As I recall, about seven years ago, I assisted NYC photographer Michael Prince on an ad job for Toshiba. The job was to be a multi-ethnic cast of your white, black, brown, and yellow crowd. I was part of a three man crew which included Sean Murray and Alfred Yan and we set up cameras and light for the shot. It was very easy and didn’t really seem out of the ordinary for any of us. It was quick and painless from what I recall.
After hours of hair and make-up, light tests, and arrangement of the furniture, the models lined up and pictures were taken. However, the art directors were not pleased…something was missing…an element they couldn’t figure out.
Whispers and fingers were starting to point around the room and all of a sudden, fingers were pointed at me. I got asked to a model in the ad! I figured they needed the Hispanic/Jewish/Mediterranean brown guy in the shot. I was thinner, carried myself well, and people noticed. Sean, surprisingly wasn’t asked and he was an ex model for Bruce Webber! He was much better looking than me but I guess they had their white guy in the shot and the same for Alfred as he’s Chinese and the token hot Asian girl was already staged. Hence the camera turned on me.
I got a quick haircut from the stylist, a boring sweater type jersey, and off I was on the set, pretending to engage in conversation with the model looking guy across from me. I recall being nervous as hell even though I am quite the ham in front of any camera. But a few moments later, I emerged as the hero of the shot and was even told by the photographer “…you pretty much made that shot.”
I walked away from that job with an assistant rate plus a fat modeling check! I quickly figured out lifestyle modeling might be the new career, I can see myself now…exotic locations, model girlfriends, waiter jobs on the side, airports, botox, champagne, flashing lights…ah…the good life. Alas, the road to success remained on the other side of the camera where my face will never get the action it deserves.