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!

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  • Tara Andrews
    March 18, 2014 at 6:14 am

    What an interesting job! Those are really beautiful covers, and I can see why you’d want to keep that dress. 🙂

  • LizEverly
    March 18, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I know, right? It’s gorgeous. And what a “fantasy” job! Thanks for commenting.

  • Madeline Iva
    March 18, 2014 at 7:33 am

    And it’s a lot harder than even Claudia makes it sound!

    They tried it once with Fabio on America’s Next Top Model. Once. Very few of the women could be professional and throw themselves into the pose in a convincing way.

    Fabio was sitting around like an old war horse, ready to make them comfortable, but also in habit that intimate space–which put several of them into a kind of uncontrollable skyrocketing panic mode…

    Such an interesting post, Liz!

    • LizEverly
      March 18, 2014 at 7:38 am

      I’m sure it would be difficult for some people.You have to be very confident to pose like that. But since she’s a pro and a trained actress, she seems to take it in stride.

  • Barbara Mikula
    March 18, 2014 at 9:08 am

    What fun! I did a little modeling when I was younger (way younger) – just advertising for some local stores back in the day, but it was not nearly as much fun as cuddling up to a cute guy! – Skye Michaels

    • Liz Everly
      March 18, 2014 at 9:14 am

      I hear ya–to cuddle up to a guy like that AND get paid to do it. Nice gig! thanks for commenting!

  • Kel
    March 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

    What a lovely post. And such an interesting job. I’m constantly reminded of the series that Jim C Hines did about the poses that covers have women in (not specifically romance novels, but in general) and trying to contort into them… it was rather interesting. Evidently, one needs to be fairly bendy and athletic to hold some of those poses for any length of time even before the photoshop experts get involved… never mind the acting ability necessary to show emotion and not pain.

  • Liz Everly
    March 18, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Oh yes, I hear you. Even that very sexy post of her on the bed, she is twisted.Thanks for commenting.

  • Liz Everly
    March 18, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Interview with a Romance Cover Model

  • Elizabeth Shore
    March 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    That seems a lot more interesting of an occupation than my current day job! Thanks for a fun interview, Liz.

    • Liz Everly
      March 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      That’s probably true for ALL of us. 😉

  • Author Charmaine Gordon
    March 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Super good post into the life of a young NY model. In the olden days, I was under contract to Funny Face, an agency catering to a different look and did lots of gigs-one as the woman guaranteed to spill coffee all over herself and fresh copy just written for the boss. An up-to-mischief look. I wish her success in a difficult business. She’s smart and she’ll do well.

    • Liz Everly
      March 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      I think she will, too? That blog is a lot of fun, too! Thanks for commenting!

  • Misty Dietz
    March 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    How fun is this?! Great post, Liz! 🙂

  • thekissters
    March 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Love how the interview turned out! This was so much fun- thank you!! xo Claudia Kiss

    • Liz Everly
      March 19, 2014 at 5:41 am

      Great having you! Best of luck to you.

    • Madeline Iva
      March 19, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Claudia–I was just shuffling through books for the Love Fest day of romance panels we’re having at Virginia Festival of the Book this weekend and I saw your book! Hee-hee, how funny. It’s a very handsome cover.


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