“Damn, Daniel” Meme Star, Daniel Lara, Turns Down Modeling Contract

You’re probably reading this headline and thinking, “Hm, I don’t know what any of this means,” or, “Hm, I do know what this means,” but both of these probably lead to the question: What does this have anything to do with swimming?!

Here’s the catch: Daniel Lara, who was the subject of the “Damn, Daniel” videos which have been made into countless memes and resulted in enough fame to send he and his friend Josh Holz to “The Ellen Show,” is a swimmer. And that’s why he turned down the modeling contract.

No, he didn’t turn down the contract because of practice conflicts, or because the goggle tan might mess up a nice photo-op. Rather, according to his friend and as reported by Hollywood Life, “Daniel was offered a modeling job this week but he turned down the contract because he wants a swimming scholarship and he can’t have both.”

Darn right. Had he chosen to work with a modeling agency, he’d no longer be eligible for an NCAA scholarship, and he’d have to give up on those dreams. Isn’t that nice?

No, seriously.

Can we just stop and appreciate that this 14-year-old kid surrounded by a ridiculous amount of rapid internet fame is actually thinking about his future instead of selling out? Yes! Yes we can! It may be the only thing from this media circus that is worth giving a few thoughts too. But it’s something.

Lara, a sprint freestyler, is a freshman at Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, CA. He swims club for Riverside Aquatics Association. Poly High’s next dual competition is away on March 10th against Martin Luther King High.

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john m

another example of NCAA being the worst institution. Also, why does Mo’ne Davis get to stay eligible after all her commercial appearances?


Even i’m not 100% sure of why, but from personal experience and what i remember over hearing is there is a certain amount of money you can take before eligibility is taken away, also there are other ways around it i believe. For instance if you do commercials but are not labeled as an athlete but as a model then its a loop hole i think. Its been since 04 when i last heard this stuff from someone close to me but thats what i gathered. So since then rules could have changed etc so take it with a grain of salt.


The rule does not apply until the athlete enters high school


Damn Daniel..


Can we stop and appreciate how ludicrous it is that this is a choice Daniel has to make? Because Daniel wants to swim competitively, he must choose to not make money? He should be able to do both!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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