Sunday, December 16, 2007

DCC Launch Party Celebrates Annual Calendar 

Posted by Sasha at 12:59 AM ET

Pamela Jagger Purcel
Staff Writer

DALLAS - Stanley Korshak, for those unfamiliar, is a crowned jewel of Dallas shopping. Simply put, it just doesn't get better than Korshak . . . unless, of course, it's the official Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar signing event. On that special night, perfection is pumped up another notch.

For the lucky guests, the entire of team of NFL beauties were on hand Tuesday, Nov. 27, throughout the store to sign calendars, pose for photos and just chat. The store was a dazzling mix of holiday d�cor and fashion, laughter, pretty people of all ages, music and cocktails. Spilling out the doors onto the courtyard were tables of catered fare, twinkling lights and a DJ spinning the latest tracks as all enjoyed the beautiful weather and excitement of the recent launch of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders 2008 Swimsuit Calendar.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Director Kelli Finglass explains the significance of the evening. "It's the unveiling of our swimsuit calendar, so it's an annual coming out party. Stanley Korshak is a fabulous partner of ours and just being around all the fashion and the new and trendy designer elements is exciting."

Veteran Cheerleader Leah Mullinax, whose photo is featured for October 2007, added, "Tonight is really special because a lot of the people here are sponsors and they really make things happen for us like tanning, hair and make-up. And so it makes tonight special because we get to sign calendars for them."

On a personal level, Mullinax's night has added importance. "Since this is my first time to be in the calendar, I get to sign my very own picture."

The excitement of signing your first calendar is definitely big, but then so is the potential anxiety of shooting the best photos you can. Mullinax had help when taking part in her first shoot for the famous Calendar.

"This year I had (veteran) Nicole Hamilton on most of my shoots," Mullinax said. "She was a pro and she's a fun girl to be around. She was in the calendar last year and she just told me to relax. So I got to watch her first and then emulate what she did when I shot."

When asked about the shoot, Nicole Hamilton said, "Photo shoots are a chance for the veterans to bond, become closer with our friends, rooming with each other, and just have a fun week with our friends."

An added and maybe unexpected bonus to appearing in the popular calendar is an internal perk. Hamilton explained that seeing herself in the calendar gave her an extra boost of confidence that she'll carry with her forever.

"I think this will always be a proud thing for me. Someday my (future) kids will be proud too," Hamilton said.

Helping give the ladies a look that inspires such confidence is Rainer Schneck, master stylist of official DCC Salon Premier Atelier. Being a veteran of the calendar shoot trip, Schneck kept this year's look fresh.

"We went for a fresher, young look -- hot, sexy and beachy but not so made up," Shneck said.

Shneck noted that working with DCC is a very positive experience.

"They are very professional," he said. "This is very similar to Sports Illustrated, which is fun. The DCC's quality of work is professional."

Also celebrating the launch was noted photographer Wade Livingston, who has shot eight calendars for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Livingston said, "DCC is great to work with because it's like a big family. I love everyone and it's a lot of fun."

When asked how he attempts his shoots with new ladies on the trip, Livingston said, "Whether it's a 'rookie' calendar girl or someone I've shot with before, I try to make it low-key, no pressure. I make it where it's fun for them."

When rookie Cheerleader Ally Traylor was asked why a DCC might aspire to be in the calendar, she said, "I think as a veteran it's a great thing to be in a calendar because it's a way to give back to the organization that gave you a chance your first year. And it's a nice little token to have when you're 45 years old and you're showing it to your kids."

The first DCC Calendar came out in 1979. It was a uniform calendar filled with sideline shots. The first swimsuit calendar was introduced in 1992.

Finglass said, "It was a hit and really took off but our fans still really wanted uniform pictures, so we've done both. The calendar has both swimsuit pictures and uniform pictures."

With so many calendars in the DCC's history, how do they manage to avoid redundancy each year?

"We always have new and exotic locations. Our photography team is very creative, as is our print designer." Finglass said. "The most unique part of each calendar is the women who are featured each year."

When asked about the process of creating one of the world's most popular calendars, Finglass listed off the routine without hesitating. "We shoot in May, we edit film in June," she said. "We do the printing process in July. And if everything goes perfectly, we're on trucks in August and in stores by mid-August.

"My favorite part is the actual shoot and the trip with the creative team because of all the human stories and crazy things that can happen. We've got a team of about 50 people that travels and at the end of the whole trip, we've had circumstances that surprised us. You're in a foreign country; you've got language and weather to work around. Nothing goes smoothly and nothing goes as planned."

Unique this year was the fact that Finglass had to forego the trip this year with so many responsibilities keeping her in Dallas. Finglass' assistant, Rachel Durbin, made the trip in her place.

Durbin said, "The biggest challenge was having so many crucial needs that had to be met at the same time. I think since Kelli has always been on the shoots, she's been the point person who everyone came to with this problem or that problem. She sort of sheltered us and bared all the bad news, so this year I learned how to deal with managing through all the issues. I definitely have even more respect for what Kelli does on these shoots."

Durbin explained that the challenges were still actually fun. "The best part is when you see the pictures and you know what all you had to go through to make it happen," she said. "It's a lot of hard work but when you get that perfect picture, the results are worth it."

With so much time spent producing the 2008 calendar, the big launch party at Stanley Korshak is a chance for all involved to take a collective deep breath and to proudly acknowledge yet another successful addition to the rich DCC history of calendars.

Sharing the unveiling with fans makes it that much better. While gazing up at the smiling DCC, pint-sized guest Lexie Bednarski told her mother she was going to be one someday. Bednarski said, "Tonight is really fun because I get to meet the Cheerleaders."

A beaming Hamilton agreed: "This is our night to be superstars."


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