“Too Hot To Handle” – The Untold Modeling and Cooking Story

As I sat in the lukewarm swivel chair getting makeup applied for what I believe to be the first time in my life, the owners of the clothing company walked into the previously inviting fluorescent lit room. (In Spanish, unbeknownst to my ability to roughly translate) “Do you think his hair is too long? I don’t think this is going to work, this isn’t what the photos looked like.” “No it’ll be fine,” said the other, “I think the (dirty) outdoorsy look will play really well.” 

For everyone who asked me why I was in Santiago for so long, I have not been entirely forethcoming. While I love Santiago and what not, if it wasn’t for some exciting sexy employment I don’t think I would have stayed so long. Thanks to a connection from fellow handsome man and recently funemployed bud, Colin Twohig, I was picked up by VIP Modeling Agency in Santiago. Devilishly goodlooking Colin had made the acquantiance of this agency a few years ago when he was wandering Chile and connected us via email a while back after I told him I was thinking about coming down here. I have quietly done some casual gigs in the past for outdoor companies including Mountain Hardwear and Mizu so i guess it wasn’t my first rodeo. Pics or it isn’t real… 

Mizu – Always Moving

Necessary shout out to life long friend Zach Alexander for starting it all with MHWand homie for life Carolyn Wegner for being my partner in crime in front of the camera! 

No backpacking trip would be complete without selling your body in some way or another, so I said fuck it and reached out once I got to Santiago. I guess they liked what they saw because I got signed on. Perfect for my current situation, aka hygiene, an outdoor clothing company called Hi Tec picked me up. What happened next was the full D Zoolander, Hanz and even Franz experience! Indoor studios, outdoor adventures, makeup, lights cameras, action, fake snow BOOM. International model life baby! Pow, kabaam, kickin ass and autographing babies. ​I can literally say I have left my mark on Santiago. They will be reminded of me every time they decide to shop at a few specific retail outlets. I will be memorialized, at least until the new seasonal line comes out. Speaking of which I seem to have a knack for winter gear, i.e. lots of clothes. I guess they just can’t handle what’s underneath the multiple layers of goose down. 

Anyway, maybe I’ll share the final product eventually, but for now here’s some behind the scenes. SUPER EXCLUSIVE LOOKS RIGHT HERE

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My agent Fernanda is every models dream. Awake and afraid in the middle of the night? Call Fern. Need directions? Call Fern! Can decide what to make for dinner? Fern! Where’s that other sock? Ferrrnnnnn Existential crisis? Oh hey Fern! What condiment to chose? Ferns got ya. Who’s my favorite agent? Fern is! We were an unstoppable duo and I knew Santiago was where I needed to be. 

I cannot lie, it was pretty friggin fun getting this work. The people in the outdoor industry are great, so you’re not at risk of working with shitty people. I think depending on the brand, you could have a miserable time. People there couldn’t wrap their heads around why I was there. How some dude fresh off the trails ended up in the studio. It was equally strange to me, so I didn’t really have a good answer. Through all of this, I was getting paid, so that’s nice too. Made some true friends and have an open door policy if/when I return. 

Do I feel like I deviated from the purpose of my trip? Not at all. I’m not on a quest to find myself, just trying to have as many awesome and different experiences. Plus I gotta hustle and model life is lucrative. But model life only goes so far and I needed to fill the remaining time chillin in Santiago. So I cooked, and cooked a lot. But before I digress into how dope the empanadas I made were, I want to elaborate on a special someone I mentioned earlier. 

A special and heartfelt shoutout to ma dude Colin Twohig for recently embarking on the first stage of his own world walk about, moving home. Pre first stage was quitting his equally awesome job. While we are friends first and foremost, Colin was also my work wifey. Colin is physically packing, tanning and trimming his bod along with mentally planning and prepping right now for a one way flight to Bali come early July. Colin, a fiery lad not just in personality, but also hair color, is chasing waves out in Bali and Australia before hopefully rendevouzing back in Santiago next year to become … Los Gringos Guapos where we will take Chile by storm as the dynamic Californian modeling duo! The dream is alive as of now. Colin has a taste for adventure and kidney killers and is sure to have an adventure worth following. I wish our trips lined up sooner, but everyone’s got their path. Love you dude and can’t wait to see where you go. 

So as I was saying, model life isn’t everything. While it pays the bills, I needed some more thrills. So #blessed to have a free spot to stay this whole time in Santiago, one of the best ways I could give back was packing the apartment with fresh smells and a fridge full of delish eats. My days consisted of waking up, breakie, maybe a lil reading of Spanish “The Little Prince,” aka “El Principito,” checking in with Fern dawg, picking what to make for dinner, run or climbing gym, hitting up the massive open produce market called La Vega, then returning home and cooking for a few hours. Throw in ransoms coffee shops, hanging with Chilean, Spanish and Gringo friends midday and midnight, dance parties and that was my life. Empanadas were frequent and flavorful. Soups including Brazilian black bean and season squash. Breads were of the banana variety. Plus much more including the dangerous pisco sour and eggs benny combo – made possible by the sours need for egg whites and the bennys need for yolk. 

I want to elaborate on La Vega because it’s the dopest place in Santiago. A double costco size open air produce market where the people of the country come to sell produce and other goods everyday. They essentially cut out the middle man so everything is super cheap. It’s located right in the heart of town and is filled with tasty eye candy if you’re into food. It’s where you go if you want to stay in touch with the real people of Santiago. 

It was super nice to have the time and space to continue my cooking experience from Argentina. There’s nothing better than having the time to cook a full meal for friends and family. It’s a shame that full time jobs make this near impossible. Maybe I’ll have to put off full time work for a bit longer while I master the kitchen. There’s something magical about cooking, music, and a cup of wine. Also, I really don’t like cutting garlic and brussel sprouts. I can live with onions but it doesn’t mean I love it. Currently day dreaming about opening some hip restaurant in SF serving Argentinian asado, empanadas and a side of whatever the hipsters like most. 

With about 6 weeks spent in Santiago, given a few different days and weeks in other spots like Rapa Nui, I can say I feel like I got to know the city and make a foreign home. I really like it there, so much that a possible move back is seemed all too likely. If not now when I guess. I am moving North where I will hopefully be able to finagle a Visa to Bolivia. 

Peace and Love y’all. 

Earth, Wind and Fired

For any future employers reading this, I feel the need to clarify that I was not in fact fired, but left on my own accord under the best terms possible. In fact the entire company pleaded that I not leave, even going so far as to offer naming the company in my name. For anyone at said company, just go with it.

I have no intentions for this blog, other than to chirp in along this adventure here and there when inspiration strikes, or I’m so bored that I feel the need to publish my thoughts. I can’t guarantee anything interesting, nor rule out the occasional pedantic rant when I’ve had too much time to think. I will try to be genuine, although I’m sure I will look back on this in 5 years asking ‘what the fuck was I talking about?’ There will be no rundowns on what I ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or how many bowel movements I had on a given day. Unless it is of particular interest to share. For the record, today was: awesome pancakes my host made for me, a ham and cheese croissant, rice and veggies, and 2. 

Why am I traveling? Because it’s about god damn time. Recent weeks of back pain from poor posture at my desk only reaffirmed this intention. A coworker of mine always had a picture of a man sitting with proper posture as his background. I think everyone should do this. It’s impossible to see that and not correct yourself. Unfortunately this was my background:

The general motivation is that I’ve worked as long as I could, and now need to take some time for adventure. I’m throwing caution in the wind – sorta. I’m quite fortunate to have a soft landing pad at home in the east bay and a college degree if I piss away all my cash and end up on my ass at some point. So here’s to taking advantage of what I’m so lucky to have. Also here’s all the gear I have, that somehow got stuffed into a single pack. 

The general intention is to spend about a month backpacking around Australia and New Zealand – mostly New Zealand, then head to South America for about 4-5 months before finding a job down there or returning home. I likely need to reassess spending if I will make it that far. Turns out Australia and New Zealand seriously ain’t cheap! Why am I going to these places? Because some cool older cats did it back in the day and I’ve had my heart set on it ever since. Also 180 Degrees South. It recently occurred to me that I’m chasing winter… you dummy!

Tonight is my first night in a hostel thanks to some seriously generous friends of friends. Like this gal Caitlin Platt with some rad art to peep at http://caitlinplatt.wixsite.com/caitlinplatt 

 

At this sweet spot here outside of Christchurch: 

I cannot thank y’all enough! I’m so fortunate to have amazing friends. Because if they weren’t so friggin awesome, these friends of theirs wouldn’t have taken me into their home. My network around the world is so much broader than I ever knew. Love y’all. I hope I can return the favor. I find myself over a week in and somehow in Wanaka, New Zealand gearing up for a 4 day tramp in the mountains. 

UPDATE: I didn’t post this before we left. We survived. Here’s a sneak peak: 


K byyyeeee