And what did he have to do for that kind of money?
"I did Obsession for Calvin Klein, Chaps for Ralph Lauren, and I did an underwear campaign for Calvin Klein as well," he said, still sounding relatively bored. But I stopped him. Shinn had stood around in front of a bunch of cameras in his underwear? "I must say it was awkward at first," he chuckled. "But everyone on the shoot was really chill, and so, after a couple hours it was just kind of not a big deal and it was fine."
Was he proud of modeling? Embarrassed about it?
"I wouldn't say proud or embarrassed," Shinn answered. "I would say I'm lucky to do it, which is good. I've got to take advantage of it while I can. I'm fortunate, but I don't think it's something to be proud of."
And why not?
"Because," he said. "Winning high school nationals in sailing is something that I've worked for all my life. This is something that I was fortunate enough to be born with. It's not something that I've had to work for since I was eight years old to become. So it's an accomplishment, but it's like a God-given accomplishment."
So did he feel a spiritual obligation to model?
He laughed. "Well, I don't know about that. But I think I should take advantage of it while I can. I mean, most models are forced into retirement by the time they're 25."
Did Shinn have any anxieties about his face or his physique?
"I think I look fine," Shinn said. "And if someone else disagrees, then that's their opinion. They're entitled to it. But it doesn't bother me. I'm not too self-conscious about the way I look."
And how did his looks translate into success with the young ladies?
"I've had a steady girlfriend for over a year now," he replied. "And she's great. I don't think she really likes the fact that I'm around all these models, but she knows I love her, and she doesn't mind too much."
Shinn's parents advise him about all his new money, but they also let him do what he wants. As for dreams, his true aspirations are with sailing. He says that one day he'd like to sail in the Olympics and in the America's Cup. But modeling is a great way to finance those dreams, and he knows it. "I wouldn't belittle modeling," he said. "It's a really, really great opportunity."
Someone who's been maximizing that opportunity since she was a teenager is local hottie Ute Werner. Werner is off-the-hook, drop-dead, breath-caught-in-the-throat, involuntary-low-whistle, eyes-popped-out-of-your-sockets, never-look-at-yourself-in-a-mirror-again gorgeous. Blonde hair, blue eyes, white teeth, smooth skin, hourglass figure. See for yourself. Go click on ute-werner.com. Go ahead, this article will still be here when you get back.
But I spoke to Ute Werner (over the telephone) before I ever saw her. And although I knew I was talking to a highly successful model, I couldn't help but think that this woman on the phone was just too smart and grounded to be all that pretty. Turns out she's just got it all, a blessing in every corner.
Werner's 26 years old, 5'9" tall, 130 lbs., and according to her website, she measures 36D-25-35. That's math language for "perfect proportions." She models and acts for a living. Werner graduated from Bonita High and went to Cuyamaca College for three years without graduating. She didn't need to. She's been in what is essentially the family business since the age of 13. Her mom, at 63, is still a model, and her older sister used to model, and she did pretty well. Werner's biggest job was the national ad for Rembrandt toothpaste. Her teeth are probably her best attribute.
On the other side of it, she thinks her hands are her worst feature: too big and athletic. And maybe her muscular arms as well. "Most female models aren't really super-fit," Werner said. "Actually, they're just kind of skinny."
Werner owns and rides three horses, which is her main workout. She also dates a professional no-holds-barred fighter, and she's a regular practitioner of Muay Thai kickboxing. "It depends what kind of modeling you want to do," she said. "In the lifestyles and fitness modeling worlds, they want girls who are in shape. But for fashion modeling it's better if you're really thin. And the thing is, the fitness jobs don't pay as much as the rest of the modeling pays. So I more or less try to keep myself in the lifestyle category. Like, Rembrandt was a lifestyle job."
Werner has been represented by Shamon Freitas Agency for about the past year. She works mostly in Los Angeles and is trying to make the gradual shift from modeling gigs to commercials and finally into film acting. Her most important possession is probably her car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, because she commutes constantly to and from L.A. "You have your time window with modeling, where once you get past a certain age, the jobs really aren't there for you anymore. Unless you're a household name, like Christie Brinkley, I mean, she still gets to do a lot of modeling, and she's past that golden age. But modeling, in general, just has this small window. Acting has a much wider range of opportunity."
She's been a full-time model and actor for the better part of the past seven years. The amount of money she makes is very uneven and comes in sporadically. Last year, she tripled her income from the year before, and this year she's earning an amount, she said, "somewhere between the two." The Rembrandt campaign netted her $25,000 for a day's work.
"I'm a California blonde," she said. "And depending on the ad campaigns, and whatever fads are in at the time, maybe they'll be looking for brunettes, or for Latinas, or whatever, but you can't always count on there being work. You can make $20,000 one month and less than $2,000 the next month. You go through phases. So you have to be practical and be smart with your money."