You may remember a delightfully quirky British film – and, really, aren’t many British films delightful and quirky? – called “Calendar Girls.” The premise of the 2003 movie was a group of women “of a certain age” deciding to pose nude for a calendar to raise money for a local hospital.
Helen Mirren, the star of the film, is likely too busy collecting accolades for her scarexpected current role in “The Queen” to notice – but Britain has nothing on Costa Rica.
Meet the SASY Calendar Girls, just as charming as their British counterparts. And these women are real people, to boot, not movie characters.
SASY stands for “Stop Animal Suffering –Yes!” and is the moniker of a local volunteer organization devoted to eliminating animal suffering and abuse here in Costa Rica.
Sixteen devoted women shed all – the nudity is tasteful with animals and foliage strategically positioned – to create a beautiful 2007 calendar, the proceeds of which go to animal-welfare projects near and dear to their hearts.
“We wanted to show the beauty of women of all ages, and combine that with a love for animals,” explains Rosemary Rein, who pulls double duty in media relations for the calendar as well as posing as Miss August.
Indeed, calendar participants range in age from their early 30s to early 70s, representing Canada, the United States, England and France. It was never the intent to use 20-year-old models types, Rein says.
“Women who have a passion for animals are interesting creatures themselves,” she adds.
Xandari Resort and Spa outside Alajuela, northwest of San José, provided the backdrop for the group photo that graces the calendar’s cover, shown here, and Rein recounts that the complex’s gardeners got an eyeful that day.
“That was the longest hedge I’ve ever seen being cut,” she laughs.
Promoting the calendar around Costa Rica has been easier than Rein expected, though a few organizations asked that the calendars be brought to them in the proverbial plain brown bags.
In a trip back to the United States, Rein remembers discussing the calendar with a woman in Iowa.
“I couldn’t take this home to my husband,” the woman gasped upon seeing the calendar.
Earnings from the calendar are earmarked for spaying and neutering projects around Costa Rica, especially in low-income areas. With all the homeless animals in the country, this is definitely needed, Rein says.
Veterinarians agree to perform the surgery at cost, so spaying and neutering become affordable commodities, and a little bit goes a long way.
Calendars can be ordered through the SASY Web site (www.sasycostarica.com) for $15, plus postage and handling, depending on the destination address. Major credit cards are accepted. The Web site also contains information about how to donate to SASY projects.
The calendar is available at several locations around Costa Rica, including: Association
of Residents of Costa Rica (257-6646) in San José; Xandari Resort (443-2020) near Alajuela; Unity Church (203-4411) in Santa Ana, southwest of San José; Clínica Veterinaria Escazú (228-1909) in the western suburb of Escazú; Vista del Valle Plantation Inn (450-0800) near Naranjo, northwest of San José; and Mono Azul (777-1954) in Manuel Antonio and El Gran Escape (777-0395) in Quepos, on the central Pacific coast, among others.