I was walking home to my hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia one day last year, just finished with a workout in the public plaza along the riverside.
A group of young Cambodian dudes approached me, saying they were filming a hip hop video and needed people to dance in the background.
I politely declined at first even though they seemed legit, as they were setting up huge speakers and professional video cameras. I walked past them but then looked back. What the hell do I have to lose and why not embarrass myself a little?
But it was too late to back out and 3-2-1 the filming started. BOOM! I was in a Cambodia rap video. I didn't even have time to stretch or exchange my flip flops for Tims or anything! But I got dancing, all the while thinking, "Don't look stupid, don't look stupid." But it actually turned out to be fun, and the random Japanese girl was a sick hip hop dancer. The song was pretty good, too, and I've developed an affinity for the Cambodian-American hip hop scene, which is small but thriving in both countries.
After it was over, sweaty and disheveled from dancing through five takes in the tropical afternoon sun but happy I'd embraced the experience. I said goodbye to Boss La and Tony and didn't think anything else of it...until a few months later a Cambodian waitress at a bar said she'd seen me in a rap video, and then kids on the riverside said the same, and a random guy that stopped his moto to say hi along the busy road.
Apparently these guys were pretty famous in that scene and the video blew up, with well over 200,000 views to date.
Hmmm...maybe being a backup dancer in Cambodian rap videos could be a new career for me? Or I could even go out on my own and do a solo album? I could be the next Cambodian Drake - "MC Cake!"
Nah, better not quit my day job just yet.