The first photo shoot I ever assigned and oversaw was in fall of 1998. I hadn't launched the teen-entertainment mag Popstar! yet, but was in the planning stages, and—not knowing shit about teen mags other than loving the luxe, all-color British ones—I decided the first issue would be themed: The hottest men in music.
Teen girls don't really like men, they like boys. That was my first mistake.
However, gay male magazine editors do like men, so I was frantically searching for someone who would be cover-worthy, and yet would agree to pose for a non-existent magazine.
SEXY VIDEO IS HERE...
Lucky for me, the boy band craze was in full swing. It didn't take much persuading to get 98°—a new act, but a cute one that actually straddled the boy/man line pretty well—to agree to a shoot, so we met at a seedy bar on Houston Street and in my photographer-of-choice's considerably less boozy studio to take a series of pretty spectacular images that would've been as much at home in a men's fashion magazine as in a teenybopper mag.
98°, 40 years old, 100% nice
The guys were supernice, if somewhat...nervous? See, Chiun-Kai Shih, already making a name for himself as a fashiony shooter, was documenting the entire shoot, complete with candids of them changing, and the guys were somewhat reluctant to go shirtless. (Many boy bands would start shirtless and quickly cover up once they decided it felt "gay" or "cheesy.) The 98° member with the hottest body, baby-faced Jeff Timmons, was, along with Nick Lachey, the one most often asked to disrobe, so he was pretty reluctant. We got a precious few full-on shirtless shots and some fun peekaboos. The cover looked sensational, and I would wind up working with them steadily for years.