Have Mercy!

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You know those people who are so incredibly gorgeous that even on your best hair day, in a moment of your most profound self-esteem, if you found yourself seated next to one of them you’d feel like one of those nasty mutants from The Hills Have Eyes? Only less interesting?

Those people who are so freakishly beautiful that when you see them on the street you immediately assume they’re in the wrong place? Like, they took one, little wrong turn and somehow ended up on a different planet?

The girl in this picture -- Juannean -- she’s one of those people.

On my very first day at Mercy Housing, Juannean gave me a cute, little smile and said, “Hi,” in a cute, little voice and then sashayed her way down the halls of Mercy Housing’s National Office in a cute, little silver dress with a confidence I, personally, reserve only for solo games of Yahtzee.

I said to my trainer, “Aww. Poor little super-model must not have learned to read. She’s obviously in the wrong building.”

My trainer looked at for a full three, painful, silent seconds before she finally spoke.

“Okay. Two things: 1.) I don’t know what kind of sick crap went on at the Westword, but when you look at a woman like that at work in the real world, it’s grounds for termination. And 2.) That’s Juannean. She is in the right place. She does work here. And, to the best of my knowledge, she does, in fact, have the ability to read. Way to be judgmental on your very first day. Looks like you’re off to a great start.”

I’m not sure, but I think my trainer was being a little sarcastic.

And I didn’t mean anything by that whole, “that-girl-can’t-read” crack, really. I was just saying she was so pretty, she probably doesn’t ever need to read. Ya’ know? Gawd.

A few days later, I crossed paths with Juannean again. We exchanged workplace pleasantries and then I said, “Okay, this probably won’t sound ‘real,’ but my other gig is writing a little blog for Westword.com’s Cat’s Pajamas. I think you’re beautiful. Do you have a picture I could post and blog about?”

Right away she said, “Sure!” And five minutes later, the above-posted picture popped up on my e-mail.

Now I don’t know about y’all… but if someone asked me for a picture, I certainly wouldn’t have one ready for them in five minutes, and it certainly wouldn’t be of this quality. Turns out, Juannean does good for mankind on “Team Mercy” by day, but she moonlights as a model.

That’s right. A model. Yeah. I judged Juannean when I first saw her. I judged her correctly. She’s a model. And I called it. Whosurdaddy now, trainer? Whosurdaddy now?

Here we see a shot from a fashion show Juannean did for fellow Westword blogger and Thriftonista extraordinaire, TaRosa. Juannean rocks a frock that could make the creator’s of Sarah Jessica Parker’s SATC opening sequence green with envy.

And while most mere mortals may be hesitant to wear a tutu out for the evening, when you’ve got legs as long as the heart-strings non-profit organizations like Mercy Housing tug on, you can pretty much get away with anything.

Yup. I’d say that Juannean is most definitely doing her part to make this world a more beautiful place. All that and she gives a damn.

Whoda thought?

-- Steven J. Burge


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