This Woman’s Hands Are In All Your Favorite Food Posts — Here’s Why

August 08, 2019

When you’re carefully watching a recipe video, or walking past a poster advertising a new Italian restaurant, you probably don’t stop to think about exactly whose hands are stirring the sauce or twirling that forkful of spaghetti. But even if you didn’t realize it, chances are that at some point, the person behind the ad was model Idriss Copeland. Copeland specializes in “parts” modeling — that is, you’ll only see part of her body, especially her hands — although she is trying to break into full body modeling too.

Before you ask, no, being a hand model isn’t as easy as just holding things. Fortunately for those of us who are super nosy, Copeland has just done a fascinating interview with Delish where she talked about how she got into the industry and how she keeps her hands photo-ready. She explained that she was working as a broadcast journalist in California when she met a celebrity manicurist who told her she had the kinds of hands that could make her a hit as a model. Inspired by her new friend and ready to change her life, Copeland left her job and broke up with her then-fiancé, and moved to New York to pursue her modeling career. And it’s paying off.

Copeland’s client list includes big brands.

Here’s an ad she did with Target:

And one of many she’s done for Revlon:

This American Express commercial is like the Avengers of hand models:

She isn’t just good at nailing nails.

Copeland gets to show off her smile in this ad for American Heritage Chocolate:

Here she is stretching into arm modeling:

Meanwhile, most people on the internet seem to believe that anyone can be a hand model.

One photo is all it takes.

Or one video.

Copeland would like us to know that there is a craft to her work.

She told Delish, “In this industry, a lot of women (and men!) don’t understand you have to have good balance, that there is technique to it, and that you have to be strong. On set, there is a lot of holding involved for several minutes, and there’s a certain way to hold your hand out to hold a product without shaking.” To maintain her strength and balance, Copeland says she lifts weights and does yoga.

Could you hold this pose for 30 minutes?

Behind the scenes looks a little less glamorous.

Here’s what you’re not seeing…

Even when she’s off the clock, Copeland has to care for her hands.

She says that she washes her hands regularly, and moisturizes every time, and that she has to wear gloves a lot, even in summer, to protect against UV damage.

There is a very adorable risk to Copeland’s hands…

Her dog!

She explained, “I have a dog as well, so I make sure to have my gloves on when I’m picking him up. It seems kind of insane, but even if he doesn’t mean to, he might latch onto my skin and scratch me. Like I said, you have to be careful of every little thing.”

Copeland isn’t the only one revealing the secrets of the hand model life.

Nail artist Sara Suazo tweeted:

The hardest part is shooting those recipe videos we all love.

Copeland explained that it takes a lot of work to make those seemingly easy peasy recipe videos look seamless: “Doing recipes is the most challenging, by far… They’ll say ‘add more cheese.’ You go to add more cheese, they’ll tell you to stop. They’ll edit the shot. They’ll re-do it. You go again. That becomes challenging, meticulous work.”

But Copeland is not a complainer.

She told Delish that even though she might end up having to do every shot multiples times, she’s professional about it: “But patience is required… And I’ve often been re-hired because I don’t complain about the hours or the repetition.” So next time you see a pair of beautiful hands chopping vegetables or reaching for nail polish, remember just how hard Copeland and her peers are working — and see if you can spot her!