I'm a Cover Girl! Behind the Scenes of my Cleveland Magazine Cover

I’ve done so many photo shoots this year that I have this running joke on Instagram that I’m a professional amateur model. Well guess what? This professional amateur model just landed her first cover!!

And today I’m going to talk about how this happened, what I wore, what the shoot was really like and all the fun details. Now, please keep in mind I am NOT a professional model - I just love the camera and am very open to new experiences, so I say yes when people ask me to do things that involve me and cameras.

And that’s pretty much how this opportunity came about. I put a post up on Instagram saying something to the effect of “if you’re looking for a real life brown-skinned woman to model for you, call me” and a few days later, Cleveland Magazine sent me an email asking if I was interested in participating in a shoot for their cover. I’m not suggesting it was directly related, but I put it out in the Universe, and the Universe delivered with a freaking COVER!!!

My friend and fellow blogger Kimberly was also on the invitation, and when the editors mentioned they were seeking a third model, I immediately recommended my Instagram friend Romance Cox. [Not only am I a professional amateur model, but I’m also building a reputation as an amateur talent scout with an eye toward diversity.]

Once the models were set, then it was time to decide what to wear. We were going for an early fall vibe in early September, so I threw out two options, both that were already in my closet via my monthly Rent the Runway Update subscription that I’ve had for the past year.

Spoiler alert - this was not the dress the editors picked.

Spoiler alert - this was not the dress the editors picked.

This was the winner, paired with a ZARA leather jacket from a few years ago.

This was the winner, paired with a ZARA leather jacket from a few years ago.

We were instructed to do our own hair and makeup, which I was happy to do since I’ve been practicing my makeup all year with all the aforementioned photoshoots. Our scheduled shoot time was 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Flight Cleveland, and as we arrived, we were greeted by the Cleveland Magazine team for last checks on wardrobe and makeup. Kimberly, Romance and I had plenty of time to chat while the photographer Angelo Merendino got the light just right. There were two shots planned - one by the bar, and the other on the chartreuse couch against a brick wall.

Once the light at the bar shot was ready, it was time to shoot. We were poured glasses of real wine, and took our spots and Angelo worked his magic. My typical photo shoots involve the photographer in motion, but in this case, Angelo was in a fixed spot (because of the light) and we moved around. Both Angelo and the Cleveland Magazine team were very kind with their direction - there were a lot of tiny adjustments to get the shot just right. Angelo coined the term “light laughing” to get us to understand just how hard he needed us to be laughing as he took the pictures - and it worked! We all got that concept immediately! I can’t recall how long we held the poses, but I definitely needed a wine refill half way through because I was really drinking the wine.

Once that was done, it was time to reset the light and back to round 2 on the couch. I took advantage of the break to stretch and check out the wine. Flight’s owner Lindsay is a friend through my dear friend Allison - Lindsay is a trained sommelier so every wine in the store is carefully selected. They have a special selection of wines under $13 and on this occasion I chose to make my picks from those shelves. Lindsey helped me pick out some new reds, and I’m happy to report that they are absolutely delicious!

We also used the time to chat with Cleveland Magazine about our own Best of picks for things to do around Cleveland, which you can see here.

Once the light was set, it was time to get back to work. It’s a good thing Kimberly, Romance and I are so comfortable with each other because there was a LOT of staring at each other fake laughing to get the shot. More wine was poured and this time we had a cheese board (but no eating yet) and Angelo continued to create.


Here’s what no one tells you - sitting on a couch for a photo is actually really uncomfortable. You can’t really sit because then your body collapses and looks terrible, so we were all perched close to the edge, with our shoulders back so we had attractive posture in the pictures. All this muscle contortion is kinda painful to be honest. Good thing we had plenty of wine!!

We took up nearly the entire four hours, and then it was time to go home. About a week after the shoot, a fact checker from Cleveland Magazine called to verify our comments on our own Best of.. recommendations, and then that was it.


Best of Cleveland Magazine cover shoot 2019.JPG

I am so happy with how the cover turned out, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the real paper copy!!

In addition to the issue, Cleveland Magazine hosts their annual Best of Cleveland party, and it’s always such a fun time! I participated as a vendor in 2016, and previously as a guest, and both times were an absolute blast!

What: Best of CLE party hosted by Cleveland Magazine

When: Friday, October 25th, 7 pm

Where: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

How: You can get 20% off the ticket price by using the code COVER19. Tickets are on sale NOW, and this event sells out, so you should get your tickets today.

OR, you can also enter to win tickets right here on my blog!! 5 entries if you follow the Rafflecopter below, and if you would like additional entries, head over to my Instagram for more opportunities to win!

Good Luck!!