A professional photographer from the central Iowa town of Jamaica has found himself on the other side of the camera — and in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. The latest issue includes an open-shirt shot of 32-year-old James Neal as part of its annual “Hunkiest Hunks in America.”
Neal says he got a call several weeks ago from someone telling him he was a finalist for the feature, odd, because he hadn’t applied. Turns out, his mother had sent in his picture and a letter, entering him in the contest. Soon, he had to model for Cosmo’s camera, which was a strange experience for the studio photographer, who never thought of himself as model material. Neal says he’s used to being behind the camera, not in front of it, and it was a little uncomfortable as he’s not ordinarily one who would “show the whole world my body.” Neal says his mom must’ve thought he needed a date as he just got out of a long-term relationship. Dates he’ll have, if he wants them. Cosmo, which has a circulation around three-million, has set up an email account for Neal so readers can send him their comments. Will he actually respond to them?
Neal calls himself a down-to-earth one-on-one kind of person who’s not much into Internet dating, but will look forward to seeing what Cosmo readers have to say. He says it was a fun experience and it’s a weird feeling to have the shoe on the other foot and be considered by some as a sex object. The magazine bills the photo pictorial as being “a veritable smorgasbord of studs.” [Cosmo]