Soles of Silk - 2017's Star Models

Every year since 2015 I have named a trio of what I've come to call, Star Models. Star Models are the models who shot the most photos during the calendar year. Earlier this year, my curiousity got the best of me and I went back and did a retroactive series of blogs looking at the site's Star Models from 2004-14. With every year now covered, it's time to look at the year that was 2017.

I have to say, 2017 was a strange year. I didn't shoot a ton of models, but the ones I did shoot, shot quite a bit. Some of my regulars, such as Kelsey and Kaycee, models who were featured as Star Models during the last two years, didn't shoot a single set in 2017. Most surprisingly, Alice, who has shot 11 sets each year she's modeled her size 11's for the site, earning a Star Model spot both years, is absent from this year's list. For those of you who are curious, while she did model in 2017, she only managed to find time to do seven sets.

So who made this year's list? Well, two newbies actually. All three models this year shot into the double digits for their sets. Alexa came in with 10, which is just one shy of the record Alice set for a brand new model back in 2015. Melani, however, went ahead and shattered that record this year with 21 sets. Those 21 sets beat both a rookie record as well as Mindee's 2015 record of 16 sets shot in a year. Just when you think that Melani is now the site's record holder, Mindee went and shot 40! Yeah... 40! Without saying anything else, let's going into detail on each of these three ladies - the 2017 Star Models:

3. Alexa
Debuted: 2017
# of sets posed for in 2017: 10

Back in 2010, Jamie debuted on Soles of Silk and went on to shoot 10 sets. At the time, she was the first and only model to ever reach double digits when it came to sets shot in a calendar year. While this would happen several times over more recent years, Jamie was the only rookie model to shoot 10 or more sets until Alice's 2015 debut when she shot 11. Now Alexa joins the double digit debut club, if you will, with her 10 sets shot in 2017. Another model, the one featured below, also accomplished this in 2017, but more on her in a bit.

Alexa and I didn't know each other prior to our shoot. The most we had done was text one another after a mutual friend, Jasey Rae, put us in touch. Boy, am I glad she did! Alexa and I hit it off almost immediately. I joked around and made sure the mood was light during her first ever sets, but by the end of her first day, she was smashing a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell out in public. And yes, a few people did manage to walk by during that set.

It didn't take long for Alexa to tell me that she couldn't wait to shoot again, which we did two more times in 2017. Each time we shot three to four sets and I came away with some great content, including the site's upcoming update on January 3, 2018. Alexa just loved being in front of my camera and shooting her was fun each and every time.

We weren't the only ones who enjoyed the shoots we did together, though. Many of you did as well. Alexa got such a positive response whenever I published one of her sets to the site, or a teaser to Instagram (@SolesofSilk). I'm sure, however, that those same people would much rather have had those super soft soles of hers in their hands like I did. Yes, I'm totally bragging right now! Don't blame me though... Alexa loves those rubs just as much as I do.

2. Melani
Debuted: 2017
# of sets posed for in 2017: 21

Want to talk about a debut? Jamie's 10 sets in 2010 was awesome. Alice's 11 sets in 2015 was phenomenal. Alexa shooting 10 in 2017 was amazing. Melani shooting 21 in 2017, however, was just mind-blowing! That number practically doubles that of Jamie, Alice, and Alexa. And the funny thing is, she could have had even more!

I used to work with Melani when she was just a teenager. She found a new job a little over a year ago and we lost touch for a bit. Melani was friends with Camille, when we worked together, and knew about Soles of Silk through her. The two always joked about shooting together one day when Melani turned 18. Well, she finally did and I reached out to her shortly thereafter. She told me that she still very much wanted to shoot and she debuted with an awesome baseball themed set that made her an instant hit on the site. From there, we went on to shoot a few weeks later and she just got better with each and every shoot.

Melani didn't go too long without shooting new sets early on. We even traveled out of state on three occasions to get some unique locations - including the watermelon themed set shown above, done at Delaware's Rehobeth Beach. We also made our way down to Washington, D.C. as well as another location in Delaware.

When I struck up a conversation toward the end of the year with Melani, she mentioned that she really wanted to shoot again. It had been a few months since our last shoot and she was itching to get some more camera time. I was itching to shoot her again too! I went ahead and rented out a hotel suite and shot six more sets, which pushed her over the 20 set mark - something no model had ever done until this year. It would have been the most ever, had Mindee not went berserk and shot 40. More on her in a bit.

Speaking of Mindee, Melani's set count this year also includes three sets with Mindee. The two were awesome together and I just loved seeing one of the site's newest and longest term models together. You won't want to miss any of the sets with these two together when they're published, believe me!

Even with all Melani shot in 2017, she probably could have hit 30 if it were not for a few hiccups with our scheduling. We ran into a few snags with things coming up on the days of several planned shoots. We also got rained out a couple of times on top of that. It's crazy to think what all we could have also done plus all the great things that we did do. I guess we'll just have to make up for that in 2018, huh? And yes, we're already talking about a few ideas and can't wait to get them in. The biggest of which, will be a Wu's Feet Link's feature model set I asked her to shoot. That's right, Melani is poised to be the model to represent Soles of Silk in 2018. You're reading it here first!

1. Mindee
Debuted: 2004
# of sets posed for in 2017: 40

Someone check Mindee for performance enhancing drugs! If photo count records were as prestigious as sports records, Mindee smashing the previously held record in this manner would call for an investigation. Already setting the previous record of 16 back in 2015, that number has all but been obliterated now. Hell, she even just missed doubling up Melani's record breaking 21 set number above. It's just crazy to think about, but it was so much fun making this record happen!

I shot with Mindee so many times this year. The majority of her 40 sets came during a two day span back in May. On May 30, 2017 the "Suite Feet Saga" took place. Mindee shot 13 sets in a single day, falling short of doing the 15 we playfully proposed in the days leading up to the shoot. When Jasey Rae and Kelsey couldn't make it during the second day, Mindee rescued me by coming back to do more. We even got Alice to stop by and join her in a set too.

As you read above, I was also able to get Mindee to shoot with Melani three times in 2017. Melani and Alice weren't the only two models she shot with, however. Rein and Emerald shot some new sets with her again, but another new model came my way through Mindee. She shot two sets with her that were notable in so many ways. That model was Shelby, Mindee's mom. Talk about an accomplishment. I had never shot one of my model's mothers, or daughters, let alone a mom/daughter combo. It was something I'll never forget and something I hope to do with these two again moving forward.

With Mindee's photo count rising numerous times during 2017, it became a little joke with Mindee and I. She'd say she wanted to shoot "x" amount of sets now that we were only a few more away from that number. I'd say okay and we'd make plans to shoot. That happened several times, all the way up to December.

In December Mindee and I made plans to get her photo count to 35 sets. She liked that number and I rented out another hotel suite. She got Rein to come along and the "More Suite Feet" series took place. She got her 35, but then a week later she stopped by to get in a set with Melani when we shot the "Suite Teen Feet" series. That put her at 36. Mindee wasn't having that.

I joked once more that I'd totally find time for her to shoot four more sets before the holidays if she had time. She replied, "How about Sunday?"

That Sunday I went to Mindee's place and we shot four sets all over her house (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Mindee & Her Quest For 40"). She got her 40 and that made her so happy. I couldn't believe it, even though I was for each and every set. 

I don't know if this record will ever be approached, let alone, beaten. In my heart of hearts, the only model I could see beating it would be Mindee. Knowing her, she's already looking to get 50 in next year.

Star Model Leader Count (as of 2017)

This portion of the Star Models blog was begun this year. In November 2017, I went back to do the Star Models of years past (2004-14). I wanted to see which models made the most appearances throughout the years and who actually shot the most, well, the most? Wanting to know this information, I decided to share the results at the conclusion of these blogs as they progress. I will include this on each and every installment moving forward.

Most Overall Appearances

  • 5 appearances - Mindee (2007, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 3 appearances - Madison (2004, 2006, 2008), Layla (2005, 2007, 2009), Wendy (2006, 2008, 2012), Cierra (2008, 2009, 2010), Jamie (2010, 2012, 2014)
  • 2 appearances - Kellie (2005, 2006), Molly (2005, 2006), Jordana (2008, 2010), Mileena (2011, 2012), Ryan (2011, 2013), Alice (2015, 2016)
  • 1 appearance - Lauryn (2004), Lisa Tyler (2004), Sue Lovely (2004), Kimmie (2005), Lexi (2005), Abby (2007), Lady Steph (2008), Jaylee Austin (2009), Charlee (2011), Kayleigh (2011), Aspen (2012), Nikki (2012), Megan Jones (2013), Emerald (2014), Felicia (2014), Lela Beryl (2014), Kaycee (2015), Kelsey (2016), Melani (2017), Alexa (2017)

Most Overall 1st Place Appearances

  • 4 appearances - Mindee (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 2 appearances - Kellie (2005, 2006), Jamie (2010, 2014)
  • 1 appearance - Madison (2004), Layla (2005), Wendy (2012), Cierra (2008), Jaylee Austin (2009), Mileena (2011), Ryan (2011), Alice (2016)

Thanks for joining me on this stroll through Soles of Silk's history. I always aim to give my models as much credit as possible. Without them, Soles of Silk wouldn't be what it is. Please be sure to come back again this time next year when we look at 2017's Star Models.

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