Monday, January 3, 2011
Interview of Actor/Cover Model CJ Hollenbach
Where to find information about CJ:
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Q: With all the directions you’ve taken with your skyrocketing career, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: I haven't done any "major" acting gigs. That seems like it would be the next logical step for me. But, I'm getting a little long in the tooth, so I better hurry! I'm told I'd make a good vampire, speaking of teeth!
Q: You have a degree in Graphic Design. Have you used your degree in any of your ventures?
A: We recently started an internet design company called "CJH Designs". I've designed a few of my own covers on it. We do promotional work for authors as well. Check it out. http://www.cjhdesigns.com
Q: I read your feature articles…you’re a talented writer! Tell us about how/why you started writing.
A: Thanks for the compliment. I started writing in high school for the local newspaper. My teacher at the time was very encouraging. Even my college professors said they enjoyed reading my term papers because I "entertained" them and they weren't used to that.
Q: One of your articles is titled “World’s Oldest Stripper”. A fireman outfit? Tell us about it!
A: I'd been dancing for many years...many,many years. A lot of the models do, whether they admit it or not. You'd be crazy not to. I actually started when most of the guys were "retiring". I did it for 15 years. My "maturity" helped me out a lot. I brought a lot to the "party". You have to have several "character" outfits in your wardrobe when you dance. One of them was a fireman. (Insert "hose" joke here!) I wrote the article, "The World's Oldest Stripper" about my last show performing. It was fun.
Q: Tell us about your first “shoot” in NY.
A: After MANY years of knocking on doors and sending photos to EVERYONE in the business, I finally landed my first shoot in NYC. It was for Susan King's novel, "The Stone Maiden." Big sword, a kilt, blowing hair, the whole nine yards. I was leaving the photo studio with my suitcase on a very steamy July day and a woman stopped me on the sidewalk. She said "You know, you look like one of those guys on the cover of a romance novel!" For the first time in my life I could say "I AM one of those guys!!!"
Q: You’ve been to lots of Romantic Times Booklovers Conventions as a Mr. Romance contestant and judge. Any special memories of those events?
A: The first "Mr. Romance" contest was a national phenomenon. We got so much publicity. There hadn't been anything like it up until then. I think I garnered more publicity than the actual winner. I was "everywhere" for a while. Most of the contestants were cool. One guy fainted during the show. We also had a "swimsuit" competition they don't have anymore. There were some "alpha male" personalities that wanted to win at all costs. They didn't. The guy who won, David Alan Johnson should have won. He was the perfect choice. I even told him "If I don't win, YOU should!" Being in the contest helped me as a judge. I can spot a phony a mile away. These days they just go on "looks". Not the same contest anymore.
Q: You were featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine and TV Guide for cable. What were those “shoots” like? Was one more interesting and fun to do than the other?
A: Those covers just used existing photos from other shoots I'd done. The one for the TV Guide was with a girl I met in Chicago name Rachel Veltri. She's done dozens of romance covers and suggested me to some photographers in NYC. The next week I was shooting there. It's all in WHO you know.
Q: You’ve been in Playboy magazine. What was that experience like? And, did you do a “shoot” for Playgirl?
A: I shot for Playboy as a favor to a photographer friend of mine. He needed a guy to pose with a girl from the area. We were both clothed. She was a sweet girl and we had lunch at her house and I even met her parents. I was asked to be a centerfold for Playgirl no less than 3 times. Every time we always hit a snag. Eventually, I just sent them a photo set and they pulled the photos they liked.
Q: TV appearances. You mentioned in your feature articles that you’ve been on the Jerry Springer show, the Joan Rivers show, Entertainment tonight, MTV, and American Gladiators. Inquiring romance readers want to know about each experience!
A: I feel really comfortable in front of a camera. So, TV is no big deal for me. Joan Rivers was very sweet to me and I met Geraldo Rivera in the hall of CBS the day we taped. I think I'm still sore from doing "The American Gladiators". I taped the last "Jerry Springer Show" he did in Ohio before he moved to Chicago. That was when you could do the show without being embarrassed. It was called "From Nerd To Knock Out". Too funny. I was soured on some of the other shows I did when they twisted things around to make us look bad. Not cool.
Q: “Sexiest Grocer in America”? How did you earn that title?
A: I received the "Sexiest Grocer In America" title after my first appearance in Playgirl. At the time I was working as a grocery store manager. A grocery store trade magazine picked up on the store and did an article on me. The Washington Post newspaper called right after that. How crazy is that? That title still haunts me, but I guess I "earned" it!
Q: What’s the competition like for “shoots”? Have you ever refused to do one?
A: I've turned down shoots if I don't like the photographer's work. I'm very big on "lighting". It can kill you if it's not done correctly. I've been spoiled. I don't need bad photos of me out there. You have to protect your professional image.
Q: You have a wonderful and long resume of your fabulous career. What will be added next to your list of accomplishments?
A: Hopefully, I will be doing some more writing in 2011. I've been slacking off. I KNOW I have a book in me someplace. (Maybe I should see a doctor about that!)
Q: Favorite food?
A: I would have to say my favorite food is birthday cake. There are no calories if it's YOUR birthday. (Somebody told me that once...)
Q: Favorite drink?
A: Favorite drink is probably vodka and cranberry. Not a lot of calories there, but a good Margarita ain't bad either!
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM