I’m very excited to have the multi-talented CHARLES PAZ visiting today, as a special Valentine’s treat. Charles is a model, photographer and a favorite of the Ohio Valley chapter of RWA.
Charles has generously agreed to answer my questions, including some that are kind of personal.
Anya: Your term as Mr. Romance doesn’t end with 2009 – it goes on until the next Romantic Times convention in April 2010, right? What have been the highlights for you so far? What’s up next?
Charles: I feel that the highlight is just being recognized by people and being shown so much love from them. The world of romance has been very good to me. I’ve enjoyed meeting people and having them in my life.
I’m very excited for the upcoming Romantic Times convention. Having so many people wanting to meet me in person is a feeling I just can’t describe. The hype has begun! So if any of you see me walking in the halls, you better get your camera ready to take a pic with me or at the very least say hi. I’m not that hard to find! 😉
Anya: I’ve been known to use pen names on occasion. Is “Charles Paz” your real name or a stage name?
Charles: CHARLES DAVID PAZ is my full name. I’m named after my grandfather and father. On my modeling page, I go by: THE MAIN MAN. It just sounds good when people say it — for example you ask a photographer who they are shooting and they reply with “Oh, I’m shooting THE MAIN MAN.” LOL!
Anya: I’ve followed your battles with weight and body-building on Facebook. I’m impressed with how open and honest you are, and it’s made me appreciate just how much work it is to maintain that cover model physique. Since I’ve battled weight most of my life, and I can relate. I totally envy your self-discipline. How do you work to achieve your goals?
Charles: The battle with my looks is literally a never-ending struggle. I’ve always been chunky. Genetically, I’m supposed to be big and stocky. The diet and exercise program that I do is very hard, strenuous and at times depressing. While friends are out eating and drinking, enjoying life, I’m at the gym and staying clean with my diet.
I’m the type of guy who gains weight just by looking at food. I’m using RT as motivation. I still shake my head when I see old pics from the Orlando Convention and wonder “How did my BIG BUTT even win this thing?” I guess it just goes to show that looks aren’t everything. I guarantee you that this year I will redeem myself and come looking like a true cover model! =-)
Okay, one word: Manscaping. I read in another interview that you have to Nair yourself before a shoot. I’m picturing that scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin – ouch! How often do you have to do this?
Charles: I am a grizzly bear — I’m a very hairy guy. I get it from my Latin roots I guess. I do shave my chest, I won’t lie. I need help when it comes to my back though. Sometimes Nair, sometimes razor. But, I’m too afraid to do the waxing. Every girl tells me to wax, but uhmmmm, I’m not at that point yet.
Anya: I’m with you on the waxing! In some interviews I’ve read, you mention doing nude shoots. Is that uncomfortable for you?
Charles: I really only get nude for one photographer. I don’t do full frontal Playgirl-style nudes. I do more of the “artistic implied” and “full rear” shots. A majority of them are done outside in the great outdoors and they come out AMAZING!! I love the style and the creative concept that my ‘nakey photographer’ shoots me with. Hmmm… Maybe I should give a link for your readers so they can view them and judge for themselves? 😉
Anya: I’ll include a few pictures so they can see for themselves. I think they are very artistic! (I hope the photos were shot in a warm climate!) You must be comfortable in your own skin, I’m assuming. What was your most embarrassing moment in a photo shoot?
Charles: Most embarrassing moment … I really don’t have any. I do remember one moment during a shoot where I literally became a hero. A model was drowning — the water wasn’t that deep until a certain point. I stopped everything and sprinted towards her in the water, then lifted her out and onto my back. I made a great impression that day with the crew! =-)
Anya: Wow, Charles, you really are a hero. Just like a hero in a romance novel. Speaking of which . . . are you in a steady relationship? If not, when you meet a girl and she asks what you do, how do you answer? Do you tell her right up front that you are Mr. Romance 2009? How do women react when you say that? (Okay, I know this is a bunch of questions, but enquiring minds want to know!)
Charles: Well, technically I still claim ‘single’ on my taxes. But in all honestly, I am seeing someone. She is wonderful. I was at a point where I was okay with being alone and didn’t want to look for love. All of a sudden, she comes out of nowhere and changes everything.
She makes me *melt*. She makes my face hurt because I get this HUGE smile when I think about her. We balance each other out very well. I could go on and on and on talking about her, but I’m sure the readers don’t want to get sick hearing about it.
We are taking things one day at a time, though. And each day is better and better. She knows my ‘role’ and fully trusts me. There have been times where people would post things on my Facebook status, and instead of being insecure or jealous, she would join in on the fun and get the people to laugh with her.
That is one of the qualities about her I really appreciate. An immature girl would have embarrassed me and made me look bad. She, on the other hand, knows that she ‘gots me’ and has nothing to worry about. I like having her by my side. You just might see us on a bookcover someday. =-)
Anya: Charles, the people who follow my blog are mostly romance readers and writers. We LOVE to hear guys talk about the women they care about this way. You just got yourself a lot of new fans!
My next question doesn’t really apply since you’re in a relationship, but I’m curious what it’s like to be a guy who is (I don’t think there’s any doubt about this) extremely hot. I’m assuming meeting women isn’t a problem for you — but correct me if I’m wrong.
I know you have fans of all ages, including a lot of happily married women (since being married doesn’t make us blind) in the Ohio Valley RWA chapter. Do you ever have to deal with jealous husbands or creepy stalker-women?
Charles: It’s funny, I just had a friend message me today saying her BF was asking ‘Who is the your friend with the big chest’?
Jealous husbands/boyfriends are sometimes a good thing. It shows that they do care, and hopefully, I can motivate them to be better partners to their women.
I know if my girl was showing a lot of interest in some other guy, I would step up my game and recapture her attention. I’d also like to state that I not only respect married couples, but people who are in relationships in general.
If someone has a BF or husband, then the guys have nothing to worry about. I’m a friendly, genuine and sincere guy. I wouldn’t ever try to break up a couple.
I honestly HATE IT when some other guy tries to hit on my girl. It’s such a show of disrespect, but I handle it like an adult and a true man. As guys, we do sometimes fear losing the woman we love. All I can say is find out what puts a smile on her face and do it.
Anya: I know some romance writers who hide their work from their families, and I was wondering if there is any awkwardness about your career choice. How did your family react when you won the Mr. Romance contest? Are they supportive of your career?
Charles: My family likes the stuff I have done with this whole ‘modeling’ thing. I called my mom the second I got back to my room after winning the Mr. Romance competition. She was soooo proud. And she always talks about me.
I wouldn’t say though, that modeling is my career. I have focused more on my photography and working on that. I stay in shape just in case, but the modeling is for fun. The photography is what pays the bills. My family actually loves my photography better than my modeling. I think it’s mostly because I do amazing work when I am behind the camera rather than in front of it.
Anya: Your photographs are gorgeous, Charles. Back to the modeling – have you worked on any book covers lately? I’m hoping you might share a sneak peek with us! Also, I’m curious – what are your personal favorites of your pro shots?
Charles: Sigh….. I wish I could tell you that there are many covers with my face on them coming out, But I cannot lie. I will say that I am extremely grateful for all that I have done with this Mr. Romance title. Even though it hasn’t been much, I am glad to have lived something that so many guys just dream about. I will be on the cover of Connie Mason’s book titled LORD OF DEVIL ISLE. I’m very excited and blessed for that.
I’ve stated in interviews before that I did put a lot of trust in my agents to handle my career and push me for better things. I didn’t know much about the business and I honestly thought having the Mr. Romance title would give me some street cred and get me a few covers. But my agents sorta left me behind and just dropped me. It’s okay, though. That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.
I’ve been working on shooting my own covers and marketing the images to authors who would like me on their cover. It’s in the early stages of development, but if I have learned anything from this it’s that if ‘you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself’. I think the world of romance will be amazed at what I bring to the table for covers! =-)
Anya: I’ve gotten a little carried away with the questions – is there anything I haven’t asked that you wish I had?
Charles: Oh trust me, I’m sure there are gonna be many questions you will think of by the time RT comes. Let’s set up another interview, perhaps in person at the convention. We could record it and post it on YouTube for everyone to see. I think that would be AWESOME!! I’ll bring the camera! =-)
Anya: YOU might be photogenic, but I’m not. But I like the idea . . . maybe this will inspire me to stick to the darn treadmill between now and then. Speaking of YouTube, I found a few videos of you that I’ll post here.
Thanks so much for visiting today, Charles. I wish you every success, and you can be sure when your pictures are on magazine covers I’ll be saying “I knew Charles when he was Mr. Romance 2009!” I’m looking forward to meeting you in person at RT in April!
Charles: I’m always thankful for the chance to do interviews like this. Anytime I can answer questions and give readers and fans more info about me is always a great thing. I love letting them into my world a little. I’m much more than just a ‘pretty face’ — I’m a normal down-to-earth person who loves to put smiles on faces.
If you see me at RT, feel free to say HI and talk to me. Ask anyone who I have met and they will tell you I am a very humble and sincere guy. Plus, I’ve got a nice butt!
Looking forward to seeing you all soon. Thanks again. Much Love!
Anya: Charles, believe me, the pleasure is all ours! Best of luck with your career, both as a model and as a photographer!
You can friend Charles on Facebook if you want to see more of his photos: http://www.facebook.com/CharlesPaz
He has a Facebook page for his photographs here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charles-David-Photography/415413375359?ref=ts
And he has a fan page on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000492620331&ref=ts
Join the Romantic Times conference group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=mf&gid=56523184993