Not Your Average Student Job
Many people find the idea of being naked in front of people terrifying, but to Caleb Kitchen, it’s a normal day of work. Kitchen is a senior at Penn State studying Security Risk Analysis (SRA) in the College of Information Sciences Technology (IST). But, when he leaves the classroom, Kitchen has a job that’s far from technological. He works as a nude model for art students in drawing classes at Penn State.
Kitchen has been modeling for the College of Arts and Architecture since August 2017. For months Kitchen was working two jobs. “I had a normal job,” providing tech-support at Penn State Library’s IT desk. Kitchen says he left the tech desk to put more time into his modeling. “Nude modeling paid better, first, but second, it was the most enjoyable job,” says Kitchen.
Kitchen says he has always had a knack for computers and technology, but modeling became a sort of escape from the IT world. Kitchen says the biggest surprise when he started modeling was discovering that the art students were very comfortable with his naked body. “They’re just there to draw … to learn.” He says it is “only awkward if you make it awkward." He says he hasn’t felt awkward modeling since “the first pose on the first day” of modeling. Now, he's a pro at getting nude. "I could get naked anywhere ... as long as I'm not gonna get arrested," says Kitchen.
Kitchen is not afraid to talk about his modeling. “I think my Mom knows just about everything that I know about my life,” he says. Kitchen says his mother is very supportive of his nude modeling job, he even plans to give her one of the student’s drawings for her birthday this year.
Over the past nine months, Kitchen has seen a lot of artwork of himself. Some drawings are better than others, but Kitchen appreciates all of the students efforts. “They’re all there," he says, "Trying their best. You can’t really blame them."
What makes Kitchen stand out as a model is his interaction with the students. He’ll chat with them during the poses, check out their work after each pose, and he even goes out to bars with some of them.
When he takes a break from nude modeling, Kitchen spends a lot of time with food. Whether it’s cooking, creating recipes, or writing restaurant reviews, the culinary arts are one of his passions. It all started one weekend morning when Kitchen and his roommates were craving Vietnamese Cuisine, and so he learned how to make “Báhn Mi”—a Vietnamese sandwich. Since that day, Kitchen has hosted a dinner party every Sunday. He’ll host 10-15 people who all pay about $10 to attend. Kitchen does the shopping and the cooking, and he and his guest all enjoy a three course meal.
He says he plans to continue with his technology career after graduation in May, but in a way where he can interact with people. He loves being able to help people who might not have the understanding of technology that he has, and using his technological background to teach others about computers, software and technology.
A Thousand Self Portaits
Kitchen is unlike most of the models that the art students encounter—he is very interactive. He’s even formed some special bonds with the students. He says the students thought it was a little weird at first, but then they became great friends. The students who have gotten to know him share their pieces of him with them. Here are some of Kitchen’s favorite works that have come from the students.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Alex Lake is a senior Broadcast Journalism major who is determined to tell stories in the best way possible. She wants to uncover the truth and present it to the people through all kinds of story-telling be it photo, video, audio, text, or any combination of these. Alex wants to bring back the integrity and truth in journalism.