Fair warning: today’s video interview obviously contains nudity. Dan is a personal friend who has been an art model for 37 years. It’s been great to see Dan in person on many occasions as he travels through our area. He is an author and has some other interesting and unique experiences which we will be showcasing here on the blog. So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss it. Without wasting any more time, here’s your introduction to Dan.
My name’s Dan Hawkins. I got into naturism really young. I grew up in a, going to a Pentecostal church. We were only, I mean, we were only naked to shower and bathe and change in and out of swim swimsuits. But even as a child, that little moment when I got the swimsuit off felt so much better than having it on. And I was like, “Why do I have to wear this when we’re swimming? Why can’t we just skinny dip? And I remember seeing a painting in a book one time of just people skinny dipping. And I thought, that looks more fun than swimming with bathing suits on.
So as a teenager, I found like a place at night to go and just take a walk with nothing on, where I wouldn’t be seen. So when I went away to college, I was 18 and I found out that they drew nude models in their drawing classes. And I immediately just wanted to do it.
The models got paid $5 an hour, which was better than minimum wage back then, you know. You know, $15 for 3 hours. Sounded good to me when I was 18, in 1984.
I modeled for the first session; it was on Election Day, Reagan and Mondale. So a lot of people stayed home to watch the election returns. So there were only two women who showed up to draw that night, which, you know, made it easier on me not having a whole bunch of people drawing me.
I modeled again. Well that class had 20 something people in it. So it was a big change and I was really nervous to start having that many people. But by the time the class was over, I was comfortable and it was like, I want to do it again! So you know, it’s a job that I still do regularly. And that was 37 years ago.
I did find an ad at the back of one of those Gazette newspapers for a nudist resort out east of Dallas. And I lived in Fort Worth. And so I drove out there and visited. It was called the Ponderosa Ranch, and visited the resort for the first time and loved it.
I thought, this is, these are my people, so I’m going to keep on doing this. My current wife and I have been married for 23 years. And you know, she enjoys it. She comes out with me. I mean, she’s not as big a nut about it as I am, but she comes out with me and enjoys it. I just like being able to relax without the covering. Talking with other people, without their covering.
Because the clothes we wear are almost like a mask. You come out to a resort, and when everybody’s naked together, the person you’re talking to, you don’t know them. They could be the CEO of a major company. They could be a fast food worker. You don’t know because that sign that denotes who they are in the outside world, the clothes that they wear isn’t there. It’s just them as a person. And it’s just me as a person. And you get little more meaningful conversations that way. Even if somebody you’ve never met and, you know, you make friends faster here than you do in the outside world.
37 years. I don’t know. There’s a lot! 10 to 15 years we’ve been carrying cell phones with cameras in them. So I’ve been getting a lot of them, a lot more photographs of drawings of me. That’s not the case in the when I was 18 and through my twenties, I don’t have many, I don’t have any drawings and I don’t have any pictures of the drawings. I don’t know. I wish I did because, you know, it’d be interesting to see how artists saw me when I was younger. Because I was I was pretty skinny back then. I was like 140 pounds or less, you know, the same height I am now. I was a skinny kid when I started out doing it.