Some moments come and go with little thought put to them until some time later when you run across them while daydreaming your way through a lost folder of pictures. And boom, there you are, right back in the moment. My wife Ana Tigre is on the left in this picture, and Monica Brant is on the right. They were re-charging their batteries while I was setting up lights. We had booked a mansion to do a photo shoot, and we did snap a picture or two, but the day ended up being more about spending time with old friends.

Monica was the model that day. She was in Las Vegas to bring home her WBFF World Champion Title. Monica had been a fixture at the very top level of professional physique sports in two federations for over 20 years at this point. Three months after I took this photo she won Gold, Silver, and Bronze in Brazil at the World Masters Track Championships, a testament to her incredible athletic ability.

This story doesn’t start with this shot, though. It began way back in the day when I was a young 40-year-old wide-eyed whipper-snapper with a camera around his neck and a dream of making it big. I had met Monica Brant, and she offered to model for me, and it was a rare thing for a new guy to have access to someone of her stature in the industry. The shoot went very well, and the pictures we created during that photoshoot put me on the map as a photographer.

Sometime after that first photoshoot, Monica moved to back to her home state of Texas. She had met a young Brazillian girl there that had started to design her own line of women’s fitness wear. Monica, being the kind and giving sort of woman that she is, offered to model for that girl. Those images and the relationships Monica had, got those pictures featured in a local magazine. That feature put the Brazilian girl and her clothing line on the map and kickstarted an amazingly successful business that we know today as Blessed Bodywear.

Somewhere between then and now I met that Brazilian girl, without Monica’s help this time, and years later ended up marrying her. We owe Monica far more than we can ever repay for the kindness she extended to both of us, and countless others throughout her career.

Ana and I still count Monica and her husband, Brad among our dearest friends.