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If your quarantine has been anything like mine, Harry Styles content has been the only thing getting you through. At the beginning of the national lockdown, he created a line of shirts and donated the proceeds to coronavirus charities. And last month, he showed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests by marching in L.A. and posting about the cause on Instagram. Even more recently, he recorded a sleep story for the Calm app because his fans had been begging for one for so long. Basically, he's been doing what he can during this crazy time, and it's a delight to see.
But back on May 18 (approximately two centuries ago ago), when the sexy and fruit-filled “Watermelon Sugar” music video dropped, Twitter rightfully lost its collective mind. Watching the video was an ~experience~, and it made me wonder what it was like being in it. You know, feeding Harry watermelon, running in the ocean with him, and cracking jokes as the sun set. The video dropped during a time when people were supposed to be avoiding any personal contact. Watching Harry and all the other people in the video rolling around with each other felt almost voyeuristic, and it made me miss living in a time even just a few months ago when touching other people wasn't so scary.
I hadn't stopped thinking about the video in the weeks since, so I decided to do some digging. For your reading pleasure, I talked to five models about the juicy (heh, get it?) details of being in the video.
Okay, how'd they even get this dream job?!
Most of us scroll through the ’gram to see pics of Harry, but these ladies’ feeds landed them the gig. After putting out a call, the casting director scouted every model on Insta, sending them DMs if they thought they’d be a good fit. Many of them didn't even know the shoot was with Harry at first, only finding out it was him the literal night beforehand.
"I was immediately down to do it when I found out was him," model Elizabeth Tyson says.
Unlike us normal people, these girls balance their day jobs with, you know, spending time with Harry Styles. “I actually didn't even ask my boss if I was going to get [the day] off [for the shoot],” laughs model Mercy Odima, who is also a nanny. “I just replied, and I was like, ‘Yeah. I will be there.’”
That was back in January, and the girls had to keep their mouths shut for literal months until the video premiered on May 18. Can you imagine not being able to tell a single soul about the way Harry suggestively eats a watermelon slice?
There was So. Much. Watermelon.
By the end of the day, after countless shots where models were not-so-subtly licking watermelon slices and shoving their face (and Harry's) with the very-dense fruit, these ladies could 100 percent live without the watermelon sugar high. “We were like, ‘I can never eat a watermelon ever again!’—we were all sticky, it was dripping,” says Elizabeth. “They must have gone through a hundred watermelons for that shoot.”
And not all of it was so sweet: “I said something like, ‘Did you know that watermelon is actually kind of bad for you if you eat a lot of it? It’s bad for your digestive system,’” Maris says she told Harry. “He was like, ‘Oh, really? I’ve never heard that before.’”
Looking sexy while you feel like Bloat City is a challenge, to be sure. “The last part was us running up and down the beach at sunset,” Maris says. “I had just eaten probably a whole watermelon at that point. I was just praying it didn't come across—I just felt so uncomfortable.”
It was basically a beach day with friends
If it looks like the video is just a massive group hang with friends rolling around on the sand and making orgasmic faces into the camera, that’s because it basically was. “Everything was genuine,” Ephrata says. “They weren't like ‘now laugh’ or ‘now go crazy.' A lot of our scenes are actually us talking.”
Other scenes, though, had more direction. “There was a moment where the directors were like, ‘Okay, we want it to be kind of like an LSD trip,’” Maris laughs. We'll let you try to figure out which scene that is, because, TBH, it could have been any of them.
Overall, all the models agreed it was an incredibly chill experience. “It was probably one of the most natural shoots I've ever been on,” model Aalany McMahan says.
There was some unintentional twinning going on
As if there weren’t enough about Harry Styles to fawn over, he also has top-notch nail polish game, as many people know. He ended up matching with one of the models on the set and it became an inside joke.
“Me and him literally had the same polish on,” Ephrata remembers. “We started laughing, and he was like, ‘I think yours is more like a coral.’” Before long, it became an on-set debate: “Everybody was trying to decide what color our nails were,” she laughs.
Say it with me: C-O-N-S-E-N-T
ICYMI, Harry was recently knighted a “consent king” for asking before he touched Ephrata’s hair. “[The directors] were like ‘You can play with her hair!’ And then he was like, ‘Wait wait wait, are you even cool with that? Is that okay? Are you comfortable with that?’” she remembers.
It meant a lot to her that he took that second to check in (and she later asked him if it was okay to kiss him on the cheek). “That was a moment on set where I was taken aback for just a second, and was like, ‘Wow, he really cares if I’m comfortable. He cares if the other models are comfortable,’” she says.
But the emphasis on consent was waaaay bigger than just that one interaction, and Harry's attitude carried over into how the other models interacted with each other. “It wasn't just him. Me and the other models would ask each other like, ‘Hey, can I move my leg this way? Would you still be comfortable?’”
Even before shooting began, Harry made a point to prioritize everyone’s comfort. “He was kind of like, ‘Is everyone okay with this? If anyone isn't okay with me touching them, I’d really like for that to be communicated,’” Maris recalls.
Things got a little ~flirty~
It goes without saying that a Harry Styles music video is guaranteed to be flirty. I mean, this shoot required the models to lay all over Harry, rest their heads on his shoulders, sexily feed him, etc. Those vibes didn’t stop when the cameras did.
During breaks in shooting, Harry—ever the gentleman—asked the group of models where they were all from. Maris said Wisconsin, which piqued Harry’s attention. “He goes, in his very British accent, ‘Oh, you’re from Wisconsin? Are you a Packers fan?’” she laughs. “I was like, ‘Yes, duh, I’m a Packers fan!’”
Later, as the sun went down on the Malibu beach, Maris tried (unsuccessfully) to hide how cold she was in her bikini. It was January, remember? “In between takes, he kept asking me if I was okay, cause I was shivering,” she reveals. “He was making jokes, like, ‘Oh, you're from Wisconsin, you should be able to deal with this!”
But even for a music video for a song is
probably definitely about oral sex, it only went so far as flirting. “There was a group of us who were trying to get him to go out to dinner, but he had plans with someone else,” Maris says. Have fun spiraling while trying to figure out who that someone might be!
The rumors are true: Harry is a freakin’ sweetheart
Considering his entire brand is "treat people with kindness," it's no surprise Harry was nice on set. That energy started right at the beginning of the shoot. “He was nice enough to come and say 'hi' to us even before we started shooting,” Ephrata recalls. “He came and shook everybody's hand and gave us hugs and was like, ‘Hi, I'm Harry,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I know.’”
Throughout the shoot, Elizabeth says he would have conversations, ask questions, and joke around with the models. “Most people, when they hit cut, they just sit there quietly, they don’t interact with you, but he definitely did,” she says. “He’s so laid back. He’s so funny, sweet—he has a personality.”
Many of the models expressed that it was this experience that made them full-fledged stans: “After working with him, I was definitely a bigger fan,” Ephtata says. Welcome to the club, ladies!
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