by Ada Tseng
When Jenna Chong books a hand-modeling gig, she often walks onto the set not knowing what the product is, or what she will be asked to do. She might be told to dip a french fry with just the right amount of ketchup, pour pills out of a bottle so that all the logos are facing up, or make a hamburger look happier.
Or even, once, pet a 500-pound African lion.
That assignment came in 2011 while she was hand doubling for Kirsten Dunst on a fragrance commercial. Chong’s fears were allayed by the lion’s trainers, who assured her that the animal would not do anything to harm her — as long as she wasn’t menstruating, and didn’t stare directly into the lion’s eyes. Oh, and no sudden movements.
“They said, ‘[The lion] may want to mark his territory and start urinating on you,’ ” she remembers. “ ’If that happens, just sit still until he’s done.’ ”