Behind the Scenes with an Athleta Fitness Model

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an Athleta model? Lauren, one of our fitness models, shares a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be on location with our crew in Mexico.

Hey there, Chi Blog readers!


My name is Lauren, and I’m a fitness model…

I’ve been working with Athleta for some time now, and wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the process of creating some of the beautiful images you see on their site, in-store and in their catalog.




The images you see in this post were shot in Mexico over two weeks in October. It was the first location shoot I had gone on with Athleta, and I was so excited! As a fitness model, Athleta is one of the brands you aspire to work with your entire career, and the experience did not disappoint! Athleta historically shoots on location right around every 3 months, creating images to fill 3 catalogs at a time. In Mexico, the crew traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos and Ensenada. I was lucky enough to be with them in Todos Santos and Ensenada.

I landed in Cabo San Lucas late at night, where we then drove an hour and 15 minutes to the sleepy town of Todos Santos. I checked into my hotel, and went straight to bed as I had to be up a few short hours later for hair and makeup. When on location, the crew is always battling the weather and chasing the sun; that said, every single morning calls for early wake-ups to catch the perfect sunrise. Sunrise shots are my personal favorite.

We stayed at a hotel near the Punta Lobos Lighthouse in Todos Santos. The beach was empty and the surf was massive – beautiful in shots but a little scary to try and swim. Apparently, Mexico is warmer than the surface of the sun in October, so we shot until noon, and then had a long lunch break during high heat.

The best thing about Athleta is they truly are the brand that you see in the images. They are active and love adventure. A small group of us, including photographer’s assistants, production team members and models, took advantage of our long lunch break and decided to go surfing at Cerritos Beach. I had only been surfing once before – needless to say it was a challenge. After a few hours of surfing and a quick bite to eat, it was back to the hotel for hair and makeup, before heading back out for sunset shots.





On Day 2, we shot at one of the coolest beaches I have ever seen in my life, Playa Las Palmas. On one side you have a beautiful cove with crystal blue water and great surf, and on the other side you have a mile or so of jungle that turns into a dry cacti strewn desert. Oh yeah, and there are wild horses! From what I understood, Playa Las Palmas is Todos Santos’ hidden gem. We were the only people on the beach for most of the morning, until a small group of local surfers joined us. I later found out the surfers were considered some of the best t in all of Cabo.



For someone who wants to be reincarnated as an extreme sports athlete, I was fascinated with watching how in tune and graceful these athletes were in the water.

Come wrap of Day 2, we all wound down over a beautiful meal with the whole cast and crew. I have been a vegan for the past year for health reasons, which tends to make eating while traveling difficult. That said, I loved the food in Mexico; it was easy to find vegan friendly options, and the Athleta crew always made it a point to take care of me.

Our next location was Ensenada, the up and coming wine valley in Mexico, about an hour outside of Tijuana. We stayed at an eco hotel called Encuentro Guadeloupe, and it was the coolest hotel I have ever stayed at hands down. The hotel was situated in a winery that included a main building, cellar, bar and restaurant, and then individual ‘boxes’ built into the side of a cliff that were each of our rooms. They overlooked the wine valley, and in a different situation would be the most amazing setting for a romantic getaway.



The early call time was less painful on Day 3 because we got to watch the sun rise over the valley. It was the last day of shooting and while everyone was exhausted, they had an added pep in their steps as the next day everyone was headed home to their families.

Which brings me to the crew that creates these stunning images. While most only sees the final product – a catalog with a few models and a gorgeous location – there are so many faces behind the scenes that are just as important. From Athleta there is a producer, creative director, stylist and product specialist. From the location there is a local production team that plays host, coordinating and making sure we have everything we need! Behind the camera is the photographer Ben Watts and his 4 assistants, and finally, the hair stylist and makeup artist who made us all look and feel beautiful. Who knew it took so many people, right!?

From every single one of us to all of you, we truly hope you enjoy these images as much as we enjoyed creating them for you!

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Makayla VanGesen

February 27, 2017 at 8:49 pm

That’s so awesome!! 🙂 Definitely the best job ever! I absolutely love athleta and their locations for their shoots! It’s an absolute treat to look through and read their magazines!❤️?

Cindy Edwards

March 05, 2017 at 4:55 am

How can you become an Athleta fitness model?

missy lopez

March 20, 2017 at 9:26 am

I second that question 🙂

Athleta - Lauren Young

May 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm

[…] work with the brand in Mexico, and they asked me to give a behind the scenes look! Check it out here on Athleta’s Chi […]

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