After finishing the shoot at the Casa Ceibo Resort I was invited to stay on a few extra days to just relax and lay back (with no work). I wanted to (needed to) but had to get back to the states. Maria Susana had also invited me to attend a fashion show she was having in Quito, so I flew back up into the Andes Mountains.
I got checked into the hotel and found the venue for the show. The crowd was larger than I’d expected; around eight hundred to a thousand I estimated. I soon located a cute girl walking around with a clipboard (the sure sign of a coordinator or handler). I introduced myself and she took me back stage where a production assistant and a magazine writer were waiting for me. The models were getting prepped for the show so Maria’s assistant escorted me through the crowd to the edge of the stage and seated me.
I looked around. TV cameras and photographer were everywhere. I found out later that twenty-five of the media outlets over Ecuador had come. The music began and out of the ceiling a platform lowered the first models to the runway. The show was great. I’m still amazed at how beautiful the people of Ecuador are and the models are world class.
(Sorry for not taking photos of the show.) I know I should have brought my camera but I was off duty and just came to enjoy the show and spend some time with my new friends. I’ve found that if I carry a camera with me all the time, I end capturing too much of life on film/disk and not living it, experiencing it. Now days I choose which moments are more important to live.
At the end of the show Maria walked the runway to the applause of the crowd. She took the mike and spoke for a while and then stayed on stage while the media photographed and filmed her. That’s when I got a tap on the shoulder. The clipboard girl was standing beside me. In a cute Spanish accent she said. “Come whit me. Maria Susana wants you to join her.” I didn’t know what she meant but followed her to the entrance to the stage.
The next thing I knew Maria walked to the edge of the stage took my hand and brought me on stage with her. She introduced me to the crowd and we stood there while the cameras clicked. After a few minutes we began to exit but the photographers called us back for more photos. It’s always interesting for me when I'm on the other end of the lens.
When we did exit the stage it must have taken us twenty minutes to get through the autograph signing and well wishing crowd to where the media would be waiting to interview her. In Ecuador she is a true national celebrity. I would equate her to a cross between a rock star and a popular actress here in the states. Everyone on the street knows who she is. After the interviews Maria Susanna, Isabella (one of the models), Maria’s mom (not bad herself), Maria’s primary assistant and I all went to dinner.
It had been a full ten days to say the least. I flew back to the states the next day and took it easy for a day or two before I began the weeklong task of post-production. Digital makes post so much easier. If it had been film I would have been over a light table the next two weeks.
Like I’ve said, travel is one of the best avenues to education one can experience. Each trip to a new country or place opens my eyes and expands me. I simply love it and especially if the people as genuine as are my new friends in South America. They invited me to return in November for the bi-annual unveiling of Maria’s new collection. She said that show will have well over 2,000 people.
I hope I can make it. This time I plan to enjoy a bit more time away from the work scenario.