I have a special treat for you today. My guest is male cover model, Jason Aaron Baca, whose image has graced so many covers, he's closing in on Fabio’s record of 460.
Jason Aaron Baca of Los Gatos, CA is a romance novel cover model of over 400 books. Jason was a high school and college baseball player before trying his hand at acting. While on location in Bodega Bay, Ca where he was a double for an actor in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” he was discovered by a photographer and asked to take photos. From there, Jason went on to pose for many different clothing lines including YMLA, Sketchers, and many others.
In 2007 he discovered Romance Novel Cover modeling and put his attention into modeling exclusively for that.
AND NOW, HERE’S THE INTERVIEW:
Welcome to Blood-Red Pencil, Jason. Don’t let our blog name scare you. We’re just a bunch of editors and authors sharing experiences and advice. This February we’re focusing on guys in the romance industry.
Jason – Well, thank you for getting in touch with me. I do believe that an author puts their heart and soul into their writings. So I’d think they’d want someone on their cover who also gives their heart and soul into looking their absolute best for it.
Q: How does it feel to be in such demand as a cover model?
Jason – I love it. I think it’s terrific to see/hear that I’m the go to guy for so many graphic artists and publishers. It took years for it to get this way of course. I had to really go out and make it happen. I mean in this highly competitive business opportunity is not going to just come to you… You are going to have to go and find it.
But as time went on and graphic artists became familiar with me, it became automatic that they’d consider me for the next edit... and THAT… is what I had envisioned when all this began.
Q: How did you get your break as a model?
Jason – I was on location for a movie where I was a double for Freddie Prinze, Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and one of the photographers had asked me if he could take a few photos of me for his camera… I said sure… and it ended up to be my first really big connection with anything in the modeling world… He gave me a contact… then that next photographer gave me a contact… it just kept feeding into itself.
Q: When did you hone in on romance book covers, and why?
Jason – it was around 2007 or so. I was about finished with clothing modeling or ad modeling… the typical smile or holding a bottle of shampoo just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I wanted something bigger, better… That’s when I saw it… a romance book… in a book store. I was instantly connected to it. I felt driven to do this. On the inside I felt a volcano erupt and lava was flowing in my veins. My excitement was hard to contain in the bookstore and I remember trying to keep myself from flipping out over the idea I’d instantly created. My birthday happened to be the next day… And when I blew out those candles…. I made a couple of VERY special wishes… And I would make them come true…
Q: How do you keep your looks? Any special diet, exercise, or products?
Jason – I’ve always been an athlete and been into my body and looking great… So when it came to exercise, it was in me to begin with. Doing photoshoots was just an extension of my working out. I was now getting to see the rewards of my hard work in the gym, on a book cover unlike before where I was just lifting weights for myself and health.
I live in a balanced diet, I eat clean foods such as chicken breast, grilled fish, meats, and Greek yogurt. I enjoy digging into pasta one day per week which is my one splurge I like to do to get those extra calories I know my thirsty body needs for those workouts I dig way down for.
Jason – I certainly do. The day of the shoot, I apply an herb, citrus, and avocado masque which I leave on for 20 minutes. This allows my skin to feel fresh in the morning and start my day right. I then shower, removing the masque from my skin gently. I towel off and apply body moisturizer from neck to toe. For the face, I use an anti-aging eye balm and then around the temples I use an “ultra gentle soothing cream.” I let that soak and then apply a final moisturizing protective lotion which I purchase at the Body Shop.
Q: On a shoot, do you have a say about your expression, pose, clothes, setting, or it is all up to your client?
Jason – Yes and no… usually they’ll send me the concepts in writing or an image. But I always use my imagination anyways… and when they start trying to over pose, I get on the floor and start doing pushups or something to shake it off. I end up doing what comes natural a lot of the times and throw those poses in as well… 9 times out of 10 they end up using my idea.
Q: Do you sometimes refuse modeling jobs? If so, why?
Jason – Oh sure, I have. Some jobs just aren’t for me. And they are best for other models. I listen to the opportunity and thank them for offering and that’s as far as it goes. I never want to feel like I’m desperate or that I have to “take any opportunity that comes my way.” No, that’s no good. It’s the quality stuff that makes my world exciting to me, not the quantity.
Q: Any funny or maybe embarrassing experiences you’d like to share?
Jason – You know, it’s not until I get asked this question that I realize what a boring person I can be in a studio! Sure I have little experiences here and there but nothing to go nuts over. I’m in the studio and feel like I know what I’m doing. There is not a kinda confident look… either you’re confident about yourself or not. I take the confident approach.
Q: I read somewhere that at first you didn’t read romances, but curiosity has gotten the better of you, and at times you indulge. Is that right?
Jason – Yes, you are right about that. I have been reading these courtesy copies that they send my way and have been very drawn into some. They are most interesting books and what imaginations romance authors have (without me saying any specific names.)
Q: Tell us something about the two modeling books you’ve written, and how we can order them.
Jason – The books were written when I had other goals in mind. They were written when I was pursuing getting on the cover of Playgirl. Not a thing is mentioned about the romance cover modeling though I do plan to get something going. But if a person wants to read those books from a long time ago they can be ordered on Amazon. The titles are Journey of a Male Model and Overexposed.
Q: If someone would like to hire you as a book cover model, whom should they contact?
Jason - If someone wants to, they can contact my management at HM Models.
If someone wants to purchase an image from my website, they can see the info in the journal of the page.
Thanks so much for sharing your cover model life with us, Jason.
|For more about Jason Aaron Baca, check out the People magazine article, the Guardian article, the Marie Claire article, and lots of book cover photos from photographer, Portia Shao, to drool over on Pinterest.|
Interview by Morgan Mandel. Check Out Morgan's Standalone Romantic Comedy, Girl of My Dreams, the romantic comedy series, Her Handyman, and A Perfect Angel. For Mystery/Suspense, try Killer Career or Two Wrongs. For the small town of Deerview series: Hailey's Chance: Will Baby Make 3? and Christmas Carol.Websites:Morgan Mandel.Com Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com. Twitter:@MorganMandel
Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Jason. From what you've said, I gather being a cover model may be fun, but there's still a lot of hard work involved to stay in shape. You are obviously up to the challenge!ReplyDelete
It was a pleasure Morgan. Glad to do it.Delete
Welcome to the blog, Jason. Enjoyed learning more about your career!Delete
Morgan, that was a fun interview.Delete
Thanks for the enlightening interview.ReplyDelete
It's encouraging to see that a cover artist understands how invested the writer is and that he matches this with his endeavor. It's interesting that a model can achieve different looks for various novels.
Yes, it's good to know the cover model wants to project the correct image for each author's book.Delete
Good article. Very enlightening. He seems like a down-to-earth guy. Jason seemed to underplay how much work, i.e., diet and exercise, are actually involved.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's not that easy to give up fun foods, and also stick to a persistent regimen of exercise.Delete
Thanks JJ, and thank you for the nice comment about being down to earth..Delete
I enjoyed reading this interview. I was quite taken at how different each cover looks, and yet there's a hauntingly familiar quality that resonates strength and confidence. Thank you, Morgan, for providing this insight into a different world. And now, I need to seriously boost my skin care regime and exercise program!ReplyDelete
As an author, I find it difficult to project my brand. Jason seems to carry off his very well.Delete
How much fun to learn something about the person behind those gorgeous covers. Thank you Jason and Morgan for such an informative interview!ReplyDelete
It's always nice to know a little about the person behind the outward persona.Delete
Congratulations on your career, Jason ... of course, that fact that I had to retire to make it possible is of little consequence ... but just thought I'd throw that out there.ReplyDelete
Christopher, that's very charitable of you to give the other guys a fighting chance. lolReplyDelete
What a fun interview, Morgan! It's fascinating the work involved behind creating the "brand". I wonder how long a shoot takes, and how many different book covers per week get created. What an intriguing career!ReplyDelete
I'm sure it's not all fun and games, but also at times tedious.Delete
Dani, yes it is very fascinating to see how all of this works, the whole process is very interesting to me as a cover guy as well.Delete
As for shoot length... takes anywhere between 3-5 hours and we'll run through 3-4 dif. wardrobes if all goes smoothly.
I'd guess that can be grueling at times, Jason!Delete
So one shoot is essentially a day's work. I've been part of shooting stills for a movie poster, and it amazed me how long it took - and how many people are involved that the camera never sees! It's hard work.Delete
I would like to know more, too. It is a fascinating look into a part of the industry that isn't talked about: cover modeling. We all look through stock photos for different projects, but never really consider the models posing for all those photos.ReplyDelete
I bet one of the hard parts is keeping still and holding a pose. It's hard enough when someone is taking a picture of me and I have to keep smiling. lolDelete
I've actually been an art model. Try holding the same pose for a half hour!Delete
Well, that must have been a fun interview, Morgan. An interesting post from the male model's point of view.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's fun to know about the person behind a picture!Delete
What a nice ineterview, very real and down to earth. Liked itReplyDelete
Yes, I have to admit that before I never thought much about the people who actually posed for the covers.Delete
What an interesting interview. He looks like a real seal, doesn't he? I always let my publishers worry about the cover model part of the industry, but I'm going to check out his website for ideas to share for my next cover.ReplyDelete
Keena, You never know what might spark an idea.Delete
Excellent interview, Morgan and Jason. I'm curious if the publishers hire you, Jason, or if indie authors hire you, or both. No matter how easy people think modeling is, it's hard work, and your interview proves it. I'm with Maggie. Need to get some new skin products.ReplyDelete
Yes, it does seem harder work than people imagine.Delete
Polly, thanks for commenting.. And yes, this does take a lot of time/effort. It is a highly competitive business so a person must always look for ways to stay ahead of things.. using great skin creams is something I've believed in. There's no point in doing all this work to make the body look great if you don't have a nice complexion to go with it.Delete
And as for getting hired.. I get hired by both..
Thanks, Jason. Good to know.Delete
I just noticed that the Seals Trilogy book above gives 100% of sales to American's VetDogs. I think that's kind of a cool thing.ReplyDelete
Yes, that was a great idea!Delete
What a fun, engaging, informative interview. I love learning about professions we tend not to think about. Wow, he really looks different on every cover - I was wondering why people would keep choosing the same guy for different books. In his bio shot, he looks so "boy next door," very approachable. He exudes that same down-to-earth quality in his answers. Maybe that quality is why women are drawn to those book covers and why people enjoy working with him.ReplyDelete
Yes, each picture seems to very well match what each book is about.Delete
Such an interesting interview! I love that Jason felt an immediate connection to romance books when he saw a cover!ReplyDelete
I thought that was cool too!Delete
Yes, I like it also that Jason feels a connection to the books for which he appears on the cover.Delete
I've never considered using a model on my novel covers, but this could change in the future. Jason, your determination to put as much effort into your part of the project as the author does in the writing is very impressive. We writers never get a second chance to make a first impression, which in virtually every case is our book cover. Thank you for understanding that and responding with your best effort. That makes you an indispensable part of the team that takes a book all the way from a concept to a finished product.ReplyDelete
Yes, authors do depend on great book covers. That can make or break a book.Delete
Thanks Morgan. I've never thought much about the models (except what they look like) so you've opened my mind.ReplyDelete
My mind has also been opened, Mari!Delete
This was a great interview. I didn't know about him. His name alone "Jason Aaron" says a lot and seems to fit perfectly with his appearance. He seems to be doing great with his career and looking young even though he started out almost a decade ago. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed the interview, Linda. I had a good time thinking up questions, and Jason answered them very well.ReplyDelete
I wish I could give this whole day a big thumbs up. Thanks for dropping in to chat with us, Jason. Hope some of our author friends here will add you to a book cover soon.ReplyDelete
That would make more great covers!Delete
I also loved Jason's story about seeing a romance book cover in a book store and being inspired to make a career shift. Seems very poetic.ReplyDelete
You never know where inspiration might strike!Delete
I want to thank Jason Aaron Baca again for being a good sport and answering my interview questions, also for stopping by and commenting. If anyone still wishes to leave a comment later tonight, or even tomorrow, you're more than welcome to do so.ReplyDelete
That was fun.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it, Marilyn Meredith!Delete
That was a fun and very interesting interview, Morgan. It was fascinating to hear a book cover model's perspective.ReplyDelete
Yes, a cover model is not just a pretty face!ReplyDelete