Anwar Zayden: Miami Wildman and Internet Hero
The man knows how to make an entrance.
In April 2012, fireworks split open the night sky over Star Island. Below, topless women wiggled by a pool lit the color of blue Kool-Aid. Veiled belly dancers tossed around fire sticks. Camels munched grass around the two-acre property. All through the white tents draped beside the waterfront mansion, Miami's moneybags elite got down.
The occasion was the 50th-birthday party for Thomas Kramer, a wild-man developer whose Portofino Tower stands out like an exclamation point on the South Beach skyline. The theme was "Arabian Nights." Costumed sheiks and bedouins bumped through the party. High-society spinners DJs Blondie and Mad Linx flooded the air with music. The high-priced revelry was already in overdrive when — suddenly — a rider approached. On a horse.
Miami Playboy Anwar Zayden Might Be the Most Interesting Man in the World
A white purebred Paso Fino clattered toward the front gate, where a row of bouncers controlled access. In the saddle sat a strikingly slab-like man in a leather vest and white tunic, perfect teeth winking out from a mischievous grin. A headscarf dragged like a banner from the rider's head as the animal galloped past the security guys' screamed protests, then pounded into the yard and up through the house's massive two-story entryway.
Horse and rider wove through the elegant house and out to the pool. Cell-phone cameras flashed, capturing the image of this guy — whoever he was — bolting through a $35 million house on horseback.
But partygoers who already knew it screamed his name. "Anwar! Anwar! Anwar!"
Today, you can find a picture from this stunt on Instagram, along with 174 (and counting) sneak peeks inside the balls-out world of Miami's Anwar Zayden.
The image shows Anwar high in the saddle in Kramer's entryway. The caption reads, in twisted phonics, "I tole you. Last night I bring horse to party. Lady love horse because they like master like Anwar. Is ok I no take advantage. Horse before Lady. Kisses Anwar."
Spend ten minutes wading through the shots posted under username "LegendofAnwar" and you'll feel like you are stuck inside a Robin Leach fever dream featuring a cartoon Fabio with a bottomless bank account. Picture after picture shows Zayden living large all over Miami, awesomeness of superhuman proportions. The account mysteriously popped out of nowhere 13 weeks ago; since, it's brought endless joy to more than 5,200 followers lucky enough to have found it.
There's a photo of Anwar rollerblading down the sidewalk, shirtless except for elbow and wrist pads. "Anwar drink last night to much," the caption reads. "I find secret to overhang. Anwar blade of roller to erase headache and so think forward."
Then there's Zayden standing in the captain's chair of a yacht, flanked by two smiling hot girls, each aiming bikinied rears right at the camera.
"Do I tell you Anwar also Captain of ship?" the caption reads. "I no you think, how Anwar learn to fly, swim, ride horse and bike? Is because I champion. Anwar learn life is for fun. Lady holes keep Anwar warm and heart young."
Next, Anwar's doing a headstand on the bar at haughty South Beach steak house Prime One Twelve. "This is how Anwar drink of day. #LayLikeBat is good after shot."
Then he's posed in a wetsuit, holding a gigantic spear. "Sometime Miami need help to fight killer octopus. Is no fair Anwar only have two hand. Octopus have eight hand. Sometime I tell 4 lady to grab Anwar at same time to simulate octopus."
Who the hell is this guy?
In the flesh, Anwar Zayden, 53, stands in a black Speedo on the deck of his 55-foot yacht as it bombs through choppy surf on a bright and scrubbed Sunday. Visually, he's a cross between a Greek statue and a WWE bodyslammer, 195 pounds poured over a five-foot-11 frame. From toes to nose, veins twist past dips and swells of muscle, everything as tanned as polished boot leather. Long black hair slips off his head to his shoulders like spilled ink.
Today's destination: Key Biscayne. Anwar's 26-year-old Russian girlfriend, Anna Volotchko, and her mother, Elena, both in bikinis, dance together to the techno shaking from the speakers. Fred Machado, a stocky Argentine businessman in a polo and baseball hat who lets Zayden spin around on his private plane in exchange for rides on the boat, is laid out next to a blond model from L.A.
"We masturbate with life," Anwar announces to the group, apropos of nothing, his heavy Spanish accent roughing up the words so his baritone clunks like the English dubbed into kung fu movies.
The horse at Kramer's house? Anwar had just decided at the last minute to show up in style. So he asked his cousin, who runs a ranch, to meet him at Star Island with the horse for his entrance. "It was like they were chanting for someone at a rock show," he remembers fondly.
Spend ten minutes around Anwar and he seems like the most Miami guy in Miami, with a highlight reel of gestures both grand and gaudy. But under the flashy lid, there's actually an old-school romantic who's taken his lumps yet still holds tight to notions like dignity, nobility and honor, which — in South Beach — makes him about as rare as a snowstorm. This man, humble owner of a frame shop in Kendall, might be a close as we get to the Most Interesting Man in the World.
A normal day balloons to epic proportions in Zayden's hands. A lazy Sunday? He gasses up the boat, calls up his captain, and bullets around the water on Jet-Skis and jet packs. A shift at work? When he's at his business, Art Express, he's as likely to help customers design rooms as to jump up on a table, rip off his shirt, and pose beside oil-painted gladiators. And charity? Like many well-heeled South Beachers, he cuts checks to groups like the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and he constantly rolls down the window to fork $20s to panhandlers.
"Me," he explains, "I'm 90 percent crazy and 10 percent work."
Now, it's photo time. Anwar pulls out a digital camera and beckons the mother-daughter duo to the rail. Both women automatically pop fashion-spread poses as the sun-polished glass towers of Brickell peel by.
"Oh baby," Anwar purrs, as the bright blue eyes in Anna's doll face sparkle at the camera. "I don't know if I'm just a great photographer or if you're just so beautiful."
"It's a team effort," Anna replies.
Zayden likes taking pictures of his life. But he's not one to broadcast his exploits to the world. He can barely send a text. Photos, he says, were mysteriously cribbed from his Facebook page, then began showing up online. He learned he was an internet phenomenon only after being recognized on the street by a stranger.
He went online to investigate. "People were saying, 'Oh look at this guy — he must be gay or something,'" Anwar recalls, an unlit Marlboro in his lips. "Then people who knew me got on there and were like, 'Hey, we know Anwar! He's gotten more pussy in one day than other people in their whole life!'"
This last bit is barked out in a boast, but he then pensively swings his eyes around. Girlfriend's mom is onboard. Better be careful.
Anwar is amused by his growing net celebrity. Being recognized — it's happening more and more. Just the other day, three guys at the gym stopped Anwar and asked why he hadn't been posting pictures lately.
"The guys were sweet. They said, 'We sit at our desks at work and live our life through you.'"
Compared to the supersize monstrosities nearby, Anwar's two-story Mediterranean home on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach is modest. He scooped up the 1941 property for a discount $338,000 in 1990; it has since gone from crumbling eyesore into a marble and columned $1.2 million spread swallowed by lush foliage and walled away from the street.
Mirrors hang everywhere — in the trees along the circular drive, beside the black Range Rover and white Rolls-Royce sitting under a carport, taking up the entire wall near the front double doors.
Anna answers the door. A few steps across the marble floor afford a view of the backyard: an S-shaped pool, a massive tiki hut, a dinner table set for eight, the 55-footer bobbing in Indian Creek. There's dive equipment — Anwar often straps on some tanks and dives for his own oysters and lobsters right in the Intracoastal Waterway.
On every inch of indoor wall space, every spot of free tabletop, and even on portions of the marble floor, there are framed photos — of Anwar.
Anwar sitting in the cockpit of an experimental jet fighter. Firing an M16. Standing next to a helicopter. Astride a Harley-Davidson, a beautiful woman wrapped around his back. Gripping two huge lobsters. Airborne in a jet pack. Here, he's landing a full-length leg kick on an MMA opponent's head. There's his flexed back in the gym, the jagged deltoids looking like a craggy satellite snapshot of Kandahar. And those are just in the kitchen.
Then there are the pictures where Anwar shares the frame with familiar faces: Sly Stallone, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, George H.W. Bush, Shaq, Don Johnson, the other dude from Miami Vice, Ronald Reagan, Paris Hilton, Rob Lowe, Alex Rodriguez, Oliver Stone, Al Pacino, David Lee Roth, Barry Gibb, Rush Limbaugh, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Caine. He's helped decorate their homes and partied with them at clubs and charity events. Chances are, if you've spent any time behind the VIP rope in Miami, you've spotted Anwar.
"I've got pictures all up and down my staircase, and I change them all the time," he says. "You know you wake up in the morning and you're not feeling great, bro? I just walk down the stairs, and by the time I'm done, I feel great because I'm looking at all the good times with my friends."
Promoter Tommy Pooch was South Beach's best-known nightlife player during the '90s. But back in 1992, he was a newbie in town when he first stumbled into one of Anwar's house parties.
"It was like a Viking feast," Pooch recalls. "This was the nicest home I had ever seen, coming from Brooklyn. Everything was dripping in marble, gold leaf everything. There were giant steaks, the most expensive wines."
Despite the fact that they had never met before, when Pooch left the party, Anwar gave him a signed Salvador Dalí lithograph. Not long after, a bunch of delivery guys rolled into Pooch's place bearing an eight-foot mirror. Another gift from Anwar.
"I know he's not gay; what is he giving me all this stuff for?" Pooch remembers thinking.
Back then, Anwar was a regular at the Forge, an iconic white-linen eatery in Miami Beach. The restaurant's owner, Shareef Malnik, would watch Anwar stroll in, a beautiful woman clasped to his arm, humming with energy and charm.
"I've seen pictures of Anwar — which he is very eager to show off on his iPhone — of himself in a loincloth on a white horse," Malnik says. "When Anwar walks into a room, he's on that white horse and loincloth. You just don't see them."
The two became friends. When Malnik decided he wanted to outfit the ceiling of his place with a gigantic mirror, Anwar meticulously helped his friend pick out the frame and glass and had his team install the piece. When Malnik asked Anwar to send over an invoice, he refused. It was a gift.
"He's one of the most gregarious people I've ever met," says Miami superlawyer Roy Black. "He's extremely outgoing, fun to talk with, always upbeat, can't wait to say hello. He's always out boating, lifts weights about 24 hours a day, and usually is surrounded by a bevy of hot girls."
Women — they festoon every picture and corner of Zayden's life. But he smacks away any talk that he's a playboy. "I might be on the boat with 15 girls, but I'm only with one of them," he says. "The girls come on my boat because they feel safe there. I won't let any guy get out of hand. If a guy starts grabbing the girls, he's in the water."
He reflects: "Miami Beach has a lot of assholes who think because they have a Ferrari and money in their pockets, they can treat women like material things. That is incorrect."
The lady now glued to Zayden's side — Anna — remembers that she first spotted him when she was checking out Body Basics, a gym on 67th Street and Collins Avenue where he works out. It was January, and the personal trainer was down from her home base in Toronto for the season.
"I didn't know anybody here," she remembers. "The first impression is, you look at him and he's always with girls and on the boat, so I thought, Maybe I am another one. But I was so surprised. He ended up being a completely different person. He's really down-to-earth and simple. He actually has a soul."
It was love after the first boat ride. Now she's moved into the house.
As his maid fiddles with a tray of turkey sandwiches, Anwar settles down beneath his tiki hut, his fingers unwrapping a fresh pack of Marlboro Reds. "I'm just a simple guy," he says, meaning it.
Like every good Miami story, the curtain opens on this one in Havana.
Anwar's parents were Lebanese immigrants living in pre-Fidel Cuba. His father, Alfredo, owned an import/export business. His mother, Graciella, was the daughter of a construction magnate. After militants burned Alfredo's store in 1958, the couple left for a meager life as roving expats.
First stop: Miami. Anwar was born here in 1961. He says that around this time, his father began working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Assignments kept the family moving. "We went from one country to another," Anwar says. "I never felt any kind of security. We would be in bed at 3 in the morning and these huge bodyguards would come and throw me in the back of a limousine. Next thing you know, we're crossing the border to Mexico."
After hopscotching through Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Lebanon, the family landed in Spain. By the early 1970s there were six children — four daughters and two sons. "When we arrived in Barcelona, we were living in a one-bedroom with mattresses on the floor," Anwar says.
Money was a problem, a fact little Anwar sensed. "I remember as a child, my father would take us to a Chinese restaurant like once a week in Madrid. I remember I would always just order rice, because I thought, How the hell is this poor man going to pay for the bill of eight people? When I saw my brothers and sisters order something expensive, I wanted to kill them."
Anwar was sensitive but also "brave and bold" as a kid, his mother says in a phone interview. "Whenever we were in airports, he would never have a problem going up and talking to strangers," she recalls. He spent a lot of time hanging around ranches in the rural areas outside Madrid and Barcelona, learning to ride and eventually taking tourists on excursions. He did gymnastics in school and was always jogging through the neighborhood, even on Christmas Eve.
"I grew up with four sisters, bro. I stayed up waiting for them to come home from their dates."
He also had an eye for business. Under fascist dictator Francisco Franco, nudie mags from the free world were outlawed. But the Zaydens sent their children to a U.S. Air Force base for school. Anwar would smuggle home Playboy from the commissary. "I had a photo-copier machine, and I would copy the pages and sell them to my friends," he says. "I guess I was an art dealer even back then."
Graciella was always trucking around to different embassies, trying to secure visas for her children. As the lone kid born under the stars and stripes, Anwar felt special. "I was so proud to be American," he recalls. "When Apollo 11 landed in 1969, I was watching. We had a little round TV. It was 3 o'clock in the morning Spanish time. I went back with an American flag to my school the next day."
Anwar felt the pull of one American locale in particular: his hometown. Bouncing around the world, he always kept close a photo from his childhood of the family at the Fontainebleau pool.
"When you say 'Miami' around the world, it's palm trees, beaches," he says. "It's a dream around the world, a dream place to live."
It took only a few short years for Anwar to go from an empty-pocketed nobody to local sex bomb.
He arrived back in Miami when he was 18, staying with an aunt and uncle on his mother's side. For money, he began competing as a bull rider in rodeos between Florida and Texas. After pulling together nearly $20,000 after one season, he bunked down in Knoxville. A job materialized in a frame store; as Anwar learned the trade, he watched the shop's mistakes — late orders, botched work.
"I saw what I could do better," he says. College wasn't in his plans. "My dream was always to own my own business."
In 1979, he leased the only space he could — a crumbling $600-a-month retail slot in Brickell, before it was an overplanted plot of high-rises. Junkies lived in the building above the store. "There was not one night when I didn't go home praying they wouldn't burn the building down when I was asleep."
First, he offered 30-minute framing, quick and neat. Second: a dash of showbiz. When a customer came in to place an order, he'd listen to the request, flip up and do a handstand on the work table, then flip down and get working.
In 1984, smooth-jam radio station Love 94 ran TV commercials featuring "Mr. Love 94," a local hunk who sent ladies gaga. After a preppy, Tom Cruise carbon copy had a turn as the star, the station needed a new face.
More than 100 applicants crammed a casting office in Coconut Grove, batting bedroom eyes and shooting sexy daggers at a camera. But Barbara Diprima, the casting director, had already spotted Anwar dropping off a girlfriend at an acting class. She liked the permed-out, European-style hunk sporting shirts open to his navel.
"He just exuded sex," Diprima says. She asked him to audition.
"He was just so gorgeous, so handsome," Diprima recalls. "But there was something about him that was special. He was ingratiating and charming. You could tell he loved people."
The 25-year-old was green-lighted.
"Honestly, I don't have a problem getting laid, so I didn't need an ad campaign to do it," Anwar says today. "But it was fun."
What followed once the ads hit television was like Beatlemania — focused onto one dude.
Anwar was mobbed. Business at the store picked up so much that he could afford a Brickell Avenue apartment and a flashy Rolls-Royce convertible. TV stations began running nightly news pieces on Mr. Love 94, with incredible good looks and his own business, all while in his mid-20s. "Are you for real?" one goofball newscaster asked him.
The attention brought other work. Anwar smoldered as a Bolivian drug lord on Miami Vice, making his onscreen debut pulling up to the city's glittering skyline in a cigarette boat. Then he did a Calvin Klein campaign. He wore a loincloth.
Anwar was a free-roaming Romeo in a city at the tip of Cocaine Cowboys excess. Soon, he locked down in a relationship with supermodel (and future Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star) Yolanda Hadid Foster. "She was my first love," he says now. But after seven years, the relationship burned out.
It's hard being a beautiful dude. The fame flows at you. There's no off switch. Anwar — and his lady friends — didn't always appreciate it. "A woman loves attention. And when you take a woman out to a place and it's a hundred fucking people out there trying to get to you, you know how that makes a woman feel? Not good, bro.
"Being so famous, what did it do to me? It opened up the doors for people to set me up."
The '90s were good times. There were 21 modeling agencies crammed into 13 blocks on South Beach. Bars were flush with beautiful people. Anwar was right there, sliding his Rolls-Royce between the Ferraris and Lamborghinis parked outside Washington Avenue clubs.
Business also took off. After bringing his father and siblings into the business, Anwar opened Art Express in Kendall. The new store filled expensive orders for local celebs like Jose Canseco, Sylvester Stallone, and Sen. Connie Mack.
But in September 1997, it all blew up in the worst way. Eating dinner one night at China Grill, Anwar caught the eye of a flight attendant and sometime-model named Nancy "Coco" Johnsen. The 31-year-old ditched her date and sat down with Anwar, and the two partied that night. The next morning, Anwar rollerbladed over to meet Johnsen for breakfast at the News Cafe on Ocean Drive. The pair next ducked into the nearby apartment of a friend.
Hours later, Johnsen walked into the Miami Beach Police headquarters claiming Anwar had raped her.
When confronted by police, Anwar said the tryst was consensual. Regardless, he was tossed in jail for 12 days before posting bond. Anwar was charged with rape and kidnapping. The front page of the Miami Herald's metro section blared: "Facing Charges: The Former 'Mr. Love 94.'"
Eventually, though, witnesses poked holes in Johnsen's story. The case crumbled, and charges were dropped. Anwar filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit in federal court against the department; it was settled in 2004 for an undisclosed amount. That year, Johnsen sued comedian Bill Maher for $9 million after the two had a fling. She claimed that Maher had promised to marry her and that their breakup damaged her career. The suit was thrown out of court.
Even today, with 17 years stacked between now and then, Anwar still feels the burn of the incident.
"It's the shame of it," he says. "When you do something bad and you walk away from it, you say, 'OK, I won't do it again.' But when you haven't done a fucking thing and you know you're the complete opposite of what you were accused of, you still never know what people are going to think now. There are times in my life, things I've gone through, where it would probably have been better to be dead."
Even after having motored around Miami for four decades, Anwar still gets lost. He'll drive to Lincoln Road, park, and then forget where the car is. He'll forget to fill the Range Rover up with gas. His employees all keep gas cans in their cars just in case. Today, for example. The car crapped out on the way to Art Express. He called a cab to take him the rest of the way.
In pointed leather boots, studded jeans, and a black sleeveless T that shows off his ham-hock arms, Anwar now watches one of his guys unroll a large canvas. "This probably costs around $120,000," he says. But he's hesitant to sell the painting. "It has a lot of sentimental value."
The high walls of Art Express are covered with pictures — abstract splotches, realist landscapes, Renaissance fake-outs — in beautiful frames. Along a back wall, more shots of Anwar with celebrity company.
"I've worked at a lot of places, and our 'slow' is 'crazy busy' for other galleries," says Jason Watson. With seven years in the store, he's still the new guy. Most of Anwar's employees have been with him for decades.
One — a beautiful blond with a smile that could signal away low-flying aircraft — had come in one day with her aunt, a regular customer. The girl was looking for a job, the aunt mentioned.
"Well, what are you doing on that side of the counter, then?" Anwar says, relaying the story. "Get over here and help me sell your aunt something."
"We all learn from him," says Vladimir Fernandez, who's had 30 years with Anwar. "He treats the work all the same, from one lady in a little apartment to Sylvester Stallone's house. And if he sees someone doesn't have enough money, he'll lower his prices without telling them."
"I swear on my mother's life," Anwar affirms.
Sales dipped with the recession, but Anwar didn't slash positions or drop salaries. "The people that were more comfortable, they needed the money less, he would lower the amount of work they got a week," Fernandez explains. "The people who needed more money, he brought their work up."
Anwar insists that he's a self-made man and that his money comes from running a solid business, not from investing. "I've had offers to make the business into a chain, open a hundred stores," he says. "But I thought, Not with someone else's money."
His brush with the law shifted him out of the fast lane. After spending years guzzling booze, now he doesn't touch the stuff. He became a devoted gym rat, burying the waifish male model of yesteryear under layers of bulging muscle.
"I get more attention walking on the beach and on my bicycle than I do in my Rolls-Royce," he says. "I try to stay in shape and look decent because the day a woman is in bed with me because of my money and not me, I want to throw up."
Now, the canvas is fully unfurled. The picture shows, in the same twilight tones and high detail you'd find in a neoclassical art gallery, two white stallions facing off. Below, a pair of muscular gladiators hold the respective reins, one with long blond hair, the other with long dark hair. The latter is Anwar.
"The other guy is my buddy; he's a racecar driver," Anwar explains. "I trained him for two months so we would be in shape to model. Afterwards, he told me, 'Anwar, we've got to do another painting. I never got so many girls as when we were training for that.'"
Anwar beams at his likeness. "I've made the most boring business ever into the most exciting business ever."
The LegendofAnwar Instagram includes a picture of the shirtless hero gawking over the same oil painting. It's art imitating life imitating art.
The caption reads: "Look I paint these last night. Is Anwar and Horse. I tell you meaning. You look you see struggle to keep horse no fight each other. These like Anwar life. Lady always try fight for Anwar love. Anwar no want Lady heart. I good. I give sex and company. No love. These painting show."
The snapshot has pulled 97 likes. "Anwar you are a true man and I can learn many things from you," reads one comment from a genuine admirer. "Hopefully one day we run into each other in Miami."
Turns out, Anwar's rise to internet fame began with thedirty.com, an online shooting gallery of shit talk and slut-shaming that's been around since 2007.
On this site, visitors upload photos — of celebrities and civilians — and an unruly mob of internet commentators takes aim. Mostly, it features Z-list celebs, wannabe ballers, bad Jessica Rabbit-esque plastic surgery, and gold diggers. (Recent posts: "Nicole Is Nothing but a Fake," "Helen Sharp Needs to Wake Up," "Dirty Sloot Sticks in Anything She Can"). Nik Richie, founder of the site, has been a target for numerous lawsuits and a couple of on-air scoldings from Dr. Phil. He has even become a minor celebrity, having appeared on several reality shows both alone and with his wife, Shayne Lamas, a former Bachelor contestant.
Richie says pictures of Anwar were uploaded to his site anonymously, apparently by someone who'd seen Anwar's Facebook page.
At first the typical response to pics of Anwar was "What a flaming cocksman — what a fruit fly."
"But," says Richie, "as more and more pictures came in, they were like, 'Damn, this guy is for real.'"
"As a straight male, I would have no problem joining those girls in giving Anwar an amazing rub down," wrote one commenter, under a shot of Anwar lying face-down with a cigar in his mouth on a massage table as five women in bathing suits work on his back.
"I'm so intrigued I showed my husband who is twice my age... He was also intrigued and seriously couldn't stop laughing," said another reader, under a shot of Anwar standing by a rushing waterfall.
"I work a sh*tty low end job making 25k a year. But Anwar gives me hope for some reason," writes another user, this time under a shot of Anwar swimming with dolphins. "Anwar if you read this, thank you for making me smile everyday."
Due to thedirty nation's response to Anwar, Richie started the LegendofAnwar Instagram last December.
"He's a legend to my fan base," Richie says. "People look at him like he's a mythical god."
Richie began grabbing real-life snapshots of Anwar being Anwar from his Facebook, then narrating them in the cartoonishly broken English of an oversexed superhero playboy.
Anwar "has that different quality that you can't fake," Richie says. "And that's really hard to show, because the internet is fake. Most people are lying, putting up pictures to get attention or friends. Anwar doesn't. He just wants to live his life."
Ironically, Richie himself turned to Anwar's magic when his own life crashed. In February, his wife was rushed to a hospital in L.A., 20 weeks pregnant with the couple's second child. Due to complications, the baby was lost. Lamas nearly died.
Sitting in the intensive-care unit with his wife while she was in a medically induced coma, looking for a distraction, Richie mentally climbed inside his outrageous Anwar persona. "I started writing what Anwar would say," he explains. "It gave me a little bit of escape."
Swinging around an erection the size of a garden hose, an agitated white Paso Fino is angrily dancing on two legs. Under the frantic horse's shadow, a 16-year-old boy is inches from feeling the hooves clobber down on his face. Everyone in the yard at Hacienda Guadalupe, a quiet ranch out on the western edge of Kendall, goes slow-mo.
Then Anwar, dressed in knee-high leather boots and a black sports jacket, bolts over, pushing the 900-pound animal back into the air before grabbing hold of the red reins and easing the creature down.
"The legs were a quarter of a centimeter from my son's head!" the teen's mom, Gema Sanz, later cries. "He would have been dead. But Anwar jumped in!"
Weeks later, Anwar is back at the ranch, stroking the hide of the same white horse. A smile breaks onto his lips. "He has a big dick," Anwar reports before laughing.
Today is not for heroics but for pictures. Anna is up on a pony, trotting figure eights through the grass yard. Anwar fires away with his digital camera. "Oh baby, you look so beautiful. God bless America," he coos.
Between snaps, Anwar takes a moment to chew on the future. "My dream is to one day own a ranch like this with horses and her," he says nodding to his girl, "and tons of babies." He waits a beat before nodding to Anna's mother, Elena. "If that's OK with you." Mom bursts out in laughter.
Snapshots will eventually worm their way onto the Instagram account. Anwar doesn't care. Richie contacted him once and asked for permission to use the images. He's amused. Anwar says, "As long as he isn't disrespectful of women, why not share your life with other people? It's fun."
To that end, cameras could soon be tracking Anwar's every move. His friend Fred Machado recently opened a production company for Spanish-language television. They've discussed an Anwar reality-TV show.
"We'll see," Anwar says when the topic comes up.
"Oh right," Machato counters, rolling his eyes. "You wouldn't want cameras following you around all the time. Right."
Back at the ranch, Anwar hoists up on the unruly Paso Fino. Inside a tight circular pen, the rider swings around at a gallop, the animal building speed like an Indy car zipping through laps. Anna snaps photos.
Suddenly, the horse halts, then tumbles to the dirt, its bulk slamming onto Anwar's right leg. He struggles up, takes a wincing step, and smiles: "Did you get the picture?"
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