I know most people would think it would be difficult to work with reality TV stars and that they’d most likely be total divas. You see these people on TV, screaming and crying and punching other people and you think “theses people must be bonkers", you watch them because they're entertaining and so far out of the realm of real life - they can't actually behave that way, right?
I never aspired to photograph reality stars, it just sort of fell in my lap. I asked my friend - Melissa Schultz - a few years ago to do a shoot for her upcoming TV show Tough Love New Orleans.
Melissa & I go waaaaay back. When I was probably about 16 years old, my sister and I went to a casting call to be extras in a movie - “My Best Friend’s Girl” with Dane cook, Kate Hudson, and Jason Biggs. We were accepted and became prom dancers. Everyday, we’d drive to Boston and go through various steps before the actual shooting of the movie. My favorite part was getting fitted for the dresses. I have never seen so many fantastic dresses in one room - and I was going to get to wear one of them! After we got our dresses, it was finally time to film the movie.
Every one would arrive bright and early to get our hair and makeup done. While standing in line the very first day I met Melissa. She was standing in front of my sister and I in line. We had a very long wait ahead of us for hair and makeup so we decided to make friends. From then on, we stayed together. From hair & makeup to where we were sitting in the holding room, to where we were on the dance floor.
We made a small group of friends through the days that we were there and tried to keep in touch as much as possible through social media (but what does that even mean anyway? facebook stalking through our news feed?) and then one day I was watching Vh1 and the commercial came on for Tough Love New Orleans. I started freaking out - I was like "I KNOW THAT GIRL!” and then started bahahaha-ing in my usual fashion. I immediately sent her a facebook message and we set up a date to shoot. The rest is history.
Melissa was actually the person who introduced me to Julie & Dan.
Julie (Ofcharsky - The Bad Girls Club, season 9 & All-Star Battle) is legitimately one of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Shes so unassuming and is just there to have fun. Shes a natural at posing and is obviously gorgeous. We met through Melissa, actually - we were both from MA. The first shoot I had with Julie was absolutely priceless, I wasn't sure what to expect because I had never seen the show... Meanwhile my sister was freaking out about the fact that Julie would be in her house.
Once she arrived, she was 100% different than the picture her show had painted. She wasn't rude, she was actually really ridiculously nice.
Dan was a laugh-riot. He was featured on “Making Mr. Right” on Vh1. I met him because he wanted some promotional photos for his upcoming show and Melissa pointed him in my direction. At the time, I was working in NYC so we met up on 57th and 11th and walked over to the docks. He brought tons of heart shaped balloons and knew just how to style himself for the images. To this day - he is one of the only men I've ever photographed in a professional capacity.
All in all, they were some of the best people I've ever photographed and I can't wait to do it again.