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Monday, January 3, 2011

Interview of Actor/Cover Model CJ Hollenbach

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented CJ Hollenbach. His career encompasses many avenues; cover model, actor, writer, dancer, graphic designer. His resume lists a variety of items to include television/film, commercials, magazine and book covers, catalogs, etc. Definitely a man of many talents!

Where to find information about CJ:

Contest: Leave a comment for a chance to win a tote bag and hat. Contest ends midnight ET 6 Jan.

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.

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!


mary said...

CJ Is an incredible person. He Is handsome with a perfect body. He works faithfully to keep himself in shape. He never seems to age and if he weren't my best friend in the whole world I would be jealous of that. He is as intelligent as he is handsome. If he gives advice or states an opinion he is always right. SHHHH ! maybe I shouldn't tell him that LOL CJ is a very caring person with a heart big enough for the whole world. He is a hero in life as well as on book covers.

Lainey said...

I see Mary got to have her say first but that is fitting since she is a great friend and CJ's personal costumer for a lot of his costumes he regularly wears for RT Conventions and many are new each year.
CJ is wonderful, I meet him years ago and he just keeps getting better but yes I would love to see you ACTING my friend that would be the next big thing and to start doing that book I will be glad to proof and edit it for you and am sure you have tons of friends to help get it pubbed.
Start working on it and yes we all know birthday cake is your fave and again yep got you a vodka and cranberry at RT this year.
Great interview and keep on keeping on CJ. Thanks for being my friend. Hugs. Elaine

Renee Vincent said...

Loved this interview CJ! It was nice getting to know the man behind the cover.
Good luck in your writing and design career too. And thank you so much for stopping by today.

Marianne, wonderful questions dear!

Amber Skyze said...

What a great interview. It's nice getting to know the person behind the gorgeous face and body. ;)

Paris said...

Hi CJ,
Loved the interview and finding out more about you. Best of luck with your writing and design business!

Sandy said...

Hi CJ,

You're a very handsome man, but it sounds like you're a lot more than that. Congratulations on your career. I hope you get where you really want to be. Best of luck.

Kate Hofman said...

CJ - I was fascinated to read your interview. The things you've done - WOW.
You know that whenever i write a blond hero, I will only have you on the cover!
Mary said you were very intelligent, and that shows through in your photos, and makes them so special and different.
Congratulations on your interview!


Anonymous said...

Great interview.

I got to meet him some years ago when he was here in Germany, I wonder if he remembers that? A small romance cnference in Wiesbaden? He was with the Ellora's Cave Crew and I thought the whole thing awesome!!

He is a great guy and I got my pic taken with him. He was wearing a red shirt, and I was wearing a red dress...we looked really cool together...hehe!!!

in Germany

Sissy said...

CJ, Wow the total package. Good thing Jerry Springer had that show from Nerd to Knockout. I live 10 minutes from Cincinnati and I remember Jerry's original shows. Congrats on your success and I wish good things to come you way.

Di said...

What a fun interview! I love learning about different aspects of the book industry & this is a new one for me. I'll keep my eye out for CJ in the future. Have a great 2011!

Anonymous said...

Terrific interview and wonderful to find out more about an obviously multi-talented and gorgeous man!

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