First month in the City of Angels, First video sold:
After my first experience with a celebrity on my very first day of being in LA, I was ready to look for a job, though I had no idea where to begin. My brother had to go back to work as a paparazzo and he invited me to tag along. They had him on airport (LAX) duty, which meant he was to spend most of the day in the airport looking for celebrities flying in and out of there. Victoria Beckham was flying in that day and all of Los Angeles knew about it. It was her first time moving to the U.S.A. shortly after David Beckham switched teams to play in the LA Galaxy and Victoria got herself a reality show.
There was a huge crew of people in Tom Bradley International Terminal waiting for her. Amongst all the people there were a film team for her new reality show, more than 50 paparazzi, hundreds of fans and even more people that were just cruising along the airport that got attracted by all the commotion. Everyone waited for hours for the plane to make it to the terminal. Passengers went through checkpoints and finally Victoria got ready to make her huge entrance for her reality show.
She came out the terminal and all hell broke loose. I was in between all the people with a camcorder trying to get a decent shot of her walking out, pushing, smashing, filming, and shouting. Before she made it all the way out, her film crew instructed her to go back because they didn’t get a proper shot, and I didn’t either, so we all had a second chance. She went back inside the terminal and we waited for another 20 minutes while everyone got ready for her again. This attracted even more people, the crowd was getting immense. She walked out again, this time with bodyguards and police help to disperse the crowd. Whilst she makes her way to her waiting limousine, I somehow end up to the left of her in a perfect position in between all the photographers and videographers, including her own personal film crew (which ended with a horrible angle). Before she climbed into her limousine, some crazy skinny black guy behind me holding a disposable camera started shouting “Jesus loves you Victoria, Victoria, Jesus loves you!!!!” The sound bit made my recording and made it the whole video way more interesting than it really was.
The next day my video made it to a celebrity website called “justjared.com”. It was May 15th 2007 and I had my first video published a day right before my birthday. I went to the office to meet Kido’s bosses who were impressed that I sold something on my second try as a paparazzo. They gave me a $500 check and told me that I should keep working with my brother as an assistant and a videographer. I had many reasons to celebrate, besides that the very next day I was turning 21 and the bosses told us to take the next couple of days off.
(screen cap of where the video was posted, the video is no longer available)
Not knowing the city or any people in it, my choices for celebrating my birthday were pretty limited. So I wen out with my brother for dinner and drinks. Kido invited two of his friends, Darcy and Kim, who just recently graduated from college. They were a year or two older than me. Darcy was a beautiful redhead of short stature with an amazing body and a perfect white smile. Kim was of Korean decent also with a rocking body, but with a sour face that shouts bitchiness from a distance. Nonetheless they were two very attractive girls to go out and party with.
We went to Cafe Sushi close to the Beverly Center in West Hollywood. We ate and drank a lot, because it was my birthday I got a free drink and cake. I remember the tab being over $170, the most expensive outing I’ve ever had and Kido paid for everything. Afterwards, we went to The Brass Monkey a quasi-famous Karaoke bar in Koreatown. After plenty more drinks, I decided on doing something horrible and tried singing Karaoke. I chose to sing Going the Distance by Cake and Kido was going to help me out. We were beyond awful at it that the DJ had to help us out throughout most of the song (We sounded like two Russians trying to rap in English). When we were done, two Latina girls took the stage and sang Thalia’s “Maria Mercedes”.
We went back to our table were Darcy and Kim were still drinking, I don’t remember if they sang anything, but I remember trying to make a move on Kim. She said I was too young for her (though she was only a year older) and I said that has never stopped me before. She challenged me to hit in any of the older women in the bar, she said that I didn’t have any game (and I didn’t), but I was drunk and I took the challenge. The Latina girls were done singing and were sitting at the bar, I told Kim that I would hook up with the pretty one by the end of the night and took a drink of courage and headed her way.
I went up to them and started speaking Spanish and playfully made fun of their horrible performance of Thalia. One thing led to another, quickly… though I barely remember what happened. I remember making out with her at the bar, and that she was much older than me. Then, the bar was closing, so we had to leave and suddenly we started making out in the parking lot. There, in the parking lot, I puked a bunch of the sushi I had. Before I got in Kido’s car reason I decided to go with the girls instead of going back home. I don’t remember the rest of the night or how I got back home; all I know is that I left my favorite hoodie in the girl’s car and that it was light out.
I woke up hung-over and disoriented on the couch not knowing the hour. My brother had packed his bags and told me he had to catch a flight. It was work related though he wouldn’t tell me where he was going, who he was photographing or why so quickly. He didn’t want to leave me in Los Angeles by myself stuck in an apartment with no car, so he asked the bosses if they could rent me a car while he was away. I have no idea why they agreed to do it. We went to Enterprise Rent-a-car in Beverly Hills. Kido rented a car with his license, I was not old enough to rent a car. Not only that, I didn’t have an American license and my Mexican license was expired. He rented a silver Dodge Magnum, then gave me some extra cash and I drove him to the airport with his girlfriend. But there I was in Los Angeles, freshly 21 years old with a rented car paid by the Photography Agency and with some cash in my pocket. I was supposed to be on a hunt for a job or for celebrities. Instead I met a girl I used to talk to through MySpace.
Her name was Yorba-Linda, better known as Yobi for short, and short she was. She was Peruvian, petite, caramel skinned, and with long black hair. She was obsessed with celebrity culture, so having a brother in the business of stalking them and that I had a close encounter with two of them made her completely fall for me. I basically spend the rest of my week with her.
Kido called me two days later from Cabo San Lucas to see how I was doing by myself and to finally tell me what he was up too. Jessica Simpson was in Cabo San Lucas with John Mayer and it was my brother’s mission to get them together. He told me he was coming back in a couple of days once he completed his mission.
A couple of days later I picked him up from LAX. He didn’t complete his mission. He did get some pictures, but they weren’t good enough to be a huge sale like it could have been. On the trip, he also fought with his girlfriend and broke up. But finally now that he was back we were to start working together as a team. If the bosses like the work I did they would start paying me to work with my brother. So my paparazzi days began assisting my brother and making videos when I had a chance.
I saw Victoria Beckham (and David as well) a lot of times after this first one. Most of them happened at LAX, some of them were on the street, but all of them always had tons of other paparazzi following. I remember seeing her exclusive only once in the summer of 2007, I did video and my brother and another co-worker did pictures, the rest of the time I always saw her surrounded by bodyguards, photographers, staff and other random people.
These are my best pictures, its really tough to get good pics between a lot of people and when your target is avoiding you!
Pic from April 10th, 2009. The whole family arrived from London at night time. There were more than 30 paparazzi at the scene (photographers and videographers),a couple bodyguards, a bunch of airport security and a lot of passers-by people.
Pic from May 3rd, 2009. This is one of the few times I didn’t see her swarmed with people. There were around 10 photographers and just two bodyguards. It was pretty uneventful but her weird shoulder pads made the picture appear in a lot of blogs and a few magazines.
Taken on September 9th, 2010 on a late night. There weren’t that many people around her on this one, but it was really tough to get. More than 20 photographers in the area for Victoria, but when a celebrity comes out of terminal 2 they have around a lot of possibilities from what door to come out. And the Beckham’s like to play games, and they like to send a couple of limousines to different spots of the airport as bait cars so you have no choice but to choose which door you think they’ll come out. I was one of the few that got away with pictures that night. I saw my image in several blogs and magazines.
This was on December 5th, 2010 in the middle of the day. It was a fun day, there were more than 20 photographers waiting for her to catch her going on a departing flight. Everyone got messy pictures of her when she got out of the limousine and into the building. But once inside no one expected her to turn to her right and head for the elevator (no one but me). I quickly moved in front of her into the elevator hallway and got a couple of clean exclusive pictures. You can see three photographers on the back that completely thought she was going the other way and didn’t get the clean pics.