Chatting With the Lawyer Who Went Viral After Sending a Sexy Photo to Potential Employers
You may have heard the story: Last week, after an exhausting, unfruitful round of applying for jobs, Wilmington lawyer and Philly Gayborhood regular Brian Zulberti decided to attach the above photo to his résumé and send it to a group of law firms he found in a legal directory. The next morning he awoke to find that a blogger had gotten hold of the image and it went viral — but not before she dug up other racy photos on his Facebook page, including one of him wearing nothing but striped boxer briefs and holding a sign that reads, “HIRE ME!!! no… as a Lawyer, … NOT A ESCORT… wait is it something I’m wearing.” (You can see that photo below.)
All of a sudden, headlines popped up about a man so desperate to find work that he sent photos of himself in underwear to potential employers. Zulberti’s name has been dragged through the mud, with writers and TV correspondents from all over the world calling him out for being unprofessional and, in some cases, even taking jabs at the way he looks. It’s a perfect example of exaggerated journalism — I mean, come on, that photo isn’t that bad — but Zulberti says he doesn’t mind. “I’m having a great time with it all. It’s been some of the best fun I’ve had.”
Plus, it’s kind of working. He says he’s been contacted by several people interested in hiring him — from a law firm in Texas to a reality show producer and, wouldn’t you know it, a porn studio. Keep reading to see what he’s planning to do to make sure this sudden burst of fame doesn’t turn into a mere 15 minutes, and how the whole “going viral” experience has opened his eyes to the way society perceives gay people.
Has it been hard to deal with all the sudden attention?
I haven’t been overwhelmed by it. … I’m very confident and secure in who I am. If I wasn’t, I’d probably be very upset, because a lot of what people are writing about me is vicious.
What do you mean?
Somebody on TV called me “skinny fat.” First of all, I didn’t even know what “skinny fat” was until I looked it up, and I don’t like being called that [laughs.]… Also a couple of blogs said I need a tummy tuck. I’m not saying I’m the best looking guy in the world, but I’m not fat.
What made you decide to send the photo in the first place?
I had been doing this all night, sending off emails to various employers. It was 3 a.m., I was drinking a case of Red Bull, and at some point I was like, “You know what, I’m just going to toss in a picture.” I went on my computer, found the first photo I liked of myself and I sent it off to a bunch of people. … I knew [the photo] was very casual and that most people wouldn’t send pictures like that to potential employers, but it was a clean-cut picture. I actually didn’t think it would be so controversial.
Did you at least think it was a creative way to get peoples’ attention?
I’d love to say that was my point … but it really wasn’t a calculated decision to distinguish myself and get attention. … My thought process was, “Oh, I’m going to put my picture in. Oh, here’s a good picture. Send.” And I didn’t think about it again until the next day when it went viral.
You seem to enjoy the attention. Will it be hard when all of a sudden nobody’s talking anymore?
I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen. …
I’ve got at least one producer I’m speaking to about a potential reality show. … I’ve been on publications and television in seven different countries already. I’ve been invited to come on to the Steve Harvey Show, perhaps even to guest host it. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s going on with this. I’ve got seven or eight things on the calendar already.
What would you have to offer as co-host on the Steve Harvey Show or on a several-episodes-long reality show besides, “Hey, this thing happened to me this one time.”
This may sound cocky, but listen, I’ve got a lot of personality. … Read my Facebook statuses, watch my YouTube videos. I’m an odd guy and I’ve got a lot of personality. I could potentially see it selling quite well as a celebrity-personality type thing. I would be foolish not to make a play for that if there’s a chance it could happen.
Have you had serious responses from people in the law field?
I’ve had quite a few. For instance, I had a firm from Texas express interest in me. … I’ve gotten three or four people who’d like to speak to me — people in and out of the state. … I’m positive this will only increase my opportunity to find jobs both in and out of legal realms, because before this happened I had almost no job opportunities. I was striking out everywhere I went. Now I have people expressing interest. … If I can find one person who’s interested in me and thinks I may be good for their firm, then this whole thing worked. Mission accomplished.
What have you learned from this experience?
I think it’s so good that me being gay hasn’t been an issue at all. I’ve gotten a lot of negative press … but no one has ever brought up the fact that I’m gay in a positive or negative manner. That goes to show how far things have come in the past … gee, in my lifetime. There certainly would have been a time when, on top of all this, that would have been an issue. … The fact that I’m gay is no longer relevant, which is wonderful. (See his video response about that above.)
I have to ask: Have you gotten any dates out of this?
I’ve gotten quite a few offers. … A lot of [guys] are sending me pictures saying, “Hey do you want to go out on a date sometime?” And some of them are quite attractive. I’m kind of seeing someone right now, so I’ve rejected them all.
Any other outside-the-box responses?
A former Playboy model told me her story: Just before she started medical school she posed for Playboy with her real name. Everyone was telling her that it was a really bad mistake, that there’s no room for these two worlds mixing. Well, she tells me that today she has zero regrets, she had a great career and it’s the best thing she ever did. I think that is awesome.
That brings me to another issue actually … which is sexuality in society — the idea that sex is inappropriate in a professional world. Everyone I know loves sex. I love sex. Everyone loves sex. Lawyers, doctors, Starbucks baristas — anybody you can think of likes sex. Sex is a beautiful part of life. We all do it. It’s how we all got on this planet. However, when you mix sex — and heaven forbid — unashamed sexuality — with a professional career, all of a sudden it’s inappropriate. It’s time to stop making it taboo.Speaking of sex, I bet you’ll get responses from some porn producers.
[Laughs] I have actually, but at this point and time, I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate. I’m much more concerned with pursuing a job in the law than a job in pornography. Although, I think it should be perfectly OK if I wanted to pursue a job in both simultaneously. It would be stupid for someone to think there could not be a successful porn star email@example.com.