Looking back through my pictures I realized that I hadn’t touched upon on of the trips that I had made a while back. This trip was something that wasn’t planned but ended up being one of the most fun that I had done in a while. It involved a trip three hundred miles east to Sin City and a series of fortunate events. Who would have thought that this unplanned and uncharacteristic (of me) trip would have been this awesome? Well, to be honest, I did. If it involved pretty ladies and an excuse to get my drink on, then this was not only bound to happen, but it was my destiny. Maybe I’m looking too in to it. Maybe I’m even over thinking it. Or maybe, just maybe, this was the circle closing. This trip to Vegas was me closing a loop that had kicked off way back when I began my photography adventures. This is story about how my world got flipped upside down and in its wake I learned a thing or two about the world around me.
When I first started my journey in photography I didn’t think it would be something that I would still be doing. And, if anything, I never imagined that I would be more excited to do photography than when I first started. But, then again, when I first started to taking up photography I didn’t take it too seriously. I would occasionally borrow my dad’s camera (a mid-90’s Canon Elan ii) and take it with me on any number of adventures. It was the early 2000’s when I graduated high school and I would go to any event that would host us. At the time the first Fast and Furious movie had just come out and it was all over the place. The influence that movie had on Southern California culture was huge. So, needless to say we my friends and I were going to shows like Hot Import Nights as much as we could. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with the scenery. Everything was over the top. The cars, the concerts and the girls. Oh man, the girls! It was, and in a lot of ways, still is the one thing I look forward to seeing at any show. Sure there were girls that I liked in high school, but, hot damn(!), those models were on another level. Once you see amazingness like Christine Mendoza there is no turning back. And she was just one of several beauties of the era. But, as much as I loved seeing the import models at these shows I was not prepared for what I would one day see.
It was at one of these shows that we met up with someone whom would first expose me to the world of Hollywood. For better or worse, it was at the time when I met Jessie (whose last name will remain anonymous) and he would offer my friend (whom I would frequent a lot of shows with) a job working for him as a photographer. It was a crazy offer, but, after asking hundreds of questions and time passing by we ended up working for his company. His company was an entertainment firm and they offered a variety of services to anyone in the entertainment industry. Some of these services were photography, modeling, directing, acting and any other number of contract jobs. There were times though that we would cover events and represent the company. It just so happened that one of the first shows we would ever cover would be one of the ones that would have one of the biggest impacts on me. That show was called Glamourcon.
I had never heard of the show, and never knew what it was about. But, seeing as how I was a bright-eyed 18-year old kid, I thought, why not? Man oh man was I in for a surprise. I wasn’t alone in covering these shows either by the way. I was joined by my friend (and actual photographer [at the time]) Francisco. We were both just out of high school so a lot of experiences were new to us. But, nothing, up until that point had prepared us for Glamourcon. When Jessie first told us about the show I didn’t know what it was. It sounded like a fashion convention or something like that. To be honest, it didn’t sound attractive at all. But, since a gig was a gig, we decide to go and cover the show.
I remember first arriving to the show and seeing all of these gorgeous women walking around. It didn’t matter whether I looked left, right or any other direction my head could swivel, there were some of the most amazing women I had ever seen walking around. And all in one place. What was the madness, I thought? Well, this was Glamourcon. This show was a celebration of all things Playboy, Penthouse and adult models. Wait what!? I was not expecting this at all. In fact, I didn’t even know that there were shows like this. For a kid out of high school, this was a shock to the system. We had barely walked in the main door when we saw some stunning women. Some of them with names like Vanessa Gleason, Angel Cassidy, Juliet Cariaga, Aria Giovanni and Sunny Leone! Yeah, it was nuts. I had seen some of these girls on tv or “around town”, but, I didn’t think I would ever see them in person. To make a long story short, after spending the day at the show we realized that these women were not only beautiful, but were some of the most down-to-earth people we had ever met. I knew right then and there that I wanted to work with models. Nearly twenty years later I have been fortunate enough to have worked with many models and talent.
There is one thing that I never got to do though, and that was to go back to the scene that I first peaked in to many years ago. So, after thinking about it, and lying to my employer to do it, I made the trek out to Vegas to check out the AVN Show. I would have checked out Glamourcon, but, ever since the demise of Playboy, that entire scene has collapsed. So, I went to the next best thing…Or maybe even, the better thing, the AVN Show. I had heard about this show for years and always wanted to check it out. Considering it’s during the week and not long after the holiday season, I have never had a clear opportunity to go. But, one day I decided to take the plunge and head on out there to cover the event. This whole show takes place the third week of January and is at the world-famous Hard Rock Hotel. Very fitting considering that eternal bond of sex and rock and roll. I didn’t know what to expect at this show and went in with an open mind. Considering just what it was I was going to see, I was actually surprised at how tame the whole thing was. It takes place in this weird concert hall area and all around there are the many women (and some men) of the adult industry. Every one of them were meeting their fans and chatting with the everyone. In some places it was larger than life and there were huge crowds waiting to get a glimpse of the hottest girls. It was pure debauchery and it was pretty darn cool. In fact, as weird as this sounds, it actually reminded me a lot of the craziness that goes on at The Fit Expo (in Los Angeles). There were just as many people panting and breathing heavily in both, and just as many people going nuts for free stuff.
This was my first time going to the show and it was a lot more action-packed than I anticipated. It was just as fun as those Glamourcon shows that we used to cover and a bit more wild. I enjoyed it and getting to chat with all of the performers that were there. I think one thing that gets lost in translation from any movies, shows or media is that the performers, models and talent that go to these events are real people. I know that sounds silly, but, after having covered multiple red carpet events and been to a number of shows, it’s hard to believe that there are a lot of people that find it hard to (or are not able) to separate fiction from reality. That can often lead the people gathering coverage (such as the paparazzi) to talk and treat these performers like pieces of meat. There have been times when I have sat next to these folks that will say and do anything just to get the attention of the person they want to talk to. For the most part, the AVN show is a lot tamer than most of the red carpet events I have covered. It’s a sad state of affairs when a red carpet is more scandalous than the most heinous of sexual acts being caught on camera. But, thankfully, the AVN show is pretty respectful and the atmosphere is pretty welcoming. It definitely threw me back to the days where anyone (of age) can go see the people or things they want to see and leave happier than when they came (all pun intended).
So, while Glamourcon and those shows may be gone, we have shows like AVN to fill the void. And to be honest, those shows are so much more exciting than Glamourcon that I don’t think I will be missing it. After all, it’s not every day that you get to meet Emily Addison, Cory Chase, Mia Malkova, Jelena Jensen and April O’Neil all in one place. It was fun times no doubt. This may have been mine’s (and Spektrum’s) first time going to the AVN show, but it definitely will not be the last. Check out the photos in this article to get an idea of the craziness at this show. I was lucky enough to go for once, but not lucky enough to be there for more than one day. Let’s hope that the next time around (and there WILL be a next time) we can be there for length of the show. And if you’re ever curious at checking out the show, I say you should go. Not a bad way to kick off your year right?
Model at Pascal’s at AVN
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on the AVN Adult Expo and any upcoming shows, check them out on their website at AVN Adult Entertainment Expo
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.