Story by Sharon Chayra; photos by ChayraCom and Shane O’Neal

Few can comprehend the impact of COVID-19 better than a respected healthcare system like Intermountain Healthcare. That’s why this issue is especially relevant. Not only does it honor all frontline healthcare workers for their selfless work during this pandemic, but it also illustrates the resourcefulness that happens behind the scenes. Case in point, this issue’s cover.

At first glance, this cover image is simply a beautiful photo. Models showed up, glammed-up, and then posed together for that one perfect shot. Looks would be deceiving, however. According to Stephanie Kocher, publisher of Las Vegas Woman magazine, “Never have we gone to the lengths required to ensure safety and compliance as we have for this issue.”

When Christina Cober, director of communications for Intermountain Healthcare in Nevada came up with the concept, it was to celebrate the organization’s diverse medical leadership. Las Vegas Woman magazine is the perfect vehicle in which to honor the Sacred Feminine during this unprecedented time in history. While many were able to grace the cover, not all deserving caregivers are featured. Which is why those featured acknowledged they weren’t just representing themselves, but all those in service of others during coronavirus.

Long known for award-winning editorial content, Las Vegas Woman magazine faced an unprecedented challenge: Feature a group of women in interconnected poses while shooting them separately to maintain social distancing. This was a logistical challenge, but not an impossible one thanks to key professionals, beginning with photographer Shane O’Neal of SON Studios.

O’Neal’s first order of business was designing a shoot blueprint. This guideline would allow for each woman to naturally pose without having the benefit of other subjects in the frame. Thankfully O’Neal’s wife and digital expert, Deed DeBruno, was there to render her Photoshop expertise. What ultimately resulted belies the painstaking process involved and the people who helped achieve it.

As each clinician arrived throughout the day to SON Studios, they were met with freshly sanitized rooms and promptly ushered into hair and makeup. Every member of the crew wore masks. The sought-after glamour squad of ADD Hair & Makeup, known as Andeen Rose and Didi Akerman, is one of the few COVID-certified hair and makeup professionals. Rose and Akerman kept an immaculate workspace as they brought out each woman’s individual beauty.

Wardrobe selections for this issue included apparel for business and glamour. Business attire was provided by Eccoci, Boca Park and the keen eye of Janice Wilson, while the sequined gowns were suggested by the expert team of Carolyn, Colleen, and Mo of Macy’s Las Vegas, Fashion Show. All wardrobe was chosen and maintained by the shoot’s creative directors of ChayraCom, an award-winning healthcare PR agency. Outfits were handpicked to enhance each woman’s personality and figure. Fitted lab coats were expertly embroidered by Iron Kettle Clothing.

With energizing house music playing on the speakers, each woman sashayed into the studio. All stopped to catch a glimpse of their transformation as they passed full-length mirrors. Some were astonished, others held back tears, but all marveled at the honor they were given to represent their community, their profession, and their colleagues.

After a very long day, Ruth Lauber, Las Vegas Woman’s Vice President said, “COVID-19 may have changed how we live and work, but it has also given us a chance to honor the everyday heroes of healthcare and we are very proud of that.” Having been in business for many years, both Lauber and Kocher affirm their hope for the future and the significance of this issue. “It took a lot of work to achieve this image and talk about an issue that has changed our lives, but it has shown us that there is nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together for a greater good.”