There are two cliché approaches by photographers who otherwise don’t have a chance of a pretty girl ever volunteering to shoot with them for free. One is to say that he will “shoot them for submission to Playboy”, often claiming some mysterious “in” with upper management at that esteemed magazine. The other is to claim to be producing a calendar that he needs models for. A few – a very few – of those photographers actually do go on to produce a calendar, of sorts. It’s easy these days. But the lure of “exposure” from being on a calendar seen by thousands is generally illusory. Producing one is easy; getting anyone to buy it is a lot harder. Almost always these approaches are not far removed from scams.
Anyone who has been involved with the modeling industry for any length of time knows all that, which is why an announcement that a casting would be held “for a calendar” at Tommy Rockers could easily be treated to a yawn, if not an eye roll.
But this one was different. The announcement was from Pinups for Patriots, which has sent hundreds of their previous calendars overseas to help support the morale of our troops. The photographer was Sue Altenburg of Altenburg Studios, who is a very credible studio and event photographer in Las Vegas. And Clair Sinclair, Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Year for 2011 had already agreed to donate her time to be the cover model for the calendar. Take that, faux photographers!
And so, on the appointed Saturday, the models came. Some, like Darby Fox (a local model and burlesque performer) and Sarah Davis (Sarah Vamp, who routinely appears in a wide variety of local productions) were already models of note. Felina Vie, who specializes in pinup modeling, was there as well. Others, like Ashley Brackins, were pretty enough to be models, but had been nervous about the thought of doing a pinup calendar. But, as Ashley said, “When I found out it was for our troops (past and current) I wanted to show my gratitude and support for their service.”
And that was a common theme among the women who showed up at Tommy Rockers that evening. Several had themselves served in the military. Others had strong family ties to the military. And all were there because the recognized the debt they owed to those now serving, and those who have served. Felina Vie, for instance, said, “Nobody is more deserving of our help than our troops, who risk their lives daily to defend our country.” Registered nurse Kassandra Grace told us, “I’m doing this to support our troops. I’ve been volunteering with the VA nursing home for four years and I love our US soldiers.”
Stephanie Wright, who had spent seven years in the military, put it best: “Whether you agree or disagree with why we are over there, there are mothers, sisters and daughters giving their lives so we can live our daily lives. If that isn’t something to support, I don’t know what is.”
We’ve come a long way from the Vietnam era. For which all of us, who have served or are serving, are grateful.