Jeanette and Adam Gray-Hayward
Jeanette and Adam Gray-Hayward

Jeanette Ortiz, out of all the women I have shot, from Academy Award winners to elite athletes has got to be one of the warmest, sexiest, most intelligent and bravest females in the roster. The only issue that really creates for me is that yep, her Dad is younger than I. Oh, and my girlfriend Donna who runs Betty Belts is one of her main sponsors. Damn, double whammy: too old AND watched like a hawk. But there are benefits to being decrepit. (Yea I AM smiling)

She is a true oxymoron if ever one drew breath. For example, we were standing very close somewhere, I think that it was at a party,  and the room was sort of noisy as I recall. Jeanette whispered in my ear in a husky low tone: “You know, I could kick you in the head from right here. ” That is her, to a lethal T. As a third degree black belt who specialized in full contact sparring as many eyed her as a future contender for the US Olympic team, she left that for love of water.

Her relationship with the ocean had a prenatal origin. Her parents, Andy and Marie were working as commercial ship captains when they fell  in love and Jeanette was conceived. They were wed shipboard as Marie was pregnant at the H1 Buoy in Hawaii in open ocean. Talk about a legacy, few if any watermen will ever arise with that sort of bloodline. Jeanette is very special.

Over the past few years it has been my privilege to watch over this young woman (she turned 19 yesterday) and have her surf and model for me. Just last week on a few hours notice she jumped aboard a cattle roundup shoot ( she rides horses). After a long day of herding cattle, as we were hanging out, she was holding a stick in her hand that one of the ranch dogs had brought her. With virtually no visible physical reaction she brought her hand up and asked “What just happened?” That crazy dog had bitten her and ripped a fingernail off. A hole went straight through the bare nail bed. Like a fool I had left my medical kit at home. She stood and bore it as I rinsed and cleaned her gored, torn hand with sanitizer (alcohol) and bandaged her up with quick wipes and gaffers tape. The next day she rode and hung out as the cattle were roped, branded and castrated. She never uttered a word and that sort of pain would have dropped a hardened cowboy to his knees.

Jeanette is unlike any that I have ever encountered. I think that her parents broke the mold when they were done. From pulling into closeouts, hanging in sharky waters pre dawn, undergoing Ocean Rescue training with K 38 rescue, or modeling with engaging older men, Jeanette’s credo can be summed up in her simple: yes lets do it attitude, all the while being the most caring individual I have met outside of my own sons.

That could possibly be a good thing, because she is one of the rarest gifts I have come across ever. Being precious is not all that bad a thing to be.

In the coming months I will be doing  mini, blog style profiles on many of the remarkable women who have let me point a lens at them. I always say that my work is all subject. Pick a compelling one, and the image will have a better chance of singing a song folks will want to hear.

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