At Miami Swim Week, the audience members are more scantily clad than the bikini models on the runway. Glancing around, you see high-cut slits, see-through tops, and a sheer black dress paired with a thong where only embroidered appliques cover the nipples. A sand colored string romper worn braless leaves little to the imagination, and the woman wearing it appears naked in front of me.
Welcome to South Beach Miami. Nicknamed the gateway to South America, this little sliver of land is a part of the world where mesh fringed ponchos worn over string bikinis and heels are normal shopping and restaurant attire. Makeup Artist and Florida local Tamara Takacs gave her insight, “It’s just so damn hot and humid in Miami. The last thing i want to do is put on clothes. So normally i just put on the bare legal minimum of clothing when I go outside”.
The hot weather may be a big reason for everyone wanting to look their best in skin-baring styles. Model Kendall Singer said, “I used to have two or three bathing suits but since I moved to Florida, I own a huge drawer full of over thirty bikinis and I love wearing them.”
Next to these bathing beauties were an endless parade of topless V-shaped muscled men with popping pecs, hulking shoulders and washboard stomachs. Competitive bodybuilder Ingrid Valentine said, “The weather and the beaches inspire people to look and feel good. Fitness in Miami is in high demand".
Fitness doesn’t have to involve expensive trainers, supplements or gear. The Miami Barstarzz make their home on 9th Street and Ocean. Here they promote free fitness in an open-air workout area open twenty-four hours a day, with chin-up bars, parallel bars, monkey bars and other simple apparatuses for body weight calisthenics. Fitness in Miami can be seen as an around the clock commitment.
Tory Hill, a web designer, said, “I work out every day about three hours a day on the bars. It’s a cure all. You mad about something? You sweat it out. Stressing at work? Sweat it out. Frustrated, can’t sleep or you wake up in the middle of the night, I come here and work out. Mind, body spirit.”
Big Tony gives us a different take on his reason for fitness, “I’m going to keep it straight. It’s for the girls. I train, I get big. I get girls. You got to be beach ready all year long because it’s summertime all year long here.
Pappas, a tall, thin production assistant in his 20s agrees that the culture in Miami demands men to be very macho, “I have had the last three girls I liked say to me that they don’t want to date me because I don’t have a big muscular body. The girls even went so far to be explain in detail saying they like to grab a guy’s muscles when having sex and because i didn’t have any muscles, they didn’t want to sleep with me”.
The “looks matter” culture in Miami can seem very shallow but it is also the reason people say the women in Miami are all so beautiful. The stakes are high and the demanding competition to look good and date in Miami is not going anywhere soon. So enjoy the eye candy, throw on your favorite bikini or board shorts and enjoy the colorful art deco buildings in Miami.
Be sure to stop by and check out the Barstarzz. All are welcome. It’s free fun in the sun and you can even cool off with a jump in the ocean right after a few pull-ups.
Model - Kendall Singer, mc2 Miami
Barstarzz - Ingrid Valentine, Tory, Big Tony, Eddy Cabrera
Photography by Becky Yee
Bikini Stylist - Kimmie Smith
Accessory Stylist - Nikki Ewanouski
Hair and Makeup Artist - Tamara Takacs for FACE atelier, using silicone based Ultra foundation
Photo Assistant - Pappas Shield
Production and Photo Retouching - Around Digital Media
All Biknis - Yandy.com
Special Thanks: Mrs. Singer, Gina Santiago and the entire 9th and Ocean Barstarz Crew