Character Tuesday: Rusty of San Diego

This post is part of weekly series titled Character Tuesday, where every Tuesday I bring you a story about (a) unique individual(s) I’ve encountered. Like I always say, life can be good or bad, but as long as it’s entertaining, that’s all you need. This series is meant to celebrate our quirks and idiosyncrasies.

Rusty poses on thr Pacific Beach sidewalk

I first heard about Rusty from my sister shortly after she relocated to San Diego. She said there was a man who lived down the street from her who always complemented her hair as she passed him on her way to work.

Sure enough, when I met Rusty, I saw evidence of this. As we stood talking to him on the Pacific Beach boardwalk, an older Chinese woman passed by. “Hey, great hair!” he smiled and pointed to her. She looked content and smiled back.

I was walking down the boardwalk practicing street photography when we ran into him. He normally lives outside of the Brandy Melville store on Mission Boulevard. My sister was surprised to see him near the beach on such a misty, cold morning. Relatively cold, of course. San Diego cold. Not New York cold.

“Hey Rusty,” Jennifer said. “This is my sister Allison.” He’s an outgoing guy, and soon after meeting we were already making small talk about the weather, about where I was from and what he had been up to. He noticed my camera and was curious about what I was doing. I explained that I was just having a photo walk around the area, practicing street photography. I asked if I might take a few photos of him. He was happy to.

“Yeah, I’m great at modeling. I used to have a portfolio,” he said. He wanted me to make sure that I captured him with the burrito that was in his hand. “This guy was trying to promote his new burrito business, so he gave me a free one. Make sure to get that in the photo.” I looked closer and realized the burrito was from a church charity. They were passing out food to vulnerable populations.

After taking the photos, I showed them to him and he wanted me to come by Brandy Melville later to shoot some more. He then explained that he had a great idea to have him modeling the Brandy Melville clothes. I could print them out and send them to the CEO of the company. If you’re unfamiliar, Brandy Melville is a women’s clothing shop that carries one size fits all clothing. I don’t fit into them.

Rusty is a fixture around Pacific Beach. He’s seems to be almost as famous as the slow motion roller blader. He’s been around for a while and he doesn’t planning on moving any time soon. “Yeah, Pacific Beach as the best surf and the hottest chicks!” he enthusiastically explained.

I had prior commitments and didn’t make it later in the day to shoot him by the store front. If you go to San Diego, make sure to look out for Rusty. He’s a friendly guy with enjoys spending time with people. Maybe you’ll even get a compliment on your hair.

Rusty poses with this burrito.



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