Stefan Pinto is curious about other people. Especially naked ones. As a working model, Pinto is part exhibitionist and part photographer-voyeur. He knows that everybody has a great story but sometimes you have to dig a little to see their wonderful uniqueness. In a new series, Pinto profiles and photographs the queer men he meets in Los Angeles, hoping to show their beauty and humanity. And yes, their sexiness. Pinto tells us the ultimate goal in his series of photos and profiles is to "liberate gay men all over the world who aren't as privileged -- or free -- here in America -- or in any so-called, big city." --Editors
(45 Photos: The Secret Life of Jase Grimm)
From working a 12-hour shift as a cook at a prestigious West Hollywood restaurant, as a nude performer in an enigmatic journey for The Tension Experience, to one of the "Big Dick" go-go dancers at Adonis Lounge, or simply writing and singing a heartfelt tribute for his Instagram followers, Jase Grimm always seems to be "that guy," the one who doesn't look like you'd expect but who's hardest to forget.
Grimm has one of those problems that movie stars seem to lack: He's too real. He's the regular guy who shows up at the party, except he sticks around to help clean up. He's the guy who if he makes it in Hollywood it's because of hard work.
I met Jase at an artist friend's house. "Wanna stick around? A model is coming over to be drawn."
"Naked?" I inquired.
The first thing you notice about Jase is his blue glasses. Whether the color of his glasses is a reflection of how he perceives the world, Jase somehow always manages to see -- and appreciate -- those things other people take for granted, or miss.
And, that's the thing about Jase; no matter how hard he tries, he will never be like everyone else. Like Laura Wingfield collecting glass figurines in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie: The unicorn was her favorite.
Stefan Pinto: What is your occupation, or basically, how do you make money?
Jase Grimm: I'm a full-time cook, and a part time exhibitionist. I go-go dance around West Hollywood, do modeling gigs, and act in films/television shows, usually in the nude.
What do you do for fun?
A couple of years ago I picked up the ukulele as a way to express myself and work through my emotions, and now I'm obsessed. When I'm not in the kitchen or at the gym, I'm at home smoking pot and covering top 40 pop songs on my uke.
If someone gave you a check for $1,000, how would you use the money?
I have a mortgage on an eight-acre farm back in Iowa, and I'd use the money to pay off some of that debt. The long-term goal is to build a sustainable homestead farm-to-table restaurant on that little slice of heaven. Any takers?
Would you pose for nude photos? Oh, wait. Would you ever pose nude for a magazine?
Been there, done that, and would totally do it again. I'm super comfortable with nudity and proud of my body and would be happy to share that with the world.
Are you single?
If you could do anything, anything at all, without consequences, what would you do?
I'd withdraw from society and live in my hobbit hole in the woods of Iowa.
Whom do you admire the most -- celeb, family member, yourself, etc. -- and why?
My little brother and sister are legit the coolest people I know. They are both so strong and courageous. We lost our two older brothers a few years back, and I'm just so proud of my little brother and sister for being the nice and genuine people they are.
The one thing you've done, that you're the most proud of?
Spent 12 months as a line cook at the South Pole, which was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.
STEFAN PINTO is a photographer (trained by NatGeo with work for Maxim, Forbes, Out Traveler) and an author based in Los Angeles. Connect with Stefan via Twitter, or see some of the behind-the-scenes shots on his Instagram.