The Communication Issue

Julie McQueen, AA ’11
Co-host of Backstage & Backroads
Nashville, Tennessee

Fashion model

takes aim




From modeling in Europe to co-hosting an outdoors cable show where she and her partner search for the best hunting and fishing locations around the world, Julie McQueen, AA ’11, is a true Renaissance woman who is continuing her education in pursuit of a healthy, balanced life.



For many people, a glamorous modeling career with assignments around Europe would be the ultimate dream come true. For Julie McQueen, though, it’s the means to an end. Making a living off her looks has allowed her to pursue her other passions. Her latest venture? Co-hosting a cable television show that documents her search for the best hunting and fishing spots around the globe.

The Communication Issue

“I had always hunted and fished on my own, and I had worked behind the camera in the outdoor industry for a decade. Everyone had always said to me, ‘Maybe one day you can do your own show.’”

Julie McQueen, AA ’11

Renaissance woman

For someone not yet out of her 20s, McQueen has had more careers than most have in a lifetime. After high school, she began taking modeling jobs in her home state of Missouri, later moving to Los Angeles to focus on her career. When the modeling jobs weren’t paying the bills, McQueen earned a living playing poker professionally after teaching herself the rules. “I studied it before I started playing,” she explains. “When I had it all figured out, I entered tournaments. That was my career for two years, and then it was on to the next thing.” The next thing included hunting professionally and running a photography studio, among other jobs.

McQueen has continued modeling, too, focusing her career on catalog work in Europe. “I don’t work in the United States at all,” she says. “I enjoy my private life over here.”

She was on assignment in Europe when she finally decided it was time to do something more with her free time. “I was earning a decent income, but I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling what I needed to do,” she admits. After seeing ads for University of Phoenix, McQueen decided to enroll in the Associate of Arts program. “I was in St. Bart’s at the time,” she remembers. “I called and enrolled over the phone, and I started class a week later.”

McQueen found that her studies grounded her while she was on the road. “After [a photo shoot], all the other people would go have dinner and drinks,” she says. “[My degree program] gave me a sense of purpose and a goal I was working toward. It kept me focused and out of trouble. I knew I needed to be in my room reading, writing and studying for a certain amount of time each day.”

And … action!

As is often the case in McQueen’s career, one thing has led to another, and in 2010 she found herself accepting a job to co-host Backstage & Backroads, a reality cable television program that chronicles McQueen and her partner Daniel Lee Martin’s quest to find the ultimate hunting and fishing locations around the world. Though it seems like an unlikely leap from fashion modeling to the great outdoors, it’s a natural progression for McQueen. “I had always hunted and fished on my own, and I had worked behind the camera in the outdoor industry for a decade,” she explains. “Everyone had always said to me, ‘Maybe one day you can do your own show.’”

The Communication Issue

For her co-hosting job, McQueen appears in front of a different kind of camera, but her responsibilities don’t end there. She and Martin, who is also her fiancé, select the locations for the show and coordinate all the details, from sponsorships to editing and other post-production work. “We have quality control and creative control over the whole concept,” McQueen adds about the show, which airs on the Pursuit network in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The pair spends 80 percent of their time on the road, venturing everywhere from rural American outlands to exotic African locales. McQueen counts many places among her favorites, including South Africa, Botswana and the American Midwest. “There’s also something nice about quail hunting in Georgia,” she says. “The southern hospitality and food are amazing.”

A balancing act

McQueen is satisfied with how her life has come together so far. “I have worked really hard to create a balanced life as far as being happy and healthy and having a goal I am working toward,” she says. “The hardest part for [me and Daniel Lee] is retaining a little bit of normalcy in such a chaotic lifestyle.”

For now, McQueen’s future is wide open. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at University of Phoenix while continuing to model part time and work on Backstage & Backroads. “We’d like to take the show to the next level and continue to expand our fan base,” she says. For now, she is content with the diversity of her unconventional career. “I have a lot of excitement in my life, but I love the way it balances out.”

The Communication Issue
Featured Profile | Julie McQueen


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PHOENIX FOCUS | October 2011 | The Communication Issue


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