David Gandy appears on the cover of GQ Romania magazine's supplement: GQ Top 50 Men of Style (March/May issue), photographed by the turkey-born professional fashion photographer Arcin Sagdic, styled by Ovidiu Buta and Sylvester Yiu.
Translation & revision done by DjG staff
The Great Gandy
Who is David Gandy and why it has become an idol?
David Gandy is one of those normal kids, born into a modest family and who has come to be an International star after his appearance on TV in Britain. Nothing spectacular until now. Granted unless he has something more, he is not only considered a star, but as the new example of a modern gentleman: working as a model with the best known designers, writes reviews cars for GQ UK and is involved in charity with charitable organizations. But, in reality, who is Gandy?
David, now you're not only known as The Supermodel but also as a blogger and style expert. However, what do you think, in your opinion, is the role that defines you?
One thing should never define a person and no one should be judged by the profession they are in. Being a model I have been able to explore different directions: Vogue (where David writes a blog ) allows me to bridge the gap between men and women on the street and help them understand the very elitist fashion industry. I hope this blog helps people see that fashion can appear more affordable and that readers have access to it.
For GQ I write about one of my greatest passions: cars but, again, this is not an easy task, when you have to get cars and articles to reach a performance to please everyone, not just the experts. So I preferred to think of a column that is not very technical and also has some humor. However, if I have to be defined by something, I'll choose the charities I am a part of. I firmly believe that if you find yourself in the public eye you have a responsibility to help others who are less fortunate. For example, two years ago I participated in the London marathon for Oxfam and last year I was appointed Ambassador for The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. This year I am the Ambassador for “Comic Relief” and began a series of events related to the fashion industry designed to raise funds specifically for this initiative.
What is the difference between David the model and David, on the day to day?
David Gandy is primarily a brand and it is something I decided to create from the beginning. This is the Gandy people perceive as the Supermodel, The Style Expert, or the famous Mediterranean from the of Dolce & Gabbana 'Light Blue' advert…. a man who plays a role, like any other actor. But all that doesn’t change me, Gandy in everyday life. For example, the first day off after fashion week I spent free time at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. It relaxes me driving around town or on a race track. This year I got my professional racing license. I wish with all my soul that when people meet me they see me as a simple man, with his feet on the ground with whom they can have fun with.
Do you consider yourself a role model for men? Do you have a role model?
Yes, Paul Newman, and not just because he's a fantastic actor, but because he used his fame to help others through works of charity. He created his own racing team alongside his wife and daughters. A remarkable man.
When you started in modeling, the market was monopolized by androgynous-looking young with a size that looked more like aliens. Now is when we really see men as models, do you think you played an important role in this change?
Light Blue was an icon in its own right. But the rest of campaigns I did have contributed to the change of the male fashion industry. The industry has a natural tendency to follow that which has proven successful and after adverts like Light Blue, Armani, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren began using larger models with muscle mass for both men and women. I can not take credit for this. Rather it is the intelligent combination of Dolce & Gabbana and Mario Testino.
You have been called Supermodel, Top, Amazing, Star, Celebrity ... but is has not always been so but quite the opposite.
In this industry we do not start being supermodel from the beginning, it requires hard work, determination and sacrifice ... I know many feel that everything has fallen from the sky for me, but it was not like that at all. I had a difficult time in a profession in which we are constantly being judged.
There are many clichés that are used when talking about the world of modeling. Most of them are wrong. I have to constantly strive to change this negative perception. But, with all these unpleasant issues, I would not change a thing of the last 11 years it has taken me to get here. It was a wonderful experience, a road to discovery that is not nearly finished.
It appears you personify the definition of moderation. Have you ever committed excesses?
Of course! For example, drink until everyone falls exhausted under the table or not being able to sleep for days because of a trip and when I finally get it, sleeping only 4 to 5 hours. I love eating, driving at ridiculous speed, skiing, hiking ... I'm probably addicted to adrenaline. But actually, life is always in moderation.
You seem to very comfortable with your body and, naturally, everyone wonders what are your fitness and nutrition routines. Is there still something that you want to change?
I never said that I am very confident with my body. I am very critical of everything I do, especially with my body, and you can always improve. And for those who are curious about what I do in the gym, last year we launched a iTunes and Android app: David Gandy Fitness, which I explain how I did it with me, but I also have to say that it was all due to many years of exercise.
Impossible. The idea of what perfection is, is different from person to person and from one subject to another.
As we live in a world ruled by the press & tabloids. How do you manage to protect your private life?
I do not talk to anybody about my personal life. If you ask me, I just do not respond. I'm not on Twitter and although each week either one part of the world or another I don’t feel the need to announce where I am. . I find it very strange when celebrities are constantly upgrading their profiles on where they are, what they are doing, what they are eating and then complain about invasion of privacy.
What has been the most incredible thing that has happened since you got this job?
The most amazing thing in the last 11 years working in the fashion industry is where I am today, speaking at the University of Oxford or writing for Vogue.
What sacrifices have you made and think now that they weren’t worth it?
There will always be sacrifices. But I think they deserve to be done.
Have you thought about quitting modeling and focusing more on the journalism?
Do I have to give up one thing for another? I can focus more on certain projects than others, but that's what I like my life, this variety. Every day is different.
Where do you see yourself in 2, 5, 10 and 20 years?
It’s difficult to say. The world and my life are constantly changing and you never know what will happen. If someone had asked me the same thing two years ago, It never would have crossed my mind to say that I wanted to participate in the closing ceremony of the Olympics to support British fashion industry.
If not modeling, what do you think you would be doing?
Again, it is impossible to say. Maybe it would be a car journalist.
Has being a fashion model influenced your personal style?
When working as a model, you are unconsciously interested in fashion. Work with the best of the best, no? And through photo shoots and campaigns have access to the latest fashion.
What is a GQ man? Can you comment from the point of view of a style expert?
I think the GQ man is intelligent, has style and is interested in all aspects of your life and how you can improve. Interested in the past but also with what the world has to offer.
Is fashion an obsession?
Not to me. Rather, watches and cars.
Who’s style do you admire?
Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Cary Grant. Men want to look like them, it's funny but they did not want to be style icons.
What have you learned from them?
You have to create trends, never follow them.
Do you only collect watches?
I started with one of my grandfather's watches, a vintage Omega, then I bought on eBay an Omega Speedmaster and I haven’t stopped. Today I have several models: Omega, Breitlings and Tag Monaco. However, I also collect antiques, furniture and cars.