By Touring 65 Campuses in The U.S., Producing a Swimsuit Calendar and Donating Over $120,000 to Breast Cancer Research
When Trevor Debth left Los Angeles two years ago to go tour Europe, he only intended to put his blooming career as photographer on temporary hiatus. Little did he know that beyond the expected cultural enrichment he was going to derive from his trip, he would also come up with an idea that would completely change his world (and maybe the world at large, a tiny little bit, too) –one calendar at a time.
Today, he is a one-man business enterprise with a daring concept: To get in a tour bus, drive to 65 campuses, photograph the most beautiful college girls in the country, produce tasteful “Campus Girls USA” calendars, and donate the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
A twenty-something who gave up the opportunity of a college education for the perhaps more practical “university of life,” Trevor left his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for Los Angeles, CA, in 1999. Having taught himself the art of photography and off-line editing, he quickly made a name for himself taking portraits of the likes of supermodel-turned-actress Amber Valetta, character actor Cliff Curtis, and editing films such as the award-winning “Cuco Gomez-Gomez Is Dead!” (for which he picked up a “Best Editing”award). In 2006, however, at the height of his success, Debth closed shop and took a 3-month sabbatical to continue his (self) education in Europe.
It was on a boat somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean, while learning the skills of navigation from an old Croatian fisherman, that Trevor had an epiphany. He was traveling the world but hadn’t really seen much of his own country. So, what better way to get a taste of the college life he deprived himself of and see all of America, than to go visit campuses around the U.S. and use his skills as photographer to capture the beauty of the quintessential American college girl? By producing a high-quality, “Sports Illustrated”-style calendar and donating all proceeds from the sales, Trevor would also get young women involved in a charitable cause, while raising their awareness of the disease and providing them with the opportunity to gain confidence and build a professional model portfolio.
Upon his return to Iowa, Trevor immediately got himself in debt by taking out a loan, recruited his best friend Casey Nolan and, later on, his father Jim Debth, who both quit their jobs to take part in this endeavor, and put everything on the line to carry forth his plan. Eventually, the 2007 “Campus Girls USA” calendar was launched, featuring the twelve most beautiful girls attending the University of Iowa. Gaining instant momentum, Trevor expanded his scope for the 2008 calendar to include nine universities (Iowa, Wisconsin, University of Texas, Ohio State, Minnesota, Louisiana State, Florida State, South Florida and Central Florida).
For the 2009 calendar, Trevor and Campus Girls USA are going bigger than ever, embarking on a 60 day tour, which will take him and Casey, in a 34 foot long tour bus, to 65 schools within six conferences (ACC, The Big Ten, The Big Twelve, The Big East, The Pac Ten and SCC). This time the road trip will also be filmed, as Trevor and his team upped the ante again, and decided to turn the adventure into a TV show.
Out of 3000 candidates who applied online, Trevor and Casey will meet roughly 600 on their respective campuses. 300 of these girls will be interviewed on camera. Their audition will then be posted online at www.CampusGirlsUSA.com, to be voted on by the general public.
Once in the islands, the girls will also be taking part in a fun and friendly competition that every week will result in $10,000 being donated by a sponsor to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, in the name of that week’s winner. At the end of the competition, the 12 girls who won $120,000 for the charity organization will also be included in the first Campus Girls USA all-star national calendar, to be sold in stores across the nation. The girl selected to be on the cover of that calendar will be crowned “Most Beautiful College Girl 2009”
Calendars, for charity – A TV show about “giving not winning – ” Over $120,000 raised for breast cancer research – Trevor never went to college, but it certainly seems that he learned a thing or two while traveling to campuses around the U.S. Perhaps it was that, if we all changed our lives a little, we might end up changing the world a whole lot.