Former Child Model Reminisces on his Time in the Limelight

Call Chef Boyardee and tell him to follow me on Instagram. Thanks.

Christopher Jeske
Staff Model

My parents have always prioritized the dopeness of my appearance above all else. Seconds after I came out the womb, I was wiped clean of placenta goo with a Burberry cloth. Every nurse on hand immediately remarked of my Gerber baby resem­blance on acccount of my smiley na­ture and general photogenicness.

Once dry, I was elevated to a level of decency by a monogrammed Calvin Klein diaper and a velvet Gucci baby blanket. I looked so damn good that when I was placed in the nursery for blood tests, strangers began taking photos of me rather than their own children. When my parents caught wind of this, they demanded com­pensation for unauthorized use of my image. Thus, my career as a model began.

Those first few years, I was living in the fast lane, such a fast lane, I can hardly remember a thing. I suppose that’s what the copious drug use of a model will do to the human brain, but it’s no matter. I was on top of the world, and you probably saw me there. In 1999, at just one year old, I did a spread for Chef Boyardee Ravi­oli in Vogue. The magazine’s head­quarters received so many phone calls and letters of inquiry about “the baby drenched in meat sauce” that Chef Boyardee felt obliged to bring me on with a one year contract. In the year 2000 alone, I was featured in 132 ravioli advertisements. Un­surprisingly, the pasta powerhouse’s sales skyrocketed. After all, there’s something about the sight of tomato pulp cascading down the angel soft skin of a toddler that makes people want to sink their teeth into a meaty noodle pocket.

When my contract with The Chef ex­pired, all kinds of modeling agencies were after me. But my parents, deter­mined to be my sole representatives, refused every offer I received. Conse­quently, the hype created by my brief ravioli run was allowed to calm and the quality of my job prospects took a serious downturn. I was forced to take a seven month hiatus from mod­eling until we eventually settled for a project with Kraft. My first shoot with the Chicago based food manufacturer went great. The photographers stuck to the proven routine and dumped buckets of marshmallow fluff on my unsuspecting head. The result was glorious, and Kraft charted higher fluff sales that quarter than any other time in documented history.

The second shoot, however, did not go so smoothly. Desiring to push me beyond my comfort zone, the director of art put a Kraft Single on my nose and instructed me to eat it without using my hands. Though the director ended up with a number of pleasing shots of me “cheesing,” he was extremely frustrated when we si­multaneously discovered my lactose intolerance. I’ll spare you a vivid de­scription of the calamity, but I will say that my Versace Pull-Up and Kraft’s state of the art set were ruined by biowaste.

That director of art was so appalled by my lack of professionalism that he swore to bar me from a future in the modeling world. At the time, my par­ents and I thought little of his threat. But as I have grown older we have come to understand the gravity of his words. After obtaining an executive position at Ralph Lauren, this direc­tor effectively slandered me to what seems like the entire industry. I am now unable to do any professional modeling, and have resorted to the same blatant exposition of vanity as everyone else my age. If you wish to rescue me for the depths of my self pity, please offer me the only valida­tion that’s meaningful to me any­more: Instagram likes. @jewske

 

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