For the second year in a row, the Mercury asked its readers to nominate the sexiest person in Portland—be it themselves, their partner, friend, or acquaintance. In a city of pioneers un-beholden to the mainstream, the definition of "sexy" is extremely nonspecific. As we pored over the submissions, we simply knew we'd recognize it when we saw it, without many preconceived notions of what we were looking for. This year's choices, Kate Lucas and Nolan Catfish, weren't just chosen for their physical looks (although they're both pretty devastating), but because we recognized in them an attitude that felt right, and indicative of something sexy about Portland, something worth taking an afternoon or two with a talented photographer to memorialize in these images.
Like many of the young people who keep this city more interesting than its size implies, Kate and Nolan's perspectives are shaped by experiences living outside of Portland. Kate is one of those seemingly rare Oregon natives in the 18-35 demographic. Originally from Aloha, she left after high school to pursue acting dreams in New York City, ultimately returning to explore another interest that didn't make her feel "at the mercy of other people's whims," or (ironically) subject to other people's definitions of sexy. She's currently in school and considering a career as a sports chiropractor, can flawlessly rap you the intro to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and counts cats, reading, and true stories among the things she defines as "sexy."
Nolan originally hails from Indiana, but has come to epitomize one of the most celebrated aspects of local culture: small-scale, organic, local farming. After gathering experience in food production that included stints all over the country, as well as in New Zealand, Nolan completed the Farmer Apprentice Program at Sauvie Island Organics in 2008. He then went on, with business partner Chris Segel, to found Wealth Underground Farm (wealthunderground.blogspot.com), where many of these photos were taken. Located on a Metro-leased acre in the hills off Highway 30, they began selling their 100-plus varieties of seasonal crops at the St. Johns Farmers Market, and this year have moved on to becoming a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Tempting as it may be, bombarding them for subscriptions (as of this writing there are still a few slots open) may well result in being turned away; they are committed to maintaining their hands-on, craftsmanship emphasis. In other words, they want to stay small.
Kate and Nolan are sexy because they're healthy, natural, happy, and unpretentious. And for at least a few minutes as they frolicked in nothing but a couple wool blankets, boots, and their skivvies in a wide-open meadow on a drizzly afternoon, we would venture to declare that they were, indeed, the two sexiest people in Portland.[slideshow-1]