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I Tried To Act Like Cristiano Ronaldo On Instagram And This Is What Happened

"This feels like an HR violation."

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Hello...my name is Norberto and this is how I look:

norbertobriceno / Via instagram.com

I'm a pessimist with the self-esteem of a pimply-faced 16-year-old adolescent. I'm fat, I have permanent resting bitchface, my man boobs jiggle when I walk, my double chin vibrates when I talk, and all these insecurities have shaped me into a quiet bundle of negativity.

I've had these insecurities since middle school, when people would straight-up call me "fat and ugly." But growing up as a Mexican man who was told not to show weakness, instead of dealing with these insecurities, I just decided to bottle them up and keep them stored somewhere deep inside. For this reason, I don't really post photos of myself on Instagram, because I don't like how I look. And if I do post something, it's usually really artsy-fartsy videos featuring the back of my head.

So, at the ripe age of 28, I've decided to tackle my self-esteem problem by doing something COMPLETELY out of character: I'm going to re-create five of Cristiano Ronaldo's shirtless Instagram photos.

Cristiano / Via instagram.com

Why Ronaldo? Well, he's the exact opposite of me. He's the most followed man on Instagram, at over 100 million followers. He's a charismatic, camera-ready, world-class superstar athlete who looks like a fucking Adonis.

I do not look like a fucking Adonis. I have 665 followers. I don't take selfies, I hate posing for photos, and I wear dark colors and lots of layers to cover up my love handles.

So, why am I doing this? Well, I've never seen photos of fat brown dudes posing like Ronaldo. Maybe I'll learn something about the power of vanity and obtain a much-needed Instagram self-esteem boost. Or maybe this is just a terrible idea that will forever live in the dark annals of the internet. But we only live once, right? So fuck it...let's do this.

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Photo 1: The "YO! WTF ARE YOU DOING IN MY DRESSING ROOM" pose

cristiano / Via Instagram: @cristiano

My re-creation:

norbertobriceno / Via instagram.com

I decided to start off with something nice, simple, and PG. My coworker Pablo agreed to help me take this photo. He was hesitant at first, knowing that our work relationship would take on a whole new level of familiarity. We grabbed an unused clothing rack from a prop closet and dragged it into an empty room.

In this photo, Ronaldo gives the world a sweet peek into those famous Michelangelo-carved abs through his snazzy button-down shirt. I, on the other hand, give the world flab. Lovely, brown, velvety flab, bulging through a button-down shirt I bought for $10 at Rite Aid. While Ronaldo has a look in his eyes like he's about to make you wet, I look...pissed? Uncomfortable? Constipated? I was honestly trying to go for a "sexy, dark, and mysterious" stare, but the result was just "fucking irked."

Favorite comment on Instagram: "Daaaaaang, 'bout to change into a romper?"

Photo 2: The "Slather Me in Butter and Fry Me Up" pose

cristiano / Via Instagram: @cristiano

My re-creation:

norbertobriceno / Via instagram.com

I took this photo on the rooftop of my office building after work to avoid prying eyes while I took off my shirt and slathered myself in baby oil. As I reclined in an uncomfortable, dirty-ass plastic chair, I daydreamed about how great it must be to be Ronaldo. He's a man who has it all. He's a sexy beast who wins soccer championships for Real Madrid, and he's got a firm, hot body that he probably works hard to maintain. If I had Ronaldo's life, OF COURSE I'd be taking selfies like this every day. Who doesn't want to be showered in likes and praise by millions of fans? But I'm not Ronaldo. I'm...me. I eat carne asada like there's no tomorrow and I'm a person who considers walking for 15 minutes a solid workout. After taking the photo, I made the democratic decision to eat a salad for dinner.

Favorite comment on Instagram: "WERK 👏🏼 WERK 👏🏼 WERK 👏🏼"

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Photo 3: The "Is This a Porno Shoot 'Cause This Definitely Feels Like a Porno Shoot" pose

cristiano / Via Instagram: @cristiano

My re-creation:

norbertobriceno / Via instagram.com

I had my homegirl shoot this for me at my apartment. I wasn't comfortable doing this at work and exposing my coworkers to such a dastardly sight. I undressed myself all the way down to my boxer briefs, which I rolled up into a kind of makeshift Speedo.

My directions to her sounded like something you'd hear at a porn shoot: "YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOUR HAND IS COVERING MY CROTCH!"

"Bro...why you doin' this?" she asked while rolling her eyes, probably wondering where my dignity went.

"It's for work."

The pose was VERY straining on my back and legs, to the point where I worked up a sweat. After I added the black-and-white filter, I noticed I had a horrible farmer's tan. I also probably should've trimmed my armpit hair. But despite these imperfections, I kinda liked how the photo turned out!

Favorite comment on Instagram: "Omg what's happening"

Photo 4: The "I'm Sleeping With a Blanket That Has My Fucking Name on It" pose

cristiano / Via Instagram: @cristiano

My re-creation:

norbertobriceno / Via Instagram: @norbertobriceno

I had a friend come over one Saturday morning to take this photo. My cheap ass only has one lamp in my apartment, so I definitely needed some natural sunlight to lighten up the shot. I was going to buy a Ronaldo blanket, but they cost $139. So I instead put my DIY skillz to good use.

While Ronaldo is still in tip-top shape as he pretends to sleep, I got a whole lot of jiggly bits spilling out. You can see my double chin, my man boobs, and my underarm jelly rolls in full display. I tried doing 20 pushups before I shot this, but that clearly didn't work. As I have my eyes closed, I come to the realization that this whole project is a bad idea. I don't like putting myself out there like this. My inner demons whisper softly into my ear: "If you don't have it...don't flaunt it..." But it's too late. I can't turn back now. I must see this through to the end. Fuck the demons.

Favorite comment on Instagram: No one said anything. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Photo 5: The "Oh Dear, I'm Feeling Kinda Weary" pose

cristiano / Via Instagram: @cristiano

My re-creation:

norbertobriceno / Via Instagram: @norbertobriceno

For the final photo, I chose this one of Ronaldo lying on the grass next to a beautiful bush full of yellow flowers. So here I am, lying on AstroTurf next to some random bush. Since I did this at work, and out in the open air, I made sure to wear TWO undies for insurance, just in case something popped out. As my coworker took this photo, he said, "This feels like an HR violation." Also, Ronaldo looks like a heavenly angel who wearily dropped onto Earth for some beauty sleep on a lovely spring morning. I look like I just woke up on a Sunday morning after getting shitfaced on mezcal the night before. But TBH...I'm not mad about the way I look.

Favorite comment on Instagram: "I would open Instagram right as by boss walked by and this photo was first. Having to explain was a nightmare 🤣"

And that was that. So, what did I learn? Well, three things:

norbertobriceno/cristianoronaldo / Via instagram.com

1. I didn't get the Instagram self-esteem boost I'd hoped for. On the contrary, despite a couple of positive comments, I lost 19 followers in the span of five days. But that's OK. I thought this was going to be a real horror show, but I kinda liked the way I looked, especially the erotic black-and-white one. I might even frame that one, because why the fuck not?

2. These photos are not natural. Each photo took a shit ton of tries and a lil' bit of Photoshop before finally capturing "the money shot." It's good to know these natural pics aren't as natural as they seem.

3. At the end of the day, I have to be me. I don't take selfies, I don't take shirtless pics, and I'm not great at thirst traps like Ronaldo. Do I need to work on my negativity and low self-esteem? Yes. But I'm a fat dude with lots of imperfections, and that's cool. Fat is a beautiful thing. And it doesn't matter what you look like as long as you're true to yourself.

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