I started working as a runway model back in college. One of my best friends, Don, whose girlfriend was a also model, asked me if I was interested in earning some extra cash doing ramp. She asked me once before, I remember, but I declined, I told her I wasn’t ready.
When we met again at a party a few months later, she asked me again if I wanted to finally go for it. She told me that since I already looked like a model it’d be easy for me to book jobs. I considered her offer but told her that I can only work part-time. “It wasn’t a problem,” she tells me. She’d call me up ask me to join her in some of the go-sees she was invited to. I was a bit hesitant at first but after my friends told me that I have nothing to lose, I decided to give it a shot.
I liked the job because it was pretty simple and easy. All I really had to do was walk without tripping and get my swagger on every time I’m on the stage. I also earned enough to support myself and my luho, but due to conflicts with my schedule at the university, I had to stop. I had my priorities straight and I wasn’t going to risk what I had established for a career as unpredictable as modeling. I was keen on graduating first before anything else.
I met a lot of good-looking guys on some of the go-sees and fashion shows I was able to book. Tall, handsome guys that have bodies to die for. We’d sometimes hang out after shows and grab a few drinks to celebrate. Most times we’d just attend after parties sponsored by the designers or clients.
In one of the fashion shows I did, one of the models, Luke, asked some of the guys, including me, if we wanted to go to his condo in Wack Wack in Mandaluyong for drinks.He was living alone. It was a Friday and since I have classes the next morning I told them I’d pass. Enrique, 17, the half-Spaniard model who was also on the same show, tried to convince me and told me that we could just share a cab on the way home. He lived near my place. He also told me that he too has classes the following day.
The show started around 7 in the evening but we were called to come in a few hours early for the final fitting and a quick run through. The show was for an upcoming designer who specializes in men’s clothing.
I arrived around 5:30 pm and saw a some of the guys scattered everywhere talking. I sat on one of the stools when the assistant, Diane, walked over to me and asked for my information. She then led me to the backroom where people are already rushing to and fro busy with their jobs.
I talked to some guys and most of them, I found out, were already professional models that had been doing this for a long time now. Martin, 19, was also a student like me while Andrew, 22, was a fresh grad working as an IT professional for some call center agency in Ortigas. There were 2 Brazilian models at the far end of the room talking to each other. They looked much older than the rest of us, around 25 or 26 perhaps. One of them was with a girlfriend. She was very pretty and I figured that she was a model as well.
Minutes before every show I get a little jittery so I decided to go outside for some smoke. Another guy named Paul, 18, joined me. Paul looked like he could already be 22 or something. He’s mestizo, very tall, around 5’11, with an athletic built. He told me that he was a varsity player in high school and was drafted to play for one of the elite universities here in Manila, but after suffering from an ACL injury, his chances diminished.
We talked a little and I found out a lot of things about him. He seemed like a nice kid, very upbeat and energetic. He told me that he had been modeling since he was 15 back in Cebu. He was spotted by a modeling agent at the grocery store. Cliche right? Anyway, he then transferred to Manila to make this his full time job and to study as well. We were called back by one of the PAs so both of us hurried back to the dressing room.
The show ended around 9 and I was already changing my clothes when Luke approached me. He was telling about they’re plans, he and the other guys were heading back to his condo for drinks and he asked me if I’d like to join. He placed his hands on my shoulders and gave it a light squeeze. I thought / felt like he was sending me some sort of signal. He then winked at me and said, “Tara na tol!” When you’re playing both worlds, sometimes it’s hard to pick up hints especially when its very subtle, so I just ignored it.
Enrique entered the room and pulled me. I put on my beanie and walked out the door with the two of them. Then the three of us met Andrew, Martin, and Paul outside. Luke took off to get his car and the five of us waited for him.
Luke stopped in front of us and called us in. The five of us jumped into his car like a bunch of five years olds fooling around, pushing each other and laughing hysterically.
I jumped in the front seat next to Luke.
Part 1 of Runway Boys