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Travel BLOG
September 16, 2011

Q & A with two Santa Cruz County Tourism Models!

The Santa Cruz Conference and Visitor’s Council recently hosted a promotional photo shoot on the Santa Cruz Wharf, as well as Main and Cowell’s Beach.  Jessica Robinson and Justin Belcher were our amazing models for this shoot.  Justin models nearly full-time, as does Jessica, when she’s not fulfilling her duties as Miss Alameda! Images from this shoot have put the two models in the spotlight on a promotional flyer and postcard for Santa Cruz County's "Secret Summer" Fall Festival Series. We caught up with Jessica and Justin after the shoot, and below is their interview: What is your fondest memory of Santa Cruz? JR - I love Santa Cruz; it’s a second home to me. I would always visit during my breaks from school or on the weekends. I can't forget going to the Boardwalk and riding the Giant Dipper. My friends and I knew where the camera was placed on the roller coaster for souvenir pictures and we would try to make the craziest faces! JB- My fondest memories of Santa Cruz would have to be going to the boardwalk with my family when I was younger. My family visits Aptos for a week every year during summer and we would always spend one night going to the boardwalk. How often do you visit Santa Cruz, and what do you like to do when you come here? JR - I come to Santa Cruz during the holidays and whenever I need to "get away" without going too far from home. JB - I visit Santa Cruz at least once a year for a week with my family. It is probably my favorite week out of the entire year. My favorite thing to do is simply relax and not worry about anything. What appealed to you about this photo shoot? JR - The photo shoot seemed like a fun concept:  a couple spending quality time hanging out by the beach. The location also brings back feelings of nostalgia, and reminds me of my childhood out at the wharf and Boardwalk. JB - The thing that appealed to me about this shoot initially was getting the chance to get out of town and visit Santa Cruz. The weather turned out to be perfect so I couldn't have been more happy. What was your modeling partner like? JR - Justin was real fun to work with. We clicked almost instantly. We were engaged in interesting conversations about our careers, so I am sure our photos looked authentic. It was nice because we could even laugh at ourselves when trying out different concepts and taking direction from the photographers and directors. JB- My modeling partner Jessica was a lot of fun to work with. The concept of the shoot was really fun so we had no trouble joking around with each other and having a great time. She is very professional but keeps the mood fun which made the shoot easy and a blast. Tell me about a funny or embarrassing thing that happened to you on a photo shoot. JR - I thought it was hilarious trying to duplicate a concept the director wanted Justin and me to do.  I was super eager to get the shot he wanted. However I could have died of laughter when I saw myself bob up and down as I ran toward the camera, while watching the play back on the camera's monitor. JB - My most embarrassing moment during a shoot happened when I was modeling for a store a few buildings down from where I live. I am pretty reserved and don't let a lot of people know I model, so to do this in my own neighborhood I knew I'd probably see people I recognized. Sure enough, my roommate happened to be on a run and stopped for a few minutes to harass me. Jessica, Santa Cruz has a history with beauty contests.  As Miss Alameda, what topics are part of your platform? JR - I have become a champion on the topic of reducing green house gas emissions and reducing waste. Cleaning up the planet and working with organizations with the mission to help restore the planet has been a real focal point for me. As Miss Alameda, I have dedicated the past three years getting the message out that we need to be conscious about our daily actions and how our actions impact our planet and our future. Justin, how long have you been modeling, and what do you like most about it? JB - I have been modeling for about three years. At first I was terrified to do runway modeling but now I find it pretty fun and exciting. I am pretty shy in person, but during those shows I get a chance to pretend I am someone else and it kind of gives me an adrenaline rush. Anything else you’d like to add? JR - I feel blessed and honored to be able to represent the City of Alameda in the Miss California USA pageant in the last two years and to be Miss Alameda for my third year. I feel humble and honored that I was asked to model for Santa Cruz County, since it is my second home! JB - This was a fun project to be a part of. The videographers, photographer, Jessica, and everyone else involved were a lot of fun to work with and I am so glad the weather cooperated. Being in Santa Cruz was a nice little teaser for me as I will be back here in a few weeks with my family for our annual trip. Check out the CVC website for the "Secret Summer" Fall Festival Series as well as many other promotions in the coming year!    

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