Charlotte Hannah
October 29, 2012

‘Ridiculously Photogenic Homeless Guy’ Off the Streets After Viral Success (PHOTO)

Photo credit: Unknown. Via: The Daily Mail

After having his picture shared on the Internet thousands of times, the homeless former model dubbed “Ridiculously Photogenic Homeless Guy” is off the streets and in treatment for drug addiction.

30-year-old Rafael Nunes became an overnight sensation after a picture of him, taken by a tourist in Curitaba, went viral. In spite of his disheveled appearance, his good looks earned him the moniker “Ridiculously Photogenic Homeless Guy”.

Rafael’s sudden popularity prompted local TV station Balanco Geral to track him down and interview him. This newfound fame gave Rafael the push he needed to enter a rehab center.

While his story doesn’t have a happy ending yet (Rafael has entered rehab before, but has never stayed for longer than 10 days), everyone’s rooting for him.

I really, really want to appreciate this for the feel-good story it is. I mean, a homeless person is now off the streets and getting help for his addictions. What’s not to love about that?

Unfortunately, I can’t help but be a bit cynical.

It’s been proven that humans tend to think that “what is beautiful is good” – that is, we tend to perceive attractive people as having more positive traits.

For an example of this phenomenon, look at any Disney movie. The heroes of the story tend to be thin, fine-featured, muscular, and more stereotypically attractive than their “evil” counterparts. The villains, on the other hand, are usually more stereotypically “ugly” – they’re old, they have unbalanced features and they’re either overweight or unnaturally thin.

Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

In everyday life, our tendency to perceive attractive people as “better” means that hiring managers unconsciously give preference to good-looking candidates (particularly male candidates – this can sometimes work the opposite way for female candidates because their beauty is seen as a threat).

It means that we pay more attention to them. And it means that we’re more likely to want to help a “ridiculously photogenic guy” get off the streets than we are some scruffy old guy with a beard.

What do you think? There’s no question that Rafael seeking help and getting into a treatment facility is a good thing, but do you think that this scenario would’ve played out the same way if he hadn’t been a former model?