How The World’s Most Interesting Man Befriended The World’s Most Powerful Man

“Damn,” he said in a half-hushed whisper. “This guy’s good.”

I could hear President Obama as he walked up the path behind me and spied the multiple arrows I had placed, undetected, in the bull’s-eye. I waited until I could sense him close by. Then, with the casual swagger that had become my calling card, I turned, and feigning annoyance, delivered the line I had prepared:

Obama, recognizing me immediately, clapped his hands and doubled over in laughter. There’s no way he could have been as happy and amazed as I was to be there.

It was August 2011 and “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” the absurdly debonair character I played on the Dos Equis beer commercials, had become an international cultural phenomenon. Finally, after decades of trying to break through in Hollywood, I was a recognizable star with my meme-ready line, “Stay thirsty, my friends.” The character’s nearly mythical traits, recounted by a narrator in a nearly endless string of deliciously funny one-liners—“His personality is so magnetic, he is unable to carry credit cards,” and “He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels”—had generated a cult following. I had millions of fans all around the world. One of them happened to live in the White House.

The president and I had met earlier that year at a fundraiser in Vermont when he was just preparing for his reelection campaign. He had impressed me with his encyclopedic recall of the outrageous escapades of my TV character. Still, I was more than surprised when I later got a call from one of his deputies. Would I like to be part of a special surprise for the president’s 50th birthday celebration at Camp David? Ten of Obama’s best friends—most of them people he had known as far back as high school—were on the list. And me. All top secret. Life didn’t get any more interesting than this.

Would I like to come? You bet I would.

Read more at The New York Times.