What was your first modeling gig and how did you come to get it?
I live in Chicago, and every year there’s this event called “Out at the Park” held at Six Flags. This organization rents out Six Flags and al the queers come out and ride the rides and get drunk and it’s super duper fun. Last year, I took a party bus sponsored by one of the bars, and my partner and I made all sorts of new friends. One of the people we met was a scout for an agency in Chicago, and while we were in line for the wooden old roller coaster, he turned to me and asked me if I’d ever considered modeling before. I laughed about it, and thought it was the funniest thing, and then he followed up the next day and was like “no seriously you should submit.” I’d showed up to an open call with a bunch of printed off Instagram selfies, and somehow got signed. They hooked me up with a bunch of really great photographers, and I’ve been going on shoots pretty consistently ever since. So, I guess my “first modeling gig” was “getting drunk at Six Flags,” and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since.
What made you want to pursue modeling?
I really enjoy photo shoots! I could try to fancy myself up and be all like “I enjoy the art of collaboration” but that’d be a lie. I like to laugh, and usually I laugh a lot on shoots.
Which shoot do you consider your breakthrough in your career?
I mean, my shoot with Ross Haley for MalePower got me here, so that’s pretty cool. Let’s go with that.
Which shoot has been your favorite? Why?
One of my very first shoots as a “professional” was with my good friend Caitlainne Gurreri, who’s based out of LA but gets to Chicago a lot. Her and I have been close since my second semester of college, and she has this amazing sense of composition. I asked her if she could take some ‘lifestyle’ shots of my boyfriend and I in our first apartment together, after I got us kicked out because I got in a fight with the washing machine (I’d like to say there’s more to the story than that, but that pretty much sums it up), and that shoot was absolutely my #1 favorite shoot. Working with Caitlainne was so easy, and shooting with Dave (my BF) was so much fun because literally all we did was laugh at each other and the silly faces we were making. Caitlainne and I have worked together solo a few times since then, and her and I have a great working relationship, she’s the person I go to whenever I have a question or a worry (or even when I get asked to fill out an interview by a fun underwear blog!), but there was something special about that first shoot with her, and his name is Dave. =) BY THE WAY. http://www.beautyrosephotography.com/. She’s the best. I’ve also worked with Ray of Covet Images a bunch, and have loved working with him. We have a super similar aesthetic, and it’s really easy to work with somebody who’s as easy-going as he is.
My agency hooked me up with a shoot for Ward’s catalogue, and it was the first hot summer day of 2015, and we were inside and I was wearing Phat Farm winter coats. It was so sweaty! But look for me in a money mailer coming your way!
SO MANY! Kevin of the @skinlikedawnproject has some really fantastic stuff, and we’re mutual admirers of each other’s work. I’m hoping to maybe get something set up with him when my BF and I visit Georgia later this year (hi Kevin!). There’s the team at @skinandbonemag who I’ve been trading messages back and forth with, I think their shoots are really fun to page through! Brandswise, I’d love to work with Pump!, but I need a bunch more Instagram followers (and abs) before that’s a thing that could happen.
I am a huge baseball fan, like to the point of subscribing to statistics websites and memorizing Moneyball (the book, not the movie) as a teenager. and I’m named after the Hall of Fame shortstop for the St Louis Cardinals, Ozzie Smith. My team is the Minnesota Twins, though, who are having an AMAZING season out of nowhere, and I’m so proud of my boys.
I try to eat relatively healthy, which makes it easy to prepare because you’re starting off from a good base. I start every day with a green smoothie (which started when I was unemployed and I got drunk and bought this app that had like 20 recipes for $6, so then I woke up the next day and was like “shit I better actually use this, I don’t have the $6 to justify just deleting this.” And I ended up really liking how they helped me to jump start my day, especially compared to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch I was eating in the mornings before that). I try not to eat too much meat and avoid dairy (I’m very lactose intolerant), I get most of my protein from nuts and powders (by the way, those plant-based powders are a god-send for us lactose-free folks). I go to the gym regularly, I like morning gym time because it’s easier to start your day with gym energy than to muster it after a long day at the office.
There’s this see-through neon mesh pair of Andrew Christians I have…does that count?
I don’t get embarrassed that much, if I feel myself beginning to feel weird I just start to laugh about it instead. Though if you ask my boyfriend, or most of my close friends, they’ve all seen some pretty amazing embarrassing pictures of me.
“I’m hungry. Should I have eaten something? Did I leave the air conditioner on? What am I making for dinner tonight? Oh no, tomorrow is laundry day. I hate laundry day. Maybe I can make boo do it, instead. How can I trick boo into thinking it’s his turn to do the laundry? Is it too hot in here? It’s totally too hot in here, I’m sweating balls. Do I get to run the music for this shoot? Gesuz, that’s a lot of pressure. What if they hate my playlist choices? Everybody likes Kanye West, right? Yeah, it’ll be fine. Everybody loves Kanye.”I have lots of thoughts. Most of them have nothing to do with the shoot. I’ll get up in my head about it before I even walk in the room, and that’s not how you wanna approach life.
Well, I’ve surpassed most of the goals I set for myself when I started doing this, so I guess it’s time to reevaluate. I’d really like to take a selfie next to a picture of myself on a train platform, I think that’d be hilarious and I’d have FAR too much fun with that. Can you imagine the Facebook likes I’d get?? I’d also like to work with a menswear store in Chicago, for a full lookbook, like what’s going on at Akira Mens this fall, oh look it’s Ozzie! That’d be super fun.