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« In Which She's Every Woman »

They Get Older, I Stay The Same Age


August 2001. I am nineteen, ordering an ice cream cone from a vendor in Washington Square Park. A woman approaches me and tells me that she's with Getty Images. They're shooting stock photos in the park today, would I be willing to pose? Then she hands me a fifty dollar bill. I haven't been to New York since I was 8 years old and wore a lip bumper, so this is extremely exciting for me and akin to being "discovered." Discovered for what I wasn't sure, but that wasn't the point. I was in New York and a credible looking person wanted to take my picture.

danger, dangerSo I stood in front of the white backdrop and a bearded photographer shined two soft lights on me and I smiled. A snap later it was done. Then I signed a piece of paper saying I wouldn't appear in any compromising advertisements. This, they explained, meant that I would not be featured in any ads saying "I Have AIDS" or "I love Meat." And I went on my way. I never imagined I'd see this photo anywhere but two years later it appeared. Then it appeared again. And again. Some highlights:

This one was found in Barcelona by my nemesis while she was studying abroad. I'm sure it pleased her greatly to see my face in a store window thousands of miles away. It certainly pleased me. Our mutual friend took these pictures while she was visiting. Who knew I'd appeal to Spainards.

Here I am skydiving with my dear friend Pablo. We were happy together. That was a long time ago.

This ad makes best use of my features and beaded necklaceTwo years later, my sister's best friend found this one in her box of raspberry women's tea. As you can see I have not aged at all or changed my outfit. I think I fit much better as a tea lover than as a Spainard. In any case, I'm humbled to possess such range. Good thing Yogi tea doesn't know how annoyed I am by people who say "Namaste" and/or place even the slightest significance on crystals.

My next spotting occurred a few months later, on a banner ad for Match.com. I found this one but unfortunately was not able to save it. You can imagine my surprise when I was checking my hotmail account and saw MYSELF in the margins. But not me. Janet, aged 28 from New Jersey, looking for love. I'm not even 28 now. This all came up again because a few days ago the photo reared its head once again. It's been years.

I blame the timelessness of my hairdo. It's the same hairdo I've had since elementary school , which I suppose makes it timeless. So here I am giving financial advice for Quicken. Rather, here I am offering myself up as someone willing to receive financial advice from Quicken. Incidentally this is appropriate because I've been thinking that as soon as I have finances I plan to get a handle on them.

This photograph is my ticket to eternal youth. Please keep your eyes out for it. Thanks.

Yvonne Georgina Puig is the contributing editor to This Recording. She tumbls here.

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Reader Comments (37)

this is such a great post

May 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

this is the same way I feel when I see seth rogen in the movies

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteralex carnevale

You could've sounded more Barthesian or aboriginal but you strike both a perfect melancholy and bemusement. From James W. Bailey:

"When such photographic images are taken, the only thing the photographer can do to make the universe right with what he or she has done is to place the photograph, which I believe to be a living organism, into a context of positive growth."

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHugh

i love this post. sincerely and thoroughly, this is awesome.

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterryan


May 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersuzette

hilarious. you forgot to mention how jealous the rest of us who were when the photographer looked right over us!

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

I like how your hair points down when you're in free fall

May 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersteven augustine


May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

GENIUS! Man, this is such a great story. LOL!

May 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElmo Keep

Amazing. :) I love this.
If you do a reverse image search on tineye.com with the original photo, you can find a few more.

May 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJack

I read a similar story here, about a model nicknamed Alicia whose image appeared in a bunch of spam advertisements. Among the products she wound up selling were Christian dating, restaurant ads, weight loss, and a pregnancy resource center. They're all documented here:

I still see her ads popping up now and then.

May 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Similar story here:

May 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

Great post, thanks for sharing!

May 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew McMillen

Reminds me of this exchange I found: http://hungryghoast.tumblr.com/post/99304411/reminder-it-is-possible-to-not-own-yourself

May 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Yvonne Georgina, you are such a witty writer.

It seems you're the almost-everywhere girl.

Here's hoping for your ascent to everywhereness -- as a writer, of course.

May 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOrdinant

You would think the State Department of France wouldn't lie right ... Svetlana T. from Russia?

I guess they do: http://tr.im/mqgC

May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPierre

"Incidentally this is appropriate because I've been thinking that as soon as I have finances I plan to get a handle on them."

Perfectly written. Thank you for that.

May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPIssedAndPetty

Awesome post.

I'm sitting here in quiet admiration.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHank

You still are a beautiful woman...

July 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenteraleKSandro

What's the price of your picture in Getty?

And yes you appeal to spaniards, here i am in madrid and I can tell you you look like a nice spanish young woman. Good for you!

August 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthisisgrey

no wonder they use it. its pretty. duh! x

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBSTUFF

A little digging with TinEye revealed a few sites using the picture:






August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Hoffman

There is one more from Romania: http://twitpic.com/4jt7b :)

August 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian Mironescu

Another one came right to my inbox in a Crain's Chicago Business newsletter http://twitpic.com/h8f2y

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKayla

Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual! Kewl pictures!

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February 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay B.

Really nice article posted,enjoyed reading alot.
good job...

hahahaHAHAH. yes this is hilarious.

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