OK, so check this out. I met a model named Melina way back in 2003. A photographer named OD introduced me to her and told me that she was interested in doing a bodypainting photoshoot. It was late November and I had the idea of doing a Christmas theme. The project was fairly simple since I just painted her in a red bustier and white stockings, but the Santa hat and Christmas tree in the background really set the scene. Her hair and make-up looked perfect and she did a wonderful job of modeling and we got some really awesome shots. Here are a few of the shots including the one that made it into my 2004 Bodypainting Calendar.
At the end of the shoot, I found out that Melina was moving out of state and planned to get into a women's wrestling organization. I occasionally touched bases with her after that. At one point she contacted me about painting her all green to portray She-Hulk, but we couldn't arrange a time. I checked her website occasionally to see what she was up to and read that she was moving up in the wrestling world and then I saw her picture in a Women of Wrestling Magazine. It looked like she was doing really well. I must confess that I don't follow wrestling so I had no idea just how successful she had gotten.
Fast forward to February 2007. Melina sends me an e-mail saying that she is going to be coming through Phoenix in a couple of days and wondered if I might be available for a last minute bodypainting session. We e-mailed back and forth a couple of times and I found out that she wanted to be painted gold. Eventually I called her to work out the details of the photo session. I said, "so you want to be painted gold, huh?" She said, "Yeah, to go with my belt." I must have seemed like an idiot at this point, but I asked what belt? She said that she won the Women's Championship last month. I congratulated her, but I was still wondering what Women's Championship she was talking about.
As the conversation continued, she wanted to confirm that I was available on Monday morning. I asked if it had to be in the morning, knowing that I would have to take a couple hours off of work. She responded that that was the only time she had available and that the people she was travelling with were only in town for the day. I still had no idea of what was going on.
I mentioned that I didn't have a studio so we'd have to figure out a place to shoot. She said, "We really need to do the painting at the arena since that's where the photographers would be set up." Arena? Then with one sentence she set my mind reeling. She said, "Down at the U.S. Airways Arena, that's where we will be filming WWE Monday Night RAW that evening." Oooh!
So I finally figured it out. She was the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Women's Champion. I googled her name and found out that she had just taken the belt on February 19th, 2007. I also found out that she had become quite the celebrity and was known round the world as a WWE Diva.
Fast forward again to Monday morning in the Phoenix Mercury locker room in the belly of US Airways Center. I see Melina for the first time in over 3 years and she looks awesome. She is so soft spoken in person compared the the wild persona that she portays for the arena. Because we are painting, we are moved into a tiny laundry room across the hall. Johny Nitro stops by to say hello and many other WWE celebrities are roaming around. I had been brainstorming a few ideas for the bodypainting and although she would have been content with a simple gold bodypainting, I just couldn't keep it that simple. I looked at the belt and noticed that it had a ring of barb wire etched in the gold plate and there is also an outline that looks like shattered glass. I decided to incorporate these two elements into the design.
The first step of the painting was to make a painted-on thong with black liquid latex followed by an airbrushed coating of "14 karat" gold bodypaint by Reel Creations. The glitter was applied next with spirit gum and then the barbed wire was hand painted on with Wolfe Brothers paints. With a little time to spare, I tackled the WWE logo on Melina's back. Here are a few shots taken by WWE photographers that were posted on www.wwe.com website.
After a stint with the hair and make-up artist Melina was turned over to photographer John Giamundo. I couldn't believe that they were able to track down some barbed wire to use in the photoshoot and then they piled up some photography flight cases that were a brilliant shade of yellow. Here are the rest of the shots that were published on the WWE.com website.
The photographer took the majority of images, but while on the sidelines I snuck in a few shots here and there. Here are a few of my shots.
Here is the little article that was included on the www.wwe.com website to accompany the photos:
You can also check out some of the latest info, pictures, and videos of Melina at http://www.wwe.com/superstars/raw/melina/ . One of the things that you can find there is a blog written by Melina entitled Confessions of a True Diva. Here below is one of the blogs that mentions her bodypaintings that I have done. You can find it on the WWE site at http://www.wwe.com/superstars/raw/melina/internetconfessions/031907 .
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Unless noted otherwise, Photography and Artwork by Mark Greenawalt c2007
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