This photoshoot will always be etched in my memory as ground zero for the whole COVID-19 craziness. It was like being on a wild rollercoaster with flights getting canceled, everyone in masks, and the whole world just feeling all shaky and unsure. This mysterious virus appeared out of nowhere, and everyone was freaking out. It marked the beginning of numerous lockdowns, freedom restrictions, and tons of stress. But just before all the chaos hit America and Europe, I was on my way to Mexico for a photoshoot with Priscilla Huggins, who would become my seventh Playmate in the US edition of Playboy.
When I first saw Priscilla, I knew she’d be a dream to photograph – her stunning sun-kissed skin, beautiful hair, and a face straight out of a dream, complemented by the most beautiful smile. I was eager to capture her beauty, and I knew it would be a hit!
I chose Tulum, Mexico for this photoshoot because of its magical ambiance, with the radiant sun and vibrant tropical landscapes. Priscilla, with her exotic mix of Puerto Rican and American roots, seemed like the perfect match for a shoot by the calm Caribbean sea. It’s like she’s got the beach in her blood.
But, of course, not everything went smoothly. Both I, the model, and Gonçalo had flights scheduled to land in Cancun on March 14, 2020. The photoshoot was set for the following days, March 15 and 16. Right before my flight from Lisbon was about to take off, I received a message from Priscilla saying her flight from Los Angeles to Cancun had been canceled due to the pandemic. Panic mode kicked in, and I reached out to José de Lemos – my travel guru – who luckily remained calm. He managed to contact Priscilla and secure another last-minute flight, saving the day just in the nick of time. Whew! It was a close call.
Once we safely arrived in Tulum, our trusted fixer, Roger, was there with us the whole time, ensuring we had everything we needed. He and his cute pup, Galatea, drove us from Cancun to Tulum in his jeep, taking good care of us along the way.
We’ve welcomed David Friedman to the team, who worked wonders on Priscilla’s makeup and hair. It was a fantastic collaboration, and I’m sure it won’t be our last.
Our photoshoot with Priscilla lasted two amazing days. The first one was all about the sun, sea, and sandy beach – just as we’d planned. On the second day, we went to the super cool Mudra Tulum hotel. The friendly staff there welcomed us, giving us the freedom to capture their best spots. It was a creative paradise!
Photographing Priscilla was such a beautiful experience, filling my heart with unforgettable memories!
– Ana Dias
BTS photos by Gonçalo Jorge
Model: Priscilla Huggins; Photographer: Ana Dias; Producer: Gonçalo Jorge; Production Assistant: Roger van der Veer; Makeup & Hair: David Friedman; Video: Filipe Figueiredo; JJ Maghirang; Special Thanks: Mudra Tulum