Model jailed in Egypt over nude shoot
A NUDE model claims she was flung in jail after she was caught posing for a secret photoshoot inside one of Egypt's ancient temples.
Marisa Papen, and Australian photographer Jesse Walker were shooting a campaign for his Sydney-based eyewear company Enki Eyewear, when they were arrested by Egyptian police.
The two had travelled to Egypt for a spectacular photoshoot inside and outside some of the country's most famous landmarks, reports The Sun.
In a blog post reported by various media outlets over the weekend she claimed she was put in jail an hauled before a court as a result of her nude al fresco outing.
However the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has disputed how accurate the images are suggesting they may have been faked or taken some time ago, reports Gulf News.
The Belgian model said: "The last two years I have walked wild and free in at least 50 countries. Rarely do I end up in precarious situations. Until April this year, in Egypt."
Ms Papen, from the Flanders region of Belgium, met up in Cairo with photographer Mr Walker who flew in from Australia to do the shoot.
And even though the duo said they were aware of the cultural, political and religious differences between Egypt and the West, the adventure ended differently than they both expected.
During a first photoshoot near the famous pyramids of Giza, the two got into trouble.
They reportedly bribed a security guard to start the photoshoot when suddenly two young men showed up.
Ms Papen said: "I was suddenly completely awake, like a cold shower at 5am in the morning.
"We tried to explain them that we were making art with the highest respect for Egyptian culture, but they could not see a connection between nudity and art.
"In their eyes it was porn, or something like that."
In the end, Ms Papen and Mr Walker managed to stay out of trouble by bribing the young men with $25.
After Giza, they travelled to Luxor to visit the vast temple complex of Karnak and shoot pictures with the theme of "dance".
But Karnak turned out to be even more thoroughly guarded than the pyramids at Giza, so Ms Papen and Mr Walker had to think of another plan for their photoshoot.
They decided to hide in the complex just before closing time and to start with the photoshoot "making pirouettes in Cleopatra's footprints" after all the other people had left.
Ms Papen said: "But you can guess what happened next. Busted, once again. And yes, this time we were in some serious trouble."
Four security guards caught the two and brought them "like two beaten dogs" to the local police.
Ms Papen said: "Without being able to share words, I made it clear to Jesse that he had to delete the images if he saw the tiniest opportunity. Otherwise we would be screwed, big time."
The Egyptian police did not believe the two when they told them they were "just testing the light" and "hadn't taken any pictures yet".
The police forced Mr Walker to strip down to look for a second SD card, but could not find anything.
The duo were brought from one police station to the other and from court to a local cell and back.
Ms Papen said: "I knew that a prison in Egypt looks slightly different then in Belgium or any Westernised country but I had no idea what to expect before actually going in.
"The first cell we encountered was packed with at least 20 men, some were passed out on the floor, some were squeezing their hands through the rails, some were bleeding and yelling.
"I had never seen something like this before in real life. Jesse kept telling me, 'Marisa don't look' but there was no way not to look."
After several hours in horrendous conditions in jail Ms Papen and Mr Walker were brought in front of a judge.
Ms Papen said: "We kept playing the role of stupid tourists who had no idea dancing in skin-coloured underwear - we had to change up the story a little bit because otherwise we probably would have never gotten out - on Egyptian ground it wasn't allowed.
"Our judge was browsing with his big thumbs through these books that looked as old as the pyramids did.
"Eventually, he gave us a warning and told us never to do something so foolishly shameful ever again. We nodded simultaneously."
Back in their hotel room, Mr Walker even managed to recover the deleted pictures off the SD card with special software.
Thanks to her quick-witted reaction during her arrest, Ms Papen is now able to proudly share her amazing story and Mr Walker's magnificent pictures of the nude Egyptian photoshoot.
Ms Papen said: "I do think we created something Cleopatra would have been proud of."
This story was originally published in The Sun and is republished with permission.