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President of Hip-Hop (New York Chronicles Vol. 2) . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, February 26, 2007

{Editor's Note: This is the second in a 5-part series chronicling my time spent in New York living the life of a model and waging a battle against food, geography and a plethora of people who all had opinions on how I should/did look. The names have been changed for obvious reasons.}

The morning was overcast and cold when I awoke on Monday in a strange house somewhere in New Jersey.

It was President's Day, and I was unsure about my itinerary. I could detect little movement in the house, which didn't help my uncertainty.

I moved stealthily downstairs and had a protein shake, oatmeal bars I brought with me from Austin and coffee as I waited for someone else to stir. The wait would last until almost noon when I got a call from the agent telling me to come into New York City with the other Texan in the house.

Due to the holiday, things were fairly slow at the agency (who gets off for President's Day anymore), so there was no rush.

Mr. T and I rode the train from New Jersey to Penn Station in New York and then jumped the subway and took it to the heart of the Chelsea district, an area that easily boasts the fewest heterosexual males in the United States.

The modeling agency was located there, which made no difference to me because if you have a problem being around gay men then you better give up any hope of modeling and also try to expand your horizons a bit anyway.

Once in the office, I filled out a form with all my measurements and stats, something for the agency to provide prospective employers and I had to laugh a little when one field asked for my best features.

I wrote: "abs, eyes, chest, face and butt - but I hate to play favorites so don't forget about my back, shoulders, quads and ankles."

At least I thought it was amusing.

We spent several hours hanging around the agency and setting up calls for the week, finding out about castings and learning schedules.

Then the agent told me to take off my shirt and stand against the wall. He snapped a few pictures with his digital camera, told me that my abs looked great and that he was glad because if they weren't up to par then he would have shipped me home on the next plane bound for Texas (I don't think he was kidding).

He still wanted my chest to be bigger, however, there was nothing to be done at this stage of the game.

The pictures were then emailed to prospective photographers for a shoot that was scheduled to happen sometime on Tuesday. This appeared to be a lottery for the photographers, something akin to throwing meat to a band of tigers as emails popped back to the agent saying "Yes, I'll shoot him and send more pictures if you have them."

It was good to feel wanted. Ha.

Once that was set up, it was decided that Mr. T and I would be attending a basic Hip-Hop dance class that evening, an event paid for by the agent in hopes of expanding our marketability and taught by the choreographer for some of P. Diddy's shows on MTV.

No pressure.

But this impending debacle was still hours away, and so Mr. T and I decided to walk the city and find something to eat before hitting the gym.

It was semi-hilarious to find myself on par with someone else who was as precise and crazy about food as I had been as we talked for a good hour about carb-loading/depleting, shedding water, eating broccoli pre-workout, black coffee, protein shakes, and distilled water while scouring the city for something clean to eat.

We finally settled on Boston Market, and ordered the same thing: turkey plate and hold the gravy, steamed vegetables and sweet potatoes, but please scrape all the marshmellows off the potatoes ma'm, sure do appreciate it.


Pressed for time, we opted to lift weights at a gym in Chelsea, which easily set a personal record for the number of times I was leered at while working out. These weren't fleeting, sideways glances, these were eyes firmly open and taking in every detail, striation and facial expression that might also include a head nod towards the locker room.

We both agreed that the experience gave you more empathy for women, who put up with this kind of thing much more frequently (Although not from me. No sir).

But if the gym itself was challenging in this regard, our decision to take a shower afterwards was worse. The locker room was steamy, sweaty and cramped.

It was also crammed full of guys, most of them naked and the rest close enough to smell their cologne. It was not a relaxing environment, and although I didn't time myself, it was probably the fastest shower of my adult life.

After grabbing two protein shakes for the road, we made our way towards the dance class which was on the 4th floor of an older downtown building.

I was terrified that the instructor would be a crazed dance nazi, an gyrating animal like something out of "Bring It On."

But I was wrong, and she proved to be extremely nice as Mr. T and I frequently embarrassed ourselves among our dancing brethern.

This was a full-on routine we were learning. Something that involved hand movements, quick feet, rhythm and many other things that I didn't have in my bag of tricks.

I didn't trip or stumble, and I even found myself keeping up with at least half the routine, which the instructor assured us could be used at clubs too. And I survived the 90 minute session feeling much better about myself.

I reasoned that if I could tap enough previously undiscovered skills to pull through a Hip-Hop class, then the photo shoot slated for the next day should be easy.

At least that was my mantra as we rode the train back towards the Model House.



  1. nobich Says:
  2. Spirit fingers???
    where did you stay in Jersey??

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. All this talk of trains, subways and taxis is making me homesick for New York. I'd pay a whole lot of my hard-earned money to see you in that dance class.

  5. I don't think they use jazz hands in hip-hop, do they?
    What a day, but it must have been nice to share it with someone who actually didn't wonder why you ate the way you did.

  6. Nobich - I thought that might perk you up with the NJ talk, and spirit fingers were just what I was thinking. Ha. Rahway.

    Melissa - The dancing was probably a one-shot deal, but save a little $ just in case. Ha. And I'd let it get a little warmer and then head straight for New York.

    Sarcastic - It was a very good thing to share my bizarre schedule with someone else. Especially when that person knows his way around the city and where to find the restaturants we need. Ha.

  7. Miss Ash Says:
  8. Haha i love the bit about the Hip Hop class. I took dance for 10 years so i'm at least slightly co-ordinated....and female. But what if some of the men had no co-ordination whatsoever? It would be a rather embarassing endeavor i'd imagine.

  9. JLee Says:
  10. oh, this is way better than fiction! For your best feature, I woulda dared you to put "gonads" or something of that nature. HAHA
    I'm glad you survived the gym.
    (Y M CA..)
    No offense, but the thought of you hip-hop dancing makes me giggle. Doesn't seem your cup o' tea.

  11. Miss Ash - Then you should have come down and been my stand-in as I bet you would be have been far more successful than I was. But I survived and I remember at least a few steps. Ha.

    Jlee - I could be a hip-hop dancing fool - but I'm not so you are correct. And I'm glad to have survived the gym as well, intact & clean. Ha.

  12. Sherry Says:
  13. Poor you, being ogled by all the pretty boys who have nothing better to do than spend their day stalking at the gym.

    I'm glad that you had a tour guide/colleague, but now I keep hearing I pity the fool in my head when I read Mr. T.


  14. I will take the pity as I am no piece of meat. Ha. And I didn't even make the Mr. T connection until now and that is a bad thing because I want to start writing dialogue in his cadence. Must resist . . .

  15. slopmaster Says:
  16. life of a model. pretty cool.

    I've always wanted to be really really good looking, but if I was, I would not surround myself around gay men.

  17. yeah, proper gym locker room etiquette can be overlooked by some.

    At my gym we have one row of three feet lockers on top of another row of 3 ft high lockers. One day I was kneeling and rifling through my clothes from one of the bottom lockers and this guy, buck naked, walks up right behind me, and practically rests his balls on the back of my head as he is reaching for the locker directly above mine.

    I've always been a top since then.

  18. Slopmaster - Unfortunately one tends to go hand-in-hand with the other - not literally - in the industry.

    Idig - Now that is a horrible mental image, and I would use it as a cautionary tale for gym-goers (sp?) everywhere. Nobody needs to contend with that kind of thing post-workout.


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