It must be easy to have the life of a model. Especially a male model. A chiseled jawline, abs of steel, and women clamouring to reserve a spot in the proverbial little black book.
At a recent photo shoot featuring some of the guys from HOT Couture, I playfully ribbed them on their superstar status and busy social calendars. But I got a different side of the equation. The darker side of the business, if you will, and the sometimes high price being paid to pursue this dream. As much attention as they may garner from the females, there is equal interest from males, which proves challenging when that’s not your cup of tea. And also derision from friends.
One of the models agreed to share his experience on the condition of anonymity.
“I have fellas that know me very well and because I did the show last year, they said they saw certain photos, especially the lipstick thing, and it put doubts in their head. They’re actually questioning whether I am gay or not.”
So does it ever deter the models or make them think twice about continuing in the industry?
“Different things about it made me think twice. I didn’t regret modeling because of that. But I regret putting on the lipstick. I regretted not taking a stance and doing something that I felt was not right.
“What makes me question the business is when you look at who runs the business, they run it. The fashion industry has a lot of gay people. Locally you will find anybody in fashion, but when you go overseas it’s a situation where they choose guys according to who they are attracted to. Sexually attracted to so you’re like bait for them.”
Our model sees it as being used to fulfill a fantasy in some cases and it is a position that he finds disconcerting.
“And something else people don’t talk about but it happens—the [designers & photographers] try to get what they can from these guys. They figure ‘I am giving you an opportunity. You can make 150,000 dollars in one day. I can give you that. What will you do for me?’ They do that a lot. The same way you have male employers who do it to female employees. These guys do the same thing.”
The young model spoke of his experiences in the industry but there is just as much drama taking place right here on the island with other males who have propostioned the young men that we spoke to.
How do they deal with the unwanted advances? How do their family members react? And what happens when your own girlfriend starts doubting you because of the onslaught of gossip and conjecture?
Look out for part two of this revealing look inside the industry.