Feature: Top 25 Celebrity Portraits of 2017, Captured by Joe Arce

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CHICAGO – My year in capturing 2017 celebrity portraits is best summed up with a bit of poetry: My subjects skewed older and politically bolder/In a year that demanded change/My list is longer with work hopefully stronger/In capturing these faces not strange.

As per every year the ranking of these portraits are based on a combination of the star power wattage of the subjects, the artistic results and the difficulty of landing the quarry for those budding smart-phone celebrity stalkers who may wish to play along at home. So without further adieu, I present my (Joe Arce’s) Top 25 Celebrity Portraits of 2017.

Star25. Maddie Ziegler

Maddie Ziegler
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Maddie Ziegler works the camera just as gracefully as she choreographs the dance floor. Carefree, playful and unafraid of taking chances, the teen dance phenom – and break-out star of “Dance Moms” and numerous videos of pop star Sia – is quickly becoming an IT girl in the industry. 2017 brought two New York Times best sellers… “The Maddie Diaries” and a novel “The Audition.” She also started her own clothing line, had a featured role in the film “The Book of Henry,” and 2018 will see her starring opposite Kate Hudson in “Sister.” From Lifetime TV’s tiny dancer to America’s teen queen, Maddie Ziegler has proven she has all the right moves.

LOCATION/DATE: Naperville (Ill.) Marriott, sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop, March 11th, 2017

Star24. Lisa Marie

Supermodel Lisa Marie
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Lisa Marie was a creative muse for famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and posed for Bruce Weber as the face of Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Then came director Tim Burton, as she appeared in six of his films – “Ed Wood,” “Mars Attacks,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Planet Of The Apes.” The main character in Burton’s “Corpse Bride” is an animated version of Lisa Marie… as is the Sally character in “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” Needless to say, I’ve dreamt of capturing her with my own lens for years. She is a noted photographer herself, with beauty to die for, and rightly she asked for photo approval. Two clicks of the shutter was all it took to capture this portrait, and her instant approval.

LOCATION/DATE: Days of the Dead Convention, November 18th, 2017

Star23. Comedian Denis Leary

Denis Leary
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

You know what doesn’t suck? Getting to shoot backstage portraits with Denis Leary just before he takes the stage…and no, he was anything but an “Asshole.” The star and creator of the TV series “Rescue Me” met privately backstage with local fire fighters and first responders, where he happily posed for selfies before his sold out signing of his new book, “Why We Don’t Suck.”

LOCATION/DATE: North Central College, Naperville (Ill.), sponsored by Anderson’s Bookshop. November 1st, 2017

Star22. Stefanie Powers

Stefanie Powers
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

She played John Wayne’s daughter (“McLintock!”), Lana Turner’s rival (“Love Has Many Faces”) and was terrorized on screen by Tallulah Bankhead (“Die! Die! My Darling”), and throw in roles as a gorgeous TV secret agent (“The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.”) and her ability to communicate with a Volkswagen (“Herbie Rides Again”). All of these parts came before her most famous character as Robert Wagner’s crime solving and sultry better half in “Hart to Hart.” It’s no wonder Stefanie Powers has been nominated for five Golden Globe awards, as she brings a viable passion to every role she takes on, whether its on screen or in her animal advocacy – as the president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and Education Center in Kenya. Appearing at the “Hollywood Show” in Chicago, I personally witnessed how she graciously took time after the main day event, to surprise a group of fans and speak at their company gathering completely off the cuff and without charge.

LOCATION/DATE: Hollywood Show, Chicago, March 18th, 2017

Star21. Gabourey Sidibe of the Film “Precious”

Actress Gabourey Sidibe
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

Beyond simply “Precious,” Gabourey Sidibe is proving herself as a fearless force in media. The 2009 Oscar nominated actress – now on the TV series “Empire” – has become a trailblazing voice and role model, not just for women of a certain size, but for many who feel unrepresented and practically invisible on screen. Her memoir “This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare” pulled no punches, as it focused on her life long struggle with weight, depression and childhood abuse, culminating in revealing her recent gastric bypass surgery after being diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes.

Initially written off by haters as a one trick pony, Sidibe has proven her critics wrong by consistently working for close to a decade. She is still breaking down barriers, even going so far as to do a steamy rooftop sex scene in the second season of “Empire.” Sidibe welcomes all controversy… as long as it opens up a dialogue. From her journey as a phone sex operator to recently directing, Gabourey Sidibe claims self confidence is like lipstick, the secret is in finding your individual shade, and then reapplying as needed.

LOCATION/DATE: Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville (Ill.), May 12th, 2017

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