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2012: A Year In Review

Featured / Motivation / Natalie Minh / Pregnancy & Parenthood / Slide Gallery / January 2, 2013

Happy New Years friends!  It’s January 1, 2013 and I just returned from Palm Springs, CA with my family and enjoying the quiet time in the house as Tianna sleeps.  Like most people with the new year, I’m reflecting on what the past year has looked like for me and what I’d like to accomplish for 2013.

Join me down Memory Lane as I review my top memories of 2012 in chronological order.

Natalie Minh Booth at LA Fit Expo 2012

Presented for the first time at a major Expo – The LA Fit Expo.  This presentation at the LA Fit Expo felt like the Debut party for me and my business.  Having moved to LA in January 2010 with a severance package from my former finance career and a dream, I struggled like hell the first 6 months to just survive while chasing my dream.  I heard plenty from family that I was nuts and turned down a number of lucrative finance opportunities to see this goal of mine to fruition.

With the encouragement of my husband Andrew, I took a leap to reserve a premium corner booth at the LA Fit Expo – the premiere public fitness expo event in California.  I had been going the both years prior and never saw a fitness photographer present their business, so it felt like a risk.  Would the investment pan out? Would this booth take my industry reputation to the next level?

The answer was YES, absolutely worth the effort and risk.  I was 7 months pregnant when the event occurred and was needless to say, huge and uncomfortable, but with my fantastic team of friends (shout out to Mitchie, Manuel, Telihana, Jaime, Mehmet, Dave.. HARDEST WORKING TEAM EVER) who supported me for two days, we made history together and lots of business.  I’m going to be back again for 2013, booth #419 to do it all over again.

Natalie Minh Interactive


Expanded my business with the launch of Natalie Minh Interactive (NMI) – A Fitness Multimedia Company.  A natural progression of my photography business and skillset as a finance/marketing/fitness expert lead me to see a gap in my clients’ solutions.

As I was shooting all of these fitness models and businesses, a many of them lacked the practical knowledge of how to translate these pictures into new business for themselves.  This is definitely not to say that they are without talent, but mostly it was due to their expertise being in physical education, nutrition, or manufacturing and they just needed a smart partner who could do some of the heavy lifting in internet marketing/graphic design/PR for them.

The best entrepreneurs in the world know that they need to focus on what they are best at and recruit the brightest experts that they can onto their team.  Given that my educational and professional background  prior to joining the fitness industry already covered this area, it was a no-brainer and absolute brain tickler to get back to what I was good at.

What does NMI do?  Website design, graphic design, e-commerce, internet marketing, photography, PR.  My team of professionals are all on board to make this a One Stop Shop for those looking for marketing solutions.

There’s that saying that it’s not work if you love what you do.  I’m so there 🙂


Natalie & Tianna

Gave birth to my first child, Tianna Mai-Linh.  Where to even begin when talking about the motherhood experience.  When I reached my 30’s, I felt this overwhelming feeling that I have accomplished everything that I wanted to selfishly and that I was ready to give my efforts to building something outside of myself.

I traveled the world, lived abroad, finished up grad school, got all of the partying out of my system, worked my tail off moving up the corporate ladder and was in a comfortable position in life with a loving husband.  But what else is there?  What could possibly be a greater challenge and accomplishment in life than building a little person into a successful adult?

Motherhood suits me and I’m happy that it happened to me at this point in my life.   Besides all this “oh I love being a mom” talk, there’s two things that I say surprised me as I didn’t realize it when I was without child:

  1. You cannot multitask with a child.  I honestly thought that like any project, you could just work in the “child” project amongst the many other things I had going on during the day and roll with it.  Hey, there’s tons of working moms out there that are killin’ it, right?  BIG SURPRISE – a child is a 110% focus effort, cannot work, go to the bathroom, eat, sleep at night, you name it while that kid is under your supervision.  It’s all about the baby and it just got real.  Thank god for my parents who are here with me to help!!
  2. In the City of Angels, there’s not so many family-oriented people.  It always seems like everyone is 20-50 years old, rocking the single life and freedoms that come with it.  I was convinced that my circle of friends would drastically be cut down as I moved into this new stage of life.  Surprise for me when it was only partly true.  While I no longer had the freedom to run around with my child-free friends like I used to and the frequency at which I saw them faded, a whole new section of my friends opened their arms to me, welcoming me and Andy to the tighter niche group of parents with youngsters.  I didn’t really lose after all but instead gained closer relationships with people even more like me.

moving out of Playa Del Rey and


Moved into a new home one month after Tianna’s birth.  I used to live in a chic 2-bedroom resort styled apartment in Los Angeles but once the baby came, that existence wasn’t going to cut it.

Andy and I buckled down and found ourselves a place that we could grow into — a 3 bedroom/2.5 bath townhome in a kid-friendly neighborhood.  I never thought that I would say this but I really like it!

Funny story – the day we viewed the property, I went into labor 4 hours later.  Guess it was meant to be? LOL.



Partnered with FMI for not only as a featured photographer but now as a Speaker.  FMI Events has had my back since the very beginning in 2010, when I first came to LA.  I’ve watched them grow their organization: become accredited with ISSA, launch FMItheir online fitness professional internet marketing training course, launch many fitness model careers, etc. They have their heart in the right place and I believe in what they do — help fitness professionals reach their goals in the media.  I couldn’t recommend their organization and conferences highly enough.

I’ve been volunteering my photography time with them, along with other top fitness photographers, to help develop upcoming fitness models’ portfolios so that they can have the right images needed in their fitness port.  This relationship with FMI has evolved and I’m honored that Gary and Clark have asked me to be a featured speaker during their conferences as well.  I’ve lectured on “Copyright Issues for Models/Photographers” and “Building Your Brand for Mass Audience” so far, looking forward to continuing to share knowledge with the FMI community.


2012 Powertec Model & Fitness World FinaleLaunched Model & Fitness’ inaugural show in Hollywood. Whew, this definitely had to be one of the most difficult projects that I’ve ever endeavored but it was a success!

5 Star Venues | Red Carpet | Celebrities | Acrobatic Performers | Entertainment Industry | Retreat-Syled Weekend | World Competition Show | Runway | Drai’s Afterparty | Cabanas | Palm Trees | Rooftop Pool Party |

We promised, we delivered, and all of our winners walked away with killer prizes such as modeling and theatrical contracts, cash prizes, magazine covers — everything that you could wish for by competing in a modeling event (I know because I wish I had these opportunities when I was competing!)


Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited LA,Became a preferred agency photographer with the Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited LA, the premiere sports modeling agency in Los Angeles and one of the few commercial modeling agencies with national offices and sister agencies internationally.

Through the M&F Event where we brought on industry market makers to judge, I connected with Karen Osborn, Director of Booking at SLU, and together I’m looking forward to growing our professional relationship together in 2013. Shout out to Karen if you’re reading this! 🙂


Shot an A-List celebrity: Legendary R&B singer and Producer Brian McKnight.  Only in Los Angeles could I get Multi-Platinum recording R&B artist and Producer Brian McKnightopportunities like this to cross my path!  I had it on my Vision Board that I would be photographing A List celebrities and I’m proud to say that I can check this item.

I worked with Brian on a private shoot once before and I was pleasantly surprised to get a message from him that he was interested in working together for his next album cover and promo materials before he goes on his world tour.  It was a really fascinating shoot because you had his people, groomer/assistant/TV documentary crew, tour manager, record label executives that flew in from NYC to watch the shoot and my people – me and my two assistants.  

We shot all over Los Angeles and finally ended at his place where I got to see his studio, a career’s worth of awards and multi-platinum momentos, and a peak into how a superstar lives.  Brian was so fun to work with, our creative juices with flowing smoothly and the body of work that was created was some of my best ever. Oh and I also got an impromptu guitar and piano serenade by Brian McKnight as we were shooting one of the final shots in his home.  Swoooooon!!!!


The Insider's Guide to the business of Fitness ModelingLaunch of my e-book, The Insider’s Guide to the Business of Fitness Modeling.  Just before the year was over (12/29/12 to be exact) I published by very first e-book!  I’ve been working on this for a year, along with the Insider’s Guide: Global Magazine Directory to answer all of the daily questions that I receive regarding the fitness industry.

I’m really proud of my book as it’s truly a brain dump of everything I’ve learned, including the mistakes, to help others that are interested in this industry.  I’m running a Pre-Sale right now and will be selling limited edition hard copies at the LA Fit Expo for 85% off just to spread the word.

Within a month, I plan to begin an affiliate program (Clickbank) for those who would like to be rewarded for their word of mouth.



Loni Willison GlamFit Magazine December 2012Furthered my mainstream media reach.  My photography work made the cover of GlamFit Magazine and MTV’s Made.

Published as editorial contributions in FLEX, Muscular Development, Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Body, MMA Uncaged, and many more.  Congratulations to all of the beautiful fitness models that graced those magazines, I’m just as proud as you are to see our work recognized by top-self media outlets such as these.

That wraps up my 2012 top memories, I’m going to start working on my 2013 goals (I like to use Evernote and Corkulous apps) next so that I can continue to measure my progress.  Many blessings to you and your business for 2013, may you reach all of your goals and experience great success!



Natalie Minh

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