Yesterday, September 20th 2016, marked the two year anniversary of my shoot with Grooby for Shemale Yum. It’s hard to believe it’s already been that long, but as I look back over the past two years that shoot was an important event in my life because it led to so many good things happening and helped me in so many ways. I’ve written before about what led me to apply to be a model so I won’t go into that again, but I’ve never really written much about the shoot itself, so what better time than on the two year anniversary!
I was fortunate that I got to work with Radius Dark for the shoot; he was very patient with me and got me to relax and guided me through the shoot. He was the consummate professional and I learned a great deal from him that has helped me to become better at modeling. So thank you Radius, none of what I accomplished the past two years would have been possible without you. When Radius first contacted me he sent a list of instructions and tips which was very helpful. I also spent a lot of time online researching anything I could find about modeling and how to be successful at it; I wanted to learn as much as I could ahead of time so that hopefully I’d feel more relaxed at the shoot. I didn’t realize at that point that the most important thing for a successful shoot is to just relax and have fun, but that would come later as I gained more self-confidence and felt more comfortable in front of the camera.
One of the items on the instructions Radius sent me was to practice ahead of time what I’d say during the videos, so I actually sat down and wrote out a list of things to say! The week before the shoot I went to visit my mom, which is a three hour drive, so for the better part of three hours I practiced talking and trying to sound sexy. But I think I spent more time laughing, thinking about how unreal this all was and the fact I was in my car practicing how to talk dirty! lol
As the shoot got closer I started getting things ready. I’m always very meticulous about planning out everything and making sure I look my best, and I had everything scheduled, such as what day to do my nails and my hair and when to shave. After much deliberation I chose my outfits, shoes, and accessories. Looking back, I was happy with how the blue outfit looked but I wish I had chosen a different outfit instead of the black one. I printed directions to the hotel and familiarized myself with the area. I planned for every little detail and left nothing to chance. Yes, you could say I was a bit anal-retentive!
The big day finally arrived and I packed my outfits, double-checking to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and began getting ready. I rarely wear foundation so I was a bit worried that it would look too heavy, but it turned out fine, and I was pleased with my hair and makeup. So I packed up the car and headed to the hotel. The shoot was in Vancouver, which was just over the river from where I was living, and traffic was light and I managed to not get lost, so I got to the hotel early. The shoot before mine ran long which meant I had to wait for a while in my car, which was not a good thing because it gave me too much time to over-think things. But I managed to stay calm and relaxed; it helped that I brought along a can of Coke with a little rum added, in spite of the fact that the instructions from Radius stated drinking was a big no-no and could result in the shoot being cancelled. But I only had a little to drink, just enough to take the edge off.
Radius texted me when the shoot was finished and said I could come up to the room. When I got to the room the other model was still there, which was totally unexpected and a bit unnerving. I have no idea who she was, I just remember how relaxed she was, which was the complete opposite of how I was feeling! We got all the paperwork filled out and took the ID photos and then he went over how the shoot would go and he gave me some tips and then it was time to get at it! I admit I was a little concerned I might have trouble getting hard if I was too nervous, so I took a Viagra when I got there just to be sure. I’d never taken Viagra before so I had no idea what to expect, but I soon felt this warm sensation and realized I was hard as a rock and ready to go!
Taking a break during the shoot
I was looking forward to the photo part and had fun with that once I relaxed. Radius must have told me a thousand times to lift my head up and point my chin because I tend to look down, which I’d never realized before. He also had to keep tell me to pointing my toes, which was another thing that was new to me. Even two years later I still remember to keep my head up and point my chin and to always keep my toes pointed. I feel very fortunate I had such a good teacher to learn from on my first shoot. Halfway through the shoot I was starving, so we ordered a pizza from Dominos and chatted while we took a break. After a few slices I was ready to get back to work.
The video part were not quite as much fun as the photos because I was so stressed about my voice and worried about not messing up what I wanted to say. We started and stopped several times when Radius had to give me directions or I had a question. I stopped several times right in the middle to ask if I was doing okay which probably drove Radius nuts, and I will always appreciate how patient and reassuring he was with me. The first video I didn’t feel very good about, but I felt better about the second one. I still have never watched my videos and have no plans to do so, because I know I’d be mortified by how I sound and be overly critical about how I did, so it’s just better to not even go there.
So, we made it through the shoot without any major hiccups, and I got cleaned up and then headed home. It was really late and I was beat; I had no idea how physically demanding a shoot could be. But I felt good about the shoot and was proud of myself for doing something that was so outside of my comfort zone and was excited to see where this would go.
Then it was just a matter of waiting until my set came out, and working to build up a fan base. I set up accounts on Twitter and Facebook for Becca Benz, and then tried to figure out how to get followers. I was totally clueless about social media and pestered Radius with a bunch of questions, and once again he was patient with me and helped me to get started. I remember when I opened my Twitter account I had no idea who to follow or how it worked, I think I followed a few magazines and stores, but Radius helped me to understand that I needed to follow people in the industry, and that got me moving in the right direction. I was also very fortunate that I got to know a few people early on who helped me out a great deal and without their help I would have been lost. A big thank you to Andy, one of my very first friends on Twitter who was a huge help to me and has been a good friend. And then disaster struck when my Facebook account was suspended for reasons which I was never able to find out. I was so upset and felt that having to start a new Facebook profile would be a big set-back, but I got a new account set up and found many of my friends from the first account and kept moving forward. A special thank you to my friend Christy for helping me through all that and for keeping me from totally losing it.
So I worked on building up my fan base all of October and into November and waited for my set to come out. I’m not always the most patient person and there was a certain level of frustration when the release date kept getting pushed back; this was an exciting time for me and I was anxious to start this new career and see where it led me. And then I finally learned when my first set was going to be released; on Black Friday, which I was not very happy about because I felt like everyone would be out shopping which would cause my set to not get as many viewers. Like I said, I can be a bit anal-retentive and at that point I was stressing about every little thing; I didn’t yet have the perspective to look at the big picture and to realize the release date wasn’t all that important. And then after the set was released I kept checking the rating of my set but decided I had to stop doing that because I was driving myself crazy doing that. So I learned to not stress over every little detail and to just focus on the things I needed to do, and I’d say things worked out pretty well. I was selected Model of the Month for December 2014, which was completely unexpected and meant a great deal to me. It still means a lot to me even two years later.
Looking back over the past two years, it’s been quite an adventure and I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people and to experience things which I could never have dreamed of. Doing this shoot opened doors to more opportunities and allowed me to gain confidence and grow as a person, and for that I will forever be grateful to everyone at Grooby and all those who have been part of this journey. And I’m proud of myself for taking a big leap into the unknown and making it work, and for realizing that the only limitations in life are the ones we impose on ourselves. I began a modeling career at the age of 52 and was successful, and hopefully I was able to inspire a few people along the way by showing that age is just a number and that it’s never too late.