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Meet The Guy Who Has Been A Hero, A Pirate, A 'Mountain Of Molten Lust'

Jason Aaron Baca has been featured on more than 475 romance novels.
Jason Aaron Baca has been featured on more than 475 romance novels.

For Jason Aaron Baca, a model from Los Gatos, Calif., his inspiration for romance cover modeling came randomly.

It sparked when he walked into a bookstore simply looking for something to read. There he saw a romance book cover.

"I said, 'You know what? This is something that I can actually do. This is something that, you know, it's going to take a lot of work to get a body like those guys on the cover," he tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "At that moment right there I kind of realized that this is something I am definitely going to go after."

He says he woke up later that night, so energized about the idea of being a romance cover model, that he got out of bed to do pushups at 3 a.m.

"I wanted muscles now," he says.

Baca has appeared on 475 covers. By his tally, that's more than even Fabio — yes, that Fabio, with the long, flowing hair.

Modeling is a side gig for Baca, who also has an office job. He says he likes the balance of the two.

"On one hand, I get this humbling job that I go into work every day, I work hard, and then I get to step into this other world where I get to be this hero," he says. "I get to step into a studio, I get to go in there and say 'OK, now I get to be a gladiator, now I get to be a prince, now I get to be this mountain of molten lust.' "

Click above to listen to Baca tell Montagne his story of perseverance, hard work and luck as a cover model in the swashbuckling, bodice-ripping world of romance.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.