4 Tips to be a successful male model - or successful anything - from David Gandy
By MEN’S PICKS
He may not have Zoolander’s trademark pout, but when it comes to being a male model, David Gandy is quite happy where he is: at the top of the industry. Gandy is the face behind the Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue fragrance campaign, and has done work for Johnnie Walker, Banana Republic, and Massimo Dutti, among others.
Gandy’s other achievements include the honor of being dubbed “Most Influential Man in Britain” by GQ, and being one of the models who took to the stage at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London. Now, Gandy has found himself on Philippine shores, as the newest face of SM Men’s Fashion.
And The Intern interviewed David Gandy to share their secrets on How To Make It in the Modelling Industry. The British model talks about how he started in the industry, his secret tips on getting signed by the right agency and reveals his health and beauty regime.
My name is David Gandy, um my profession is expanding. Male model, I write, I produce, um I do many things so um but modeling is my bread and butter.
What campaigns have you done?
DG: The most famous thing is the Light Blue. Is now the iconic and I don't use iconic loosely but, it now is um but it now is the famous ad that came out in 2006 and we just shot the third version now. Many, many people know me for different reasons, um for many covers I mean we shot 23 covers of magazines last year. I've worked for many other brands so I think a lot people will know me for different reasons.
How did you get into modeling?
DG: Third year of university my housemate of mine sent in, without me knowing, some pictures into a competition. Um and I won the competition. Came out of university I didn't know what I was going to do at the time thought it might be fun for six months, initially it went well. I was chucked into the commercial side, at the time it was all about androgynous or svelte ( ??) , the skinny guy, the Dior guy, we've changed that slowly with the Light Blue as and with Dolce & Gabbana and Mario Testino and the fashion industry followed. It was five years of I want to say observing the industry and the best male models at the time as well see what works and seeing where the gaps were and really where we can take it.
What are the perks of this job?
DG: I get bored of anything very, very quickly and this job allows me to do, has opened so many doors and has allowed me to do so many different things. My day never consists of the same thing. If I did the same thing for three days I'd be very, very surprised. Um I'm traveling a lot but I still have a base in London and when I'm here I've been writing or working with a company, there's always a element of difference there and that's what I love about it.
TOP 5 TIPS
1.- First tip is obviously a decent agency. An agency is achieved literally by going to talk to the agencies, if they are interested and you’re a good looking and you think you'll make it you'll get a lot interest. It's then working out who's the best you could work with these people day in and day out, they are going to be in charge of your career. I've been with Select for twelve years. I'm still working with the same because I did on the first day so that's how much I work with these people, they become your friends.
2.- Initially starting off you don't need a portfolio, that's what the agency will take care of. You can go in and take a portfolio and they may have a look at it but really they're going to conclude if they're going to take you on from just your initial meeting from taking your polaroid camera, you might think you look the worst you ever look in those polaroids for the first time but that's the whole point of it.
3.- (??) No work is huge, absolutely huge you don't get around to see everyone so you make your own luck in this industry umm I would say there's no such thing as luck there's a well prepared man waiting for an opportunity and that's it sure, if your prepared and think you're ready then you have to go in and grab those opportunities you just have to help yourselves in life from events and parties where a lot of the work is achieved, where a lot of meetings are held very very quickly. I can't tell you how many meetings have been held very quickly, a five minute meeting over a glass of champagne at an event, that's your initial foot in the door with many many people.
4.- Looking after yourself is hugely important and people forget that in fashion isn't always, I means there's the very sort of Rock-N-Rollish fashion that people love. You have to think for yourself though in the industry. You know a lot of people always said you know what you should get smaller you should get skinnier and skinnier like the other guys. I thought rubbish I could never do that so actually I got bigger and bigger. I think you have a lot more options from what you’re shooting. You can do underwear and swimwear you look great in suits it gives you that extra element of maybe someone, you've got to differentiate yourself from the thousands of models out there. What makes you different?
5.- If you make it, when you do make it, it's just remember where you've come from, remember it hasn't been easy ummm remember people have helped you along the way. Remember to always thank those people ummm and then try and help out as many people you can and stay humble and don't believe you own hype because you believe your own hype umm it can, you can quickly fall from that hype very very quickly.
What's the best career advice?
DG: You have to stick by your principles as well and that's very important, you should never sell out for anyone or anything so um as long as you have your principles set and you know where you’re going along one route, follow that but also listen to people. Your agency are your experts in this and talk to people. I try and talk to (??) any three young guys in the industry and give them as much advice but there's not one platform that works for everyone. Everyone's got a different story. You have to be quite clever about it and just really think for yourself.
Any secret beauty tip to share?
DG: Oh God I wish someone would have given me a secret beauty regimen. No, I mean with the amount of traveling it's just dehydration you have to deal with all the time. Water, water, moisturizer, moisturizer that's about it really nothing else and a good hairdresser. I've very unruly hair I think my hair would try and take over the world if it could.
MODELING EXTRA TIPS
How was school for you?
DG: I'm still waiting to use anything I ever learned at school into practicing real life. And that goes for university. I only found out one think in university was that I shouldn't have gone to university. It's the only think I learnt. I think people put a huge amount of importance on going to university which if you’re going to use that skill in that certain subject I think it's very important of course. But, I don't think if you’re like me you're not quite sure what you wanted to do and you go just for pretty much, you're out of choices in so many respects then I think it's better to almost learn from life and work your up into a business. I've built three business's now and I've taken the elements of what the girls have done in the business and that's inspired me and created business's from it.
How important is a sense of style?
DG: For a male model it's not important at all. You're not wearing your own clothes. You're not judged on what you're wearing. To me it makes sense it you say you're going to a casting for Dolce & Gabbana or Ralph Lauren, if your going why not dress like the Dolce & Gabbana, the Ralph Lauren guy something like that. You don't want to turn up and be the complete opposite that said they are designers if your looking great on that day they're going to appreciate that. But um at the end of the day it's about they're not buying your style. In the end if you brand yourself and you've marketed your name a bit like I've done they yes styling is very important.
How important is confidence?
DG: I'm not sure, I suppose I do have, I have confidence in the fact I always thought I could get to where I want to be which is where we are now. But I'm awfully shy, I've been awfully shy since I was young. So it's been a learning process to come out of your shell a bit.
What's the worst career advice?
DG: One male model said to me once "nice guys finish last." I remember him saying to me. He was an (expletive) anyway. Yeah I'm glad I uh, I'm glad I hopefully proved that guy wrong in some respects. In some instances I know what he means you can't be a shrinking violet and I'm sure it's (??) plagued many people and they see this and think you know actually you’re not the nicest guy in the world. But I think a lot of people have hopefully good things to say about me and I try to a gentleman ad I can to everyone.
What's the most Rock-N-Roll moment?
DG:I think the first day we shot Light Blue and I always said I wanted to create a an iconic commercial like the Levi's guys commercial that's what I always inspired to doing. Always wanted to work with Mario Testino. I always wanted to live the lifestyle you hear the supermodels are living everyday and you’re respected and you treated very well. The male models don't always get that, so then I found myself on a speed boat at six a.m. with Mario Testino and the crew flying out from the Excelsior Hotel over to Capri to shoot Light Blue. And then you, we shot it and we knew it was going to be something special when we did. And then we would get in the speedboats back at very high speed during the sunrise with the team that you just had the best day shooting of your life, knowing it's going to be something special, back to Naples back to the hotel and um that was a moment you have to pinch yourself, you sort of think yeah okay this is special. This is pretty rock-n-roll and then the next day I'm on the 34 bus down ??? roads. It all changes very quickly.
What ladies have you worked with?
DG: I've worked with Gisele and Julia Stegner and Kate Moss. I've been lucky to have worked with a lot of the girls.Victoria Secret girls I've worked with. It's a tough life so yeah I've worked with them all. It's very interesting to talk to them. Everyone has a different story, that's the thing with modeling everyone has a different story to how they made it. You asked me before if it was easy and it's not. It hasn't been easy but then I never think you learn anything by not making mistakes and if things are easy in life it's boring and you don't learn anything. You just got to make sure you learn something from those mistakes and you don't male them again.
What's your secret to success?
DG: Stubbornness, I think pure and utter stubbornness of probably believing in something and also bringing in, I bring in, I have a great team I always have and those from my agency Select to my press and PR to everything and the people I choose to work with. I bring in people now I like to work with and those are helping me become more successful. People who love working in that environment with me and the guys I bring in it should be a nice environment so um but um perseverance, perseverance, perseverance I suppose.