Photo by Lýdia Vycitalova
Photo by Brian Jamie
Photo by Antonio Anobile
On the evening of March 28th, I was doing the usual: sitting around watching Netflix, drinking some tea, pretty much straight-up chillaxing. Then I received an email from a casting director:
I’ve received emails like these tons of times. There was another huge magazine cover job a few months before that was looking for a “Hippe Jesus type,” and I submitted and heard nothing, so I didn’t expect much…
Long story short, by 5pm the next day I confirmed the booking. As you can see, the rate for this job was definitely not going to make me rich. That’s the way editorial modeling is: pretty much any magazine cover you see or editorial you see run in a national magazine — unless it’s a celebrity — the model was paid $100-$400 dollars tops for the day. So, the main purpose of the job for my modeling career wasn’t about the money, it was about gaining more Career Capital, i.e. more marketable shots to add to my book, which will help me book more jobs down the line, hopefully for large brands with day rates 10X+ higher than this job.
It’s very rare to get a breakdown of the shotlist like this before a job, but I was grateful to have it. Basically, I was going to get one recognizable shot from this job, and the rest would be Parts’ tearsheets.
Arriving on set that day, I was excited to work with the photographer, who I’d shot one of my very first jobs with years ago. The makeup artist was amazing, and so was the client. I was the only model booked that day, so it was just me and the team.
The shots we were going for were… (keep in mind, this is a men’s grooming editorial for natural products, so the main goal is to sell products)…
(ps- had to shave my armpits for this one…)
(as you can see from the original shot list, this concept changed to have my hair up rather than down)
Face masks (hero shot):
I had these face masks on for about 45 minutes, so my face was a-tinglin’!
The Reality of the Situation
This job was between me and over 100 other guys, and according to the GQ Photo Producer on set, they narrowed it down to 20 guys, then selected me. Which isn’t to say “I’m so good, look at me,” since I’ve been “on hold” for hundreds of jobs that I didn’t book. I got lucky and the stars aligned.
I will make $110 for the 8 hours I was on set that day. That’s my net profit after my agent takes their percentage. And I’m writing this post 5 months later and still haven’t received the check, which is pretty normal for magazine work. I shot an 8-page editorial (a parts job, ie, just for shoes and watches) for British GQ and — I’m not kidding — was paid exactly one calendar year later to the date.
A lot of my friends thought I became rich from this job! That definitely is not the case! If I didn’t have my Survival Job as a Real Estate Agent, I would not be able to live my dream as a male model in New York City. Period.
Walking into Barnes & Noble a few months later, picking up the magazine, and seeing myself in it was a surreal experience. I was in shock for about 2 weeks.
I mean, we’re talking about a small town Vermont kid who had a monthly subscription to GQ Magazine when he was a child, who now holds the same magazine in his hand with himself in it. Talk about full circle.
Check out the final tear sheets from the magazine:
So, that’s that! A dream came true and now I can say I’ve been in GQ Magazine, woohoo! I booked this job at 30 year’s old, so anyone reading this with a dream that people tell you you’re too old to follow, tell them to shove it. I know 30 isn’t old, but I had a lot of people tell me I would never have a career after 25, so this experience was honestly magical.
Check out my video showing a glimpse of my experience on the day of the shoot, and when I went and picked up the magazine thereafter. Check out my Vlog about shooting GQ
Thank you, Universe, for this wonderful manifestation.
OK, so I guess I’ll milk this while I maybe have a captive audience for like 3.5 seconds: IM IN GQ! I’ve been hustling in New York for 7 years and this comes just 3 days shy of my 7-year anniversary here in the city. I’m so grateful to the Universe for this supreme manifestation.
That being said, my choice to pursue a career as a professional model has challenged me in many ways: I’ve been criticized for not having the perfect 6-pack, turned down by top modeling agencies over and over again, gone on hundreds of hours of castings and not booked the job, spent countless hours working out, eating “right,” working with a dermatologist on my skin for years, etc, all to fall short of the “industry standard.” Thankfully, we are in a time where many models of all types are breaking through barriers. I’ve traveled around the world to shoot a major campaign only to be cut out after bragging to all my friends about it. This honestly was a lucky break because they were looking for a “hippie Jesus,” and apparently that’s my type? I’ll take it.
I didn’t give up. And there have been a lot of days, especially recently, where I’ve come really close to saying fuck it, I’m done, it’s not worth it. But in those moments I have to remember that modeling has brought me to New York City, created an opportunity for me to have an amazing career in real estate, made me tons of amazing friends, kept me physically fit and healthy, brought me to other countries, helped me pay off debt, gave me the validation I’ve always wanted, and helped tear down and rebuild my self esteem in a strange way.
Thank you to the amazing team:
Hair/Make Up: @jessica_o_
Prop Stylist: @bossgonecrazy