In which I meet my twin, Marko - the fake gynaecologist.
My quest to find the stock model that looks exactly like me ended in Serbia, of all places.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my quest to find my twin — a stock model that features in just about every commercial known to humankind, from gynaecology offices to fast food outlets.
Every week I get at least 10 examples of his work emailed to me.
Here I am, advertising a “big night in” which apparently consists of eating a McCain microwave pizza.
Sounds about right, to be honest.
That quest saw me tracking down Andor, the photographer who appeared to be taking a lot of the model’s photos.
Then, today — the stock model emailed me back.
This is our conversation, where I learnt what life is like for a stock model in Serbia named Marko, who ends up fucking everywhere - including in a broken window during widespread protests over police brutality and murder in the United States.
It’s so nice to meet you, finally. I am writing from a very cold New Zealand. Where in the world are you, and how are you coping with COVID-19? Are you okay?
It is nice to meet you too, David. You have finally found your annoying twin, with whom you have been mistaken with.
Luckily, COVID-19 did not have any significant impact on my life, so I am fine. Thank you for asking.
Tell me a little about yourself. Do you have any good pets? What does life look like for you?
I am 31-years-old, and I am a proud husband and father of one little boy. In a break from those, I am model and stock photographer.
I really enjoy all those roles, so my daily routine consists of balancing between all that. At one point, I am learning about new photo editing techniques, while at another I am trying to prevent my son from touching the sockets. And sometimes it all happens at the same time!
And the next day is not like yesterday. I get up, get ready, go on a full day shooting and do my magic.
How did you get into modelling? That’s quite a glamorous thing to do.
I entered the world of modelling quite by accident. Nine years ago, one stock photographer asked my friend to recommend him a man with great smile for one shoot. It did not take much preparation for that, my parents did most of the work.
That one shooting grew to 30, and then the other photographers heard of me. In this way, my job as a stock model was expanding rapidly. By now, I have worked with more than 150 photographers in my country and from abroad, and have done more than 1200 shoots.
Some of them really were glamorous, but when you get into a pigsty for some shooting, you can’t be glamorous no matter how hard you try!
More specifically, how did you get into “stock photo” modelling?
I have never been to castings, or been a member of modelling agencies and schools. Right from the start, I have been mostly part of stock world.
Although I believe that I was born with certain talent needed for this job, after each set I learned something, and tried to be better at every next one.
By now, it became my lifestyle, so I can’t even go to a restaurant without paying attention to what the lighting condition is like, or to buy new clothes with brand names printed on.
What is the strangest shoot you’ve had to do? My favourites are you flirting and bonding in the office, and I think there’s one of you getting some action in bed. I am not a stalker, I promise. I just do my research!
The shoots themselves are almost never strange. The themes of the sets are everyday things that people do, but in order to present them credibly, we often embarrass ourselves in public places.
But if I had to single one out, the Oscar goes to my role of the gynaecologist! For the needs of that shoot, my wife was a “patient”. It would be even stranger if it wasn’t with her, but in any case I try to do my job as professionally as possible in whatever role photographers put me in.
So, people often send me photos of you in commercials, thinking it’s me in the advert, or that maybe I have a twin. I suppose what I want to know is, do you ever get mistaken for me? Famous host of Netflix’s Dark Tourist or maker of tickling documentaries?
It often happens that people send me photographs of people who look like me, but it seems that they haven’t looked for me in New Zealand yet!
I noticed that your followers on Instagram are the most persistent when it comes to the similarity of two of us, or you are simply my most famous twin.
Although people who know me have not yet discovered the similarity of two of us, those who are your fans have written to me about it. However, it’s very pleasant when people get mistaken me with someone who is as successful in their job, as you are.
Do you notice yourself everywhere? Are you being served adverts of yourself? Is that weird?
Yes, all the time. I don’t want to sound overpowering, but over time I’ve gotten completely used to it, so even people close to me don’t send me adverts with my face anymore.
In the beginning, it was interesting for me and everyone around me, now it is a part of everyday life. What still amazes me every time is when the advert with me on it is in enormous size — like an advert through the Dubai Mall building — or the fact that picture of me is in school books, so I can’t wait to see my kid’s reaction one day!
Do you have any control over what adverts you appear in? Or does anything go? Like, could your image be used in a commercial for something embarrassing like an advert for Quibi?
I don’t have that kind of control over the images. Once I fill out the model release, those images can be purchased for a variety of purposes. The only restriction that exists is the use of my face for pornographic or defamatory purposes.
As long as Quibi doesn’t deal with it, you can expect to see me there too!
Following on from that, I feel like people are worried sometimes about where their image is used — but you are everywhere. Like even in New Zealand, you are everywhere. Does that bother you, being everywhere?
I like being everywhere, because being everywhere is good for being everywhere in the future!
So, everywhere, here I come!
Do you think if my career in documentary making or newsletter-writing doesn’t work out, I could become a Stock Model? And do you have any advice?
I honestly think you’re doing well, but if you want to try yourself at stock modelling, I should first see how you laugh heartily with colleagues!
Joke aside, I would have a lot of advice for someone who is a beginner in this job, so one of my business plans is to train future stock models, to run some kind of stock modeling school.
You will get a discount.
Okay, last question: does it pay well? With so many photos of you out there, is it a good career, or more a part time thing?
A couple of years ago, I resigned from the company I worked for to be a full time stock model. So, being a stock model in Serbia can be profitable. Of course, it all depends on how often you work, which does not depend on you, so it can sometimes be uncertain, especially in the beginning.
The more you work, gain experience, and the better you are — the higher your fee can be. I love my job and I am very satisfied with my career. It’s nice to go to a job where people respect and appreciate your work.
Oh, one more thing. Do you ever get mistaken for Louis Theroux?
No. I am looking at his photos now and I would say that the only similarity we have is the shape of our glasses.
Thanks so much, Marko. I hope we can hang out sometime. If you make it to New Zealand, maybe you can do some photos in New Zealand. Or I could be your body double! Imagine!
Thank you for these questions, and interest for me and my job. It has been a pleasure to answer the questions and to be part of your project. Hope you like the answers. I am really looking forward to see it on the Internet.
It would be great to meet and collaborate someday. If I can help you with something else, please let me know.
Absolutely. My brain is already brimming with ideas. Talk soon. Stay in touch. And stay safe, Marko.