It's just not a good day to be a bikini model when everyone else around your photo shoot is wearing coats.
Several Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders learned that rule of thumb Tuesday when they came to South Jersey to have their pictures taken for the NFL team's next official cheerleader calendar.
Chelsey Morris, a three-year veteran cheerleader from Lakewood, discovered that truth when the 21-year-old did her bikini shots in front of Lucy the Elephant, the Margate landmark.
"At first, I was fine, but then the longer and longer it went on, I said, 'I'm cold now,'" said Morris, who shivered ever so slightly as she said she likes going to almost any Long Beach Island beach - but more so in the summer.
And later, rookie cheerleader Michaelaann Guaracini, a Vineland native who loves the beaches and Boardwalk around her grandparents' summer place in Ocean City, was looking pretty chilly as she had her bikini pictures shot at Margate's fishing pier.
So during one brief break, her mother, a concerned spectator, offered to help her daughter out.
"Michael, do you want this coat?" mom asked, offering her cheerleader-daughter the coat right off her back - which happened to be full-length, and filled with down. Michaelaann turned down that kind offer.
For the record, it wasn't quite down-coat weather on local beaches Tuesday. The air was in the mid-50s, but with a stiff northerly breeze of 17 mph or so, it really wasn't hard to get that wind-swept look that seems so prized in the world of high-fashion photography.
After Margate, the cheerleaders and their expansive entourage would pack up the cameras and lights and reflectors and the rest of their gear and head south to Cape May and Congress Hall for many more pictures.
But also for the record, most Eagles cheerleader calendars are shot well south of Cape May, somewhere in or around the Caribbean.
Barbara Zaun, the team's cheerleader director, ticked off a list of places where the glamour shots have been set in recent years, including Aruba, the Bahamas and Mexico. This was the first time the team ever crossed the Delaware River to New Jersey to shoot a calendar the team has put out for close to 20 years.
"The shore is a special place for our cheerleaders, and a special place for our fans," said Zaun, who added other pictures for the calendar are being shot at Morey's Piers in the Wildwoods, the Ventnor Beach Patrol headquarters, James' Salt Water Taffy in Atlantic City and other local landmarks.
The team also announced all its profits from this year's calendar "will be donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund" - the fund headed by Mary Pat Christie, Gov. Chris Christie's wife. The state's first lady said in a statement she was "thrilled" and "excited to have the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleading squad as a strong partner" in the state's rebuilding efforts.
Zaun, the cheerleader boss, said the team usually sells about 20,000 cheerleader calendars per year. The next calendar should come out in July, and cover 16 months, from September of this year through all of 2014, the team said.
Lots of the Eagles cheerleaders do have close ties to the shore.
Tiffany Monroe lives in Absecon and is a physical-education teacher in Somers Point. She likes to go to the beach near Lucy in Margate, where she sometimes runs into her dad, Lenny Monroe, one of the local beach ice-cream guys.
But Tiffany Monroe, 29, an eight-year veteran of the Eagles and the cheerleader calendar, expects to have her picture shot in Ventnor - where she had her first job ever, as a 14-year-old beach-tag checker.
"I'm a born-and-raised, sand-in-my-toes beach girl," Monroe said. "And I'm really excited to do this calendar and show our Eagles fans that the shore's open for business."
Ventnor is also a big place in the life of another cheerleader, Jamielee Panghulan. Her father, Cris, lives in the town - and is still flooded out six months after Sandy hit.
Jamielee Panghulan remembers being let out early of the Eagles' game against the Atlanta Falcons on the Sunday as the hurricane approached - so her dad, among other local relatives, could evacuate to her home near Reading, Pa.
"The islands are beautiful and nice, but if we can make a difference and help our own communities, that's more rewarding than being in some exotic location," Panghulan said.
Oh, and through the magic of photography - and an army of about 15 photo assistants and makeup and hair stylists and more minions -it's possible nobody will have to know South Jersey's beaches weren't quite at their spring loveliest when Dom Salvini shot all these bikini shots on a brisk day in May.
"He can make it look," promised a smiling Zaun, the cheerleader chief, "like it's bright and sunny."
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