Gabriela Herman: Rodeo Queens
When photographer Gabriela Herman isn’t working on editorial assignments, she is a an acute observer of social groups. One of my favorite series was her examination of bloggers, shot only using the light of the computer screen. Today I feature her exploration of Rodeo Queens, women who require strength, agility, and more than a barbie doll beauty.
Gabriela is a freelance photographer focusing on lifestyle, travel, food and portraiture, always pursuing personal projects on the side. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Martha’s Vineyard when not traveling across the globe on assignments. Clients include Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Travel & Leisure, The Travel Channel, Afar, and Google among others. Her personal work has been featured in Wired, The Atlantic, Esquire and dozens of other online and offline publications. She regularly shows her work in galleries and other public venues in the US and abroad. She was selected for Critical Mass top 50 and named a Top Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation.
If you want to be a rodeo queen, here are some things to master, listed from easy to hard. You need the ability to wake up at 4 in the morning most days, getting ready in a tiny RV bathroom with six other women, and show up at the parade by 6 a.m. with enormous cascading curls, full glitz makeup and a smile that never leaves.You need to be able to parade through town on horseback during a 96-degree summer day in jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, warm felt hat and about 40 pounds of leather. You need to make it look good. You need to know the signs of colic in horses, the name and hometown of the cowboy who took home the grand prize at the 1986 Laramie Roundup, and 4,000 other similar facts about any aspect of rodeo or Western life. You need to be able to tear through an arena on horseback at full gallop, American flag flying behind you while rodeo fans scream. You need to drive your truck thousands and thousands of miles, your horse in a trailer behind you, stopping in towns with populations of 600 or 1,300. You need to be able to get on a horse you’ve never seen before. You need to make that horse look good as the judges watch. You need to leave your friends, your family, your home and your life behind and commit, 100 percent, to being a rodeo queen.
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