Saturday Spotlight- Leslie Saunders-Simmons

Name: Leslie Leslie Saunders-Simmons
Nicknames: Red, Showgirl (rugby nickname)
Age: 37 (Scorpio)
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Current Town: Ronkonkoma
Occupation: Photographer
Marital Status: Married- 10 years
Children: 3 Girls (8 year old and twin 7 year olds)
PETS: a 7 month old Puppy, golden doodle named Jax
Favorite kicks: New Balance

I’m not sure where to start so I guess I will just dive right in with a little background. I grew up in Las Vegas and moved to the East coast in the middle of 8th grade, Salem MA. It was a hard move for me since my Dad stayed in Vegas as my parents were getting a divorce and I was leaving my friends. I went through a bit of rebellion period . . . and decided to try out for the High School Football team. Basically everyone made the team as long as they made it through a week long sleep over triple session camp and didn’t miss practice. I never missed a practice and did my best to keep up with the guys. I started out as a guard, Sophomore year a tackle, Junior year wide receiver and Senior Wide receiver and corner on defense. (As the guys got bigger I got smaller)I was in the gym lifting every day and got my free weights squats to 315 at the time. I stuck it out all 4 years and it was a pretty amazing experience looking back. I also played basketball (Eastern Mass champions) and softball.

I went on to college at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology ) for Advertising Photography. I joined the club rugby team, The Cockless Roaches. The Men’s team was the Roaches. Get it??!! lol. Okay so I played on the women’s team all 4 years and I had some of the best times of my college experience with them. Lifelong friends as well. It was half rugby, half drinking. So yes, it was awesome!

In addition to rugby I played on the Women’s Pro Football league, Rochester Raptors. Full pads and some pretty tough women. We traveled all over, Baltimore, Washington DC, etc. I was starting Running Back and played for a few years until I really needed to focus on finishing my Senior year at RIT.

I also traveled to Paris for two summers to photograph models in Paris for school and travel through Europe. Both summers I stayed for 2 months, and have tons of stories which I will save for another time! lol

After college I moved to Long Island with my boyfriend at the time, now husband. We moved in with his parents . . . and I decided I’ll go to Grad school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where my Mom was the Dean of the Library. I recieved my Masters in Multimedia Technology within a little over a year and moved back to Long Island.

My first job right after Grad School was Photo Retoucher for Penthouse Magazine. I did that for 2 years and was promoted to Photo Editor of Penthouse Magazine. Another amazing experience and I loved it! I left Penthouse to work as the Photo Research Editor for Maxim Magazine and worked there for 3 years until I had my twins.

I then really focused on my own business and took on shoots when I could and now with my kids in Elementary school have my own studio in Sayville on Main Street. I shoot families, events, portraits and my favorite of all is Boudoir. With my new freedom of having my kids in school I was also able to start running and it filled a void of not being a part of a team. I was able to lose the baby weight and set goals and feel accomplishments no matter the size. I started running with my awesome friend Tatiana Pacheco-Sokolow and that brought me to this amazing group! I worked this summer as the Media Supervior at West Hills Day Camp in addition to running my own business so I haven’t been running for 8 weeks but I’m ready to get back to it!

I know I left out a lot and still managed to write too much! Thank you to those that actually made it to the bottom! <3