My Fifteen Minutes

You may not have realized that Yours Truly is a celebrity. Well, more accurately, a model. But not a fashion model. A hand model. And not currently. About 20 years ago. And only for one job. But still. You know what they say: Once a Hand Model, Always a Hand Model.

It’s true. When I was a freshman in high school, I landed a gig as a hand model for an Allstate ad campaign. They were looking for someone with “youthful hands” to sell the Good Student Discount, and mine fit the bill. What does this have to do with jewelry, you ask?

Well, in the ad, I’m wearing a stack of stretchy beaded bracelets (see exemplary billboard below):

This is my favorite fact to use in the “Two Truths and a Lie” game because no one ever guesses this is true.

I’m sure you have lots of questions. Here are some of the FAQs I receive:

  • Q: Did you get to keep the bracelets or keychain?
  • A: No.
  • Q: How much did you get paid?
  • A: About $1,000, before tax.
  • Q: How did you get the job?
  • A: A friend’s mom was a talent agent. She put the word out among my friend group that we should apply if interested. I can’t remember if any of my friends also auditioned. But if they did, they obviously didn’t have the winning look.
  • Q: What was it like to be on set?
  • A: I remember spending most of the day in a studio leaning over a table with my arm outstretched under hot, bright lights. There was no fancy green room or catering truck. It was not glamorous. But they did pay for me to get a manicure the night before.
  • Q: Do you make paid appearances?
  • A: It could be arranged for the right price.

This all got me thinking about people who actually make a living as hand models. I suspect many people hear “hand model” and think of David Duchovny’s character in Zoolander, who protected his hand by encasing it in a hermetically sealed glass container.

I found this 2017 Mental Floss article that reveals “10 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hand Models.” The article shares insider information from Ashly Covington, “one of the top hand models in the industry,” whose hands you’ve almost certainly seen in numerous ads over the years. Some of the article’s more interesting tidbits are:

  • Successful hand models can make upwards of $75,000 per year. Covington once made $13,000 for two hours of work.
  • Often when you see celebrities’ or fashion models’ hands in ads, the hands actually belong to a hidden hand model.
  • Hand models do finger exercises to gain advanced muscle control over individual fingers.
  • To avoid injuring their hands and breaking their nails, hand models wear gloves when they’re not working.

To learn more, check out Covington’s website and portfolio here and study these tips on how to become a professional hand model.

Here are some examples of Covington’s best work involving fine jewelry:

Look at those long, perfect fingers!
As I understand it, these are Ashly’s hands on a different model’s face.

The harsh reality is that not everyone (every hand?) has what it takes to be a professional model. As one of the lucky few beautiful-handed people in this world, the privilege is not lost on me. 🙂


4 thoughts on “My Fifteen Minutes

  1. This is a fun memory I enjoyed revisiting. I remember driving over the Webster Street bridge and seeing your billboard for MONTHS! That featured hand model has the world’s longest fingers!!


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