- Helloooooooooo there :)
- Hello! We’re looking for models
- Uuuuh sorry, I don’t know anyone
The heat wave was still on in El Tunco, but the waves came back. I was checking the ocean on la Guitarra’s beachfront when I saw two girls walking by, staring at me. I smiled as they approached. They came to Playa El Tunco to recruit models for a clothing retailer. I laughed it out and brushed them off, admitting it was a good joke. But the girls insisted, they showed me their Instagram page and it looked legit. They were looking for men models, and they chose me!
The girls started their pitch, a day of shooting for $100. I pretended to consider, completely absorbed in narcissism. I was willing to do it for free, and here they were, trying to convince me to do it for pay! We agreed. They would pick me up in La Guitarra at 9 the next morning.
I ran to Sandra, all excited to brag about my encounter. "They were just hitting on you" she said. Maybe they were. Meanwhile, I was loving the attention and enjoying my new status. I started answering invitations with “I only hang out with models now... sorry”. Despicable. But totally worth it.
At 9am sharp, a grey Jeep Wrangler parked in front of La Guitarra. The girls had recruited Mariano, another beach boy in El Tunco. He was handsome, like most Argentinians, and had previous modeling experience. With Mariano by my side, I felt less like a fraud.
We stopped on the way to pick up the photographer and his bulky shooting gear. Then we followed the coastal road to a secluded area. A tiny alley led to a big metal gate with a security guard. He lifted the gate with one hand, and held an automatic rifle in the other. The driver gave his ID and parked the Jeep inside, on the grass. We walked into a luxury mansion, with a private beach, a pool, and direct access to the ocean. I could get used to that.
The girls gave us our first assignment. We wore clothes and pretended not to pose. The only challenge was the light reflection. The driver was walking in front of us with an aluminum umbrella, reflecting the sun straight into my eyes. Tears were flowing non-stop, the remnants of she-who-must-not-be-named perhaps. The driver folded his umbrella, the girls gave me sunglasses and the photographer changed his angles. A whole team was attending my whims. I felt like a real model.
The photographer took forever to tweak his gear. Meanwhile we, poor models, had to withstand the dazzling heat. I got bored and started fooling around with the skateboard. Mariano waited, patient and pretty and still, like a Greek statue in an empty museum.
After a few rounds of skating, I was completely drenched in sweat. The shorts they had given me were wet too. I went inside to change and saw an old man talking to the girls. He was bold and had a blue linen shirt with a golden chain shining on his chest. The perfect cliché of a rich man in a poor country. I passed them and entered the bathroom to change clothes.
“Who the fuck is that?” I heard him say. He was the owner and was not convinced by the girls' recruiting talents. She justified her choices by the lack of options. We were their only choice in El Tunco and she had to get the pictures ready on time. Hahaha so much for my narcissism. The man yelled something and we resumed shooting at a faster pace, with winter clothes as well.
The winter collection was not planned, but the owner's his security guard spoke for him. We closed the day, got paid, and returned to El Tunco. I was bragging to Sandra and the boys that I was a professional model now. The guys called me puto, spanish for faggot, and Sandra advised against using the new pictures on Tinder. “You look way too fake” she said. It was true. We faked thinking. We faked talking. We even faked laughing. It was all fake, fake and brainless. We put on clothes, posed, and pretended to show people what it meant to be cool.
Thank you LULO for the money and for the experience. It was the easiest $100 I ever made. While we posed like inanimate objects, I grasped the importance of being intellectually challenged. For the entire day, there was no thinking involved, no decision-making, nothing. Over time, that's how one turns stupid.
To be clear, I would do it again... on occasion. It's nice to feel pretty once in a while.