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Strippers on Vacation (Photo Shoot)

March 30, 2008 By Scott in Miami: Travel News  | 9 Comments

ABOVE: Shauna in the street, walking into the bus terminal

As I’m driving across the MacArthur Causeway heading home to South Beach, I reflect back on how it came to be that I just spent half of my day with a model from Vegas, lounging in her hotel room with her model friend, driving the girls all over Miami before taking some candid shots of the two of them at the Greyhound bus terminal.  Girls I thought were models, but who were more strippers than models.  Well, Shauna was a stripper.  Antoinette was just there for fun.

It all started the Thursday before when I got the following email:



The email directed me to her portfolio; a portfolio containing photos of a girl that looked like she was getting started in modeling.  Some good quality photos, some amateur photos.  I could see her picking up work for print ads possibly for club parties in Vegas.  Possibly.  Maybe.  Pretty girl.  Great legs, unique eyes, great butt.  Lot of emphasis on the butt.  I could see this working so I gave her a call.


Shauna was African-American, from England, had moved here in 1997 and was in South Beach on vacation.  Her friend, Antoinette, was Puerto Rican.  Talking to Shauna, this sounded like a very promising shoot.  We talked about what she had in mind and decided on a bikini shoot on the beach and scheduled a Sunday afternoon shoot.  Perfect.  I had been wanting to expand my portfolio a bit to something different and a bikini shoot on the beach with two models sounded like a great idea.  In my mind, I could envision it all:  we’d go to South Pointe, gets some shots by the water’s edge, shots by the jetty, and then wrap up with some shots just in the water.

The first shoot

It was raining on Sunday so the beach shot was looking like a no-go.  No problem.  I called Shauna Sunday around midday and we talked about the scenario.  I mentioned an idea for a shoot I had that involved the rain, one that I had yet to pull off because of scheduling models, and she seemed enthusiastic about the idea.  “And what we can do also, if we can’t get to the beach is just take some sexy shots here in the hotel and in the hotel room.  I’m staying at the Century on 1st and Ocean.”

OK.  So we’ve got a plan.  I would call Shauna around 4:30, drive over with my equipment, then we’d go from there.  At 4:30pm, I call.  I get Shauna’s voicemail and leave a message saying I’m running behind but that I should be over there around 5:15 or so.  I pack up my car (because I can’t walk the eight blocks with lights, cameras, laptop, etc) and head to the Century.  Park the car in front of the park and wait for Shauna to call to tell me to come on up.  And I wait.  And I wait.

And I wait.

At 7pm, nearly two hours after arriving, I’ve not heard from Shauna.  I knew there was a chance that she was sleeping because when I had talked to her earlier, she had been up all night partying.  She was in South Beach on vacation, after all.  Finishing my coffee from the Starbucks across the street, I call Shauna to leave one last message telling her that I was sorry I missed her but if she wanted to reschedule to give me a call.  I get home, a little bummed out that the shoot didn’t happen, but whatever.  It happens.  So that’s that.

The second shoot

The next day, late in the afternoon, I get a call from Shauna.  I take the call (having been advised from my neighbor earlier in the day to not even THINK about rescheduling with them if they call).  Shauna explains how they had gotten sick from food but she still wanted to shoot.  So we reschedule for 7:30am on Tuesday morning.  We’re doing the bikini shoot, and sexy hotel shoot.  Shauna is going to call me at 6:30am.


At 7:30am on Tuesday, I call, having not heard anything yet.  No answer.  Around 8am, I receive a call from Shauna.  She sounds very sleepy and is calling to give me an update.  She and Antoinette are in North Miami taking a taxi back down to South Beach.  They have to be out of the hotel by noon.  She tells me she’ll call when they get to the hotel.  I’m thinking to myself, “Why is my time not being considered?  This is becoming complicated.  Still, the shoot would be nice.  But this is complicated.”  Little did I know.

Around 8:40am, Shauna calls back.  “We just spent the last of our money on a taxi to South Beach.  $60!  Do you know of any pawn shops around?”  Understand, that at this time, all I know is that I’m going to shoot two models from Vegas who are in South Beach for reasons unknown to me.

“There’s a place somewhere on Washington.  But that’s all I know.  Let me check google.”
“Great.  Because I can’t get an internet connection,” she tells me.

I do some googling.  She pulls out the phone book on her end.  “Let me call around, and I’ll call you back,” she says. 

She calls me again; none of the pawn shops are open.  I advise waiting til 9:30am to call.  Just after 9:30, she calls one final time, having found a place that’s open.  They, of course, know nobody in town and have no way of getting to the pawn shop.  I offer to take her and Antoinette to the pawn shop since I am the only person they know.  We talk about what time it is, and we decide that they’ll check out of the hotel, we’ll go to the pawn shop and then do the shoot over here at my place since they’re on a time crunch.

I leave everything here except my camera and I drive over to the hotel.  I call when I arrive and they tell me to come up to the room.  After knocking on the door, Antoinette, who I hadn’t even seen a photo of before then, answers the door.  Wild, curly hair, larger frame.  Large, natural breasts which seemed to want nothing more than to find their way out of the top of her tanktop and tight jeans that kept slipping down over her butt.  Very “urban” look.  Shauna appears from behind her.  I could see the girl in the portfolio photos in Shauna.  Very much a street look about her.  And again, I know them as models.

I knew them as models for all of about two minutes longer.  With clothes, shoes, jewelry, cellphones scattered everywhere, Shauna begins telling me the drama of last night.  That they had been at the clubs all night.  The strip clubs.  “I’m a stripper,” she tells me.  And as I look at Shauna rummaging through one of the four suitcases on the bed as they try to get organized to leave, I realize that the entire suitcase is nothing but lingerie and dancewear and heels.

Oh, this is great.  This. Is. Great.

Hotel room scene

Shauna and Antoinette offer me a seat and as I’m sitting, talking to them, watching them move about the room as they pack their mountain of belongings into their bags, Shauna and I talk about the laptop of hers that she’s going to sell.  She paid $700 for it so she’s thinking she can get $500 for it.  I know there’s no way that’s going to happen, but just the strangeness of the whole situation is fascinating me.  In my mind, I’m picturing the pawn shop offering her money, taking her laptop with all of her photos and personal content on it, and losing everything.  But she’s not really going to lose it.  Shauna will make the money back that night to buy the laptop back in the morning.

And in fact, this is pretty much how the vacation has gone.  Shauna strips and Antoinette goes to the clubs with her to party.  What else goes on, I couldn’t say exactly.  Shauna has already sold a diamond necklace.  I didn’t see it, though, because it was still apparently wherever she sold it.

As I’m sitting there watching them pack, I want to take candid photos of this scene (particularly just even of the suitcase overflowing with lingerie and dancewear).  I’m so engulfed in everything that was going on in this small room having with it’s strong, seeped into the AC-unit, smell of weed that the thought leaves my mind.  I’m entranced by the events unfolding here in this place.

A few minutes later, there’s a knock at the door.  A friend of theirs who they had met during their time here has come to visit.  Nice guy, very young.  Had taken the bus down from somewhere north of here and was just sort of hanging out in South Beach.  I didn’t really ask him about what his deal was.  All I knew is that he didn’t have a car.  Otherwise, I’m sure he would’ve been driving them to the pawn shop.

He lights a blunt and it gets passed around.  “No thanks, I’ve gotta drive,”  I say.

The packing of undergarments is now taking longer.  Where is that yellow sneaker?  Nobody can find the yellow sneaker.  Spray the perfume, that’ll get the smell out.  Some memories of yesterday come up:  “I told that guy at the front desk that he needed to stop MySpacing it, get off his ass and help me!”  Conversations all over the place, sitting on suitcases, grabbing of hotel shampoos… the life of disarray is being played out here in front of me.  I realize that my car is in five minute parking and I need to move it.  I tell them I’m going to move my car and leave the room.

Downstairs, as I’m standing there alone by my car, I think, “What the hell am I doing?  What is this?  I could just leave.  I SHOULD just leave.  There are no photos to be had here.  They’re in no mood to shoot.  And this is just nutty.  I should just leave.”

I move my car and head back up, knowing that this is no longer about shooting models but more just… whatever this was going to be.

At the pawn shop


We eventually make it out of the room, me carrying two of their bags, the other fellow toting the rest.  Downstairs on the street, after a long goodbye to their new friend, we’re in the car heading to a pawn shop on 71st Street on Miami Beach.  The girls have virtually no money between them.  I park near the pawn shop, Shauna grabs her laptop and heads over.  Antoinette was dozing a little on the ride up so she wants to stay in the car to sleep.  I walk down to a market close by and pick up drinks for everyone.  Cokes for them and then a delicious orange beverage for myself.  That hit the spot.

I give Antoinette the cokes (Shauna is still in the pawn shop) and I stand on the corner and smoke a cigarette.  A couple of minutes later, Antoinette jumps out of the car and tells me that Shauna is being offered basically next to nothing for her laptop so she needs to get in the trunk and get some jewelry out.  I pull out a bag, she grabs jewelry and disappears around the corner to meet Shauna. 

I walk down to the pawn shop.  The girls look exasperated.  They’re getting $150 for everything; laptop and jewelry.  Shauna stamps her thumbprint on a document for the sale, she collects her cash, and we’re out the door.

As we’re driving back down to South Beach, calls are being made to friends to see if they can get cash.  The gameplan now is that Shauna and Antoinette are catching a bus to Atlanta where they both have family; the laptop and jewelry being left behind on this vacation to South Beach, apparently.  Even with all of the things that have gone wrong (according to the myriad of stories that come one after another from Shauna), she still wants to live here.  In fact, she wants to open a night club in South Beach.  It’s her dream.

I tell the girls that we should just forget the shoot.  That they’ve obviously had quite an ordeal during their time here and we’ll just get them to the bus station. They are, of course, okay with this.  And where is the bus station?  Somewhere on 21st or something, Antoinette thinks.  Nobody knows.  But there’s a bigger problem than locating the bus station.  They don’t have enough for bus fare.  I suggest that there’s probably a club with a lunchtime crowd where Shauna could dance.  But I don’t know strip clubs in Miami so can’t really offer anything beyond that.  That’s not going to work.  One more thing to think about now.  Everything is hanging by a thread.

Cheeseburgers in Paradise


We’re driving down Collins toward South Beach, where we’ll eventually pass my place.  We’re now looking for a McDonald’s or any fast food joint where they can eat because they’re both starving.  Shauna’s calling everyone.  Nobody is answering.  We eventually go to the drive-thru at Burger King on Alton.  A police officer is stopped in line in front of us and Antoinette wants to go ask where the bus station is located.  Shauna says that’s cool because they’ve already smoked the trees they brought down.

The officers direct Antoinette to the general vicintiy: right on Biscayne boulevard across the causeway then ask around.  At the drive-thru window, Antoinette is fidgeting in the back seat with dollar bills.  I offer to buy lunch.  Three junior whoppers with fries.  Still have the cokes from earlier. 

Rahter than call 411 for specific directions to Greyhound, I call; a reality check would be good right about now, I think.  I talk to Suzy, and she gets me the number for Greyhound.  It’s on 10th and NW 1st Ave.  Overtown.  The hood.  Sweet.  The problem still exists of the girls not having enough bus fare so so I offer them $20 which will cover it.

As we’re driving, jr. whoppers being devoured, fries being eaten, Shauna mentions having danced at Cameo on Sunday night so I ask her about that.  She describes it as 14 girls dancing and 5 guys in the club.  But she wasn’t worried because (and here she points with her finger), “I see that guy, and that guy, and that guy, and that guy, and that guy.  And that’s all I need.”  She works in the club for two hours that night, makes $200.

Inner city scene

Nearing the end of this whole escapade, we eventually make it to the bus station, and as we’re unloading the car, I noticed a thrown out couch on the side of the road. Perfect. I realize that I absolutely have to get shots of them on that couch.  I mention it to them and they’re cool with it.  Bikini shots on it would’ve been great, but nobody was feeling particularly secure with that notion, myself included:  the couch is absolutely filthy, police cruisers are trolling the area, a permanent security guard walks around the bus terminal and the usual (or unusual) suspects are appearing from out of dark corners of run-down buildings.  After we get things settled with their tickets, we go outside for some photos.  No makeup, no change of clothes, just a few quick shots. We take some photos, we say our goodbyes, and we part ways.

As I’m driving across the causeway, reflecting on everything that just transpired, I see a bag in my front seat.  A bag of shoes.  You’ve gotta be kidding me.  I turn around at Star Island, drive back to the terminal, and give them the shoes.  “You just couldn’t get enough, could you,” Shauna asks.

One final goodbye and I leave the station, Antoinette reading her copy of 944 magazine, Shauna getting settled back into her chair to wait for the 3pm bus.  And so ends another vacation in Miami.

Below are some of the photos I snapped around the bus terminal.

Bus ticket in hand, police cruiser in background

Antoinette on the couch

Shauna looking down on couch

Shauna leaning back

Related Categories: Miami: Travel News,

Scott is a photographer in South Beach who shoots models, street/street fashion photography, and life in South Beach. All of this can be seen at

See more articles by Scott.

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9 Comments on

"Strippers on Vacation (Photo Shoot)"

Doug says:

Live is an adventure… glad you let things turn into “… whatever this was going to be.”

and btw… I commute by bike past that station nearly every day, that couch has been there at least 2 weeks…

Posted on 03/30/2008 at 5:58 PM

nicaboy says:

you are not african-american if you are from fucking england, puhleeeeeze, drop that pc shit

Posted on 03/31/2008 at 4:56 PM

Scott says:

That couch is actually fantastic for shooting, but those weren’t the shots.  I wish it had been planned.

Did I use african-american?  I’d scroll up but it’s a lot of work and I’m doin’ stuff.  I don’t know.  She was Black.  Or African-English.  Her portfolio listed her as african-american.  Her bio said she was from England.  I wasn’t going for pc, though.  Sarah Silverman has a great bit about 6 guys in the front row of an audience:  half were African-American, the other half were black.

Posted on 03/31/2008 at 6:19 PM

Scott says:

I just realized I meant to say Club Madonna.  Not Cameo.  The both start with C.  Whoops.

Posted on 04/14/2008 at 9:16 PM

cmd says:

Did you think there was a possibility of getting some a*s from them? I mean, at least at the beginning?
In any case, you never gave the grand total of how much you spent on them, but you should have never given them a dime, or the time of day, especially when they never called you at the scheduled time.

Posted on 04/20/2008 at 8:24 AM

Scott says:


Grand total of charitable givings:  $25, if I remember correctly; $20 for the bus, $5 for Burger King.  Not factoring in time spent waiting.

“Getting some a*s” is always a possibility, just as it is whilst standing behind the counter at McD’s as some girl places her Big Mac and fries order to go.  Supersize it.  Hold the lettuce.

Honestly, I was thinking of the possibility of getting some great shots.

Posted on 04/20/2008 at 9:22 AM

cmd says:

OK, good ... $25 in charity is not too bad, but don’t be making a habit of it. Time spent waiting, however, should be minimized.

Great story/article, by the way. I enjoyed reading it and thanks for sharing it.

Posted on 04/20/2008 at 9:48 AM

Lee says:


Interesting article, the girl’s don’t look like anything resembling models to me.

At least, I guess, it was a experience.

African-american is a widely used term in the uk and if the girl calls herself that then scott has done nothing wrong in my eyes.

Posted on 04/22/2008 at 7:13 AM

Randy K. says:

Scott, Ive been there and have gone through similar stuff as you did with them. Sometimes its just curiousity that keeps us going cause you never know whats going to happen with dumb bunnies such as these two. Its just unusual and I think thats the fascination of it all. LOL

Posted on 12/14/2009 at 1:57 AM

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