UNB Model Profile featuring Chris Campanioni
A man of many talents who most know as a popular model through his impressive portfolio. We recognize the face, the body, and the many pairs of C-IN2 he wears. Now, Chris Campanioni sits down to share with us more about who he is and his life as a model, professor, and author
UNB Kyle: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and discuss the many aspects of your life with us. First let’s talk about your modeling career. What was your first modeling gig and how did you come to get it?
Chris: My first modeling gig was a C-IN2 shoot, but the first job I booked was a Cosmopolitan shoot that was for an editorial called “Sex & Desire.” The shoot was in the Hamptons and involved another girl, a shower, and a flesh-colored thong. Halfway through the editorial, I remember having to call in late to work. It would be the first of many similar phone calls.
Kyle: I can hear that phone call now. I am sure it is second nature now and probably easier understood from work too. What made you want to pursue modeling?
Chris: Curiosity. Boredom. I also had nothing better to do on a Thursday morning and my friend asked me to accompany him to an open call.
Kyle: Sounds like another case of right place, right time. It’s funny how curiosity helped pave the way for greatness in your modeling as well as your creative writing side in becoming an author. What was your modeling breakthrough moment?
Chris: Without a doubt, the DNA “Sexiest Man Alive” cover and spread/interview that was published in 2009.
Chris: I always enjoy working with Harol Baez, if only because he is one of my best friends. We’ve shot a combination of portfolio stuff and big client jobs, like the Revel Casino campaign.
Kyle: It’s good to have that constant connection and relationship that benefits the both of you and goes beyond just a simple working contract. Which shoot has been your most challenging?
Chris: I think every shoot presents its own (often very different) set of challenges. I can’t think of one that has been more challenging than any others. I think that’s what makes modeling still interesting to me, that constant challenge. The requirement that to succeed, you need to perform and adapt, for very different roles and circumstances.
Kyle: I like that answer. Every modeling gig offers its own challenge to you which keeps you interested and continuing to achieve something new each time. And I know in one way or another they always happen so how about most embarrassing photo shoot situation?
Chris: My balls are almost routinely out of the package. That’s not to say this is embarrassing for me, but I am considering other people here. In general, embarrassment is not something I can identify with, at least in terms of my body. Being raised in a mixed household, particularly on my father’s side, we’ve always embraced our body and have always been comfortable with ourselves. That’s Cuban culture for you. A long history of exhibitionists.
Kyle: Gotta keep those in that underwear! That’s great that your upbringing helped you be comfortable in your own skin and with who you are. I assume revealing shoots do not cause you any anxiety as other people may get. What goes through your mind right before you have to do these revealing shoots?
Chris: What this might read like after I transpose it onto paper.
Kyle: They transpose beautifully. I especially love the black and white shots you have done. Are there any brands or photographers you would like to work with that you have not worked with yet?
Chris: No one comes to mind, if only because I don’t really forecast anything in terms of modeling. So much of my life is calculated and written in advance (literally, because I’m an author and poet), so I enjoy using my modeling career as a vehicle to be spontaneous and (hopefully) also unexpected.
Kyle: You seem to be a man that appreciates opportunity and being in the moment with your modeling career. That goes back to your first gig, right time and right place. What is the best advice anyone gave you when you started your modeling career?
Chris: Trust yourself.
Kyle: Very sound advice! Tell our underwear viewers what brands are in your drawer?What is it made up of? % boxer briefs, % briefs, % jocks, % thongs.
Chris: It’s probably 95 percent C-IN2 (no surprise there), and I mostly wear briefs.
Kyle: Haha, yes we have seen your extensive C-IN2 collection! From your shoots, what is the craziest pair of underwear you have ever worn?
Chris: I really don’t find anything “crazy” … I guess it’s all relative, right? The underwear industry has gotten more and more creative and forward-thinking with every passing year, thankfully.
Chris: I don’t ever diet. I don’t do anything special before shoots in terms of exercise, but I do run every morning, before breakfast. I think this is probably the best thing anyone can do if they are looking to get into shape, no matter their genetics or how their body responds to certain activities and foods.
Kyle: Running is one of the best forms of exercise. So if you don’t diet regularly, what are some of your favorite “cheat meals” as they would say?
Chris: Have you seen my Instagram? Haha … I don’t have “cheat meals” … every meal is an opportunity to cheat (and treat) yourself!
Kyle: Eat whatever you want, run, and have that body. What is something that your fans don’t know about you outside of modeling that you want them to know?
Chris: Mostly everyone knows about my writing career, and my journalism and college professor roles at work. I’m very Google-able, for better or worse, if only because I’m the only person in the world (or at least the Internet, which is basically the same thing, right?) with my name. I was born premature, two months and two days. I’m not sure anyone outside of my close circle of friends knows that.
Kyle: Yes you are Google-able and well known. With all of the media attention on the British math teacher that was a model, what has been the reaction from your students, fellow teachers, and administration seeing your modeling career?
Chris: CUNY has been pretty quick to embrace the various roles I play, mainly because this is also what I teach about. In other words, I have never separated my modeling career from my journalism career or my teaching career; as an author and poet, the best thing has been the opportunity to synthesize all of these experiences in my writing. I teach a class at Baruch College and the College of Staten Island called “Identity, Image, and Intimacy in the Age of Internet and Celebrity” so I regularly bring in my experience in the fashion industry into our seminars. At John Jay, I teach a class called “Ripped from the Headlines: Making Art from the News” so the emphasis from the administration has always been on hiring me to specifically teach about my life and the work I’ve done in the last decade. Maybe there was some initial surprise from students, fellow teachers, or even the English department, but I think the new cultural norm for our generation is reinvention, so I doubt the surprise lasted very long.
Kyle: That is great that everyone is so accepting. Your experience probably helps those students learn better and enhances your teaching. What are your goals for your career?
Chris: I want to keep writing, every day, and grow as a person through the experience afforded to me by my teaching and modeling opportunities.
Kyle: Speaking of your writing, your book Going Down has some incriminating content about the modeling industry. How much is truth vs fiction and where did you draw the line?
Chris: I don’t think there’s any really incriminating content in Going Down; if there were, I’d probably no longer be able to work in the industry. In all seriousness, people steal each other’s designs all the time, it’s nothing new. I think most of the “behind-the-scenes” reading experiences have come from those readers outside the fashion industry because of how unfamiliar certain cultural practices are to them. In that way, I really love how so many different people can experience the novel in so many very different ways. I never wrote Going Down as an industry “tell-all” kind of book, but I imagine a large readership has come to the novel either expecting that or in some way receiving that. That’s why art is so beautiful; everyone can get something out of it and what they get might be vastly different from the person next to them.
Check out more of Chris Campanioni below.
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