Please Welcome Charles Paz, Mr. Romance 2009!

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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! =-)


Anya: Charles, I’d say you look like a cover model right now!

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!

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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

35 responses »

  1. I just clicked over from Facebook and saw this great interview!! Really enjoyed learning more about Charles (I’m now inspired to actually get to the gym tomorrow!) and I loved the vast array of photos you two shared. Thanks so much for the insight into the life of a model–I appreciated reading about all the time, work and energy that goes into that. Best wishes to you both!

  2. Hi Anya and Charles!
    I’m always disecting the hero in all genre’s of books. My blog is based around the eight different heroe archetypes. When I have read some of the books where you are the cover model, your character has been different heroe archetypes. With that said *grin* I am glad to find out, in real life, you are the Charmer/Best Friend. Those are the heroes I write about in my novels.

    It’s refreshing to read your success and how down to earth you are. Plus I have four teenage boys and I would be proud to have them follow in your footsteps. One of my sons is built with a little more bulk and he will never be the lean body builder. I think it’s great how you have embraced your body and made it work for you and very pleasing to alot of women!
    You’re a natural model and it shows through your work.
    Thank you for sharing your story!!

  3. Marilyn – I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ve been impressed with Charles since we first met in the virtual world, and I wanted others to get to know what a great guy he is. I hope he is successful in both his modeling AND photography careers.

    For those of you who don’t know Marilyn, she is the author of ACCORDING TO JANE, which I read and loved! You can order it here:

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/According-to-Jane/Marilyn-Brant/e/9780758234612/?itm=1&USRI=marilyn+brant

  4. Tonya – Charles is definitely a charmer, that’s for sure!

    Some women think it’s easy to be a guy, but I think romance writers — and mothers of sons — know that’s just not true.

    My own son played football in high school and lifted weights. But he was very unhappy always being “the big guy,” and when his college friends were gaining their “freshman fifteen” pounds, he was living at the gym across from his dorm and losing 75 pounds.

    He got into running, and now has run marathons in Chicago, Barcelona and Cincinnati, and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks all across the country. In a recent marathon, he placed 4th in his age group. Sorry for digressing — I’m a proud mom.

    But I mention this because body image is just as important to men as it is to women, but it isn’t as accepted for guys to talk about it. I was really impressed with Charles’ honesty when he spoke candidly about his weight battle on his Facebook page. It really takes guts to put yourself out there like that.

  5. Anya, my favorite sentence: “Your photos are gorgeous, Charles. Now back to the modeling . . . ” ROFL

    Seriously, I’ll gladly be the face in a YouTube interview at RT and beam at Mr. Romance. I’ll lip-synch your words, Anya, and you can do that whole Cyrano de Bergerac thing with me.

    We can put a handicam on extreme soft-focus, right???

    Looking forward to having my picture taken with you, Mr. Paz. We Ohio Valley gals are going to treat you and yours right!

  6. Ok, I’m TOTALLY impressed by you Charles. Your gal sounds wonderful, and I love a man who’s as open and honest as you’ve been here today with all of us.

    You described yourself as a grizzly bear, and just so you know, a LOT of romance readers LOVE bears.

    VERY impressed, and kudos to you Anya for scoring a coup with getting Charles to interview with you!!

  7. Keri – perfect! You do the interview at RT – you’d be great in front of a camera. But Charles, watch out for that woman – she might try to hypnotize you with her belly dancing!

    Monica – I’ve never understood the whole hairless thing on book covers. My favorites usually have both facial and body hair. And possibly tattoos, since my husband refuses to get one for me to admire in real life.

  8. Hi Charles and Anya,

    What a refreshing interview!

    Charles, I think I’m in love now, although I understand you’re taken. (lol). You are so down to earth, and that’s refreshing.

    I agree with your parents too — I “lurve” this modeling thing you’ve got going.

    Much success to you in all your future endeavors. I can’t think of another hot hunk and nice person who deserves it more,

    Best, Keta Diablo
    erotic romance author
    http://www.ketadiablo.com

  9. Charles, don’t believe Rosie for a minute – you want to watch that woman. And if she and Monica get together — look out! And it’s not “my” entourage, it will be Charles’ entourage. It will be hard to spot him with all the women surrounding him at RT!

    Keta – Isn’t it nice to meet a good-looking guy who doesn’t think he’s “all that?” I’m so impressed with the courage it takes to be so candid. That was one of the first things I noticed about Charles. Well, okay. Maybe not the FIRST thing. 🙂

  10. Wow! What an interview that was! Thank you Anya and Charles for having the best interview EVER!

    Charles, you are amazing and I must admit, I am completely smitten with your charm and with the respect you have for your woman. As Anya said above, we LOVE when a man talks about his love for a woman, and you did it in such a way that there is no denying your sincerity. It was absolutely beautiful. Best of luck to you in your modeling and photography career!

    Anya….still can’t thank you enough for this interview 😉

    See ye tomorrow!

  11. Renee – fingers crossed that it won’t snow! Hope to see a lot of you at the Barnes & Noble in West Chester, OH tomorrow for their huge, multi-author romance book signing.

    I, sadly, don’t have a book to sell (yet) but I WILL be spending lots of money making my to-be-read pile even bigger!

  12. yes, my TBR will definitely be bigger after tomorrow…but I am so excited!!! I have looked forward to this day for so long!

    Again, thank you for such a great interview and for not being timid in your questions. Woman, you’ve got guts!

  13. Anya, you are so wonderful for linking to my book… {{hug}} Happy Valentine’s weekend, hon!

    Charles, I thought the photograph you took (with the beautiful sky) was gorgeous! Wishing you and your sweetheart a wonderful weekend, too. 🙂

  14. Marilyn – any time!

    Monica – just realized I didn’t post links to your books:

    Here’s Kismet: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Kismet/Monica-Burns/e/9780425232156/?itm=1

    Mirage: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Mirage/Monica-Burns/e/9781599988313/?itm=2

    And here’s Dangerous: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Dangerous/Monica-Burns/e/9781605041216/?itm=5

    Keta’s books can be ordered here:

    Crossroads: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Crossroads/Keta-Diablo/e/2940000166055/?itm=1&usri=keta+diablo

    Land of Falling Stars: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Land-of-Falling-Stars/Keta-Diablo/e/9781607770763/?itm=2&usri=keta+diablo

    Crossroads Revisited: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Crossroads-Revisited/Keta-Diablo/e/2940000693858/?itm=3&usri=keta+diablo

    Dust and Moonlight:
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Dust-and-Moonlight/Keta-Diablo/e/2940000707579/?itm=4&usri=keta+diablo

    Rosie/Gabriella has her first book coming out soon at Red Sage. Read about her here: http://www.gabriellaedwards.com/

    Renee is the author of Raeliksen:
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Raeliksen/Renee-Vincent/e/9780595523269

    Keri and Tony, like me, are struggling to get published.

    Keri blogs here: http://keristevens.blogspot.com/

    Tonya blogs here: http://chasingheroes.com/

    Did I miss anybody? Authors – you are welcome to post links with your comments.

  15. Wow. So much to enjoy about this interview — candid question, candid answers, and a peek behind the persona of a romance world icon. Thanks for this, guys.

    All the pictures are wonderful, but I particularly love the image of Sisyphus.

    Too bad I won’t get to hang with you all at the RT. Sigh. Sounds like it’s going to be a blast.

    Would have loved to have met you as well, Mr. Paz. Especially now I know there’s a sweetie lurking behind the physique.

  16. Hello Everybody =-)

    Just wanted to first off Thank Anya Davis for this interview. Like I said, I always jump at the chance to let people get to know the man behind the ‘BIG BEAR’ Body. Lol

    Also, Thank you all who read and replied. It has put a smile on my face and you guys have seen what that looks like.

    Im not one to compare myself to other ‘cover models’, but Ive been told what sets me apart is that I am Honest when I interview. I dont think “OH, I better say something that will get me more fans’ or’ What can I do to get a sponser and look good’. Like Popeye said “I Yam what I Yam and thats all that I Yam’. Hahaha. Even when speaking about my Failures, I dont sugar coat it to make things interesting. I have fallen and risen on many occasions, and still do so daily.

    Im also not your typical PERFECT Cover boy either. You notice the body isnt perfect, but when people comment on my stuff, they say they love the real and natural look. I mean, lets be real, not everyone walks around with 3% body fat and perfect abs everyday. Im the exception. I can still pull off that look of a ‘HERO’ saving the damsel in distress. Abs sold seperatley. Lol

    Thank you all again. So much to say, but im on my way to train a client at the gym. I apologize for responding so late as well. Ive been out all day delivering pictures to clients and had just enough time now before the gym to respond.

    I will return later on tonight and answer any questions you guys might have. Un-Cut and Un-Censored. Hee hee hee.
    Have a great weekend and Happy ‘SINGLES AWARENESS’ Day to all of you.

    XOXOXO

    Charles

  17. I popped over here from Coffee Time Romance where Renee Vincent posted about the interview and I’m glad I did. This was a great interview!

    I have to say that I met Charles at RT last year on Wednesday night at the ebook/manga signing and he was so sweet. I just wanted a picture of him because I don’t like having pictures taken of me because I’m a big girl and a little insecure about that, but he insisted that I take one with him too, so I did. I didn’t get to go to the rest of RT, but I did get to go to the huge book signing on Saturday. What made me smile was that he found me then too! I couldn’t believe it and he was just as sweet as he was the first time. His smile was a mile wide and it never left his face. I was so glad he won the Mr. Romance title too! He deserved it.

  18. Dear Anya..If I didn.t know any better,I felt like your interview of Charles Paz could be on “”E” or Chelsea Lately..Great questions and interview…I will be coming back to visit, and will find you on twitter as well..I am vtcozy on twitter Best Susan

  19. Hello Again Everybody. Hope you all had a very Happy ‘Singles Awareness’ Day =-)

    Just wanted to thank you all again for the responses and enjoying my interview. The smiles on my face keep on coming.

    Be sure to add me on Facebook. Heres the Link

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000492620331&ref=ts

    And heres the Link to My PHOTOGRAPHY PAGE

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charles-David-Photography/415413375359?ref=ts

    We have roughly 10 WEEKS till the next RT Convention. Ive been thinking about doing some small ‘youtube’ videos and posting once or twice a week. When I was Contest-Prepping for my BodyBuilding show, I would post videos of me working out and stuff like that. So, I think I might do the same this time. Im still gonna have an Interview with Anya at the Convention and post that on YOUTUBE as well. We just might need someone to help hold the Camera. 😉

    Quick Fact about the Sunset picture in this Interview: That was taken with my CELL PHONE. I walked out of the gym, saw it and shot it. It was just beautifull. It goes to show you that you dont need to have thousands of dollars of equipment to capture a Masterpiece. All you need is an Eye and Imagination. I will be posting new Landscapes in my Photography page this week. Might also start a ‘KIDS’ album featuring my ‘KIDS’. No, I dont have any, but they are my NIECES and NEPHEWS and I treat them as if they are my own.

    So, come and add me and enjoy my world. Looking forward to seeing everyone at RT and In case you cant make it, Stay tuned for pics and videos from that event. Have a great week =-) XOXOXO

    Charles

  20. I’m working on getting six pack abs right now and it’s not easy. Do you have any recommendations as far as a good six pack abs diet? I have read that oatmeal, egg whites of course, broccoli, blueberries and salmon are all necessary to incorporate into your diet…are there any other foods I should include?

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