Jason Aaron Baca who has also written two books on the modeling industry.
Our reviewers had the opportunity to ask Jason some questions.
When posing for a very intimate scene, what are you usually thinking about?
When I pose for a intimate scene I try to just clear my mind and relax. I try to think about how that character may act or feel in the moment. I also detach myself. It's not me; it's this person.
Is there a scene you now look back on and wish you never would have done or would have done it differently?
Oh, absolutely, there have been a few times there where I felt it could have been done differently , my way , but I can’t go against the art director's word. If they were to let me do my thing and be myself, they’d be better off though.
Yes, I would love to grace the cover of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books. She has some pretty amazing books out there that I’d love to be on the cover of for her. Maybe her publishers are reading this now!
Do you have a preference: Work alone or with another model?
I prefer to work alone. I’m just used to it from my modeling for so many years. If the female model that they have do the shoot with me is anything but calm, I tend to get nervous with her and then we have a crumby shoot. I’ve had this experience before where I arrived at the shoot and the girl’s hands were shaking the whole time. I tried to help her out by cracking jokes but she didn’t think anything I said was funny.
My advice to any model going into a couples shoot with a complete stranger would be to do something to calm your nerves or do some jumping jacks in the studio. It will keep you from stiffening up.
Do you have any place you prefer to pose i.e., inside, outside, etc.
I prefer an inside studio that is well lit and cool inside. I’m not a fan of the outdoors stuff because then you get people walking by watching you or staring at you. It gets uncomfortable.
Do you ever get to go anywhere nice to shoot the covers?
I’ve been offered to go to some really cool spots like Italy, Hawaii, and the U.K. but never took any of those offers. For me the coolest place I actually went for a shoot was to Everett, Washington. It's beautiful up there and I love it. The shoot took place in a studio out in the middle of a forest. I felt like I was just centimeters away from bumping into Sasquatch.
Do you enjoy what you do and will you continue to do this in the future?
Yes, I love what I do. And I will continue to do the romance covers for as long as they keep hiring me back for more assignments. It's quite an honor really to be the guy they want for their novel.
What do you enjoy reading?
Believe it or not, I enjoy reading Tony Robbins' books on that unlimited power stuff. In order for me to sit down and read a book it must be at least “Based on a true story” so that I can say that this stuff really happened. Otherwise my mind interprets things as phony bologna.
Do you get recognized? If so, are you happy about it?
Yes, there has been a few random occasions that this has happened to me. Once at my gym this guy came up to me and said “Hey, what’s up, Jason? How’s the modeling going?” He caught me off guard at first because I didn’t know who the hell he was. Then I realized he was a guy that had seen my modeling stuff. I laughed and responded back telling him that it was cool that he noticed me.
I was still a bit freaked out when I got home from the gym. I didn’t realize how all this went. After this initial time, though , the rest of the times that people came up and said my name without me knowing them didn’t seem so weird.
Is this what you wanted or expected to be doing at this time of your life?
No, actually, I didn’t! When I grew up I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I envisioned me on some MLB team. When baseball didn’t work out my way I turned to modeling but on my first photo shoot assignment, I got nervous and canceled on them. At that time I thought I’d never become a model especially if I was going to be ducking out the last minute because of nerves. That, thank God , just turned out to be a bump in the road.
How did you get into the industry?
Funny you ask because it's weird how I did. I originally wanted to be an actor and I sent my headshot out to 50 different casting agencies in my area. I got a little job as a double for Freddie Prinze Jr. in the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer” where I had to sit in for him for all the little stuff. While I was there, the poster photographer approached me asking if he could take a few shots of me. He had been working on his lens or something so he needed me to pose.
Even though he was just practicing with his camera, he ended up giving me the shots. They were amazing high end shots, of course, coming from a professional photographer of a major movie.
Are you required to keep your body in any certain way, i.e., tattoos, hair, etc.?
Yes, I believe in taking care of myself. I try to eat clean most of the time. No tattoos and no short hair. Tattoos are only good if they have a call for that, and short hair only makes my face look “puffy.”
Are there any assignments that you would refuse to do even if it paid well?
When I was in the beginning of my modeling career I would have said there is no assignment I wouldn’t do. Now, I have much more at stake so, yes, I refuse a lot of stuff. I’ve learned that if you do the shoot that you’ve only been persuaded to do BECAUSE of money then it will hurt you down the road. I did a shoot back in 2000 where they offered me a ton and, to this day, it is a thorn in my side. That money I made off it is long gone too.
I am really focused these days on doing the Romance or Sci-Fi Book Covers. I have done every other theme in modeling, i.e., fitness, playgirl, fashion, stock, glamour, portrait, reference. I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with those areas. This idea of being on 100 romance or sci-fi book covers seems like a challenge to me. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to it.
How do you see yourself in ten years time?
Well, in 10 years from now, I’ll no longer be needing to use “Just for Men” hair coloring. :-) Modeling will be a thing of the past and I will have a new project going on in my head.
What prompted you to become a cover model?
I was actually prompted after seeing another model who is my age that is extremely successful in getting on covers of romance books. He’s been on like 800 as we speak. After seeing his website I thought to myself, “Hey I can do that too!” I can be his new competition since he’s the only one landing covers these days…
Do you model for all genres or just romance?
Right now I model for all genres of romance, sci-fi and mystery books. I’m focusing on just those right now. We’ll see what lies ahead after that.
How do you deal with 'difficult' co-models - i.e. keep things professional?
Well most of the time, the models are cool. They don’t bother me, I don’t bother them. We both know we are being paid to do this so let's act like we like one another so we can get on with it. I’ve never had a problem though with any models I’ve worked with.
Have you ever refused a commission, and if so, why?
Oh, of course I have. Some stuff is just too steamy. What they ask for is taken almost to another level. I feel a book cover should be tasteful where the reader can get an idea of what’s about to happen without revealing everything.
What did your family and friends think when you chose this profession? Has their opinion changed?
My family isn’t into it, and they’ve never been. My Grandpa is confused and doesn’t understand how things go now-a-days and how, when I have an assignment coming up, I have to shave my arm and chest hair off. That Burt Reynolds look went out of style a long time ago. They don’t get that. Instead, they just think I’m feminine for doing that.
What are your three favorite cover pics?
My three favorite cover pics are The Legend of Michael, Wings, and Rain of Tears.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could live anywhere in the world it would be Grants Pass, Oregon. It's along the coast and is surrounded by pine trees and green lush fields. There is no better place for me to live in the world, I think.
If you were a car, what model would it be?
A Ferrari, of course! I always strive to be the best I can possibly be. Everyone else can be a BMW or Mercedes. I’m not a normal person; I don’t like normal things. I like things that can blow people's minds.
Sweet tooth or savoury?
Sweet tooth. You put a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups in front of me and watch it disappear in a matter of seconds. It is my weakness.
What do you think when you look at yourself in the finished product? I mean, if you've always had short hair, and they give you long flowing tresses, have you been pleased or horrified at the results. Horrified as in "I never would do that to my hair"...
I have seen some of the stuff they do of me with the ponytails or long hair. It makes me laugh because I’m a guy that likes my hair tapered around the sides. Hey, at least I’d know what I look like with long hair.. haha… Just not me.
What's your diet like? Tofurkey or Hot Firehouse Chili and fries?
NO, no curly cheese fries. No belly buster cheeseburger either. That stuff will only make you look ugly. You have to stay at the top of your game in this business because there is always someone that is trying just as hard if not harder then you to make it to the top. Eating this type of stuff will only slow you down.
What's the most unique thing you've ever tried to eat by virtue of being on a shoot that you never would have gotten to try if you weren't a model?
Cheese Whiz on Ritz crackers. I’d never eat that stuff or go to the store looking to buy it. But they have that at shoots for whatever reason. It's garbage food.
How cut throat is the modeling world and is there a difference between romance book cover models or fashion cat-walk models?
There is a huge difference between the two. Cat-walk modeling is cut throat. You have to go to “go-sees” and casting calls whereas romance book stuff, you just have to get in good with some publishers and let your agency do the talking for you from that point. Once you are in though, your name spreads like wildfire.
If you could appear on Ghost Hunters as a guest host, would you jump at the chance? If not that show, what show would you love to be a part of?
This is a funny question. I’d LOVE to be on the Ghost Adventures show as a guest. The one with Zak (guy with big arms). My wife and I watch that show on a regular basis because we have a ghost at our house. Really interesting seeing/hearing what they find in some of these places. I’d relate to these three guys best because they are clowns like me.
In making a sensual book cover it would have to have a tasteful quality to it. If it has an ounce of exotic to it, it loses its luster with me because you are already revealing the whole story of the romance book. Keep it clean!