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Friday, May 17, 2013

Sergio: Interview with a former Romance Cover Model

One afternoon sitting around on Goodreads chatting with my girls we discovered that one of them had been holding out...yes that's right!  Rosanna Leo had not, until that afternoon revealed that her brother was a model for Romance Covers!  Well, after much scolding and hair pulling...ok ok I was the only one hair pulling.  I came up with this fabulous idea that I needed to interview him.  Rosanna being as afraid er gracious as she is offered to approach him for me.  Luckily, he accepted my invitation to chat.  Oh and Sergio is his RL name I didn't make it up.  Oh, and yes ladies he is single  *evil grin* 

My Chat with Sergio....but I can call him Serge..cause we are now like this


Thanks so much for coming today Sergio, I really appreciate your time.   For Most  some of us the cover is one of the first things that makes us reach out for a book then flip it over and read the back cover. For a romance reader  it is *the*  most important job…er umm   after the writer of course.  *looks over her shoulder to make sure your sister the writer is not around*   Please have a seat on the bear rug in front of the fireplace and get comfy. I hope you don’t mind the floor *grin* 

t’irla: So how did you end up modeling for these Harlequin Romance covers?  Were you “discovered” or did you fall into it?  Maybe when you were a little boy wanted to grow up and be a romance novel cover model? *grin* 

Sergio: As a child I was always intrigued by the models who graced the covers of Romance novels.  I stared modeling at a young age and when I became a man, my agent would send me on romance novel auditions.  Shortly after I landed my first cover.

t’irla:  What was a shooting day like?  Can you describe the good things and the bad things?  

Sergio: Shooting the covers for romance novels were always fun.  Having a great staff definitely helps as they are truly the ones who get you in your comfort zone.  As long as the experience is fun and playful, there are usually never any bad experiences.

I asked some of my followers  on the blog, FB and of course my Goodreads friends what they would ask if given the opportunity to chat with you…now…I need to warn you Sergio some of my friends tend to ask “adult” questions. 

From Magda:  What steps did you take to prepare for shoots?  What awkward/memorable poses do you remember most? Did you ever get “excited” and have to ask for a break?  

Sergio:  One cover that was very memorable was when I was working with a female model and they placed us in a pool of rose pedals wearing nothing but swim trunk bottoms.  She was very attractive and there was great chemistry so needless to say we were both excited.

Chelle and Mel  are curious to know  if you had ever read any of the books where you appeared on the cover?  

Sergio: I have actually never read any of the books I appeared in, but I have saved them all.

Krystle from Facebook asks "What got you started, did you always want to model did your mom read romance with models on them , did you make fun of them?  

Sergio:  My family never read romance novels, but I always remember seeing them in book stores or super markets as a young child.  I found this very interesting and always had an attraction to the design and style of these books.  Later on in life when I became a model my agent thought I would be perfect for them.
<Sergio's First Cover

BookChick  from   BookChick with Kick Blog wants to know: "Do you do anything particular to get in the role for the character you are portrayed." 

Sergio: I don’t do anything in particular to get in the role of any of my characters except keep an open mind.  You never know what the publisher/director will ask you to do.

Sky  from Facebook asks: "Do you  know ahead of time about the character you are going to portray? How do you feel that your face will always and forever be associated with the characters good or bad ?"

Sergio:  Usually when you go on auditions you get an idea of what the character will be.  Being associated with bad or evil characters on the novels doesn’t bother me as it is all fiction.  In fact those roles are usually more fun.

Michelle ☕Ndayeni☕ has a similar question: Did you generally know what book you were posing for or did you just do a variety of different shoots and publishers bought/used what they wanted from your stock?  

Sergio: In almost every case you know the character portrayal ahead of time.

t’irla:  how much input did you have regarding poses/sets/costume/etc.? Was all that totally dictated by the photographer/publisher or did you have input? 

Sergio: Some publishers like getting the models input, but usually they have a script put together on what they want you to do.  As far as costumes and clothing, the publisher will ask the model to bring in a few outfit selections and then we work from there.

ETA is curious: (1) Did it seem as if your "look" worked better for one particular genre over another?  (2) And related to #1 would be: Did you ever have to do any advance prep work to fit desired cover (e.g., grow or shave facial and/or chest hair, grow out or cut his hair, etc)? (This is somewhat similar to one of Magda's Q above.) (3) Has you ever dated any of your cover partners? (4) Have people recognized and/or approached you because of one of your covers? 

Sergio:  I usually always get an heroic role or a dark misunderstood role.  Sometimes the publisher will ask you to grow a five o clock shadow.  Usually they never want you to be clean shaven.  My hair was at medium length when I modeled romance novels and they told me to never cut it.  This helped land more roles.  The only time I get recognized is when I am in the super market.  I have never dated any of my cover partners, but I have had a few offers lol.
The ladies were trying to be good I think

t’irla: Have you ever declined to do a cover?  If so why? 

Sergio: I have never declined to do a cover.

t’irla: Was all your work studio work?  Or did you ever have to go on location?  

Sergio: I have done plenty of studio work as well as location shoots.

t’irla: Sergio have you read any of your sister’s books??  Oh you may w
anna take a couple minutes to  about your sister’s success She is a good friend to t’irla’s talk. ?  You can whisper in my ear if you don’t wanna answer out loud cause you may get into trouble *grin* 

Sergio:  I have read all of my sister’s novels.  I must say I am very proud of her!

t’irla: Do you keep blow ups of your covers in your den?  LOL J/k   Just wondering if your Mom and Dad have any of your covers framed? 
Sergio:  Lol, no blow ups, but my family does have multiple novels saved.  Always a great coffee table conversation piece 

t’irla: What does a Romance cover model do after he retires from the job?

Sergio: A romance novel never retires if he takes good care of himself.

t’irla:  Can you share with us a bit more about your company?

Sergio: I own and operate a company called Kleen Media located in the city of Toronto.  We specialize in event planning, marketing and cutting edge nightlife.  Feel free to attend one of my events.

t’irla:  Did you miss the modeling at all or was it just a period in your life you went through to get to where you are today? 

Sergio: Modeling was always a fun experience, but I do not miss it at all.   

For this one Sergio had to pose in a Hot Tub for Quite a while...uncomfortable?? You betcha

t’irla:  What do you think when you see the covers after all this time?

Sergio:  When I see my novels now I always have a good chuckle.  My grand kids will be proud one day J 

Sergio thanks so much for visiting with me today.  I appreciate you taking a trip back in time with us and sharing some of your experiences.  Heck, you may even be a book boyfriend of some of my followers I know you are my newest BBFJ 

Sergio:  My pleasure!  


  1. How awesome !!! Thank you very much for including my question :) May I share this on Facebook , etc - Tag you of course.

    1. absolutely Krystle:) ..would love you to share:) Thanks for the great question:)

    2. Still can't believe Rosanna held out on us Kickers... She needs some spankings from Eryx or Apollo... =)

    3. ahhh but then I wouldn't have gotten the scoop LOL. I'm sure she will think of other ways to get those spankings *grin*

  2. Awesome interview, T! Its great to get the cover guy's thoughts.

  3. Thanks so much for bringing this to us, T, and Serge. I learned a few things...disturbing...

  4. Fun interview! Thanks so much!

  5. Nicely done T! He sounds like a great guy - nothing at all like Rosanna said when we forced her to talk about him. :-P

    1. She is gonna get you for that one Heather..and he is a nice guy:)

    2. Nice is such a vague term....kidding. My brother is sweet and generous and fun. My sons think he is a rockstar, and we all think he's lovely inside and out. :)

    3. I understand the dynamic between brother and sister - mine drives me nuts most of the time but if/when I need him he is always there.

      Rosanna he sounds like a great guy and I'm (a little) sorry if I get you into trouble with him (or the rest of your happy family)

  6. AS a married lady and your friend I was being circumspect

    1. As a single lady I can WOW what a hottie! Hubba bubba and where do I find him?

      Rooooooosannnnnna hon can I come for supper some night? Say when your brother happens to be there? Real casual like just a quick introduction... ;-)

    2. Heather,you are welcome anytime! LOL