Romance is a popular genre with around 1.08 billion sales in 2013. Surprisingly, it isn’t the box office hits that drive the sales. Self-published novels have grown the genre with e-books making up 40% of those sales. Have you ever wondered who’s posing on the cover of the romance novels you read?
Jason Aaron Baca has currently posed for over 493 romance covers, a record that surpasses the famous Fabio. Remember, the long haired handsome man who posed for romance covers in the 1980’s and 90’s? Baca describes himself as the modern day Fabio.
“Fabio’s kind of like the person that invented romance cover modeling and set the foundation…he was excellent for the business, I might also add,” Jason Aaron Baca said regarding the former model.
Baca got his start when one day he came across a romance novel at Barnes & Noble. At the time he was working as a fashion and fitness model. He related to the man on the cover and wondered how he could be one of those men. He was instructed to get an agent. He started by modeling for a few self-published books, but his big break came in 2011 with Lisa Renee Jones’ novel The Legend of Michael. The author wanted him, because he looked like her half-alien leading man.
“In the 90s, there was that big long-hair thing going. That was the cool thing, almost like a rocker back then. Nowadays, they go with the clean-cut look. They have graphic artists that can just add long hair.” said Baca.
His regime includes working out an hour a day, six days a week, using anti-aging cream, and regular facials. When at a photo-shoot, he gets his muscles tight by working out then he pictures what the cover will turn out like.
“To just bring a chill through [the reader’s] skin and make the hair stand up on the back of their neck when they read these books and go back to the cover to say, ‘That’s the character,’ and it’s me. When it sends chills through their spine, that’s awesome,” said Baca on what he likes about modeling.
Baca doesn’t work with a lot of props while shooting, because the graphic artists add those things in later. His costumes have been an extremely fun experience for him. He enjoys walking around the mall in costume to see how people react. The model has been recognized before, but many people don’t realize what they recognize him from.
“When it comes to romance books, it’s all about mystery. Is there someone in the distance that is captivating you? Someone special you are looking at? Romance cover models are the heroes; the main event. So they have to be confident most if not all of the time. They’re often, kind of, expressionless in a way,” Baca said on what makes romance cover modeling different from fitness modeling.
Baca writes his goals down in a private checklist, which include aspirations of hitting 500 covers and working with Jon Paul, a romance artist. He has plans to retire soon, but won’t give an idea of when exactly that will be. His only complaint about his career on romance covers is he’s not fond of posing as cowboys.
Next time you pick up a romance novel, you’ll know who’s on the cover!
YouTube Channel: Portia Shao
Featured image via Amazon
h/t Broadly Vice