Let’s get to know Arik Zeevy, the model for Adam Greene on the cover of LIGHTS, COWBOY, ACTION.
I came across an article several weeks ago that both surprised and delighted me. It’s an interview with Arik Zeevy, the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Stevens Institute of Technology. When asked to reveal a Fun Fact about himself, he answered that he appears on the cover of a book:
That’s him, all right. Adam Greene, walking hand-in-hand with Courtney Jacobs down the main street of Thornton Springs, Montana (actually Philipsburg, MT, but that’s another Fun Fact).
Of course, I wanted to know more, so I invited him to spend a little time with us here and to give us a bit of insight into his experience. Welcome, Arik!
Lesley: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Arik: My name is Arik Zeevy, I am the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
In my early twenties, as a young assistant tennis coach, I worked a handful of modeling jobs in the tri-state area. From coughing up smoke during cigar commercial auditions, to being cast as a ‘young hipster’ for stock photo shoots, it was a fun chapter of my life that I usually forget ever happened!
L: How did you get into modeling?
A: In 2012, my father bought me a Groupon deal with an NYC-based photographer for my 22nd birthday. I ended up sending photographs from the shoot to a handful of local agencies and received positive feedback. I enjoyed the adventure of it. I even traveled to Boston to sign with an agency there. Even though it never went far, it was fun to dip my toes into that part of the entertainment world, as I truly had no experience or any idea what I was doing. At the time I was working full time as an assistant college tennis coach and admissions counselor; the modeling was just a fun side experiment. I still remember rushing back to a team tennis practice with makeup on from a photoshoot; my boss called me “Zoolander” for a while after that.
L: Was the Lights, Cowboy, Action image shot specifically for that cover, or was it from a stock photo shoot?
A: Yes, it was shot specifically for that cover. It was my first modeling job! The shoot was on Long Island in the photographer’s living room, which was funny. I thought it came out well, especially considering I knew that we were frozen mid-stride in someone else’s living room, not walking down a Montana street!
L: How funny! I love “insider” secrets like that 🙂
Tell us how you found out your image was being used for this particular book cover.
A: During the shoot, I peeked at the photographer’s notes. That is where I first saw the Lights, Cowboy, Action title. Heading into the job, all they told me was that I was booked for a book cover shoot, country themed. After I saw the title of the book, I searched for it online every few months until it popped up. I was so excited, I ordered a few copies. I still have one in my tennis office!
L: I bet that’s an interesting conversation starter. Do you still work as a model?
A: No, but I still get occasional casting requests from local agencies. Last week I received a casting request for a javelin-throwing commercial. I sent in an audition tape of myself throwing a broom around the tennis courts by my office. I never heard back, so the answer to this question is still a firm no.
L: Are you ever recognized for your work as a model?
A: Definitely not by strangers. One time, one of my players on our college tennis team texted me a photo, saying “Wait. Is this you?” The photo was indeed me, smiling and staring at a young blonde woman, and was Tweeted from Seventeen Magazine’s Twitter account. The photo was from a stock photo shoot I had done almost a year earlier, and the article was titled “How to avoid boys you aren’t interested in,” or something like that.
L: You’re also a tennis coach. Tell us about that.
A: Yes, I have been coaching tennis for over eight years and am currently the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Stevens Institute of Technology, a small engineering school in Hoboken, New Jersey. I’m lucky; I absolutely love my job, which is a good thing because the modeling career fizzled out quickly!
L: I see that you’re also an author! Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?
A: Writing has long been a therapeutic practice for me. So far, I have self-published two books, both non-fiction. My first book, Stranger in a New World, is an account of my experience walking 36 days solo on the Camino de Santiago, a walking pilgrimage across northern Spain. My second book, Arrive, is a collection of poetry. I am currently working on a fiction project, which has been a fun and new learning experience.
L: Do you have a dream project…something you’re planning to write someday?
A: I would love to publish a children’s book with my mother. My mother is extremely creative and the most talented artist I know; I already have an idea and plot for a children’s book. My dream is to team up with my mom as the creative force behind the project. I just need to convince her to join me!
L: Wonderful idea. I hope she agrees to do it!
Do you have a blog?
A: Yes! One can find more of my writing on my Instagram account, ‘lionwolflotus.‘
L: Where can readers find your books?
A: For now, Amazon. I am working on my website/blog to provide direct orders/signed authors copies in the near future.
L: Is there a special story about one of your books that you’d like to share?
A: Stranger in a New World, my first book, is special to me because it was my first experience writing a book from beginning to end. I did not know what I was doing or how it would be received. I wrote, edited, formatted, and learned how to publish it myself. Even though it remains a ‘do-it-yourself’ self-publishing project, I learned so much from the creative process, most of all how much discipline it takes to be a writer.
Walking the Camino de Santiago at 22 years old changed my life and is still one of the most formative and important experiences of my life. The process of writing Stranger in a New World turned out to be almost as impactful as the pilgrimage itself; writing helped me make sense of the lessons learned from my walk and to integrate them into my daily life. The process of publishing and sharing my vulnerability with friends, family, and strangers was also an invaluable learning experience, particularly in my early twenties. I learned so much from the entire experience, and am very proud of my commitment to the creative process.
Fun fact: I chose the name ‘Adam’ as the protagonist of my story in Stranger in a New World. Imagine my shock when I picked up a copy of Lights, Cowboy, Action, and saw the name of the story’s protagonist: Adam!
L: It’s kismet! I love that, but I’m actually not surprised. Life is full of things like that.
Thanks again for joining us, Arik. This has been fun!
If you’d like to find out more about Arik and his various projects, here’s how to find him:
Tennis Coaching/Personal Instagram: hoboken.tennis.coach
Writing Instagram Account: lionwolflotus
And of course, if you haven’t gotten to know Adam Greene and all the other residents of Thornton Springs, Montana, you’ll find them here in my Montana Hearts series: