Friday, August 23, 2013

David Gandy talks to Der Standard/Rondo Austria Magazine (August 2013)

Very special thanks to our good friends from 'David Gandy Fans Germany' (Facebook / Twitter) for being so kind and translating the original interview into english for all of us. Thank you so much ladies! Always a pleasure to work with you.

David Gandy: " I don't take my clothes off for everyone"

Der Standard - Rondo | Interview by Stefan Hilpold | Ph: Jason Webber

German Version

English Version
Translated by DGFansGermany / Revised by

Models like David Gandy will be called in the industry "money boys". If they promote a product the success is inevitable. Stefan Hipold talked with him about exclusive customers, pumped muscles and about the reason why underwear jobs are often the beginning of a great career.

Standard: Did you always know that you were good looking?

Gandy: Quite the contrary. As I began with the modeling I looked completely different to the other models. The other boys were skinny and they had an androgynous physique.

Standard: That was 13 years ago.

Gandy: Yes, the classical good looking guys, the kind of men you know from the Levi's commercials, weren't in demand at that time, those Bruce Webber guys. 

Standard: At that time were you very muscular? Was it a handicap?

Gandy: At that time I wasn't so big as today. But I did a lot of sports, played Rugby at the university. I never fit in those small suits. I was shot for many catalogues, made a lot of money, but I didn't work with the best. 

Standard: Shooting for catalogues is not so prestigious in the industry. Did it bother you?

Gandy: There you earn the money. A lot of people think, if you are being shot for a great magazine or for an advertising campaign you will earn the big money. But this is not true anymore. Catalogue jobs bring the money. After a few years It became clear, if I must do this furthermore I had to quite the catalogue job. I wanted to work with the best not with the second best.

Standard: Did you make this decision on your own?

Gandy: You must make this decision. My agency thought I was crazy but they supported me. I declined all my customers from day to day, that was not an easy situation. You started with prestigious but unpaid jobs and try to build up a name. 

Standard: But it worked for you. As you were shot in 2006 for your first Light Blue Campaign you had your breakthrough.

Gandy: From today’s point of view it is correct. But if I hadn't made some shots at this time with Lawrence James Thomas I wouldn't have attracted attention to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana at a party.

"White pants guy"

Ph: Luca Bruno / Dolce & Gabbana S/S 2012 Menswear Collection Show

Standard: In the beginning nobody knew your name, only known as the "white pants guy". Did this sexualisation bother you?

Gandy: Let me say: I was not fussed about that. As a male model you shouldn't be shrinking, otherwise you are in the wrong job. A lot of advertisement pictures are sexualized. If you are modelling for Calvin Klein it is part of the job to pose in knickers. Even these underwear jobs are sometimes the beginning of a big career. Think of the famous picture with the Levis Guy in knickers in a laundrette, Nick Kamen. I'm still proud of the White Blue Campaign, it was revolutionary. But it's true: it was not easy to get shot of the attribution "white pans guy".

Standard: How did you make it?

Gandy: I don't do underwear jobs, and except the Light Blue Campaign I rarely let myself get photographed in a sexualized context. This is not easy sometimes by the way. If you once get photographed in knickers or put of your top and it worked then they want to see you like that again and again. The fantasy of the industry is unfortunately constricted. I don't take my clothes off for everyone. Otherwise it would be quite boring.

Ph: Mario Testino / Making-of Dolce & Gabbana 'Light Blue' Ad 2006

Standard: You said the campaign from 2006 was revolutionary. What is revolutionary about a man who lies in a boat with legs spread? 

Gandy: The fact that a man appeared in a commercial again not a boy. The success change the whole industry, first Dolce & Gabbana showed me in a perfume commercial and then David Beckham came who was shot for Armani in knickers. All these campaigns were really successful.

Standard: You are one of the few male supermodels who earns a considerable amount of money. What is the reason, why do you think male models make less in contrast to the female models?

Gandy: The wage gap between the female supermodels and the male supermodels is getting smaller but it is still huge. The problem is that not many men tried to get to the top in the industry. As I always say: it is more important to what you say no to as it is to what you say yes to. In my case, I don't work one day for this brand and the other day for another brand. I work exclusive for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Lucky Jeans or Jaguar.

"The male market is very limited"

Standard: However: why is there hardly for a male model established in the public?

Gandy: Because the fashion market for women is much bigger than the market for men and there is much more money to gain. It gives so many products which you can make commercials with: Lipstick, Make up, Anti-Aging Cremes. The male market is much limited but currently some things have changed. For example, I am one of the official ambassadors for the LC:M. I hope that I can be a role model for other models and they say: if David Gandy has made it why can't I make it too?

Standard: For many men modelling it is not a job rather a hobby. Is that a problem?

Gandy: They don't believe that they can earn enough money with that. They see it more like an intermediate stage, apply then to the acting or something different. But we have to say that modelling is a stepping stone. Me, for example, have a column for GQ, write in Vogue, for the Telegraph and have three charities. All this would not be possible if I were not present as a model. Last year I was seen on 23 covers.

Standard: Do you get more encouragement from men or from women?

Gandy: The good news is that both genders react positively on me. From grandmothers to young women, straight or gay men it seems that I work for a lot of people as a commercial face.

Standard: Also your manager could have given this reply.

Gandy: I don't have a manager. I am my own boss, owner of three firms. The product is always me. We feed the social networks every day, hundreds of thousands of fans follow my activities around the globe. I am asked to sign autographs and photos. 

Standard: Last question: the career of a model is usually limited. How long will yours continue? 

Gandy: Is the career of Kate Moss over? Naomi Campbell? Christy Turlington? No, it isn't. I'm only 33; if you are smart and adjust your strategy to the market you can be successful far beyond the age. And I'll try that too.


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