What’s in Room XIV – Mark MacKillop
Have you ever wanted to turn your amazing selfies into a book? That’s what Mark MacKillop did while on tour! Granted, he took his selfie game to the next level! We talk to him about how his book Room XIV came to be and how he got such amazing pics on his iPhone!
Your background is dance, specifically ballet. How did you go from Ballet to posting underwear pics?
Well, I went from ballet to posting underwear pics because as dancers we usually have summers off from work. So one summer I decided to go to an open call at a modeling agency. I was the only guy chosen that day, but unfortunately, at the time I was on a work visa (being originally from Vancouver Canada) that was specific to ballet, so the timing wasn’t right. I ended up shooting with local Atlanta photographers to get some experience. With most men’s photographers you end up shooting body, and underwear photographs.
After leaving the ballet world and moving to New York to peruse musical theatre I ended up booking an international tour. While on tour I needed something creative that was my own to do so I started taking my hotel room selfies.
We are based in Atlanta, so when I read you started in Atlanta Ballet, it made me happy. How did you enjoy your time in Atlanta?
Yeah, I loved my life in Atlanta. I still have a lot of friends that I fly down to visit often. It’s always nice to come back and get the opportunity to see my friends performing all over Atlanta.
Your book is called Room XIV, what is the significance of the name?
I decided to call my book Rm. XIV because in the book I share photos from fourteen different hotel rooms.
The Instagram description says it’s a collection of underwear selfies. However, the pics look quite a bit better than cell phone selfies. Did you take the pictures in the book?
Haha why thank you. Yeah, I took all of the pics in the book on my iPhone. I would stack hotel room bed side tables on top of chairs to get the perfect angle and perspective for each shot. To be honest, when I started it was because we were staying in this hotel in Monte Carlo and I was trying to get a selfie of me shirtless in my hotel room with the bay with all the mega yachts in the background. I discovered my arms weren’t long enough to get me and the scenery in the shot so I started playing around with self-timer apps. So yeah, they are all self-timer selfies taken by me.
What is your advice to guys to take the perfect underwear selfie?
Take a bunch. Some days it would take me 20-30 shots before I’d get the right one. Near the end of the tour, I could sometimes get the shot the first time. Not sure if that’s from all the practice or just pure luck haha.
The book says it chronicled your journey on the “International Tour of West Side Story and gave an intimate look into the life of an artist on the road.” What cities did you take pictures?
All over Europe. London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt… and many more.
Did the idea of this book come up before you went on tour or during the tour?
To be honest, this all kinda fell into my lap. I just started posting the pics on my social media and a couple of friends reached out and said I had to do something with them. My friend Robert W. Richards took my pics into the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and helped to procure a gallery show of the images. Billy Porter was a big influence on the creation of the book. We spoke a lot during the second half of my tour after a chance meeting at a bar in New York, and he encouraged me to do something with the book and to start writing.
Your dance background definitely comes into play with some of the poses in the book. Did you stage the pics or just shoot what ever felt right that day?
Sometimes I’d have ideas and other times of came down to what the lighting was like that day or how flexible I was feeling haha.
The underwear you wore in the book, was that all your personal underwear or did you get underwear specifically for the book?
It was all from my personal collection. I’m fortunate now that the book has come out that I’ve made cool relationships with a few underwear and clothing companies now that help to keep my underwear drawer at home pretty envious.
After shooting a book of underwear selfies, do you have a favorite brand of underwear?
That’s hard to pick a favorite. I have my staples but I like to switch things up, and I always like trying new brands. But a jockstrap or seven will always be found in my collection.
All the pics I have seen of the book have you in briefs, did you shoot all briefs or mix it up in the book?
It’s mostly briefs, but in the special collector’s edition, limited to 100 copies, the books come with two prints, one of which is me in a jock.
Where can our readers get a copy of Room XIV?
Where can our readers follow your journey on more tours and in social media?