to spend time with my friends and watch a movie. I don't know if you've heard, but we are supposed to get a snow storm up here so maybe, because everything, literally, will be closed, it will be a great time to curl up and drink hot tea!

Thanks for following along

x L