Back in the 90’s it was a fairly good hidden secret that us ‘falangs’, (Westerners) could sign up at the local modelling agency and quite often find work. I did just this, and one occasion, very broke and owing the hostel over a hundred bucks I got a call.
“Mr Simon, how much you charge shave all your hair off head. One day work?”
Blimey I thought, I’d do that for 20 quid. A quick think and “$50” I said.
“OK Mr Simon. We call you again tomorrow”.
Ok, I thought. This could be a good money earner and carried on the day waiting for tomorrow’s phone call. It came about midday. “Mr Simon. How much you want shave all your head. One day work?” You asked me that yesterday I thought. “$100” I said, thinking if they have to ask again I may as well up the stakes.
“Ok”, the man said. “We call again tomorrow.”
Fair enough I thought but I hope this comes to something. $100 would be very handy. I went about my business and sure enough the next day I was called over to the phone.
“Hello Mr Simon. How much you want shave your hair off head. One day work on Friday?”
Well, I thought, if they are asking again and its the same bloke asking I may as well up the stakes again. “$500”.
“OK” was the answer. “We pick you up tomorrow, take you shave hair off and after we go Koh Samet Island and stay night, OK?”
“OK”, I said.
Tomorrow came and off down the barber we went. Within two minutes I was bald! We hopped back in the van arriving in Koh Samet before lunch. I was greeted by a Japanese advertising crew, three slinky female models and two blokes all in swimwear. I donned my trunks was introduced and we got straight on with the filming. I had no idea what was going on at first but soon learned we were making an Ad for a new type of jokey sun cream that fizzed when it touched bare skin…hence the bald head. Filming only took a couple of hours. It comprised us dancing around playfully on the beach to some nutty pop music. At one stage I sit down on a chair, the girls pick up the sun cream, spray it on my head, watch it fizz, giggle a lot, pat my head and then we all get up and dance to the stupid pop music again. End of advert, end of work and off to a pre booked ‘smart’ hotel for a meal, lots of beer and then bed.
After further discussion with the other models I found out that the star man, (who I stood in for) wanted to charge them $3000 to be relieved of his precious hair. Now, if I had upped my fee to around $1500 I would have probably still got the job as ‘star man’ would have been paid $2000. However, I was well chuffed when on my return to town, the agency took $50 for their fee and handed over $450. I was rather pleased with my one days work, immediately paid off my hotel bill and a few other small loans and for a small space in time I was a rich man on Bangkok’s Khao San road.
A year or so later I returned to Bangkok and sought out the Thai filming agent and was able to watch a copy of the Ad. It just like something you got in one of those Clive James silly advert programmes from all around the World-totally nuts, but fun!