If New York owned the ’80s, with its Studio 54 glitz and glam, the ’90s belonged to Miami. It was when artists, celebrities and designers flocked to South Beach for fun and sun. Where fashion royalty and music royalty lived and played side by side. Where supermodels in bikinis spiked volleyballs in the sand, and Jack Nicholson, well, partied like a rock star. It was a time of major talent and minimal pretension. And there, among the celebrities, was a local with a Nikon capturing it all. Manny Hernandez has been photographing celebrities in Miami for decades. He learned from the best—legendary paparazzo Ron Galella was his mentor—how to coax a smile from even the most jaded celebrity. Here, the photographer, whose book, Candids, is available on Amazon, pores through his archives and shares memories of life in Miami “during the decade that didn’t realize how cool it was until now,” says Hernandez.
From top: Anthony Michael Hall with Mario Lopez at a house party on North Bay Road. “Everyone knew Mario because of Saved by the Bell. But I was an ’80s kid, so when I saw the guy from Sixteen Candles at this party, I was like, ‘What?!’”; supermodel Claudia Schiffer; Ingrid Casares and Donatella Versace at Club Liquid.
Clockwise from top left: Melania Knauss celebrating her April 1999 Ocean Drive cover. “This was at Bar Room. Donald was there too. This was before they were married”; Anna Kournikova; Studio 54’s Ian Schrager and Ben Affleck; Jamaican model, singer and songwriter Grace Jones with Shawn Lewis. “Shawn came down from New York with a ton of money and was opening up all these places. At this opening, he had Grace Jones and Lennox Lewis. So random”; the Backstreet Boys at the height of their boy band fame.
From top: Cartwheeling fashion designer Betsey Johnson with her daughter, Lulu; the Bee Gees; Busta Rhymes, Mona Scott, Missy Elliott and Chris Lighty; Todd Oldham at the opening of his South Beach boutique; Billy Baldwin and Cindy Crawford, who starred together in the romantic action thriller Fair Game. “There were so many movies filming in Miami in the ’90s. Fair Game was one of them. The celebrities would come down for work—but also to play and have a good time.”
From top: Music icons Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan; a teenage Jessica Simpson when she was dating Nick Lachey; supermodel Christie Brinkley. “Christie was being honored at an event down here and she came down with her daughter, Alexa. Not many photographers were covering the celebrity beat at the time, so I got access to pretty much any event. As long as I went out at night, there was a celebrity to see and photograph”; Baywatch star Carmen Electra (aka the ’90s queen of low-rise pants and crop tops); Brooke Shields.
From top: Enrique Iglesias and Sofia Vergara; Kelly Klein and Madonna; “This is young Kid Rock—he was just starting out making his way to fame. It was totally normal to see him out on South Beach having a good time”; Hugh Hefner surrounded by models. “Any party you went to, there were tons of beautiful women around. I could do an entire book of pictures of men surrounded by groups of women like this”; magician David Copperfield, who was married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer at the time.
From top: Shakira; “Jack Nicholson was a huge hit when he came to Miami. Everywhere he went, everyone was like, ‘Jack! Jack! Jack!’ This was at an Ocean Drive party on Fisher Island, one of the best parties of all time. The Champagne was flowing and everyone was having a good time. I remember Jack partied like a rock star that night”; Roshumba Williams; Cedric Forge and Dennis Rodman; Dr. Dre and Matthew Hill.
From top: “Vanilla Ice had the number-one song during that time. Now he’s remodeling homes on HGTV. It’s funny how time changes people”; designer Nicole Miller; Fabio of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter fame; Bruce Willis and Demi Moore; “This photo of OJ Simpson with the mariachi band at a restaurant in Coral Gables ended up on the cover of the National Enquirer. I had him pose like that—with the hat and the guitar. He was always willing to play. And at that time, I photographed him a lot because OJ was the news story.”
From top: Billy Corgan and Alan Roth; “I love this moment: Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind giving an autograph through a chain-link fence. This was after the band performed at Volleypalooza, Ocean Drive’s version of a sporting event, where all the models competed. It was one big party”; J.Lo, Diddy, Ingrid Casares and Chris Paciello; the Pointer Sisters giving their hand prints for the walk of fame outside the Theatre of Performing Arts on Miami Beach; R&B superstar Brandy.
From top: “Chris Blackwell was the music Gianni Versace. Gianni was fashion royalty and Chris was music royalty. And Miami had them both. He was the head of Island Records and he also owned a bunch of hotels on South Beach. This was in the studio with the Inner Circle—the band that sang the song ‘Bad Boys’”; Teddy Behr and Adora; MC Hammer; “During that time, I was also going to Palm Beach for society shoots, like this moment with Ivanka Trump”; “Richard Branson was another man who was always surrounded by beautiful women”; Mariah Carey.
From top: Lenny Kravitz and Perry Farrell; Mayte Garcia, Prince’s wife; “A friend invited me to breakfast at News Cafe with Kato Kaelin. Back then I had those nerdy glasses in my camera bag, so every once in a while I would take them out and have people pose with them. You’d be surprised at how many people did it. Kato even took a potato from his plate and made it a nerdy tooth”; artist Kenny Scharf, who at that time had a great shop on Lincoln Road, and Craig Robins; Mike Tyson cruising South Beach.
Photography by: Photographed by Manny Hernandez