2012 These are the pages created by the students in the MEET ME @ MIAMI college yearbook workshop at the University of Miami. Students were in attendance from American University, James Madison University, Rice University, University of Miami and the University of California at Los Angeles. Instructors: Lori Brooks, Randy Stano and Bradley Wilson Workshop staff: Marcia Meskiel-Macy, Matt Yancy, Michael Bennett
A fire-breathing dragon wrapped around a patronâ€™s biceps. Simplified Chinese characters. An intricate butterfly on a womanâ€™s ankle. In a $1.7 billion industry, tattoo artists precariously straddle the line between marketable stencils and beautiful, time-consuming originals. 002
Grinning, Exclusive Ink employee Flaco enjoys a smoking break outside the tattoo shot. With a tattooed face, skull, neck, and upper body, Flaco serves as a living canvas of his art.
Depicting giant figures consuming luxury goods, Brazilian graffiti artist Nunca uses this mural in South Beach to explore the issues of excess and materialism.
Leaning against the wall of the primarily purple Salvation Tattoo studio, Manager Dave waits for customers.
Ink Marks the Spot Opportunistic Pirate Tattoo hooks tourists “People who enjoy the experience come back for annual tattoos.” – Emerson Pirate Tattoo 1405 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139
Inside a small, clean-cut shop front sparingly covered in bold neon lights, softly playing rock music drifted in from mounted speakers, and a shop bell dinged softly as the windowed door opened into the overall welcoming room. A young, blond woman, arms sleeved in ink, sat behind a neatly placed desk, ready to serve customers. Before long, owner and operator Emerson Forth greeted the newcomers. Forth’s Pirate Tattoo catered primarily to the tourists that annually flooded the area. Although some larger artistic pieces hung on what remained of the flash-dominated walls, the store’s mission statement was clear: to serve the tourists of
South Beach in the most efficient, clean and cost-effective manner possible. No stranger to the tattoo world, Forth’s twenty years of experience had led him to his current path — giving nonlocals the best possible experience as they gave into lifelong desires or summer whims and got their first tattoo. Based upon the well-kept nature of the shop, and its popularity on Washington Avenue, Forth’s business model was certainly a success, and Forth would be the first to share that: “Lots of the people we work on are tourists, but we get a lot of repeat visits. People who enjoy the experience come back for annual tattoos when they vacation.”
When asked why he thought people were motivated to get tattoos, Forth said it had a lot to do with an individual’s surroundings, peers and the effect of media. (He said his own early tattoos were motivated by his membership in a heavy metal rock band.) Interestingly, he mentioned nothing of the selfexpression that Exclusive Ink, a neighboring shop, held so near and dear. Although Pirate Tattoo may have not practiced the same sense of devout artistic worship as Flaco and company, inevitably the two companies ultimately served a different set of customers and a different set of principles on their way to survival on Washington Avenue.
Tit for Tatt Exclusive Ink’s art serves as unique birthmark Hidden in plain sight to all but those who knew its location, with butcher paper-covered windows, cracking blinds and dusty-hinged doors, Exclusive Ink Tattoo made no obvious effort to welcome South Beach’s tourists. Only after three heavy knocks did the shop’s resident artist creak open the door. Flaco, meaning “thin” in Spanish, was the living embodiment of his name. He slipped through the slender doorframe with a partintimidating, part-inebriated demeanor, addressing his guests with a simple “’Sup?” The tattooed teardrops on either side of his eyes, notorious and menacing ink, conveyed a sense of danger, much like the
storefront itself. Unlike the multitude of tourist-friendly shops that dotted Washington Avenue, Exclusive Ink catered to a different breed of tattoo-seekers. Among a sea of consumerdriven, in-and-out tattoo shops, Exclusive Ink set itself apart with both its focus on the true artistic value of its creations and in its seeming lack of concern for turning a profit. Its artists were somewhat anonymous, flight-bynight characters, and local shops characterized the dilapidated building as a front for “scratchers” — unlicensed tattooists — but the shop’s focus was not on playing by the rules. Unequivocally, the shop’s artists remained fixated on one goal: producing true art through custom tattoos.
A quick glance across the poorly lit shop revealed several large murals and numerous art pieces, but no flash — the tattooing term used for the cookie-cutter designs patrons sometimes pick out of books. It was apparent that the shop was disinterested in tattooing stereotypical butterflies on the wrists and ankles of vacationing teenyboppers. Pointing to a highly detailed scene depicting the Biblical Last Supper on his own triceps, the ever-brusque Flaco explained his own artistic motivations. “I like to work on religious pieces,” he said before pointing to a mural painted on the wall: “Some tattoo to live, we live to tattoo.”
“My favorite tattoo is probably the Last Super on my arm. I like religious pieces.” – Flaco Exclusive Ink 1521 Washington Ave South Beach, FL 33139
“You know that blood that runs in your body? That’s what painting is to me.” – Anthony 006
Marcella Munsuana, assistant to artist Nina Surel, touches up one of the Surel’s mural in ARTCENTER. Below: From floor to ceiling, studios, galleries, and collections branch out through ARTCENTER. The various exhibitions and offices change on a regular basis to keep the art fresh and appealing to the general public.
Smart Art Studio offers sanctuary for local artists To Anthony Ardavin, art is both something visually pleasurable and a vehicle of expression— catharsis on canvas— and so much more. Several days a week, Ardavin can be found in studio 105 of ARTCENTER — a white, twostory building that included a maze of house studios and exhibits of the studio artists. Though ARTCENTER is not located in Midtown, the central art hub in Miami, Ardavin claims that it is one of a kind. He said the directory in South Beach lists not even a simple art-supply store. Yet despite the lack of art focus in South Beach, Ardavin insisted that working in Midtown would be like working in a vacuum, leaving little room for growth or artistic development. Perhaps more importantly, Ardavin says he values the interaction he has with many of the local artists in his building. When his fellow artists, who spent hours in their studios, gave him opinions and comments,
Ardavin shared, he felt the surge or confidence necessary to complete his pieces. In contrast to his tight-knit network of artists, Ardavin said he believed that everyday Miami citizens and visitors do not understand his art. Ardavin explained that people walk in and out, scan the place for three or four minutes, scan over the art, don’t even look up and then leave. “And I think, they didn’t get it. It takes a long time to look at crafts, at every brushstroke, every line, every composition. Everything is masterful.” Although somewhat dismayed by the general public’s hasty overview of his work, the artist remained undeterred, saying, “[Public opinion] means absolutely nothing.” Though Ardavin said he does not mind observers, he is convinced that most do not understand his art’s true purpose. They often ask him where the nearest restroom is or, even more
frustratingly, if they can watch him paint. “Painting is like any other job,” Ardavin said when he said it made him uncomfortable when people interrupt his work. Ardavin flatly objected to describing his favorite piece. “No,” he said blatantly, but with a laugh. But he did justify his reason for refusing. “You know, it’s like asking John Steinbeck, ‘Can you illustrate some pictures in here [one of Steinbeck’s books] that you did yourself?’ He would slap you in the face. I am a painter; I am not a writer.” Indeed, Ardavin’s approach is concentrated entirely on art for art’s sake, rarely dipping into the realm or commercialism or desiring popularity. Dissimilar to the neighboring art studio, Britto Central, which was better known in South Beach and across the nation, Ardavin’s ARTCENTER served as an unapologetic refuge for true art, with or without recognition. According to Ardavin, it shouldn’t be any other way. “
Flash on Flesh
Banking on the balance between intricacy and design South Beach is a fast-paced, expansive locale: a balance of tourist trap and local getaway. For the 40-some tattoo shops that proudly open their doors onto the humid beach air, that same notion of balance is mandatory only between art and income. Two successful Miami-based tattoo companies, the Salvation Tattoo Lounge chain and the notorious television-famous Miami Ink shop fought to keep customers in their doors. A famed Miami point-ofinterest, Ami James’s Miami Ink, now renamed Love Hate Tattoo Studio, hailed consumers far and wide. With customers scheduling appointments two to six months in advance during peak season, and with a steady line of 15 or so customers each
day, something about James’s business model was working. According to shop clerk and avid tattoo enthusiast Jace Sisley, that element is the properly balanced mixture of creative endeavor and paying the bills. “There are two types of tattoos: flash, which are traditional and easy, and custom ones, which take more time and are usually more expensive. The so-called ‘cookie-cutter’ ones are traditional; they’ve been around since the beginning. So we’ll do the small and simple ones all day long,” Sisley said. Despite their appeal to tourists and their use of flash, customers routinely walked away with a unique and inspired piece of art straight from the hands and minds of Miami’s finest. One such patron, a James who went by the
nickname “Saber,” readily showed off his newest tattoo still fresh with blood: an Asian-influenced, full-sleeve work-in-progress, featuring a tiger and vibrantly colored lotus blossoms. Showing no sign of discomfort and grinning from ear to ear, James explained, “I didn’t design this; I called them up and told them I wanted a Siberian lynx tiger, and they came back with this. This has probably been about 32 hours of work; this is my fifth session.” Fortunately for Miami Ink, their shop artists can produce the lesser profitable custom ink because they can fall back or make a living solely on the publicity and income generated from their TLC show. Because not every Miami tattoo parlor has a TV show, other tattoo parlors, such as Salvation, build up their nest egg with flash. General Manager Luis Lopez’s tattoo parlor was one of two Salvation Tattoo Lounges in South Beach. Lopez’s franchise was an official and comfortable environment to obtain artistic
designs whether as self-expression or simply for aesthetic purposes. Within the shop, the most commonly chosen tattoos were of names, scriptures, and inspirational quotes, and those chosen out of books, which were the easiest designs for artists to create. Unfortunately, most customers, especially tourists, strictly interpreted these books, leaving little room for creativity and plenty of skin for flash. As a result of the relative quickness, ease and profitability of flash, Lopez’s business is doing well despite the fact he has only worked for nine months. In fact, he was looking to venture out and expand to the city of Miami Lakes, Florida. With a third store to the chain, profit multiplies and originality becomes as mass produced as a Big Mac. Lopez summarized how inexpensive flashing was. for a tattoo that would cost $1,000 at other parlors, a flash piece that took the same amount of time might cost $100 in his chain.
KIDROBOT MIAMI | Specialty: Designer Toys | 638 Collins Ave., Miami Beach | Store addons : Only Kidrobot store in the world with an art gallery | Geographical fact: Six stores in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, London | Headquarters: Boulder, Colorado
ONE IN FIVE (21 percent)
U.S. adults has at least one tattoo which is up from the 16 percent and 14 percent who reported having a tattoo when the Harris Poll asked in 2003 and 2008. Adults aged 30-39 are most likely to have a tattoo (38 percent). Women are slightly more likely than men, for the first time since this question was first asked, to have a tattoo.
“I started doing things on my own and with Esha [an ARTCENTER artist], it was something special. I started to learn more and more and it just came naturally out of me.” Marcella Munsuana Assistant to artist Nina Surel
Visitors peruse the Kidrobot shelves eyeing the newest creations.
Kidrobot: For all ages Entrepreneurial art collective challenges concept of toys
Kidrobot specializes in designer toys, many created by upcoming artists. A large and unique plastic figure dominates the front of Miami’s Kidrobot.
SOUTH BEACH • Nickname: SoBe • Home to the World Erotic Art Museum, the largest collection of erotic art in America • The land formally became SoBe in 1870 with purchase of 160 acres for coconut groves • Approxmately 40,000 people in population • Mayor: Matti Herrera Bower • 55 percent residents speak Spanish as first language
SOUTH BEACH STAFF: Allison Bader, Ana Santos, Jose Hernandez, Katherine Lee, Leonardo Dos Santos, Pranav Joshi, Samantha Tu, Vladimir Blanchard ©2012
the look of
Ask a local to describe South Beach and there’s going to be a few silent pauses and stuttered “ums”. How do you define a beach with a name
that constitutes an adjective in itself: “That outfit is so SoBe”? The 18.7 square miles off Florida’s coast is a hotspot for the LGBT community and a frequent vacation resort for celebrities. Tattooed roller skaters glide past European tourists sporting Speedos and designer-clad women drop thousands in brand-name stores. The area is a motley of tourists and Miami-born residents. And these locals have taken notice. Inside, we explore just a few of the things that really make SoBe, SoBe: tattoos, fitness and tourism.
Tattoos and Their Stories
A website coder, Vanessa Thomas, 26, of Alberta, Canada, is proud of her “nerd street cred.” The tattoo on the back of her neck is a joke in html. “It means the end of my head and the beginning of my body,” Thomas said. 14
The Look of SoBe
On vacation from Queens, NY, John Juarez doesn’t remember his first tattoo. “I was very drunk,” Juarez laughed, at the time he was about 18 years old. The last one was a cross with a rose at the base for someone he loved very much who passed away.
The Blue Tang fish represents Rambo’s mother because “she’s very colorful and very flighty [...] their movements are very eradic.”
The most-recent tattoo in her collection is a puffer fish that symbolizes her father because “he gets all puffed up when he’s mad.”
Kat Rambo lives on 25th and Collins because she loves the vibe on SoBe and is able to pursue her passion of Scuba Diving at Tarpoons on 2nd and Alton. Photo by Devin Cordero
The Kraken tattoo is a work-in-progress and extends down Rambo’s lower back.
Ink’d The sidewalks become moving tattoo art galleries in the sweltering summer heat of South Beach
Tattoo parlors and clubs are plenty on South Beach’s Washington Avenue, and it comes as no surprise that often people wake up the next morning with body art that did not exist the day before and a chunk of money missing from their bank accounts. The allure of tattoo parlors is not hard to miss with plush couches, neon lights and promoters waiting outside to draw in the unsuspecting passerby. But that is not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the culture of tattoos. “It’s a personal piece of art, made just for me and I get to rock it forever,” said Kat Rambo, 23, of Orlando. The artistry of people’s tattoos cannot be missed; some save money for years for their dream design to be transferred from sketch paper to an artist’s hands to their own skin. In the sweltering heat of South Beach where the clothes are few and the pedestrians are many, the sidewalk culture thrives and art galleries compete with people on the street. Words by Sandra M. Montalvo
By Sandra M. Montalvo and Devika Boodhoo and Photos By Holly Bensur
22-year-old Jessica Nardelli from Pittsburgh, PA, has her mantra, “I will make better mistakes tomorrow,” written in between her shoulders. While the saying is important to her, of her five tattoos the most meaningful to her is of a prayer.
Passionate about the ocean, world traveler Claudio Vilche, 45, resides and works right on the beach. Having spent most of his life traveling, the tattoos that cover his body came as gifts from friends across the world. Tattoos
The Look of SoBe
Robert Casanova, 34, runs his usual trail from Alton Road, across Lincoln, and to the pier. The run is a total of seven miles.
Miami locals Andrew Mendoz, 16, and Joseph Lopez, 19, shower at the beach after a sweaty bike ride.
The chiseled Alexis Martinez shone in the harsh sun as he prepared to serve the ball. “Alora!” yelled tourist Jiordanno Reversi, anxious to continue. Martinez served and scored as his competitive opponent mumbled in Italian. Miami local Martinez, 21, was playing with his brother when Reversi and then a man from Kentucky asked to join. Three different languages could be heard in a single volleyball court on South Beach that afternoon. This is not a rare scene in South Beach, especially when it comes to exercise. Regardless of the time of the day, Ocean Drive is active, and not just in terms of tourism. The list of fitness businesses is countless, ranging from classics like Gold’s Gym to such novelties as nightlifelike Zumba classes with club lighting and pole-dancing studios. There is a reason for the name “South Beach Diet”; everyone wants to have a South Beach body. More importantly, the community itself has become the main stimulant promoting physical health and fitness. Skating, cycling, volleyball, soccer, scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling: The list goes on. South Beach resident and visitors have many exercise options. Martinez also long boards, skin boards, and surfs
at the beach. “We’re Cuban, what can we say, we love the ocean,” he said. Kat Rambo, a finance student at Florida International University, also loves aquatic sports. “I live for the ocean,” she said. Originally from Orlando, Rambo is exactly where she wants to be, not only for her love of the beach, but also for her health. “I do yoga on the beach, go to the dive zone on Alton Road marina and swim laps as much as I can. The ecosystem in the ocean and on the beach makes me want to do everything outside,” she said. Ahh, the ecosystem. Sea breezes, palm trees and the wide stretches of white sand have become the “place” to work out, in addition, of course, to the local gyms and hotels. Robert Casanova proudly claimed his home as he stretched out his arms to show his surroundings. “South Beach local, born and raised for 34 years,” he said. “I don’t like to exercise inside, I like the changing environment, and it’s also much healthier to breathe in the salt-sea air, it’s less polluted.” Connecticut lawyer Andy Glickson, 63, changes up his home tennis regimen for rollerblading and swimming along the coast of South Beach. “I don’t think being here is essential to staying fit,
but it definitely does help,” said Glickson, who visits monthly. “The environment really helps, I mean, it is basically outdoor year-round.” Outdoor gyms have become central to the fitness of locals. “I moved here four years ago to work at the recording studio,” said Ward Kuykendall, a recording engineer and Alton Road resident. “I decided I needed some cardio, so I began to ride my long board because I can’t stand running.” Kuykendall said he does not like lifting, but after passing by the outdoor gyms on his longboard, he became curious about the contraptions on the beach. “Eventually I ended up stopping at these outdoor gyms to do some abs and arm workouts, and well, the results came faster than expected.” Casanova includes the outdoor gyms on Ninth Street in his five-mile run around South Beach. Martinez wishes he could participate in South Beach exercise more regularly. ”If I lived here I would wake up at 7 in the morning and run,” Martinez said. “The fresh ocean air is much better to breathe than the smoke that you breathe running in the streets. I am definitely planning on saving up to move down here.” By Alejandra Acuna and photos by Devin Cordero
Alexis Martinez, 21, jumps to spike the ball. Volleyball courts on Ninth Street are available to the public.
Behrad Bakhtiari, 13, anxiously waits to get on the jet ski. It is $85 for an hour for one person on the beach.
Andy Glickson, 63, rests in the shadow of a palm tree in a hot afternoon. He travels to Miami once a month.
international tourists take over South Beach, locals react
Here Were You Wish Sun and Sand Bring International Tourists to SoBe Tourism “reduces us to dogs: peeing on the streets and having sex on the streets,” so says Irena, a seven-year resident of South Beach. For Irena, tourism meant crowded streets and mass chaos, especially during Hip Hop Weekend, the three-day music celebration that brings in about 200,000 visitors. But Hip Hop Weekend was just the tip of the tourism iceberg. In 2010, SoBe saw 5.1 million overnight visitors. And some came from far away. Like 4,870 miles far. A 10-hour plane ride far. And yet Jamie and his two young children have made this journey from Switzerland to Miami for the last decade. Jamie’s family has chosen Florida’s tip for the beach and warm weather, which is not surprising, since Switzerland’s Augusts rarely break 70 degrees. Weather was also a key decider for Paula Aguilos. She and her family, who visited from New Jersey for two weeks, also appreciated the clear blue water and less-polluted beaches. The Auguiloses said they saw a clean beach — compared to vacations on the
The Look of SoBe
crowded sands of New Jersey — but resident said tourism inevitably caused pollution. “A few people, tourists that I’ve seen, they go and they throw garbage on the streets, which is not good,” said Ledesma, a cashier for a local souvenir shop who has lived in the area for four years. “That would be basically the lack of respect that I would see.” But Ledesma didn’t have a problem with tourists — they brought in the money, after all. Tourists bought enough that Surf Style, a souvenir shop in South Beach, sold 50 suitcases a week to visitors who couldn’t cram their purchases into their own luggage. In 2010, tourists expenses amounted to $274.58 a day, according to Miami City Manager’s Office. These money-spending tourists are mostly international rather than U.S. residents, according to Miami-local Elvin Ebanks. Since starting in 1986, Ebanks has sold walking, boat and Segway tours to tourists. His fluency in eight languages enabled him to sell to the international customers that visit his shop every day — from Belgium and Germany to Italy and Estonia.
Perhaps it’s the laid-back, friendly atmosphere of South Beach that brought these international visitors. “Smile, you’re in Miami,” Ebanks told the grumpy Europeans who came into his shop. By the end of their stay, Ebanks noted that many tourists wanted to move to Miami. Which is exactly what Paula Gunther did. While her permanent residence is in Italy, Gunther frequents her vacation home in Miami about four times a year. It’s not just the economy that gets a boost from South Beach tourism. “It increases the police presence so you feel safer,” Irena said. Officer Hernandez, who has worked in South Beach for four years, said rowdy tourists primarily get out of hand during holidays and weekends after partying and excessive drinking. Otherwise, crime is relatively slow in the residential districts. The streets of SoBe might be coated in urine, they’re safer and brimming with international culture. Story and photos by Sarah Lockwood and Nora Bollinger.
TOURISM NUMBERS by the
5.7overnight south beach visitors million
average miami beach party size
$274.58 average daily expenses per visitor How Average Tourists Spend Money
28% 27% 21% 15% 10%
Above Top: An afternoon drizzle brings Nancy and Bill Houston off the beach. Miami receives 7.89 inches of rain in an average August. Above Middle: Surf Style sells a variety of Miami souvenirs to the cityâ€™s tourists. Above: Gloria and Rick Martin come out of the sun. The pair stayed at the Ritz Carlton for two weeks. Left: Guests leave love for Miami.
average stay: 5.3 nights Tourism
Photo by Raquel Zaldivar
Standard You canâ€™t hide anything at the beach, so might as well show it off. With fit, tanned beach bods and trendy, upscale styles, residents and tourists make sure to meet the SoBe standard from head to toe.
Hitting the Sand Lori Prepszent, a Midtown resident, runs along South Beach to stay fit all year round. She drives to the beach twice a week to run on the sand and enjoy the sun.
The people on the streets complete the look of South Beach with their bronzed bodies, cutout abs and freshly colored hairdos. How you look is who you are in SoBe, and even those who do not care what other people think, hold high expectations for themselves. When two newcomers walked into Sari Ploshnick’s 24-hour tanning salon, she titled her chin down and glanced up from behind her bamboo wooden desk. “You’re wondering why there is a tanning salon on the beach, right?” Ploshnick said once the glass door closed to create a buffer from the summer heat. Although the greeting sounded atypical, it was something that Ploshnick says often. The irony of her Boca Tanning Club’s location, just a 10-minute walk from South Beach, has not affected her business. As a matter of fact, indoor tanning is as popular as ever. Especially in South Beach where looking good is a priority. “There are people who work during the day, so they come in in the evenings and at night,” said Jonathan Fernandini, employee at Boca Tanning. “They need to be tan for their jobs. They also come in when it rains, and some people just don’t want to be annoyed by being around other people at the beach.” Being tan, fit and pretty are qualities both men and women worship despite South Florida’s unpredictable summer rainfall and immediate sweat-inducing heat. For some, outward appearance is about looking good. For others, it’s about feeling good. “This is a super vain place. People need to look good all the time,” said Fernandini. “When you feel like you have color, you feel prettier. Who wants to be pale on South Beach? Who wants to walk around looking like a tourist?” Meanwhile, Chase Huggins engaged in the social sport of people watching. The Washington state resident sat down on the corner of Lincoln and Alton a week ago — with just a backpack, headphones and no T-shirt — and has not moved since. Even though he is friendless, Huggins said he feels like he knows the South Beach crowd. “Everyone is beautiful. Some primp, and some don’t. It’s just a place of beauty. I’m still learning, and I don’t know where
everything is, but I can relax and watch people all day,” Huggins said. Just past Huggins’ corner hangout, Lincoln Road is scattered with salons and spas that specialize in hair blowouts, Brazilian waxes (for men) and eyelash extensions. At Oribe, clients ask to look like Kim Kardashian, while at Sean Donaldson Hair, clients fly in from New York and New Jersey. An outside view of many salons do not impress but a peek into the windows or an appointment with a stylist reveals the glammed-up ideals of South Beach living. In his 2-year-old salon, British-born Donaldson stood over a female customer who was working to complete her beach look: flawless, blond hair. Tanned and wearing faded blue jeans that clung to her thin waist, her hair was parted out to the side with a skunk-white strip of bleach down the center of her exposed scalp. No matter the strange appearance in the salon chair, Donaldson’s customers care about getting noticed for their good looks when they step out of the door and onto the streets of Miami. While there is cultural pride in being tan, fit and pretty in South Beach, some describe the obsession as vain or extravagant. Resident Anthony Patterson chose the word “superficial.” “Out here you definitely want to look good,” he said. “Here on South Beach, it’s more about an image and being superficial than anywhere else on earth.” Through the window of his workspace at Camper Shoe Store on Lincoln Road, Patterson has observed the young and old, tanned, stylish, exercising beauties of his city. According to him, there are three kinds of runners. “There’s a show runner, a track runner and a regular runner. Show runners want to be seen and want people to look at their bodies. Track runners want to stay fit. Regular runners just run to run.” As someone who works out twice a day, Patterson admitted to slipping into the image-driven craze of his surroundings. Patterson claims to do it all — running, eating healthy and shopping for colorful jeans — for himself, though. “You really have to do it all for yourself. Not for everyone else.”
2 Story by Hannah Romig and Anastasia Gaertner Photos by Raquel Zaldivar, Hannah Romig and Anastasia Bolshakov
SoBe Subculture Lily and Sergi believe that appearance is important in any big city, but South Beach is different because it’s a beach setting. “[It’s] its on subculture,” Sergi said. But sometimes people dress too flashy and “it’s kinda cheesy” he added.
Tan, Fit, and Pretty Tourists and locals can be seen tanning all over South Beach.
Beauty and the Beach ‘It’s a melting pot of style,” Jeff S. said. “Here. [style] is mandatory.” A stroll down Lincoln Road reveals looks that range from slutty to luxurious. Pictured with Anina and Helen.
Sean Donaldson credits a great deal of the success of his salon to stylist Audra Billingsley. The Washington-state native is in high demand in the South Florida area and has built up a dedicated clientele over her nine years in South Beach. In addition to attending to her regular customers, Billingsley teaches classes within the salon for trainees and other stylists who may need to brush up on their skills. “I hate doing my own hair,” she admits. Laughing, she adds, “I make the trainees braid it.” Billingsley favors soft styles that keep the hair off of the face and neck, especially in the heat of the summer. Although her work has appeared in countless weddings, photo shoots and fashion shows, Billingsley is anything but conceited. To Donaldson’s claim that she is “one of the best stylists in the U.S.,” she merely shakes her head and smiles shyly. She confesses that she has had her work featured multiple times in Allure magazine and she has clients who fly from as far as New Jersey simply to have their hair done. While this kind of press is undoubtedly important, Billingsley says she is just happy to be doing what she enjoys.
Healthy and Beautiful Toniann and Michelle take time in their day to be healthy. Toniann says that working makes her feel good, but she believes that most SoBe residents work out for appearances.
Image is Everything Angel Gonzalez does a pull-up as part of his workout routine at the outdoor gym on 9th street and Ocean Drive. “Everything [on South Beach] is moved by image and money,” Gonzalez s aid.
Sweat n Serve Joe Bermudez, 26, enjoys playing volleyball with his friends both for exercise and for a good time. Multiple beach volleyball courts are available for use on Ocean Drive for beachgoers.
Roll Away the Rolls South Beach is well-known for its fitness-friendly atmosphere. Both tourists and locals rollerblade on Lincoln Road. Others ride bikes that are available because of the newly implemented bike share system.
Among the runners and rollerbladers of Ocean Drive are the crowd-capturing Barstarzz, an exclusive group of exercise lovers who visit outdoor gymnastics bars to workout in a fun, free way. As the only female in the group, Alexia Evans stands out and her improvised routine gathers an audience. With her body suspended above the bars, she lifts her legs to the beat of the music, clearly enjoying herself.
“I kind of just do whatever,” she admits with a smile. “This is way better than spending money at a gym.” While anyone can practice bar skills, it requires an audition to become a member. The group shares its talent by teaching classes and giving performances, most notably in Russia. For Evans, a big part of Barstarzz is having fun. “Who wouldn’t want to be out here on the beach?” she asks. “There’s hot guys everywhere!”
4 Stories by Laura Yepes and Anastasia Gaertner Photos by Raquel Zaldivar and Anastasia Bolshakov
Resident Workout Alfredo Caprile, a South Beach local, enjoys skateboarding on Ocean Drive for an hour three times a week. Bridjette Hoilett-Green, another South Beach local, runs on the beach year-round to stay active and train for marathons.
feel the burn In the city of eternal summer, it is no surprise that there are high standards when it comes to physical appearances. It is summer in South Beach. The temperature is turned all the way up, the music is vibrating from the bars on Ocean Drive and the brightly colored drinks are served by the dozen. And the bodies. Oh, the bodies. Inevitably, everyone sweats on the beach, just by standing in the 90-degree, humid heat. But some bodies on SoBe are purposefully working up a sweat — riding bikes on the boardwalk, jogging on the beach, playing volleyball in the sand. “Everyone tries to stay fit. (SoBe) society kind of pushes it,” said Alfredo Caprile, 32, who skates frequently on the boardwalk. That is what it comes down to. This is, simply put, the place to look good. The real question is: Do you come to the beach and work out to be healthy or to be seen flexing those muscles? The answer depends on whom you ask. “You work out because you want to be healthy. The reward is looking good,” said Bridjette Hoilett-Green, 45, a dedicated jogger. She runs on the beach twice, sometimes three times a day, six days a week, calling it her “therapy.” For her, going to work out at the beach is not just an image thing. SoBe lifeguard Maximo Fanjul, 32, said the sand and the heat provide a challenge as well, intensifying his workouts. He admitted that image does play a big role. “It’s a motivator,” he said. “You see others working out or a hot girl is looking at you, and it makes you want to work out harder.” Bridjette also recognized that working out surrounded by half-naked bodies can put the pressure on looking good. “People compete with people they don’t even know,” she said. It can seem to be a paradox, though, since looking good is a product of living healthy, something South Beach is not necessarily known for. “Everyone looks healthy, but the lifestyle here is not that healthy,” said Joe Bermudez, 26, who grew up in Miami Beach. He is, of course referring to the infamous South Beach tradition of drinking and partying all night. The rule might be you work out because you want to look good, in the face of not living the healthiest lifestyle. “You don’t have an excuse to be out of shape,” said runner Lori Prepszent, 30. “Because you can be in a bathing suit all year-round.”
SoBehaircare No look is complete without the right hairstyle. One of the big struggles in South Beach is finding a trendy style that withstands the hot and humid Miami climate and still looks good. The Euclid Avenue salon Oribe promotes the popular blowout, a stylishly tousled look that can endure an event-filled day with the protection of the salon’s own anti-humidity spray. South Beach is nothing if not sunny. Color-treated hair, especially in the summer, is a risky indulgence. Sean Donaldson Hair offers its customers UV protective products to keep their color from fading in the sun. Stylist Audra Billingsley suggests the fashionable “ombre” as a smarter option for busier people who still “want to look like they spent all day in the sun.” This style is easy to recognize with the contrast between the natural color at the roots and a lighter shade at the ends. “The idea comes from the natural coloration that kids get when they’ve spent their summer at the beach,” Billingsley explained.
SoBeSkincare Everyone loves the South Beach sun, but rarely does anyone realize how bad it can treat your skin. “You tend to be exposed to the sun more,” Michelle Greceoni said. “More exposed to sun damage.” Michelle, a London native and employee at Spa e, has been a resident of Miami for seven years now. But she still finds it strange how preoccupied SoBe residents are with beauty. “In London, they get facials, but it’s not that important,” Michelle said. “[Here], we have some vain clients, $1000 on a facial.” But you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to have great skin. Michelle gave us a few great tips. Prevention is better than anything, so always use sunblock. You need to wash your face, but soap is no good. Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer. Morning and Night. Forever. And drink lots of water, it makes the skin clear. And her own favorite brand to use is Repêchage. “It’s seaweed based, [so it] calms skin,” Michelle said. “Even the most sensitive skin is okay with it.” Frequent visitors of the spa include Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez. Illustrations by Julia Smart, Photos by Raquel Zaldivar, Anastasia Bolshakov
Where to eat? The food in South Beach is not
known for being the healthiest. With all of the fast food restaurants and fancy steakhouses, it is hard to find a healthy alternative for those concerned with image. Looking good starts with eating right. Hidden among the cholesterol-ridden joints are a few precious gems specializing in flavor and nutrition.
Keep cool with a sweet treat! These four drinks are SoBe’s most popular indulgences. Smoothies, like this one from Juice & Java, are a popular drink of choice after a workout, as a meal replacement, or just as a way to cool down in the heat. Packed with nutrients, many people view smoothies as the ultimate food and beverage choice.
Epicure Since 1945 Epicure
market has served Miami Beach with healthy, gourmet groceries. The store boasts several different departments, including a bakery, a deli and a winery. Nico Peraticos (right) is a regular at the market, making visits almost daily. His favorite Epicure products are cheeses and deli items. Private chef Jose Mejia (above) prefers to use fresh ingredients in his cooking. He believes the keys to a healthy lifestyle are exercise, eating right, and avoiding stress. Mejia adds, “But that’s the hardest part.”
South Beach fitness gurus, tourists and young professionals are always on the go and many rely on their favorite Starbucks drink for that extra boost of energy to get through the day.
Naked Pizza ”Naked is natural. Naked is honest.”
That is the slogan for this specialty pizza shop that prides itself in making healthy, yet delicious pizza that everyone can enjoy. Ingredients are all natural, without high-fructose corn syrup or added sugar. Assistant Manager Katheryne Rocha (right) said that Naked goes against the strongly held idea about South Beach being fake by choosing to promote feeling good on the inside instead of just looking good on the outside.
A blend of fresh, frozen strawberry daiquiri and pina colada is a popular cocktail known as a Miami Vice. Every restaurant on Ocean Drive sells this crowdpleasing favorite in a fancy glass garnished with succulent pieces of fruit.
Juice & Java “I think, more than anything, peo-
ple are becoming more conscious of eating healthy,” said Maria Cordoba (left), manager of the smoothie shop at Collins and 13th Street. The franchise offers organic, clean food for anyone interested in a healthier diet. Fitness enthusiasts visit the shop for a boost, she says, along with others looking for a delicious, refreshing smoothie made with real fruit. Juice & Java also offers a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, including wraps, soups and snacks to keep customers energized throughout the day.
Boba Tea, also known as bubble tea, is a new, trendy drink sold at sushi restaurants. The tea comes in a variety of flavors such as green, milk, and black and contains small “pearls” of tapioca at the bottom of the cup.
Stories by Anastasia Gaertner, Anastasia Bolshakov, Laura Yepes, Emily Young