Sunday, May 10, 2009

WILD ON BAJA! The story behind the E! Entertainment shoot with Brooke Burke


Edited By: Gary Newsome

Baja Safari strikes again! Off-Road Racing
with Brooke Burke and E! Entertainment in Baja Mexico and Cabo San Lucas

The behind the scenes story of how E! Entertainment went to Baja and got Cabo.

E! wanted to do a 'Baja' oriented Wild On program. But, they didn't really know the peninsula. They had already done a 'Mexican riviera show, with a very brief Cabo beach piece. Baja Safari knew what they really wanted, even though E!, didn't.

Air date 07/26/2001. About Wild on Baja. Brooke Burke and crew embarks on a Mexican adventure to La Paz and Cabo San Lucas for off-road racing, dune running, waterfalls, tequila tasting, para-sailing over the Pacific and plenty of nightlife. Also, viewers get a sneak peek at Brooke's calendar photo shoot on a Cabo beach.


Baja Safari was contacted by E! Entertainment for a TV special on Baja California, Mexico. This wasn't that unusual. Baja Safari has daily working relationships with Hollywood for Baja. The nature of the show, was unusual.


Wild On! was known for off-the hook party, outdoor action and twisted clips from all over thew world. Baja Safari is known for delivering the
goods to VIP's who want to get in to Mexico, get their kicks undercover and get the hell out.

In those days, the Hawaii tourism people would dis Cabo by saying, "come to paradise in Hawaii and smell the flowers, don't go to Cabo and smell the trash!".

Cabo has improved in the last fifteen years, but Hawaii still smells better. Then, Cabo was a hot destination, not yet 'jet-setter' status, but good. It wasn't the golf haven yet, but the first American owned resorts were still there. The old school, heavy hitter gringos were still there. The ones that made the place. If the Mexicans had built Cabo, today it would look like Tijuana.

We were also tasked for all the location services for the E! Entertainment pilot, "Celebrity Adventures", all chalked up to happen after the Wild On shoot was wrapped. Scheduled on that show was the first loser on the new CBS TV show, "Survivor". We mapped out some really cool Sea of Cortez and local mountains activities, terrific Safari stuff.

The first thing that struck our crew was how short Brooke is. Tiny, like most media starlets, they can fit in a camera shot really well. Her face is
very photogenic, from all different angles. Some gals we've worked with don't need makeup. Brooke does.

The first day, we set up the vehicles for the shoots and chose the 'Mexican Porsche' for the first day. The old VW bug-convertible, no longer available for rent in Mexico. Hint, a San Diego company has a whole fleet of the old rentals from Cabo. A great driver, open air, great in the dirt and as a convertible you can throw your equipment inside, easy.

Setting up logistics for shoots or groups, anything over ten people is always challenging in Mexico. Even the experts get nailed from time to time in Baja Mexico, CLICK HERE FOR AN EXAMPLE. He got stung by a Baja bee and needed medical help, that's why his eyes are swollen. In southern Baja, wasps and skunks are the most likely culprits.

Not to mention, the lack of geographical knowledge most people have about Baja Mexico. The video above is an excellent example. Most of the shots are from Baja Sur (South), not Baja California!

We did some drive shots in between the airport and the hotel and hit the 'Dune Beach' for lunch. At the Baja Safari Office on the beach for the hand made creations we all dream about back in the states. The salsas are made fresh daily and all the libations were ice cold. But, Brooke made it clear, she knows Cabo and at the spur of the moment decides she wants to go to Lovers Beach.

She arranged the panga for the short transfer and led the her newbies over to one of the best beaches in the world, for a unscheduled beach shoot for her next calendar project. We jumped off the boat into the surf and onto the stretch of sand and rocks that makes up the famous arch, 'El Arco'.

The strip down was pro. Obviously, she's layered and changed bikinis hundreds of times. It didn't hurt that she brought her assistant, boyfriend, to help with the quick changes. Secretly, she was boinking this dude while married to her plastic surgeon husband. Yep, she married the guy who gave her, the boobs.

The shoot went long into the early evening, we stayed out on the beach, against the local rules to be off by sunset. We payed the pangero, some extra coin to pick us up after sundown. The picture above, is on Lovers Beach just as we were wrapping the Calendar and TV stuff, we thought we were done for the day. It was the beginning of a long, long, late crazy night in Cabo.

After landing back on shore and getting back to our suites to clean up for dinner, some of the Baja Safari groupies got into trouble. Ruth Camacho had been stung by a scorpion in her hotel room. She was reaching for her shoes and the insect was inside and stung her finger. Luckily, Ruth is a trooper, a desert girl.

She was a mainstay of a group of local girls who loved when American celebrities were in town and would tag along for even more local color and drama. Five of the hottest chicas in Mexico. Some even former Miss Baja California Sur, models. Two, even Baja desert off-road racers! Elizabeth Wayas, the blonde and Rosalinda Wayas, the raven haired La Paz local. Sisters! La Paz was on the schedule later in the week, but they wanted some fun now and met us in Cabo, to tag along.

Rosalinda Wayas is seen in the Wild On Baja Promo (above) saying, "In Cabo San Lucas, you can be Superman in the night!".

Rosalinda was "discovered" after the program aired in the United States. She later became one of the most recognizable models in Mexico. Rosalinda drove the Wayas Team racer during the shoot and is seen in her hot bikini top in the show, we sponsored the beauties and were not disappointed!

Sponsoring racing teams was something Baja Safari did as a habit for ten years. We received lots of sponsorships, like from our first original sponsor, George Hurst in the mid-eighties. Up until just two years ago, we sponsored many Mexican desert racers. Baja Safari promoted grass root Baja racers.

We found out how 'Special' the high-end, American racers were when we handed a handful of 'comp' membership packages to Travis Coyne at the Baja Safari sponsored San Diego premiere of "Dust To Glory". Each included comp annual Mexican insurance for all of his chase teams, their volunteers, for the year. He threw them into the trash. That's how most, only ego-driven racers, care about their people. They don't.

Ruth treated the pain like it was a bee sting and was on time for the group to make its way over for dinner, to start the night. We had scheduled a full-blown flaumbay at the incredible, now history, (The Well) La Noria Restaurant. The restaurant pulled out all the stops. The best steaks and seafood of Cabo San Lucas, served under the stars Mexican BBQ style, overlooking San Lucas Bahia.

La Noria was located at the original site of the first water well at Cabo. The well had a long history of pirates, American whalers and Spanish gold seekers, but, that's another story.

Dinner at La Noria exceeded all of our expectations. Three chefs, the finest ingredients and two cameras to catch it all, while the crew, talent and our local CABO Safari travel specialists got fed! These shoots are always about good food and good times. We thanked the late Dennis Wolf and Randy Lehr, for the exceptional event at La Noria.

We'll talk about Dennis Wolf in later stories on Baja Racing, about the Baja 2000 desert off-road racing winning team and the Cabo Safari Baja 2000 race party at the Wabo. Thanks Jack Daniels! One of the framed sponsorship checks in our office, the 'Jack Daniels' signature, awesome.

OK, we rounded up the Jeeps and swung into action, dropping into the rarified air and tribal drums going off in the clubs of Cabo, we were ready for anything. The E! cameras rolled and the talent rocked, your humble reporter was there for the ride!

The first clubs we hit were the Cosmic Oyster Bar, Rainbow Bar, Planet Hollywood. All, no longer open in Cabo, long suffering clubs, that often were filled with clubbers on weekends and struggled during the week for customers.

But, this was a holiday Friday night. It was ON! Little did we know at the time, it was to be the blowout Cabo club night of all time. The night was young and we would end up staying out until the sun rose, the next day.

Next we made it to the Gigglin' Marlin for their great dance party and a chance to string up the virgin girls. Virgin Cabo experienced girls. Then we hit the smallest bar in Baja and the Jungle Bar. We were just getting started.

At every place we stopped, there were drinking adventures and things to discover. The original mixture of the Margarita, the original Baja Caesar Salad, every unique Baja drink and food item found in Cabo was discussed and experienced.

Mike got an urgent call from the states and didn't get back to the group until later. While in the Cabo Wabo, Sammy was there this night, a sight happened that will go down in Baja history. By this time it was past midnight and lots of the gringos had already had too much to drink. Including the chicas.

Brooke had hung with the group until now, she stayed at the next venue for a few minutes, then talked us into letting her and her boyfriend, get back to the hotel. Lightweight!

At the Wabo, the place was packed and Sammy was drinking his 'Vitamin T' (he was getting hammered) and was just halfway through his show, when one of the American girls up in the go-go rack, the metal cage high above the stage on the left side of the building, had lowered her skirt.

The witnesses to this had never seen such a thing in Cabo nightlife, maybe the E! Entertainment cameras and the hottest girls in Mexico was too much for her. Sammy and Vitamin T helped! Right in the middle of Sammys set and in the middle of "Can't Drive 55", she reached down and began to get herself off!

After minutes of this, Sammy finally noticed, finished his song, then championed her to a climax. In front of God and everyone at the Wabo, cheering! The place was packed, the cheering was loud. She finished. A long time Cabo professional, our manager down there, who helped MTV and the Wabo Cantina open years ago, said it was a singular historic event. No-one remembers anything like that happening, virtually on-stage, in Cabo San Lucas. For a gringa.

So, the show closes and we are still good to go. The local girls had some friends who worked at the joint across the street, we went in to visit. (huge animal smile placed here).

It was Splash. The only legal, bottomless bar in Baja Mexico.

It was late, even for a strip joint. But, because Sammy was in town, the place was packed. We had permission to shoot inside, the one and only time it was granted at Splash. At first the dancers didn't want to be filmed. Understandable, since they were young and one girl had family in Tijuana and hadn't yet told her mom she was "dancing" in Cabo.

Even with their friends form old times visiting, they didn't immediatley approve. But, they relented, when they found out who was shooting. E!, with the pretty brunnette they had watched on American television. The same way we had been followed from club to club, by an ever growing line of g-string wearing hotties from So-Cal.

They shot some crazy stuff in that little joint. Splash went off, loud American rock'n'roll, Metallica! and some partially drunk and hot Mexican dancers. One camera was catching it all, when one of the dancers did the unthinkable! She had taken it upon herself to start posing on a table and start a long, slow strip dance.

She wanted all the attention for herself.

It was 2 AM, the place was going sideways, when the stripped dancer on the table, dropped her panties and began what can only be called, a slow seduction of herself! Her hand had dropped and she was pleasuring in front of the TV camera and the shocked crew, including the producer. Later, he would deny the event took place. C'mon Frank grow some, would ya!

Some of her fellow co-workers, joined her in the event. By that time, the whole club was focused on this super-hot Mexican dancer, frigging her way to exctasy. With three of her equally hot friends cheering her onward.

The night had become, the teenage boy dream, beer commercial, never to be forgotten.

We all needed many, very cold beers, to remain professional. Too stay out of jail that night. For those of our esteemed readers who want a copy of that nights Splash scene, contact Keith Ebow. Porn Perp. You know who you are, Keith. The camera talent for that shot, still has the copies of the original tape. He owes us. He lives in Los Angeles, please trouble him for a copy, Baja Safari will happily pay the copy fees!

By 3 AM, we had not even made it to Squid and the after hour, sunrise joint yet! LOADING NOW>>>

About Brooke

Brooke Burke in 2001 Posed for Playboy Magazine (May Issue),
2001 - 2003 Hosted the pop culture countdown series, "Rank", 1999 - 2002 Hosted E!’s popular party-hopping series "Wild On", Raised in Tucson, Arizona. Worked as a swimsuit and lingerie model. As one of the hottest tour guides and perennial pin-ups on the planet, Brooke Burke’s exotic beauty, killer body and bubbly personality attracted legions of fans as host of E!’s popular pond and party-hopping series, “Wild On.”

Although not known for her acting skills, Burke took her hosting talents and undeniable beauty to heights never anticipated by the self-described “simple tomboy.” The former lingerie model became an industry unto herself, posing for best-selling calendars, launching her own swimwear line and appearing in everything from Burger King commercials to b-movies – and along the way, never losing the accessible 'joie de vivre' that she exhibited in almost any task she took on.
Born Sept. 8, 1971 in Hartford, CT to parents of Irish, Portuguese and French descent, Burke was raised in Tucson, AZ after her parents divorced.

The middle child of seven siblings, Burke never dreamed of fame and fortune. The young beauty was content to spend the rest of her life in the desert, playing drums in a rock band. Fate intervened when Burke accompanied a friend to a local modeling agency and was noticed by a beauty scout. Shortly after, she won a pageant sponsored by Hawaiian Tropics suntan lotion and, at age 19, headed to L.A. to study broadcast journalism at UCLA.

For extra money, she posed for Fredrick’s of Hollywood lingerie catalogs – experience which would serve her well in the years to come. She continued to sign with prestigious LA model and talent agencies, landing parts in national spots for Bally Total Fitness (as the “beautiful body”), Discover Card (Derek Jeter’s dream date), Coca-Cola, M Professional Cosmetics and Anheuser-Busch.
In 1999, the 5’7” stunner auditioned for host of E! Entertainment’s popular travel series, “Wild On” (1997-2002) when outgoing host Jules Asner decided to switch from exotic locales to the local “E! News Live” department.

Burke’s dependable Irish luck – as well as her obvious assets – did the trick yet again when she landed the career-making gig. Her induction to the crazy world of “Wild On” was indeed wild, but also wet, to say the least. Burke headed to Spain for the annual La Tomatina Festival, in which a crowd 30,000 strong bombarded each other with tomatoes from local vineyards – “the largest food fight in the world.” Seeing the gorgeous girl dripping in tomatoes – and most importantly, loving every minute of it – endeared her to fans immediately. Unlike Asner – who often appeared disinterested in parasailing or jumping out of planes – Burke immersed herself in the action and the culture each and every time. And the bikinis did not hurt either.


With Burke scantily clad on beaches or dancing in sweaty nightclubs, viewers began tuning in en mass, making “Wild On” the network's No. 2 show behind “Howard Stern.” Posing for Playboy in May, 2001 only added to her aura as the sexiest tour guide on the planet.
In 1998, the hostess, who admitted to having had breast enhancement surgery at age 19, met Dr. Garth Fisher, a renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

Not long after their whirlwind romance began, their first daughter, Neriah, was born in 2000, followed two years later by a second daughter, Sierra Sky. The couple tied the knot that same year. The “wife/mother” stigma could sometimes dull a sex symbol’s sheen, but it did nothing but enhance Burke’s. For those who assumed she was nothing but eye-candy, she proved the naysayers wrong by making the smartest business decision a pin-up can: making Brooke Burke a brand attractive to both sexes.

For us men, there were years of best-selling swimsuit calendars and countless covers and layouts in such men's mags as FHM, Stuff, Maxim and two top-selling stints baring it all for Playboy. For the ladies, a workout video “Core Secrets” (2004) and her own swimwear line, “Barely Brooke,” which appeared in the 2003 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated and also in Victoria’s Secret catalogues.
After three years of such adventures as fighting off crocodiles in Jamaica and walking on skyscraper ledges in New Zealand, Burke stepped down as host of “Wild On” in the fall of 2002. She remained at E! until Aug. 2003, hosting the pop culture countdown series, “Rank” (2001-03) and working the red carpet for E! Entertainment, Live Events. MORE LOADING TODAY>>>