Photography By Benedict Evans
Carlos Santolalla, Model and Photographer
We met at a casting. The weird thing about models — something that nobody really realizes — is that they’re all straight. John had this cute sweater on and I was like, Whoa, I think he might be gay. So I chatted him up, and we kept running into each other around the city
The first night we hung out, we just fell asleep on the couch together, watching TV and laughing. The next day I took him to my favorite coffee place, Café Gitane. It was super cold, and we got hot chocolate. We were clearly into each other but didn’t do anything for a long time. It seemed pretty special. I wouldn’t have waited if I didn’t think it was. After a week we just kind of fell in love, and then started making out. It was sort of sappy like that. We just complement each other completely — artistically, socially. I think the differences we have make us a whole. And that’s the best part about it. We do everything together.
I actually got John’s name tattooed on my chest after we’d been together for about a year. He was away in Japan for three months, and I kind of freaked out. I was skating home one day at one in the morning — I was maybe a bit drunk — and I said to myself, If this tattoo shop is open, I’ll get this tattoo. I was so sure it wasn’t going to be, and it was! So I was like, Ah, fuck. And I did it.
John Tuite, Model and Writer
When he told me he was going to get a tattoo of my name, I was like, “Why would you ever do that? That’s insane.” Then he sent me a picture of it. He said he was walking home and just flipped a coin. Or maybe it had something to do with a mushroom trip. I was horrified but also really flattered. I thought it was hilarious and pretty sexy. I have his name in white ink on my right hand. I got it a year after I got back from Japan. I guess I wanted to show that I was serious in the same way he was.
Carlos can come off as a bad boy sometimes, but you can see by the way he laughs that he’s a sweetheart. The first time we hung out, we went to this party. Then he came back and we fell asleep on my couch. After that night, we were together all day every day. Constantly. Inseparable. We kind of fell in love in a way that was a little old-fashioned. There was a courtship. It all just felt really natural. It was like falling into another world.
Now we’re really open about being a couple, but [our] making out in public is not about vanity. When we were growing up, neither of us knew any gay people. I didn’t have any examples of gay life or role models. With our joint Instagram [@Jarlos420], I really want people to be able to see us and feel normal — to know that love between two men is perfectly natural. Being gay isn’t all about clothes and body and whatever distorted version of masculinity you relate to. I just want to be a random weirdo who doesn’t give a fuck what anybody thinks. Carlos and I get to do that together. I love it.