Natural Beauty Melissa Jean Basks in Centerfold Spotlight has been a longtime fan of Playboy Natural Beauties covergirl Melissa Jean (OMP Model #338818), and recently caught up with her at the “Shoot the Centerfold” event in South Florida. She was a Featured Model and got to shoot with over 60 participants of the sold-out seminar and workshop, led by Playboy veterans Arny Freytag, David Mecey, and Jarmo Pohjaniemi (OMP Member 68348).

Full coverage of the event will be posted in the OMP Blog next week. Until then, we wanted to catch you up on what Florida resident Melissa Jean has been working on lately, and pass along some great advice she has for fellow models.

OMP: How has your career been effected by being a Playboy covergirl?

Melissa Jean: There is definitely a status that comes along with being published in the most well-known men’s magazine in the world. Playboy is a household name, so I’m sure there is a certain respect level people have for you when you tell them you are a part of their magazine. I’m sure it’s helped me get certain modeling assignments.. It’s kind of like having an Ivy League college on your resume! There’s a little bit of fame that comes a long with it, too… Because of my cover, I was able to go to Glamourcon in Chicago and sell copies of my magazine, sign autographs, and take pictures with fans. There were people from all over the world.  Some of them had a copy of my issue, knew I was going to be there, and brought it especially for me to sign. That was pretty cool.

OMP: What advice do you have for photographers when working with nude models?

Melissa Jean: First of all, well before the shoot takes place make sure to communicate as much as possible. Send examples of the type of imagery you’re going for, especially if it’s something different than what’s in your portfolio. The photographer needs be aware of the model’s nudity/comfort level and both parties should be on the exact same page for the type of imagery that will be taken, well before the shoot. Whenever possible, let the model start out in clothing, especially if it’s one of the first times you are working with that person. It gives the model and the photographer a chance to get warmed up to each other and feel out the energy of the shoot as it gets going. If the model doesn’t do so on their own, kindly ask them to start removing one piece of clothing at a time. Do not rush the model if they may be uncomfortable. The photographer has to be very mindful of the model’s comfort level at all times, as their reputation is on the line!  Also, it’s always nice when the photographer offers a bathrobe. Not every model has one, so it’s always nice when there is one to wear in-between sets. It’s a professional gesture that shows a willingness to respect the model’s privacy. And lastly, never ever touch the model to adjust a pose or even move their hair without asking first! This is the most important rule when doing any kind of shoot, but especially when you’re working with a nude model.

OMP: Do you travel a lot for work?

Melissa Jean: I have been a traveling model since I started modeling when I lived in Arizona.  I spent the entire year of 2005 on the road, making my way around California, Las Vegas, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and back to Arizona.  After that year I took a break to go to school for massage therapy and then I moved to Florida in 2007.  I was a full time massage therapist for the first two years I lived here but got laid off my job at the spa in 2009.  That was right before my Playboy Nudes cover came out and I have been modeling full time for the last 2 years.  I frequently travel to Arizona, California, and New York, but am looking forward to doing a LOT more traveling this year and in the future, so please let me know if you’d like me to come to your city!

OMP: How involved are you in creating concepts for your shoots?

Melissa Jean: I always love to be involved in the creative aspect of the shoot. Of course some of the shoots are for a specific client and they have a good idea of what they want. But it’s still up to me to add my personality and flavor. Whether it’s having a say regarding the set, wardrobe, or just the poses and expression, it’s up to the model to bring everything together. After all, it’s their job to make the product sell. If I have a suggestion I will always speak up to see what they think about it. It never hurts to have a second or third opinion.  It should always be somewhat of a collaboration, no matter who the shoot is for!  And for the shoots where I have more say in the creativity, I first ask which direction they would like to go, and what kind of location we have to work with, and then plan my wardrobe, makeup, and hair accordingly. My wardrobe has gotten pretty huge over the years, and my style is very eclectic, so there is something for any style! I like to bring more than enough to the shoot — clothing, shoes, accessories, stockings, hats and sometimes wigs and props. You never know what you might be inspired to use! It’s better to bring too much stuff than not enough.

OMP: How else do you market yourself besides the Internet?

Melissa Jean: At some point in your career you will feel you need to diversify yourself to be marketable to different types of work.  Over the last year I’ve been doing research on many different modeling agencies, both locally and around the country as well. Right now I am with five agencies that book all different types of work. I’m currently available for commercial, print, acting and extra work, promotional events, and trade shows. Keep as many doors open as possible for the best chance of staying busy.

OMP: Anything else you would like to add?

Melissa Jean: Photographers, please share the images.  There is nothing more disappointing and frustrating for an artist than being a part of creating something and then not being able to see what was made, or not having a say in which images get selected for editing. Even if you pay a model for the shoot, both parties should be entitled to have a CD copy of the digital images, no matter what!

See more of Melissa Jean on her OMP Portfolio

Image by Arny Freytag

See more images of Melissa Jean by Jarmo Pohjaniemi on his OMP portfolio (OMP Member 68348)

Learn more about upcoming Shoot the Centerfold events on their Official Website

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