That hair! Those eyes!! That incredible body!!! If you love romance novels then you have probably read more than a few with CJ Hollenbach on the cover. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime recently when the modeling legend agreed to tell me what it’s like to be a model and how he has sustained a successful career for twenty years with no signs of slowing down.
CJ is a consummate professional that has endeared himself throughout the writing community. Author Heather Graham, who spent time with CJ at the recent Romantic Times Booklovers Conference in Los Angeles says, “C.J. is a doll! He's helped out a zillion times at the vampire party, and is always there to lend a hand!” I have to agree, CJ is a doll and it was a pleasure getting to know him. Keep reading to see for yourself.
EDH: Hi CJ! Thanks so much for giving me a few minutes of your time today. First off, how did you get your start in modeling?
CJH: I started right after I graduated from college with a degree in graphic design. Whenever I would take my portfolio to an ad agency they just thought I was a model. I was told "If you're not a model, you should be! Come back with photos!" The rest is cover model history!
EDH: Well after almost twenty years in the business what do you like most about modeling and what do you like least?
CJH: I like seeing the finished art work and how the photographer or artist's "vision" has come to fruition. Most of the time the photographs look nothing like the finished piece. What I like least is the traveling. I live in Ohio, which just about ALL the NYC photographers remind me of when I work with them. I'm always in a hurry to get to the shoot on time, which I always do. I like to enjoy the experience of being there, but the "getting there" is such a hassle at times.
EDH: Whew! Glad you didn’t say you like nosey writers the least. Anyway, besides book covers what other notable modeling gigs have you done in the last year or two?
CJH: I just did a shoot for Soap Opera Digest. Unfortunately, I told Jackie Zeman of General Hospital, who I shot with, that I loved watching her. Then I added, but that was like a hundred years ago. UGH! I've also done a lot of work with artists and photographers in my local area.
EDH: I’m not going to touch that ‘hundred years ago’ comment since I’ve been known to put me foot in my mouth from time-to-time. What do you like to read in your spare time?
CJH: Autobiographies or biographies of interesting people intrigue me.
EDH: Me too! There’s something encouraging about reading the stories of those who have found success after rising above adversity. What else do you like to do for fun in your down time?
CJH: I workout like a fiend. A must for my career, but I've always done it. I also like to write. I am going to pitch an article idea to Romantic Times Book Lovers magazine about celebrating my 20 years in the business. I've written for them in the past as well as other magazines.
EDH: Wow! I bet a lot of people including my fellow writers didn’t know you like to write. What else? What’s your favorite workout?
CJH: I also write for various magazines when I can. Love writing! It's such a creative outlet for me. As for my favorite workout, my chest routine would have to be it if I had to pick just one. I get the most results from that, it seems.
EDH: Okay, tell me what a typical day in the life of CJ Hollenbach is like?
CJH: There is nothing "typical" about any of my days! The first thing I do every morning is have at least 2 cups of coffee or forget about it. Then, I do my e-mail, which is a lot these days. I plan my weeks around what jobs I have going on. I also have an internet company, CJH Designs, that keeps me busy.
EDH: Tell me more about CJH Designs.
CJH: At CJH Designs (www.cjhdesigns.com) we do websites and all sorts of promotions design work. We just redesigned the T-shirts for my nephew's college volleyball team.
EDH: You seem like such a well-rounded guy on all fronts. What about giving back? Do you have a favorite charity or cause that you are passionate about?
CJH: The American Cancer Society. So much of my family has been touched by that disease.
EDH: Okay let’s get even more personal. Define sexy or tell me what you look for in a significant other?
CJH: I don't think there is one definition of "sexy". A great personality and a sense of humor will take you far with me, believe that or not. Self confidence is also key. You really have to have that if you're going to hang with me.
EDH: What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done or had someone do for you?
CJH: I just do things that I’m later told were romantic. I don't think of it that way when I'm doing it. Sometimes, I just think of it as being thoughtful. Remembering a birthday or a special day isn't that hard. I do remember one particular incident years ago when I was dating this girl in college and she was driving me to her apartment for the weekend. We were pulled over by the cops, probably for speeding. As the cop pulled away she was nearly hysterical and said "This is the worst day of my life. I could really use a drink!" I pulled a bottle of champagne and 2 glasses out of my duffle bag in the back seat that I was saving for that night. I said "How about this?!" We drank it when we got to her place. The timing on that was pretty cool, I must say. Too bad my tuxedo was at the cleaners.
EDH: That’s a great story! Definitely include that one when you work on your biography. Before we close, what would you like the readers to know about you, your life, your work and your future plans?
CJH: Just want the readers and fans to know that I really do appreciate all their love and support they have given me over the past 20 years. I wouldn't still be doing this after all these years if it weren't for them. I have always told people the romance fans are the absolute best.
EDH: Awww, its official. You are a sweetheart. Thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing more and reading more from you in the future.
CJH: Thank you.
Want more CJ? Of course you do! It is Man-Candy Monday, afterall. Check out the pictures below.
All photos courtesy of CJ Hollenbach