“Hey Ryan, do you want to scan some Polaroids of half-naked models and send them to me?”
I rouse from my doldrums in time to see the producer of Sports Illustrated’s Swim Daily, Andy Gray, holding a stack of photos in his hands. I look at the pictures, then at the stack of files on my desk and then back at the pictures. “It’s Nina Agdal,” Andy says.
Well, I mean, if you insist…
Sometime between SCAN and SEND on the copy machine, I laugh. As an intern for one of the most high-profile and well-respected sports journalism brands in the world, this is my busy work. Life sure is rough here. No morning coffee runs, very little fact-checking, and my own cubicle with my name in a placard. Even when my days are relegated to the benign task of making copies, Nina, sporting a this-barely-fits-me bikini and a wink, keeps me company.
I’ve had the privilege to do some incredible things at Sports Illustrated in my time here so far -- spend a full day with a rising high school football star and write a 2,400-word feature on him? Check. Sit in on a discussion with NFL guru and The Monday Morning Quarterback writer Peter King? Been there. Addressed myself as a member of the SI staff? Done that.
Yet, a quiet Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan amidst the rain and humidity, is where it finally sunk in. I lift the top of the machine and pull one of the Polaroids out. Nina is in a hotel room the night before a morning beach shoot. She has one hand at her side, the other running briskly through her hair as she blows a kiss to the camera. I put the picture down on the table and grab the next one. SCAN and then SEND. The process continues for another five minutes.
I take another look down at Nina. Her head is slightly turned and she’s staring back at me. The answer to my friends’ most common question (Do you get to meet the swimsuit models?) rings in my head. No, I don’t get to meet them. Well, sorta.
When I returned the pictures to Andy, I was a little upset. I felt like Nina and I had shared a moment together, you know? What a story that would make: 21-year-old supermodel dates the lowly intern who had the miserable task of helping develop her photo shoot. It’d be even better than the Los Angeles high school senior who got “stuck” with her for his senior prom after his first choice, Kate Upton, declined. Unfortunately for me, as senior year of college is around the corner, I don’t have a dance to invite her to. But I do have a free Friday night.