I make my living going into the wilderness with strange men.
That’s my niche; some Vegas models specialize in trade shows, some are bottle girls at nightclubs, some do webcam and some do promotional work. There are thousands of beautiful women in Vegas; the only way a short, flat-chested snark like me can carve out a piece of the action is by capitalizing on my assets: no fear, a sense of adventure…and a dossier of amazing outdoor locations.
I call these my secret locations; of course they are neither “mine,” nor “secret,” but they are far enough off the beaten path that I rarely get bothered when shooting at them. And I enjoy exercising a little dramatic flair; “I’ll take you to my secret locations” is more alluring to potential clients than “I’ll take you to Red Rock Canyon and we’ll shoot between tour buses.”
Either way, my strategy seems to be working well — business is booming! Thanks to my cheesy YouTube commercial advertising my 8-hour modeling desert adventure tour, I’ve been swamped with work; I wish I would have thought of it years ago. Say what you will about its production values, it effectively communicates what exactly it is that I do — and how much fun it is. I’m sure there are still some people out there who think I’m a prostitute…but the commercial made it clear to just about everyone else.
Cheesy commercial aside, I’m usually pretty busy this time of year anyway due to the fabulous weather — this is one of the best times to shoot in the desert, with blue skies, balmy temps and blossoming cacti everywhere you look. There’s also a big photography convention that comes to town each spring (WPPI), so I usually get a few bookings from that crowd as well.
This year, my fellow Goddess Collective member and friend Miss Jill V happened to be in town as well, so I ended up doing a few shoots with her, which is always fun; she’s one of the kindest-hearted people you’ll ever meet, and exceptionally beautiful, too. One day our friend JCP Photography hired us for a shoot out in the desert north of Lake Mead, at one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever posed in — a red sandstone slot canyon filled with beams of soft, golden light. Alas, this location requires a 4×4 vehicle to access, so I can’t make it a regular stop on my modeling tour…but if you’re in town and happen to have 4 wheel drive, let me know!
This canyon is also in the vicinity of a few other breathtakingly beautiful rock formations of various shapes and colors, and one could easily spend an entire day shooting in the area — I shot out there last week with a guy who does large-format (8×10) contact prints, and he was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the landscape. (It was really to cool to shoot with this guy, incidentally — whereas most photographers use a DSLR and can blast away and sort it all out later, this guy had to carefully consider and compose each shot — so he only ended up taking a handful of photos over the course of the entire day!)
Anyway, I was lucky enough to shoot with Jill V on a couple other occasions as well. One guy hired both of us plus another model to travel all over the area for two twelve-hour days! It was exhausting, but fun — he basically tapped out almost every single location I know of in the area, from sand dunes to red rocks to an old abandoned farmhouse and my beloved cement plant. We even shot a bit at a construction site on the Vegas Strip, LOL.
The only stressful part of the shoot was, the photographer asked me if I minded driving. Now, I don’t mind chauffeuring a photographer around in my truck all day, but this guy was entrusting me with his personal SUV — yikes! Add to that the fact that when not photographing models he is a police officer, and I got really nervous — he made a few comments on my driving skills (“You don’t really stop at stop signs, do you?”) and it was definitely nerve-wracking. I mean, he saw my busted-up Ranger; I can’t believe he trusted me with his car and the lives of him and the other models! But I got us all out alive, and it ended up being two really, really fun days — he was a super nice man.
Now usually, for every additional model you tack onto a shoot, the drama increases exponentially; luckily Jill, Chelsea and I are all fairly low-maintenance, and got along well…but I still don’t understand how this poor guy didn’t go nuts dealing with the three of us for two solid days 🙂 And even crazier was another shoot I did with Jill a couple weeks later, where the photographer hired four models!
This second photographer was also a class act — not only did he hire us for the day, but afterward he also took us to dinner at a very swanky French restaurant, and to the Cirque du Soleil show “O.” Besides Jill and I, he had also hired two very experienced traveling models — Candace and Jessamyne, both of whom were amazing to work with. We all went out to my favorite red rock area first, and then to a beach at Lake Mead.
I never really shoot at Lake Mead; most guys I work with are after more traditional desert-y landscapes, so I usually just stick to dry lake beds and such. But the area we shot at that day was amazing — the lake was an unbelievable shade of aqua-blue, contrasting starkly with the light-colored shore, making for some really dramatic photos. I would definitely consider shooting out there again…despite what happened next!
As us models were all sitting there naked in the sunshine on the shore of Lake Mead, a big black dog wandered over from where his master was fishing nearby. Of course all us models are animal-lovers, and started petting and cooing to the dog, who ate it up. But on his way back around us toward his master, he stopped behind me and pissed all over the small of my back!!! Yuck!!!! Marking his territory, I guess — but I mean, jeez! What do I look like, a fire hydrant?!?
I guess I should be flattered that out of all those beautiful models he chose me to piss on….but whatever; after that we wrapped the shoot anyway, and went back to the photographer’s hotel to clean up and get ready for dinner. The photographer had rented a beautiful penthouse suite at the Bellagio, overlooking the fountains, so we all enjoyed lounging around up there like 1%ers, and shot a few more photos for posterity. And then we went downstairs and enjoyed a fantastic meal at Le Cirque, followed by the show. What a great way to make a living, huh?! 😀
Now, lest you think I’m getting uppity from all the running around shooting large format/dining at Le Cirque /getting pissed on by dogs…you should know that I’m still the same humble hussy as always. Not all my clients are flamboyant and over-the-top; I also did quite a number of good-old-fashioned 8-hour modeling tours, with just me, the photographer and my busted-up truck. As mentioned, some of the photographers I’ve worked with lately were in town for a big photography expo — but I also typically shoot a lot with guys that are in town for other, non-photography trade shows and conferences as well. A decent chunk of my business comes from guys who just want to get away from the Strip for a day and go out to the desert — as was the case with this one photographer I shot with recently.
This particular photographer contacted me about doing a desert tour, but alas, I had already booked myself a trade show gig that week, and was unable to accommodate him. Of course I’d rather run around naked in the sunshine all day and make $500, as opposed to freezing my ass off in some boring-ass convention center making far less money for the same amount of hours…but I had already agreed to work the trade show, and I am a woman of my word. Besides, this particular show paid $350/day, which is pretty good for trade show work, and it was easy and somewhat fun, thanks to the other model I was working with.
But funnily enough, when I got home from work on the first night of the show, I had an email from the photographer who had wanted to book me: “Hey, was that you at the trade show today? I think you handed me a t-shirt!” He hadn’t said anything to me at the show, as he is somewhat of a muckety-muck in his fairly conservative field, and can’t afford to sully his professional reputation by consorting openly with nude hussies. But LOL, what a small world!
I ended up arranging to shoot with him at his hotel later in the week, after the trade show ended, and he turned out to be a super nice man…so I forgave him his paranoia (he even asked if I planned to wear my mirrored aviator shades in the photos, as he didn’t want his reflection captured, haha). Despite myself, I sometimes take that stuff personally…but in this instance I totally got it: it was a very stuffy, professional conference, after all. But ironically, that stuffy, professional conference turned out to be a hotbed of covert hijijnks!!
The other model I was working with at the show, as mentioned, was super cool — and super beautiful, with a very marketable, classic trade-show-model look: blonde, big long-lashed eyes, white smile, etc. She was fresh from competing in a beauty pageant, so when I first saw her I thought she would be a total priss…thus I made no mention of my nude modeling. I try to keep things professional at trade shows, ever since getting fired from that one gig a couple years ago!
But on the last day of the show, things were a bit more casual…so I told her what I did, and she wasn’t fazed at all: “Hmm, I thought you looked familiar! I must have seen some of your photos somewhere!” “Yeah, maybe,” I replied. “They’re all over Facebook.”
However, that night she messaged me: “I knew you looked familiar!!” Come to find out, a few years back we had both worked for the same fetish website, LOL — back when I used to do those breath-holding videos!! Who knew?? Here was this fabulously beautiful, professional, well-spoken tradeshow model and pageant queen….and she used to do the same damn thing. Talk about a small world — and fuck, I bet at least 50% of the people at that “conservative” trade show had some kind of similar freakiness lurking behind their professional demeanors! In fact, that’s one of my favorite games to play when I’m bored at trade shows — try and guess who’s wearing women’s panties under their suit!!
Anyway, speaking of freaks and fetishes, I haven’t been shooting a lot of fetish lately; I’ve been so busy doing my artsy nudes that I haven’t had time! But recently, a guy approached Chelsea and I with an offer we couldn’t refuse: pop pool toys and get paid for it! Apparently there’s a huge fetish for women popping/slicing/destroying inflatable pool toys, and this guy had started a fetish website devoted to it. Hey, why not??
So one afternoon, Chelsea and I gathered up our sharpest stilettos (plus an assortment of other sharp tools) and headed over to a suburban house with a beautiful pool in the backyard that was brimming with inflatable pool toys — floaties, air mattresses, beach balls, a giant soccer ball, a 6-person raft; even a life-sized My Little Pony — and over the course of the afternoon, proceeded to shoot a series of videos of us methodically destroying each and every toy. Bwahahahaha!
The storyline was, we sneaked into our neighbor’s backyard while she was out of town, to swim in her pool — but when we saw all the toys, we freaked out and couldn’t stop ourselves from popping them all! After flattening everything, we were relaxing in the 6-man raft in the middle of the pool…when the lady of the house unexpectedly came home and found us there, surrounded by evidence of our destructive orgy!! Enraged, she stabbed at our 6-man raft with a butcher knife attached to a pool skimmer; we desperately tried to plug the holes with our hands, but our stiletto heels only ended up poking more holes in the raft, and we ended up sinking like drowned rats, cursing her all the while! OMG….it was so much fun to shoot these videos!!!! And therapeutic, too — all that stabbing 🙂
Anyway, the only unorthodox thing about that shoot was, we didn’t get paid up front — instead, we were to make 25% of all monthly sales, which according to the guy running the site are already through the roof. But there was some kind of hold up with PayPal, so he wasn’t able to pay us for quite some time; working in this industry, in Vegas, as long as I have has made me pretty skeptical, and I was already a bit leery of the guy’s motives, as after the shoot he messaged Chelsea and I, asking if we had fun — as in, FUN-fun, not work-fun….like, we would do it for FREE? fun. Now, why would you ask a question like that?? Unless you secretly have a pool-toy-popping fetish and figured out an ingenious way to get chicks to do it for you, for free???
I’m telling you, doing this type of work has made me cynical af!!!
As it happened, sure enough my cynicism was unfounded…and I finally got paid. I feel bad for giving the guy such a hard time — he kept asking me to refer other models, and I kept refusing until I got my money! Ack! Sorry, man….for the record, he is a true professional and I sincerely enjoyed shooting with him. It was a really fun experience, and I look forward to popping many, many more pool toys for his site in the future! It’s called Twisted Playdates; check it out!
In the meantime, however, shooting artsy nudes out in nature is still my bread and butter — and not just in the area around Vegas! In addition to shooting locally, I also traveled to Arizona a couple times recently for work — one day I drove down to Wickieup to meet a photographer who ended up getting some gorgeous shots, and then I did a two-day trip with another guy in a different part of the state, where I discovered this beautiful tropical oasis:
This oasis had been on my radar for a few years now — I read about it online somewhere, and had been meaning to check it out sometime, just never got around to it. And guess what?! It’s amazing!!! A turquoise-blue pool at the foot of a cascading waterfall, all surrounded by lush, green vegetation. In Arizona!!! Unfortunately, it’s not a very good place to shoot, as it’s right under a freeway in the middle of Mormon country, and is a very popular spot. Plus, the hike down to it is treacherous and wet. But it’s a fantastic place to soak!
Anyway, when I got home I posted some photos to Facebook….and was immediately inundated with messages: “WHERE IS THAT OASIS?!!! OMG I HAVE TO GO THERE NOWWWWWWW!!!” But just as I was in the process of revealing all in the above YouTube video, I also got some opposing comments. “DON’T TELL ANYONE WHERE THAT OASIS IS! IT’S A SECRET AND WE DON’T WANT IT TO GET F*CKED UP!”
What a quandary! I’ve been in this situation many times — lots of old-timers at many of the hot springs I visit hate the fact that I share photos and video online; they feel that these are secret spots meant only for the privileged few to hear about through word of mouth, I guess. And to be honest, I totally get their point of view; Deep Creek Hot Springs (one of my favorites) is almost totally covered in litter on the weekends, ostensibly from half-assed partiers who read about the springs online and then come down to piss on them.
But on the other hand, guess what?! This new oasis was also covered in litter! I picked up and packed out several pieces myself; as someone who “read about the springs online,” I actually left them in better condition than I found them. So, who’s to say that future visitors to the site won’t do the same?
When all is said and done, I am a firm believer in sharing these beautiful locations. Sure, the occasional asshat might follow your directions down there and make a mess, but on the whole, anyone who takes the time and effort to get out there will probably be cool. Thus, I have blogged/vlogged/photographed most every hot springs/cool spot I’ve ever visited….with the sole exception of one amazing spot in Idaho that is still to this day the most beautiful place I’ve ever been (a hot local fireman showed me some secret spots up there on the strict condition that I don’t blog about it…and much to my chagrin, I have honored his request).
Anyway, ironically as fuck, I found myself on the other end of the argument last week — I was in the middle of one of my 8-hour desert tours with a photographer, and we had just arrived at my beloved abandoned cement plant; since finding the place last October, I have shot out there at least once or twice a week, and have rarely seen another soul out there, let alone another photo shoot. But last week, just after we arrived and started shooting, two cars full of models and photographers rolled up — a workshop!
The other group was cordial, and we all stayed out of each other’s way, so no harm, no foul — but still, I felt a twinge of regret; before you know it, everyone in Vegas will be shooting out there, and it won’t be “my” secret spot anymore. It was bound to happen eventually, and honestly I’m surprised it didn’t happen a long time ago…but that’s the way it goes with shooting on public lands; they’re PUBLIC! Eventually, word gets around.
When I got home that night, I ranted about it on Facebook: “Which one of you loose-lipped mofos let the cat out of the bag????!! Find your own damn locations, ya lazy fucks! RRRRROWRRRRRRR!!!!” I was just venting in my usual crude style, and certainly meant no harm….and if you had bothered to read the comments below, you’d have seen where I came around and admitted I was being petty and selfish. But no one reads the comments — and unbeknownst to me, some sneaky devil screen-shotted my rant, and forwarded it to one of the models who had been shooting with that other group!
Now everyone in that group despised me — all the photographers, all the models, and all the one model’s Facebook friends. I was called “conceded,” a “delusional hoe,” “crude” and a “bish…” plus someone chimed in with “oh finally someone else who dislikes her.” Wow!! It’s a real eye-opener to hear what people say about you behind your back. The truth hurts!
In any event, I feel sincerely awful about coming off like such a petty bitch, so I reached out through mutual friends to apologize to the one model. I should have thought to ask her to reach out to the others in her group as well, because the next day one of the photographers then took to Model Mayhem to tell everyone over there what a greedy bitch I am. Yikes!!!!
I ended up posting a public apology to all involved on my personal Facebook page, my fan page, the Model Mayhem forums and in a private message to the one photographer; of course no location is “mine,” and I definitely came off as petty and selfish by having posted this online temper tantrum. Those who I reached out to accepted my apology, and I learned several valuable lessons about social media and ego — and also got an interesting new perspective into the minds of those who oppose my sharing of hot springs, etc.
It’s basically the same quandary, at the end of the day: there are all these cool places — hot springs, abandoned ruins, etc. — in the world, and one impulse is to share them with your fellow humans: “HEY! Look what I found!!” But the other, equally compelling impulse is to keep them a secret, because let’s face it — humans can be pretty shitty sometimes. (That’s why the Forest Service won’t disclose which ancient bristlecone pine is the 5,000-year-old specimen known as Methuselah — they’re afraid vandals/well-meaning mush-brained hippies will deface it/build shrines on it.)
So, if you really want to keep a place “secret,” you can’t blog about it or do photo shoots there; you just have to go experience it alone. But what’s the fun in that? Like I said, I am a firm believer in sharing — virtually every single cool place I’ve ever visited, I’ve found out about online or in a book or something like that; the information is already out there anyway. So I feel like I’m paying it back by telling others in turn…although I try to be careful to include a disclaimer about being respectful and not littering in my videos and reviews, because even an optimist like me understands that sometimes humans are shitty.
In the end, it comes down to this tired old saw: THIS LAND IS OUR LAND. We’re all lucky enough to be here at the same time in history, so we might as well get along and share it; so long as everyone is respectful and cleans up after themselves, there’s plenty of room for all.
And that’s no secret!