Being a Cover Model by David Deslandes !


It was suggested to me by DCL staff that a piece about being a romance cover model or a Mr. Romance contestant would be great as the convention is going on.

I can say being involved in 3 past contests was a great experience on the whole, and of course it can be quite an ego boost. I can say I’ve made some friends that I still keep in touch with today. One day, perhaps even next year, I may visit the convention again. I had some questions put to me in regards to being a past model; such as am I ok that some women may only like me for my looks and muscles?  Another statement given, what I thought about the fact that most women look at cover models as ‘unattainable’, and another was what I thought about the statement that “cover models are not intelligent.”

So first off, what do I think of only being seen as muscles or looks. Honestly, I would be surprised. I understand that some could see me that way I suppose, but I’ve always been slow to accept compliments that way. Moreover, if I were only seen that way, it’s not much of a compliment to me or the observer themselves. I suppose if women were only to see the models that way, that may explain why some of the visitors at conventions feel they can be so touchy feely with men they don’t even know. After all, if they are just muscles, it de-humanizes them almost to be being an object. I’d like to think I am worth a deeper look by anyone.

Now whether models are unattainable is another question, and I think it’s very specific per definition of unattainable. The idea I was given was whether the “average” woman could be with a cover model. The answer is of course she could. The problem lies in that whether you’re a cover model or not, every single person is drawn to certain physical types or personalities, hair colour or whatever. So I think it would be unfair to suggest a particular model is “unattainable” simply because he prefers someone over someone else. We all have a criteria, some of these “average” women could seem “unattainable” to certain “average” men who have asked them out and been rejected because they were too bald, too poor, too heavy… who knows. Are these women “unattainable”?…well to those gentlemen, I guess yes, they are. One thing that has puzzled me over the years is how a woman could look at the guys for his looks, his muscles, his smile, know almost nothing else about him, and then call him “unattainable” or superficial because she feels his rejection is based on her being heavy set and not taking time to get to know her on the inside. Yet she’s asking him out or even just to sleep with her based only on his outward appearance, not his heart or mind beyond some public persona. Maybe the guy is just not into one night stands. Maybe he is looking for someone equally dedicated to being in shape. Maybe he’s looking for someone that respects him enough to engage in real conversation before suggesting anything. Maybe he’s into brunettes and not blondes…and maybe even if the conversation is great, he is simply not physically attracted to you. He is not “unattainable”, he is simply selective.

Are cover models intelligent? Well, I think on the whole it would be no different than the percentage on the street. I imagine intelligence varies from person to person, model or not. The convention and the sight of some models can make some of the ladies act crazy, yet they are normally reserved, intelligent and in control, so time and place may change one’s judgment of the model too. Some models may play dumb because it’s easier or that’s what they think women want to hear, who knows. One can only get to know people, reserve as much judgment as possible, and allow experience to decide, if one must judge at all. And for what it’s worth, “cover models” also have women that are “unattainable” to them, we don’t always get the girl either…

DCL Blog tour with Legendary Dark Lord CJ Hollenbach



You are a legend in the romance industry as a cover model and probably have been asked every interview question but, here it goes…

1) How do you communicate with people? Are you patient? Are you friendly? How open are you to clients’ requirements? 

I am pretty good with dealing with people. I managed a grocery store for 15 years so I’ve dealt with the public for quite a while. That also helped me develop a thick skin. You really can’t let what people say bother you. A lot of the cover models can take a good picture but can’t deal with people. That’s why you’ll see some guys at a convention once and never again. They can’t handle it. I remember years ago when I was working a trade show with Heather Graham and a woman commented to her that she’s never heard of the author. Heather just smiled and said to her “Well….a lot of people have!” I had to go off on this ignorant woman in Heather’s defense. Heather said “Don’t worry about it….No big deal…” I’ve never forgotten that. People can be so rude. I’ve had “fans” ask me if I’m wearing a wig or say “I thought you’d be taller…” I just smile and kill them with kindness…


2) What is your nutrition? How often do you go to the gym? Do you practice constantly? 

I go to the gym 6 days a week. I try to break up my workouts into different body parts on different days. My diet is generally pretty healthy. I think everyone knows what to eat and what not to. They just don’t want to deprive themselves. I know if I eat more of something I shouldn’t that just means more cardio. There is literally NO FREE LUNCH. I follow a more strict diet if I have a shoot coming up. I have never been one of those guys who carries food around with them so they can eat 6 to 8 times a day. I just find that odd.

3) What is your availability? Traveling? Full-time, part time? hours?

It all depends on the situation. I can be pretty flexible if the price is right!


4) Where can we learn what you have in this industry? 

For starters you can buy my new book, “Confessions Of A Romance Cover Model.” It just came out in paperback. It took me 20 years in the business to write it. Any more questions? Buy me a drink and we’ll talk!


5) Where can your fans best reach you and keep up to date on your projects?

They can go to my website: or follow me on Facebook: CJ Hollenbach. I’m not on Twitter…yet!