''I didn't realize how many people were reading the magazine,'' says Christian Salinas. ''When I was at the gym, or walking on 17th Street, people would say, 'Hey, you're the guy from MW!'''
That was back in the spring, though, following his Nightlife debut at the end of March. Now Christian will have a whole new wave of admirers to contend with.
Not that he minds the attention. ''I'm looking forward to people recognizing me again,'' says the friendly Venezuelan who recently celebrated his 27th birthday. Christian even said ''yes'' to several admirers who asked him out on a date. ''It's nice that people want to know me more than just as a picture,'' he says.
For all the extra attention he's received, Christian remains as single as he was in March. ''I'm not in a hurry to have a boyfriend,'' he explains, although he doesn't intend to raise objections when the proverbial ''right guy'' comes along. Neither is Christian one for too much emotional restraint. ''In P-Town, I fell in love with a guy from Montreal after four days,'' he says with a laugh, gently chiding himself for a track record of falling for men who are from out-of-town or already have boyfriends.
Christian is surprisingly modest for someone who's spent all but two years of his life in Venezuela, the country described in a New York Times article last year as the ''vainest in the world.''
Christian hardly lacks a fondness for Venezuela - its beaches, its social tolerance, the close proximity to his family - but moving abroad was something he felt he needed to do simply for the sake of ''growing up.'' Since launching his new life in the U.S., Christian has worked for an international development-focused bank, although his technical and creative instincts may eventually lead him to pursue a graphic design career.
And what if the camera should call again? ''I like modeling,'' Christian says, ''even if I don't have the whole attributes.''
Granted, he may fall a few inches short of the statuesque industry standard for runway work and the like. But Christian has undoubtedly proven himself an MW crowd-pleaser, and convincing evidence of his appeal can also be found in D.C. photographer Fehl Cannon's recently published book, Totems of Desire, in which Christian is prominently featured.
Winning the first Nightlife Coverboy of the Year contest hasn't been a pressing concern for Christian since voting began earlier this fall. Instead of feeling threatened by the competition, he's been admiring the field of cute coverboys and - just like any Nightlife fan - making his own list of favorite faces. Humble to a fault, Christian won't even admit a tinge of disappointment in his runner-up finish. ''Just to be in the top three is very good,'' he says. ''I'm happy.''
|1st Runner Up Prize Package|
17th Street Bar & Grill - Brunch for two
18th & U Duplex Diner - $25 Dinner Certificate
Cobalt - $25 Bar Tab
Comfort One Shoes - $50 Gift Certificate
DC Eagle - $25 Bar Tab
Empire Video - 10 Free Rentals
Green Lantern/Tool Shed - $25 Bar Tab
Hamburger Marys - $25 Bar Tab
JR.'s - $25 Bar Tab
Leather Rack - $35 Gift Certificate
Lizard Lounge - $25 Bar Guest Certificate plus selection of CDs by resident DJ Kostas
Loews Cineplex - 4 movie passes
Sheridans - $25 Dinner Certificate
Studio Theatre - Pair of tix to A New Brain
Universal Gear - RIPS Coffee Table Book
Wet - $25 Bar Tab
Ziegfeld's - $25 Cash