Tuesday’s shooting gets under way by 10 a.m. as Stormy Daniels prances down the Palms’ pool deck in a black lace and white bikini for the mainstream crew while a reggaeton song keeps the mood lively.
As he has done in several previous years, Lyle Sinkewich’s business partner Jim Kehl selected the wardrobe for the campaign. While Kehl watches Stormy sashay around the pool, turning heads along the way, I ask him what he was looking for this time.
“As I go through a billion cajillion stores, my buzz words were ‘sleek, sexy, shine,’ and then in the back of my head, I say, ‘rock star, not porn star, rock star, not porn star,’” Kehl tells me. “Because I want them to come off as the most glamorous but keeping it just a touch back … I think it gets them more glam. I don’t know if you can tell but it’s a little [understated] …
He continues, “Because if you go too far, then you’ve gone too far. It’s a hard thing to explain … But it was definitely sexy, sleek, glam, shiny, body conscious, but not body baring. Although, obviously, she’s in a swimsuit.”
Kehl explains that he tries to bring out the girls’ personalities with their outfits.
“We don’t want to look generic,” he says.
Meanwhile, Mikayla is posing on another pool deck—this one overlooks the city inside the one-story Sky Villa on the 31st floor—wearing a tight, blue dress and black boots with her shapely ass strategically hanging out. Next she’ll do some still photos in the bathroom with a towel around her.
“Every girl gets their own individual areas,” still photographer Munyan explains. “Like, I was not supposed to shoot the [poker] table at all, that’s Stormy’s tonight. The pool, no, but I did the edge without using the pool. So I’ll use the pool with everybody tonight. It will be at the [two-story Villa]. These are all the extra shots that go into the [AEE] booth as the back posters of each individual, so each girl has their own individual look and then there’s the group look. Tonight is the group look.”
Munyan shoots all of Wicked’s feature box covers and knows the girls well.
“I just did six boxes last week, and when I get back I’ve got four more to do,” he tells me. “We tried to get as much done as we could before we left. The concentration had to be on this … We love our girls.”
By 3:05 p.m., Stormy, Mikayla and Alektra are teasing Munyan's camera in front of the Lucky 777 Slot Machines inside the casino. He will photograph the girls in groups of three in front of the Lucky 7s and then put them all together in Photoshop. The girls joke with each other and Munyan in between snaps. As she stands on the slot machine ledge waiting, Stormy lifts up her black cocktail dress and says, “Cheese!”
Dan Savage, VP of marketing for Bally Technologies, tells me his company manufactures the Blazing 7 slot machine, which is “probably one of the most recognized slot machines on the marketplace.”
“The Palms likes to put their models or their women, like the Wicked women, in front of really strong brands. They love the flames,” Savage says. “This is a high-risk, high-volatility game, so it's the flame, it's Wicked, high volatility, Blazing 7s across the board. So for us to be involved in these photo shoots, it’s great, we love it. We’ll do it all day.”
Trent Allen Parks, national account executive for the Palms, drops in on the shoot upon his return from his trip to Oakland, Calif., for the Raiders-Chargers Monday Night Football game. He says that he and Jimmy Tipton, head of player development, first collaborated with Wicked’s Orenstein for a party at the Hardwood Suite in January. The two-level Hardwood Suite comes complete with a half basketball court and a rotating stripper booth. It will also serve as one of tomorrow’s locations for Jessica Drake.
Parks says he was impressed with the tasteful quality of Wicked’s 2009 calendar, so much so that he gave one to his son to hang on his dorm wall at Creighton University.
“It’s very sexy, but at the same time there's no nudity,” Parks says. “There are very few adult companies we could partner ourselves with. Because at the end of the day we have a heritage brand that we want to protect. By the same token it's not like we have shied away from adult alliances, thus Playboy. I really see Wicked as the crème de la crème of the adult world. Synergistically, it just made sense.”
Parks reveals that the Wicked-Palms calendar will include a filmstrip on each page with additional pictures within the venue “to drive home the fact that this was all shot at the Palms.” Then Parks and Tipton intend to roll up the calendar and mail it to their top players, inviting them to the AVN Awards Show pre- and post-parties and calendar signing in January.
“Hopefully I've done everything that I can, and so have the Maloofs, to make sure that Wicked feels like this is their house. Because we enjoy working with them,” Parks continues. “They make things easy. Steve even had some doubts whether or not we would be open to doing a project like this. I told him, ‘As far as I'm concerned there are no issues.’ I had to get the blessing of the owner because my last name isn't Maloof—it’s Parks. So I said the reality is I have to get this in front of George and have him give his blessing.”
If it wasn’t obvious already that Wicked is camping out all over the property, it is by mid-afternoon when Munyan positions Stormy underneath the waterfall in the center of the crowded pool. As daylight starts to fade, he and his sharp assistant Dean rush up to the one-story Sky Villa to capture Mikayla atop a poker table with a customized, green Wicked covering. Two hours later, Mikayla changes into a black bikini for a sizzling session in the water and on the stairwell leading to the second level of the pool deck.
Both the video and stills crews move to the two-story Sky Villa for the midnight finale on Day 2 with expectations that rival the spectacular view. The amenities here include a sauna, massage room, multimedia entertainment and, of course, a heated, outdoor pool with a panoramic view of Vegas. This is the glamorous life.
“Last year's campaign I thought was next to impossible to top,” says Sinkewich, who started out as an art director for Wicked in 2001. “We really got incredible feedback and the girls looked stunning and the calendar was a huge success. ... Then this opportunity arose to partner with the Palms. ... Who gets this opportunity? And they really gave us access to anything we wanted so we jumped at it and said, let's do it and make this as cool as we can.”
Sinkewich attributes the look and feel of the ’09 “Tonight is Your Night to Get Wicked” campaign to Kehl, who also designs Wicked’s compilation box covers during the year.
“Jim came up with the concept. Jim did the styling. Jim did the retouching. ... He knows the girls. He knows what they look good in,” Sinkewich says. “If you look at the amount of wardrobe that's down there, you'd go, ‘wow we need so many more clothes,’ but you would if a lot of things didn’t work. ... They look fabulous. This is really, really, great stuff.”
One by one, the Wicked Girls arrive in the Sky Villa, each wearing not much more than a bikini and heels underneath their robes. The video crew finishes filming a slow tease in less than 30 minutes, and it’s time for the stills. It’s difficult not to stare at the sight of all six girls standing together with their bodies covered with cocoa butter Vaseline. As Munyan sets up a ladder in front of the pool, Orenstein gives me his perspective.
"It’s 12:15, no one is complaining. They are all getting along. That’s what I’m looking at,” he says.
Indeed, there are no signs of anxiousness from any of the starlets, two of which have been shooting since 10 a.m. And either they like each other, or they’re just “good actresses,” Orenstein jokes.
(Part 3 to follow on Wednesday)Article originally posted Nov 5th 2009 10:32AM by Dan Miller