It was not more than a few months ago that I had the opportunity to meet up and coming fitness talent Dave Dreas. I was shooting on the beach in Los Angeles and unfortunately; it was not what you would have imagined. There was no sun, no crisp blue skies and definitely no warm weather. Instead we had an deep overcast, near freezing weather and some unkind winds from the ocean making our lives oh so joyful. Perfect weather for a swimwear photo shoot! And despite the fact that myself and my entire team (who were clothed) had to huddle in a tight circle between photo sets to keep warm, this model Dave Dreas was ready to go, never once complained and brought such great energy to the photo shoot that it made the entire experience a lot of fun.
Since that very cold Los Angeles morning, I’ve had the opportunity to work with this Arizona-based talent on several projects including a magazine spread for Max Sports & Fitness. I’ve greatly admired Dave’s journey and am happy to have him featured here. After reading this you will see why sometimes getting your heart crushed by a signficant other can be a good thing!
James Patrick (JP): Your background was in playing basketball in college at St. Cloud State University. Share with us a little about that experience.
Dave Dreas (DD): It was one of the best experiences of my life. The basketball part was great but the relationships I made with my teammates and coaches were what I will always remember. In regards to basketball, it was like a full time job. I had a lot of fun and I had a lot of success scoring 1802 points and being selected to the DII All Star Game. It worked out well and it was one of the best decisions of my life to attend St. Cloud State University.
JP: Having recognizable success in basketball in college, was it hard to walk away from that upon graduating?
DD: To be honest with you, not really. I sat down with my coach after I graduated and we discussed my options of playing overseas but I decided I wanted to move on. I enjoy watching the sport and I’ll occasionally shoot around but I don’t have an itch to play anymore.
JP: What brought you out to Arizona from Minnesota?
DD: I graduated school in 4.5 years so after playing my four years of basketball I had a semester to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had some friends living down here that enjoyed it and I really wanted to live in a warm weather climate. I don’t hunt, fish, ski, snowboard or any of the outdoor things you can do in Minnesota so I traded that stuff for the pool!
JP: At what point did you decide you wanted to get in front of the camera?
DD: I’ll tell ya quick story. I’m sure others in the fitness industry have experienced this. I was dating a girl for a while and we ended up breaking up. When that happens you usually have some time to reflect and during that time I realized how out of shape I had become!
So I ended up doing a transformation contest with my current company Jeremy Scott Fitness and took some pictures after about 6 weeks. This was the first time I actually dieted down and ate clean and the pictures showed that. After I did that my whole mindset changed and I started to look into different avenues of fitness. Later on in the year I found FMI and the rest is history!
JP: Who was your first photo shoot with and what was it like?
DD: My first real photo shoot was with Studio D Photography. The funny thing about it was that it was her first fitness shoot along with my first fitness shoot so we were both just looking for ideas. I was working out and just telling her to take pictures of what she thought would look good! It’s funny to look back on it now of how it all worked out. She did a great job and the pictures turned out great. I still use some of the today.
JP: What about being on camera resonates with you the most?
DD: I’ve had the opportunity to play basketball infront of thousands of people so being infront of the camera really doesn’t make me that nervous. I still have so much to learn and that is what excites me. Shooting with different photographers allows me to hear and learn something new. I look forward to shoots and improving from each one!
JP: Explain a little about your position at Jeremy Scott Fitness.
DD: I am part owner with Jeremy Scott and Ben Novak. We all share in the responsibility of growing, managing and running the company. It’s a 30 minute, interval training, boot camp that focuses on overall strength, flexibility and fat loss. It’s going very well and we are continually seeing an increase in business, which is a good thing!
JP: Your degree is in marketing. How integral is your educational background into your current career both as the Managing Partner for Jeremy Scott Fitness and as a freelance modeling talent?
DD: It’s extremely important for both. For our company, we are always looking for ways to reach new people. Just as important as finding new clients you have to be able to properly market and manage your current clientele. When your in college you learn a lot about product life cycles, niche marketing, gorilla marketing etc. All of this stuff can be applied to what I am doing today so I am grateful for the education I received.
JP: What has your strategy been to seek out specific photographers and build relationships with them?
DD: You know I met a lot of photographers at FMI. That pretty much ended up being the strategy! I have shot with a couple of them since the event and I have some scheduled down the road too! A few things I’ve learned is that Photographers are extremely busy so it’s so important that you are respectful of their time. I’m not at the point where photographers are calling me so it’s important that I take advantage of any time they have available. Another thing I like to do is go through Facebook and look at photographers work. I follow a ton of fitness professionals and they all have some pretty cool pictures so I search out to see who the photographer is. Then it’s just a matter of contacting them and setting something up.
JP: What are some things you’ve done to market yourself to various clients (both commercial clients and editorial clients)?
DD: The biggest thing was making relationships with photographers and also with editors. I have and will continue to send content to them hoping that sooner or later they will need something of mine! It’s a waiting game and you just have to be patient. As I get farther along and grow a fitness portfolio I feel things might come a little easier. It’s like building a house. You need to start from the bottom and work your way up by doing the little things. Sooner or later you will step back and see that you have a pretty solid frame work in place. You then just build off of that!
JP: Understanding that we all learn from mistakes; what are some hiccups you’ve had in developing your brand and the lessons you learned from them?
DD: To be honest, I haven’t really had any big mistakes. I guess you could say that’s a bad thing because I haven’t pushed as hard as I should or need to. The biggest thing I have done is taking a much more proactive approach here in 2012. I have seen a lot of nice things happen so I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring.
JP: What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of?
DD: Two things I’m most proud of so far in the fitness industry. I had my first spread in Max Sports and Fitness February issue. I thought that was pretty cool. The second was winning best abs in the valley (Phoenix, Ariz) on a local Radio Station. I submitted a photo and received the most votes so it’s nice to know people actually did that and I won.
JP: How have you leveraged the use of blogging and sharing websites to market yourself as a model and the company you work for?
DD: I just started doing more of that. I created a facebook page and have been putting health realted content on the site. I’m figuring out ways to grow that and spread the word about myself. It’s tough because there are a lot of well respected people out there that already doing this. Starting out as a nobody makes it much more difficult and challenging which is a good thing because it’s a) humbling, b) makes you learn more and c) makes you work harder and smarter. If I’m consistent and doing the right activities it will all work out!
We do a lot of things on the web with Jeremy Scott Fitness and that has really opened my eyes on how to run a successful social media page. You need to really engage your followers and provide quality content that drives traffic. People like to be involved or apart of something so if you can create an atmosphere where people feel involved you are doing a great job!
JP: What are some of the current goals you are setting for yourself in the fitness industry and how are you setting forth to achieve them?
DD: First and foremost I just enjoy the fitness industry as a whole. I like talking fitness, working out, eating healthy and looking good. This career path was made for me. My life has changed so much within the last 8 months I can’t even imagine where I’ll be 8 months from now. That excites me. I’m not the type to sit in an office from 9-5. My number one goal is to continue to run a successful fitness company because that is what pays the bills and allows me to live and enjoy life. On top of the business, I do have some goals that can provide more work and open up new avenues in the industry.
So with that being said I’d like to add 10-15 more lbs in the next 2 years and just become overall more fit. I’d also like to be involved with a supplement company. I feel that I can represent their brand from a marketing standpoint and can provide value if given the opportunity. I’d like to do print work in magazines and ads and hopefully some day I can land a cover. With all of this it takes patience and perseverance and I’m going to continue to promote myself and “put myself out there.”
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to where I am today and I couldn’t have done it without all the family, friends, and contacts I have made. I look forward to what the future may hold!
Feel free to conntect with Dave Dreas on his Facebook Page.