SEATTLE Taho Kakutani has never aspired to be a professional actor. He achieved his career dream nine years ago after getting a job throwing fish at Pike Place Fish Market.
Yet he has suddenly, unintentionally become a commercial spokesman for a couple major companies.
It s not anything I ever dreamed I would ever do, Kakutani said.
He currently appears in a 30-second TV ad for Advil, which shows Kakutani walking around a fish market, hauling boxes and discussing how the pain reliever helps ease soreness in his back and shoulders.
He was selected after answering questions for what he initially thought was a pain study. After honestly answering that he used Advil to relieve pain, he eventually learned it was all part of casting for a commercial.
Kakutani flew to Los Angeles around Thanksgiving to shoot the spot on a set strikingly similar to his Seattle market. The commercial started airing a few weeks ago, and many visitors to Pike Place immediately recognized Kakutani from the ad.
Still, he will not let it go to his head.
When I do my taxes, I m a fish monger, not an actor, Kakutani said.
But it did not take long for another company to come calling.
Kakutani was recently hand-picked by Nordstrom for an online ad campaign for designer jeans that features real-life working guys.
It s just so exciting to talk to somebody who s passionate about what they do, and these guys are so passionate, said Christina Libertini, a video art director for Nordstrom.
The online denim campaign will launch in March.
Through it all, Kakutani remains humble, saying Hollywood could never replace the fish market.
I love working here and the opportunities that come here are plenty, he said.
While aspiring actors might scratch their heads at Kakutani s fortunes, perhaps they could take some notes: to become a star, it might be best to swim with the fish.