Hand models: $1,200 worth of cocktail party jokes a day

During a breakup, my post-college boyfriend dated a woman I'll call "Licia." Dark was the day I discovered a folder of her things left at his house: the portfolio for her stint as a hand (and rear end, evidently) model.

Every time her name came up after that, I dissolved into laughter about her unserious dabblings. "Well of course she's not a good cook!" I'd yuk. "She must protect her assets!"

Licia was no Ashly Covington. Ashly's hands won't get out of bed for less than $300 a day, but her average take is about $1,200.

She's made as much as thousands of dollars an hour "conveying emotion" as she picks up a cheeseburger ("they wanted it to be the most delectable cheeseburger," she tells CNN) or holds a birth control device.

Her hands have been featured caressing a Spanish-speaking sponge for a Dawn dish detergent commercial; and fondling a Hamilton Beach iron.

Imagining life with Ashly or any of the other much-maligned parts models represented by Danielle Korwin's Parts Models agency (no, really, that's the whole name of the modeling agency) is where the glamour (?) of being a hand model ends.

Covington reports never cleaning or cooking (but honey! You'll hold a sponge for the TV cameras, but not for me?) and wearing gloves 90% of the time so as not to mar her "veinless, poreless and flawless" hands. She "moisturizes" 20 to 30 times a day.

Even if your "boyfriend or grandmother or mother" praises your hands, your ability to make your feet "smile," don't get excited, folks. Those people will say anything to boost your self esteem! The life of a parts model is hard. Not full of fame, instant riches, and autographs written very cautiously.

The only hand model who can profess a fan base is Kimbra Hickey, whose hands were on the cover of the hit vampire book Twilight. And in order to claim her rightful place in the adulation of Twilight readers, Hickey had to march into bookstores where people were lined up to buy the book and inform them that those were her hands on the cover!

To think they simply didn't recognize them by their distinct lack of veins, pores and flaws! Then, "before you know it, I had a line of people waiting for autographs... I feel lucky just to be a part of it."

Honestly? I feel lucky not to be a parts model.
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