Jason Aaron Baca is the man of thousands of womens’ dreams, and most likely none of them know his name. The 42-year-old keeps a seemingly unassuming lifestyle: he commutes everyday from his charming Bay Area suburb to his regular 9-to-5 office job. The catch? He’s virtually monopolized the ‘romance book cover model market’.
Baca’s decided to start cover modeling nine years ago, and the story is the thing of silver screen dreams. He walked into a bookstore, saw a romance book, and decided to make a change. That was it. From there, he embarked on two journeys that have both separately broken thousands before him: 1) getting as fit as physically possible, and 2) having authors respond to his cold-call emails. Fortunately for him, he’d done some clothing and fitness commercials years back…and looking the way he does probably didn’t hurt his chances either.
“I remember that night even…I was so excited about this new idea that I wanted to be this romance cover model that I woke up at three in the morning, rolled over out of bed, and I started doing push-ups,” he told NPR’s Renee Montagne. “I didn’t want to think about it; I wanted to get muscles now.”
Eventually, one author out of the 80-to-100 that he messaged took a chance on him, put him on her cover portraying a man with half-alien DNA. Since that fateful day, the seal was broken. Baca has gone on to grace more than 475 book covers, portraying virtually every fantasy niche there is, including cowboy, gladiator, and an angel, because why don’t they deserve love? That magic number puts Baca ahead of Fabio in terms of raw head count.
The most intriguing part about his story is that no one in his office space (at least that he’s aware of) knows about his boddice-ripping double-life. His modeling career, one that has sparked a flame in plenty of readers both active and idle, is a mystery to almost everyone in his life, his wife being an exception. Yep, he’s married. Sorry to report, everyone.
Featured image courtesy of Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times.