He was one of the last people on staff to talk to me. There was a snobbish air about him– he was caramel skinned, slim figured, had a full set of curly brown hair, a sharp nose, and wore thin-rimmed glasses. His fluent Korean made him a favorite for our Korean boss. Evidently his flirty and energetic persona made him popular with all the female customers and, in contrast to his regular persona, earned him contempt from some of the staff. I didn’t know what to think.
“You have a very,” he gestured vertically with his hand, “calming presence.” Okay.
“That’s good,” I said.
“Like you seem very together– collected, calm. That’s good, especially when it gets busy and crazy.”
“Thanks!” Uhh. I just greet and seat people.
On the day we finally talked: I was drinking a cup of miso on break and he was bumming around in front of me not saying a word. I decided to introduce myself, and once I complimented him on his charisma, the rest of his life story started spilling out. It was like inserting a quarter into a vending machine and then getting more soda than you know what to do with.
He had moved back into town from Hollywood, where he enjoyed his career as a full-time model. But eventually he didn’t like the scene or the crowd, and became obsessed with his weight, turning bulimic and finding comfort through drugs. A lot of drugs.
“It’s not as glamorous as it seems on TV. It got pretty bad.” So I guess for his rehabilitation, he decided to be as far removed from glamor and “success” as possible and ended up serving sushi in the Midwest. The only model gig he could find here would probably be lying half-naked against a cornstalk in -2 degree weather. I didn’t see him for several weeks after that encounter and wondered if he quit, or just decided that corn wasn’t really his cream.
CASTING: Emotional Boss