Nikko adheres to a manlier regimen, which is to say, not much of a regimen at all. He’ll go for months without a manicure and even play basketball with friends if they call. Anything more, he says, is “silly”—not to mention pointless. “Other people can lather up every 10 minutes, and their hands still look like shit.” When Nikko was in high school, his musical tastes ran to Led Zeppelin and Van Halen, and he played the drums until his hands bled. Throughout his 20s, he carried boxes and pulled carts for his family’s wholesale food business. Then, about two decades ago, when a hand model didn’t show for a liquor commercial Nikko was hired to act in, the director picked his hands out of a lineup as replacements. More than 500 jobs later, he says, it’s all because “my mom and dad gave me decent genes.”
As for Lundberg, he’s not big on primping either. And while he says he’s “cautious” with the source of his new livelihood, he still works as a bartender at night. This winter he’s hoping for 10 to 12 hand-modeling jobs, enough to “set him up for the year”—and to help propel him into the ranks of Nikko and the other one-namers. But if it doesn’t work out, he’ll happily go home to Hawaii, where he misses surfing and other callus-inducing pastimes. Beautiful hands, he confides, can be kind of a drag.