We sat down with Sumner, one of the winners of our 2021 Model Search Contest, to talk about his thoughts and gather insight from his point-of-view on the trip to St. Croix, USVI.
Sumner Gleason is a model and social media influenc- er based out of Los Angeles, CA. HöN Magazine staff sat down with the contest winner to chat about his thoughts and gather insight from his point-of-view on the trip to St. Croix, USVI. It’s a consensus that we all had a blast hanging out and getting to know him, but we’ll let Sumner tell you all about it below.
How did you first hear about the HAUS of NAVI and HöN Magazine model search contest, and what inspired you to enter?
A friend of mine posted about the contest on his Instagram, so that’s how I found out about it. I was not familiar with the magazine before that. In seeing that post, I was inspired to enter because I like doing photoshoots and like doing freelance work. It sounded fun, and there was a trip involved, so I thought, “Why not?!”
We did a lot. We went to Buck Island, Point Udall, and various other places around St. Croix. What was your favorite location or shoot?
As far as location, definitely Buck Island. It was beautiful and it was really cool being in a secluded area just getting shots, like when we were at the corner, up on the rocks where the tree branches were. And the water was just so clear, which was so beautiful! It was very hot, so it was nice to get in and out of the water for photos. Buck Island was a fun experience.
We were also around [Frederiksted] for the nighttime shoot, and we went to the far east side where that monument was at Point Udall.
What is the one word you would use to describe your experience? Why?
[Laughing] Oh, I’m so mad at this question! Only one word? Eye-opening? Is that considered one word? It was eye-opening because I had never done a photoshoot like that where we were flown to another island, shooting in multiple places and for a magazine cover at that. It was all new for me, and then working with two experienced models was new for me as well. Getting to talk to them and learn from their experiences was really cool. Just seeing all of the hard work that goes into the whole process, all the detail and commitment it takes. I really enjoyed seeing all the behind the scenes.
Pull back the curtain a little bit and tell us what it was like to work with Ivan Edgardo Photography, the HöN Magazine staff, and essentially become part of the HoN Magazine family.
I was definitely nervous when I got there. I felt like the pressure was on of course, knowing it was for a magazine cover and working with other experienced models, but Ivan and the rest of the team did such an amazing job at making us all feel so welcome and like family. You made it all so easy. I could tell that you wanted us to get the shots, but you also wanted us to have a good time and see the island. You made it all very, very comfortable. It was fun getting to know everybody. I feel like the more connected we got, the better the shots were.
We all basically lived together for nearly a week. How fun was it to work, and play, with the other contest winners?
They were great! John Bronco was super nice, and his girlfriend was really sweet. I’m glad we had that last day after we were done shooting to have some drinks, hang out by the pool, and just let loose at the end of all the hard work everyone had been doing all week. Everyone came and gave 100%, even with the hiccup with the AirBnB [laughing] but you all came through and made that so seamless that we didn’t even notice.
When you think back about this trip, what are some of your personal highlights, from shoots to just hanging out around the villa?
I did love when we did the shoot at the house, which was after a few days of shooting and we had all gotten to know each other. Also, shooting at the house, temperature-wise, it was nice because we got to get out of the heat. Getting that day to shoot with the other two contest winners was fantastic. Because of our schedules, that was the only day we were all able to shoot together. I enjoyed getting to room with Johnny Donovan. We really hit it off, so that was super fun, and I think we’ll all be friends after this.
If the HAUS of NAVI and HöN Magazine do another model search contest in the future, what advice would you give to someone considering entering?
Just do it! I told my boyfriend to do it and he forgot! As far as the process goes, the whole thing was so easy. If it’s something you want to do, then submit the photos and just do it!
If given the opportunity, would you do it again?
Absolutely, yes, I would! I would love to do it with my partner next time.
What kind of impact do you think this opportunity could have on your career?
I think an opportunity like this is great because you’re not just showing up to shoot for the day and then leaving. You’re with people for 5, 6, 7 days and it puts you in a situation where you are able to get to know each other and build deeper connections for the future. On the model side, I know a lot of the models like to collaborate with each other, so it gives us an opportunity to build on that connection. We’re also getting to know photographers. It’s always great to shoot with a photographer more than once, especially if you like their work. I feel like the more chemistry you have with the photographer, the better the shots are.
What else about your experience would you like to share with our readers?
I think the most important thing is to just come and have fun. I could tell after just within the first day, that although everyone was very professional, everyone was also there to have fun. So, work hard, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Just come prepared but come to also have a good time.