When we shot Viva Mi Vida, our first full editorial shoot back in April, Mother Nature couldn't have granted us a better day to work with. Choosing to work up and down the block stretch of 18th Street, located in the heart of the Pilsen Chicago neighborhood, the sun being in full bloom and the 70 degree weather meant the entire neighborhood was out to play. The park across from the mural we used as one of our backdrops was bustling with over 100 people with a local school event going on. The sweet sounding bells filled the air from men selling popsicles and vasos de fruta con chile from their little white trucks down the sidewalks. The smell of fresh and sizzling carne asada and tacos de adobados seduced us into (my personal favorite) taqueria next door after the shoot (the family owned, Lagos Fruit Market)–our reward for a hard but completely fun day's work.
Pilsen has it's tougher locales, just like any Chicago neighborhood, but 18th street is a spot where family and friendship thrive. From the reactions on people's faces as our model, Yesenia, struck poses down the sidewalk, you would have thought people just saw the reincarnation of Gia Carangi or Cindy Crawford sipping a Pepsi. Men stopped to take her picture while women and children told her she was a "superstar". Sure, the hubbub of an entourage and photographer could give away she was the person the day was revolved around, but what really made Yesenia–and I believe any woman–seem like a superstar was her gracious smile and confidence in her step–and maybe her amazing ability to rock hot pants as well.