I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing two New York City legends: The Officially Licensed Naked Cowboy and The Naked Cowgirl. Standing in the midst of Times Square, The Naked Cowboy (in nothing more than a pair of briefs..with his hand-painted logo on the back, cowboy boots, hat, and guitar) and The Naked Cowgirl (in her own hand-painted bikini, cowboy boots, hat, and guitar) are one of New York City's biggest attractions, with millions of people asking them for their picture!
Born Robert John Burck, The Naked Cowboy emerged on Christmas Day in 1997 in Venice Beach in Los Angeles, CA, dressed in just his underwear (at the suggestion of a friend). An instant hit, The Naked Cowboy started touring the country and finally moved East to New York City and became a Times Square fixture. In addition to NYC, The Naked Cowboy regularly travels to the French Quarter during the New Orleans Mardi Gras season, his hometown of Cincinnati, at the Memorial Day weekend Taste of Cincinnati festival and the Riverfest Labor Day Festival, events in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Music Conference, Nashville, TN during Country Music Association's Fanfare, and he travels internationally for corporate events in such countries as Germany, Japan, Australia and Ireland. As The Naked Cowboy's popularity grew, Robert made appearances on television including "The Apprentice," "Today," "The Howard Stern Show," "American Idol" (Season 1), and "Australian Idol" and "Star Search" as well as in Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and Nickelback's "Rockstar" music videos. The Naked Cowboy has been featured in such corporate advertisments as USA's "Characters Welcome" campaign, Chevrolet commercial during Superbowl XLI, a Pepsi commercial with Beyonce, and a Guinness commercial that aired in the UK and Ireland. Robert has been declared by the New York State tourism department as "more recognizable than The Statue of Liberty," been named "The Ambassador of New York Tourism," and crowned the Spokesperson for "The Times Square Survival Guide." The Naked Cowboy also officially became the most photographed person in the world at the end of 2007.
The Naked Cowboy has released three albums to date: a pop-rock album "Year of the Cowboy" (released by 4Sight Music Productions, produced by Lee Evans and Gaetano Lattanzi) and a country music album "What the Naked Cowboy Wants to Hear" (released by TMR Records, produced by Todd Rubenstein), and "X-Rated Country" (produced by Robert and Todd). In 2008, Robert was officially registered as a marriage officiant by the City of New York after becoming an Ordained Minister and in 2009, Robert ran for NYC mayor. In 2010, Todd negotiated The Naked Cowboy's biggest endorsement deal to date with Chris Quartuccio of Blue Island Shellfish Farms to harvest “Naked Cowboy Oysters” from Long Island Sound and distribute them live to fine restaurants worldwide. Naked Cowboy Oysters are already available at 22 of NYC's finest restaurants and are starting to appear on menus nationally and internationally. In 2011, Robert released his autobiography "Determination: The Legend of The Naked Cowboy." Robert continues to appear in Times Square as well as around the world as The Naked Cowboy. For more on Robert and The Naked Cowboy be sure to visit http://www.nakedcowboy.com/, follow him on Facebook and Twitter!
Growing up a tomboy, skateboarding, jumping ramps with her bike, playing football with friends, boxing with her dad, cheerleading, dance, and her favorite activity gymnastics, Cindy Fox loved to exercise. She was the only teenage girl she knew who was working out with free weights at age 16. She started working in her local gym (originally called Club Meadowlands) teaching fitness classes and working in the weight room and continues to in serveral gyms around NJ. This lead her to compete in the NJ Championship Bodybuilding Contest (teenage division) and 10 years later in the same contest in Women's Fitness Competition. With more than 20+years of experience, Cindy was hired to choreograph and be featured in The Method Cardio Flexband Workout DVD, followed by the NO EXCUSES! Shape Up Workout that she produced and choreographed herself. Three children later and beating an eating disorder, Cindy remains committed to helping others stay in shape through personal training, exercise videos, fitness articles, and corporate events.
After meeting Robert (The Naked Cowboy) at her gym, she started traveling the country with him stepping into the spotlight herself dressing the part as his "Naked Cowgirl." She is now known as Times Square's "Officially Licensed Naked Cowgirl," performing with her own hand-painted designed white bikini, boots, a hat, and her guitar. She continues to travel the country with Robert, performing together as well as going off on her own. In 2010, Cindy was featured (along with Robert) on CNN's iReport and has since been interviewed by people all over the world. She has appeared on several TV shows in the USA with The Naked Cowboy including "Cristina's Court" and "Only In America," appearing soon on the History Channel with "Larry The Cable Guy" as well as on a popular morning talk show in Germany. Now managed by the famous singer, dance choreographer, and songwriter Lori Michaels (who has been featured on Bravo and Real Housewives of NJ), Naked Cowgirl Cindy Fox released her first single "Ride It Like A Cowgirl" available on iTunes which has a soon-to-be Sentation "Cowgirl Dance" that will sweep the nation once her dance video is released. Cindy continues to appear in Times Square as The Naked Cowgirl as well as being a personal trainer! For much more on Cindy Fox be sure to visit http://cindyfoxfitness.com/ and follow her on Facebook (Cindy Fox) and Twitter (Cindy Fox)! For more on The Naked Cowgirl be sure to visit http://www.nakedcowgirlfox.com/ and follow her on Facebook (Naked Cowgirl), Twitter (Naked Cowgirl), and YouTube!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer?
Naked Cowboy: Tony Robbins was the first to inspire me to be everything I could be and gave me the real motivational tools to do so. Naked Cowboy is a combination of a bodybuilder, a model, a country singer, and a comedian.
Naked Cowgirl: I wanted to be a trapeze artist when I was four years old, and by ten I was a gymnast and dreamt of being an Olympic gymnast. I went from being a cheerleader all through school to a fitness instructor teaching classes when I was 17. I competed in a bodybuilding contest at 19, a fitness contest at 29 and was hired by Inspired Corporation 2004 to choreograph and be featured in a Professional Fitness Video Called "The Method Cardio Flex Band Workout." This was my calling! I loved performing while I looked and felt my very best. It was also the same time I met Robert Burck, aka Naked Cowboy and my significant other. Never in all of that time did I think I’d be a street performer playing a guitar in a bikini, cowboy boots and a hat in the middle of Times Square, so that part is definitely due to him.
2. If you could perform alongside anyone, who would it be?
Naked Cowboy: Cowboys work alone, it’s the cowboy way.
Naked Cowgirl: Performing alongside Naked Cowboy in Times Square isn’t really productive for me since he is much louder and more boisterous than I am, but we do often walk out there together and then put a little space between us. Now that I’ve recorded my first song called "Ride It Like A Cowgirl," which is written by my manager Lori Michaels (a Lori Michaels and Hot Head Productions) and have gotten to perform it on stage with my two back-up dancers, I have the itch to do more of that. I’d like to perform alongside anyone that the crowd loves, that is very upbeat. Do you think Madonna would want the Naked Cowgirl on stage with her?
3. Naked Cowboy: How did you become "The Naked Cowboy" and what do you hope people learn from you? I was born naked 40 years ago and I hope people look at me a decide to be themselves.
Naked Cowgirl: How did you become "The Naked Cowgirl" and what do you hope people learn from you? For the last 7 years I’ve traveled with Naked Cowboy all over the world as his girlfriend. Right from the beginning people asked me why I wasn’t "naked" too so I started dressing the part whenever we traveled out of the area and often the guys would prefer standing close to a cowgirl than a cowboy. On a trip to Japan Robert taught me how to play a few chords on the guitar but I rarely practiced once we were home. When the Naked Cowboy started having legal issues to protect his trademark, I decided to sign a licensing agreement with Naked Cowboy Enterprises and be the first "Officially Licensed Naked Cowgirl."
I was more concerned with how the women would respond to me since women tend to be more critical of each other, even though my own girlfriends thought it was great. On the first day, I realized most females regardless of how young or old were very excited and happy to see a “Cowgirl” out in Times Square yelling "Girl Power!" I think older women are inspired by the fact that I’m putting myself in a vulnerable position where people can totally criticize me for what I’m doing or for any imperfections they can find on my body…not to mention I’m not a 20 year old with no responsibilities.
4. Naked Cowboy: How did you and "The Naked Cowgirl" meet and decide to perform together? I met Cindy Fox, who is now the Naked Cowgirl, at a gym in Secaucus, New Jersey, and well, I’m a natural born leader.
Naked Cowgirl: How did you and "The Naked Cowboy" meet and decide to perform together? Robert was a member at a gym that I worked at in the town we live in. I never heard of a “Naked Cowboy” back then, so we were just friends, then work-out partners, and then…well, you know. Although he tried to persuade me to practice the guitar and come out with him and take on the roll, I had too many other things going on in my life, including 3 children. When I signed the licensing agreement to become the “Naked Cowgirl”, it was because I thought it was the perfect time for me to do it.
5. Naked Cowboy: What is like working with and being in a relationship with "The Naked Cowgirl"? How does that whole dynamic work? Every now and then when I go to Times Square, I see her there working and we say, ‘Hi.’
Naked Cowgirl: What is like working with and being in a relationship with "The Naked Cowboy"? How does that whole dynamic work? I think it works great for both of us in many ways. I normally would be going to different events with him as his girlfriend, and now I can usually go as the Cowgirl and it not only brings me exposure, but it also takes the pressure off of him because he doesn’t have to worry about me sitting alone while he’s taking photos with people. We seem to actually spend more time together driving in and out of the city together sometimes, but I do know when to give him his space and not interfere with his thing.
6. Why did you make Times Square your home base and what does NYC mean to you?
Naked Cowboy: I found NYC only after being arrested over 30 times in 15 other cities ( I averaged two!). It’s still the best thing going.
Naked Cowgirl: Naked Cowboy is identified by most people as being in Times Square so it only makes sense to start there. He has also made it much easier for another person dressed half naked to be in Times Square because the people who work there are already used to it and the authorities don’t hassle us as long as we have a valid tax ID and are being respectful to the people around us.
7. Naked Cowboy: What made you want to become an ordained minister and perform ceremonies as "The Naked Cowboy"? I want to make money, I’m all about commitment, with a capital C, and God told me to.
Naked Cowgirl: What made you want to become a personal trainer and what do you get from being "The Naked Cowgirl" that you don't get from being a personal trainer? I was the only 16 yr. old girl I knew that was working out in a garage with free weights and then in a gym at 17 and I loved it! It was challenging and helped keep me in good shape. There are a lot of things I really enjoy doing, but I get bored easily and prefer to do a variety of things as opposed to being in one place all day. I bounce around all day from one place to another but it keeps me enthusiastic about everything I do.
8. Favorite way to stay in shape?
Naked Cowboy: 'I eat just enough to live, and I train until I’m just about to die.' That is a quote from 'Naked Cowboy Dialogue,' a document I read every day.
Naked Cowgirl: I love going out running when it’s warm out, but when it gets a little chilly out I mostly rely on the classes I teach to keep me in shape such as cardio kickbox, spinning, or a cardio dance mix. When that’s not available, I use the elliptical or treadmill.
9. Naked Cowboy: Boxers or Briefs (not as "The Naked Cowboy")? Ironically, when I ‘m not working, I don’t wear underwear. Balls in. Balls out.
Naked Cowgirl: Favorite skin care product? I’m not really picky about name brands for most things, but I use Oil of Olay soap in the shower because it doesn’t dry my skin. My daughter bought me a 3-step facial product for Christmas called "Miracle Worker" which was shown on Oprah Winfrey’s and that seems to work well, but I’m often in a rush and just use the Nivea or Eucerin that I have.
10. Favorite website?
Naked Cowboy: www.nakedcowboy.com.
Naked Cowgirl: The majority of time I spend on the computer is either checking my emails or interacting on Facebook in the morning while I have my coffee. Of course I have to mention my own websites here www.cindyfoxfitness.com and www.nakedcowgirlfox.com.
11. Superman or Wonder Woman?
Naked Cowboy: Christopher Reeves Rules!!!! His life is a testament to real super human powers.
Naked Cowgirl: That is funny that you asked me that because I was dressed up as Wonder Woman for my Senior Masquerade and the person I went with was Superman.
12. What's the best advice you've ever received?
Naked Cowboy: Hit the ‘save’ button once you’ve typed an appreciable amount of text. (writing these witty remarks for the second time.)
Naked Cowgirl: Treat other people the way you’d want them to treat you.... Don’t worry about things you have no control over, and one of my mother’s famous quotes "Just IGNORE them!," which probably saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
13. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be?
Naked Cowboy: Dreaming is for the bums who won’t just go out and 'Do it!'
Naked Cowgirl: As long as I’m not having nightmares, It doesn’t matter who I’m dreaming about.
14. Naked Cowboy: What have you learned from being "The Naked Cowboy"? What has it been like to have such success as "The Naked Cowboy" with appearances on TV shows, commercials, releasing your debut CD, being an ordained minister, and now having your own oysters? It’s all great, I love my life and I continue to design it to even greater liking as I go.
Naked Cowgirl: What have you learned about yourself from being "The Naked Cowgirl" and from being a personal trainer? Both roles are very challenging because I have to look as good as I possibly can at all times to make a good impression and have to always have a positive attitude when in either position. I also feel like both of these roles keep me on my toes because I always want to set a good example and inspire people in some way.