It was around 11am on a Sunday morning as I stood there in my black Calvin boxer shorts trying to take another sip of my coffee, she was stood opposite me, smirking and trying to stifle a laugh as I pulled a face grimacing at the cold coffee I had ingested.
"For the love of god, Noah!" She barked.
I looked up and shrugged my shoulders as she walked over to me, placing the bag of coffee in the sunlight that was peering through my kitchen window.
"We've got about 5 minutes before that natural light disappears and you're fucking around. Just stand there, with your ripped abs, perfect tan and at least look like you're enjoying the bloody coffee"
Alice was as ever trying to be the professional. She was a highly sought after photographer in London and one of my best friends but she didn't appreciate it when I wasn't being as professional as I should.
"Sorry, Alice" I mumbled, putting my head down and giving her those puppy dog eyes, begging for her forgiveness.
"Don't look at me like that, let's just get this shot done please. I have another model booked in at 12 and I need to get to the location before that in order to set up"
"Okay, fine. Sorry. Let's start again" I smile at Alice as she prepares her camera once more. Pushing her long blonde hair behind one ear as she pulls the camera up towards her striking sky blue eyes.
"Move your body slightly to the left please and bring the cup up to your lips. No need to actually drink it this time" She smiles as she orders me into position.
A few short bursts of shots later and she seems content. She walks over and shows me the last set of pictures she has snapped.
"Perfect, I love this one" I point down at the screen on her camera. "This one I think I can use" I meet her eyes and smile.
"Finally!" She lets out a long theatrical breath and throws her hand up in the air in mock celebration. "Do you want some shots of the product by itself too?"
"Meh" I shrug. "I suppose so. It's not like my followers actually give a shit about the coffee. None of them are really going to buy it are they? Even with my snazzy 20% discount code" I pick up the bag of coffee as I smile towards Alice, handing her the coffee.
"I dunno, do you ever get told if your followers are actually buying the shit you promote?" She takes the coffee and places it by the percolator.
"Never, I'm sure if they are. These brands are not going to tell me, are they? Would mean them having to pay me some more and we both know that isn't going to happen anytime soon" I walk over to my kitchen table and pull on my sweat pants.
"True. As long as I get my cut from these shots, I don't care what they do" She works away, snapping the bag of coffee.
I stand behind her, watching her work. Amazed at how photographers have an eye for everything. Not something just anyone could do. "Of course I'll pay you as soon as I receive the money. I always do".
As she finishes up, she turns to me. "Do you always walk around topless?" She smirks as she puts her camera away. Her blue eyes working their way over my torso.
"Sometimes" I smile "What's the point in spending hours in the gym, sculpting this" Looking down at my stomach and tensing for her to see.
"Piss off, Noah. Give me a dad bod over that any day of the week" She punches my arm as she grabs her coat.
"When do you need these shots back by, anyway?"
"Well, I need to post by the end of this week. So if you can get a few back to me by Tuesday. I'd be forever grateful" Bringing out the puppy dog eyes again as I brush the strands of brown hair back into place, out of my eyes.
"Fine! It's not like I have a day job or other models to photograph now, is it?" She lifts the strap of her camera bag over her shoulder and begins to make her way to the door.
"Oh, Alice before you go. Can I grab a quick selfie to post on my story? You know I love to show you off to everyone" I wink.
"Erm, you mean you want to post a half naked selfie but using me as a decoy to not look so...vein?"
I hold my hand up to my heart and pretend to be hurt. "Basically, yeah" I laugh and shrug my shoulders. Pulling her into me and raising my arm up in the air, holding my phone in position. "You smell good, by the way"
"Thanks" She speaks through her smile and poses effortlessly. Her blue eyes glistening on to the screen of my phone.
"Thank you" I say as I lower the phone. "Don't worry, I'll tag you"
"No worries, although you don't need to. I doubt any of your followers actually give a fuck who's in the photo with you. They'll all be too busy drooling"
I know she's mocking me again, but I like it. I can't deny that. I love her sense of humour and the fact she doesn't give two fucks about my online persona. She's around models and influencers all the time, she sees them for who they (we) really are. Not the pretend online presence we pose.
"Here, take this. I have no need for it anymore" I hand the bag of coffee which I'll proudly endorse this week.
She holds her hand up "I'm good. I saw that face you pulled when you drank some earlier. Let's say, it didn't fill me full of confidence in the product" She laughs as she reaches for the door.
"I don't blame you, it tastes like dog shit" Throwing the bag back on to the work surface.
"I'll Dropbox you the final edits when I've finished with them. Enjoy the rest of your day" She waves and blows me a kiss as she walks out of the apartment.
I hold my hand up and bid her farewell. "Speak soon, darling" adding that little bit extra on to the darling.
As she shuts the door behind her, I jump onto my big, comfortable crushed velvet sofa and tell my buddy Alexa to play some music. And as the music begins, I begin to compose my recent selfie with Alice on to my Instagram story.
'Always great shooting with @aliceshoots111' carefully placing the wording above our heads. Once the wording is in place. I submit the picture to my story for my followers to see for the next 24 hours.
I place a cushion behind my head, throwing my phone on to the table next to the sofa. Knowing full well that when I return to Insta, my inbox will be full of women and men trying their luck. Telling me how great I look, how sexy my body is, the odd love heart emoji or the love heart eyes emojis. Honestly, I do sit back and wonder why people are so obsessed with people they have never met and why on earth people would even attempt to DM. Instagram is not tinder people! It's a sharing platform for us all to enjoy and make judgements on people's lives from a pleasant distance.
Have you ever messaged someone online? Of course you have but surely someone with a following of over 20k at least, you can't be genuinely be expecting a message back? Do you?
Desperate. That's what I think it is. People on there just want you for what you have, not what you or who you are. It's all a scam.
If people only realised how frustrating being an online presence is. Pretending to be so happy all the time, pretending life is perfect, showing off all the freebies you get. That's what being an online figure is...pure fantasy and pretend.
But then again, without these people. Would I be earning what I am now? Or would I still be stacking shelves in a supermarket?
Closing my eyes for a moment, hearing the constant buzzing of notifications coming from my phone, I can't do this much longer. I need to find a way out...