Interview with a Romance Cover Model
By Liz Everly
Life is a funny thing. I was teaching a mystery writing class at a local community college and I met this lovely lady who has two daughters in New York City. They are both graduates of Jame Madison University, a local university, and are doing well in the big city. I was intrigued when she mentioned they model, act, and write blogs, along with having day jobs. Their blog is fabulous: The Kissters: Living Large on Small Change. (Yes, their last name is Kiss!) I love to hear about younger women, unafraid, and grabbing life with gusto. I have to admit my old journalist’s ears perked right up when my student mentioned one of her daughter’s gigs was as a romance cover model, and so I asked for her contact information and I chatted with her a bit.
Here is Claudia Kiss gracing the cover of a Liz Carlyle book:
Liz: I know you’re a model and have an agent and have a lot of experience. So how does modeling for these book covers compare to other jobs you’ve had?
Claudia: The most stand-out difference between a romance novel cover job and any other type of modeling job is that they are actually quite brief! A lot of the cover is styled post-shoot in Photoshop. The romance novel covers I have shot took less than two hours. Other modeling jobs are usually full 8-10 hour days.
Liz: The Liz Carlyle book is so beautiful–the dress looks so lovely (so do you). Is the dress as gorgeous as it looks–or is it a trick of the camera?
Claudia: Thank you!! When shooting, the studio usually has a room or section of “costumes” and so the dress for this cover was selected from that room. There are always a ton of Victorian era dresses and fun costume jewelry pieces. Spoiler alert! The dress is not as pretty as it looks on the cover! In Photoshop they really enhanced this dress. I even think there were wears and tears in it from all the use!
Liz: I’m very curious (of course) about that VERY sexy pose on the inside of that book. Does the photographer pose you or do you improvise? And is that guy as hot as he looks? 😉
Claudia: The photographer definitely gave us great direction- however there was a little improvising. You have to be very comfortable. YES, the guy was very good looking. I remember him telling me he had shot several romance novel covers- and you can see why!
Liz: Do you read romance novels? Have you read either one of the one you posed for?
Claudia: I can’t lie! I have only read excerpts from a few romance novels and haven’t read either of the ones I posed for. I really should though. I DO own them!
Liz: The Harlequin romance has a way different, modern feel, but it’s still very sexy. Are you as comfy as you look?
Claudia: That is the first thing I noticed too! This cover turned out very modern- I believe the dress was actually from Club Monaco and it was a dress I would have even liked to keep and wear! After sitting straight, arching your back, and keeping your head and chin at a certain angle… I was a little tired after that shoot. I wasn’t necessarily comfortable but it wasn’t too strenuous either. 😉
Liz: I know you were involved with community theater and went to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. How did you get to New York? Any advice for young aspiring romance novel models? Is it a good way to make a living?
Claudia: When I was a Junior at JMU I interned at The Late Show with David Letterman and I fell in love with NYC. My sister was also already living in the city so I moved in with her right after college.
If you’re looking to model in New York City the advice I’d give would be to start building a portfolio and find an agent! I’m not sure if you could survive solely on modeling for romance novels but it surely is a good way to make some extra cash. Unlike other shoots, they only take an hour or two. Just make sure you’re not shy- romance novel shoots can sure get steamy!
Liz: I bet!!! 😉
Thanks so much, Claudia, for joining us on Lady Smut!