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After up-and-coming model and actor Derek Allen Watson shared his latest photo shoot by famed photographer Rick Day with us, we just had to interview him. Over the past six years, Derek has been making his modeling rounds across the USA. He began as an amateur on Model Mayhem in his hometown in Ohio, and once he built a solid profile he traveled to Chicago where he was signed on the spot with an agency. After gaining a professional reputation he moved to greener pastures in New York City where his career as a model and actor took off. He showed his face on the covers of Next Magazine, INK Homme and 2BMag. He also appeared in an SNL skit and on Gossip Girl. Derek has just recently moved back West to Los Angeles where he is focused on continuing his career as an actor.
Moving so much can be hard, but not for this very persistent personality. Read below to find out how his career has blossomed over the years, the many opportunities that have come his way, and how LA has already helped him clear his head to become a very successful entertainer. He also gives intriguing insight on the differences between LA and NYC, from the environment to the boys.
Born: Small town outside of Cleveland
Current Location: Los Angeles
Relationship Status: Single
Astrological Sign: Leo
Height: 5’9″ – 5’10” on some days
Weight: 150 lbs
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Brown with hints of green
My favorite all time underwear is…I’m kind of a classic guy, I really like Calvin Klein. That would be my favorite, I just really enjoy the classics. Sometimes if I’m feeling more adventurous I like aussieBum or 2xist, but I usually go with Calvins. I really enjoy briefs, Calvin white briefs are it.
My lease favorite type of underwear would be…I don’t like boxers; they are more for straight guys. They’re just not flattering.
Underwear on other men…I go crazy over a jockstrap. I’m a huge ass guy, but it’s weird if they planned on wearing the jockstrap out to make a big reveal later in the night. It kind of turns me off then. If it’s a pre-planned jockstrap it’s just not cute, but if I catch you wearing a jockstrap or see you wearing one in the locker room, that’s hot.
At the gym…I like to work out in tight briefs to keep everything together. I have a really, really high metabolism so it’s really hard for me to gain any type of weight. I really don’t like running; I don’t like cardio in general. I like to stretch and do yoga, so after I do that I’ll do some hard lifting. I like working out shoulders. My least favorite body part to work on is definitely abs — that’s why I don’t have abs.
I knew I wanted to be a model when…I was a kid. I was really, really, really ugly as a kid. So I always went towards acting, it can be more emotional, and there’s a lot more gigs. I started doing modeling stuff just to get my name out there and gain exposure. The first shoot I ever did was just an outside shoot and I really had a lot of fun. Then I made a Model Mayhem five or six years ago. At the start of my modeling pursuit I made a vacation of it. I went to Toronto and met with six photographers in three days. I drove by myself and got a hotel; it was a fun adventure and I shot every day and it kind of made me look like I was working for awhile. It looked like six different photo shoots so it built my portfolio quickly.
My favorite photographer to work with…well, I really like Rodolfo Martinez, he’s a really cool guy and he’s really fun. We didn’t really plan anything and we just kind of winged it; he’s always been my favorite.
My best photo shoot…my first Rick Day shoot because it was such a big deal for me and it was one of my favorites.
I first found out about Rick Day…when I was in college and didn’t have many friends. I was kind of a loner and going through puberty, and I would look at his pictures online and think to myself, “I would kill to be one of those guys one day, or I would kill to look like that or shoot with him,” so I can remember vividly back to that day in my dorm room thinking that. Shooting with him was one of my biggest personal accomplishments, even more than moving. I’ve shot with him three times now, we totally have a good relationship.
Worst photo shoot…is not doing a photo shoot because of a lack of level of comfortability. It’s all about the atmosphere. If you’re kind of creepy, questioning me, saying rude things or telling me what to do, then I’m just not comfortable and it gets hard to give my best performance. I’ve been working with more established photographers lately, so it has been happening more often. Working with bigger photographers of course I’m honored to be there, but some try to take advantage of you more than the average amateur photographer. It’s a trade. It’s all about attitude too. When I’m shooting I want it to be a fun, chill, and sexy atmosphere; I don’t want it to feel like it’s work.
To prepare for a shoot…I always workout the day before, but never the day of.I will only eat salads on shooting days, other than that I don’t really do anything else. I do always get a haircut.
My favorite pose…I would say my favorite go-to pose is pulling my shirt down over my crotch area because it flexes all of your arm muscles and makes your legs look good. I usually end up doing that pose during every shoot — I can name four off the top of my head. So that’s my favorite pose because I think it accentuates all of my favorite body parts.
My acting career…is something I was definitely pursuing, but I kind of took a break from it. I was in play festival last year, and then the year before that I was in an Off-Off-Broadway show. Since then, it has slowed down because it’s so hard in New York to have a solid time commitment. You have to pay your bills, and you have to have a full-time job and all of this stuff and then a play on top of that. Sometimes the timing doesn’t work out right. I really love the theater, I’m inspired by it. It’s always such an amazing time. That’s why I do more modeling stuff because it’s only one day. A lot of the time the first gigs in the beginning are unpaid, so I have been focused on other parts of my career lately.
I moved to Los Angels…because I went to like 12 different agents in New York and nine of them said, “what are you doing here? You’d be doing much better in L.A.” I don’t sing or dance and NYC is just more Broadway focused. It will be easier to get jobs here because I’ll be more focused and more visible. That’s why I made the move, to focus on acting. In NYC I was comfortable, all my friends were there, I had everything there. I had all these things but I wasn’t doing anything career-wise. So, why not strip away everything and start over new and not be distracted? Now I’m more focused on what really matters to my career.
The best part about LA is….I’ve only been in LA for a week and a half. I lived in New York for five years but I never really got to relax because it’s always go, go, go. You walk out of your apartment and you want two minutes to yourself, but you walk outside and there are thousands of people running and bumping into you, so it can get a little claustrophobic at times. So, I’d have to say my favorite thing about LA is the openness. I’m from a small town where there are farms and stuff. I like the openness the chill vibe. All you do all day is listen to vinyls and sit outside and chill.
The difference between LA and NYC….well, both are very creative but in their own ways. Here in LA everyone sits around and goes on hikes and asks, “how can I help you and how can we help each other?” In New York you don’t really see that. NYC is more professional and it’s like, you have everything set in a rapid time frame so it can be stressful. But, LA is more laid back where you just hang and come up with ideas.
My style is…very New York City. When I go out here I look like nobody else, you know I have tattoos and earrings and will wear harem pants. A lot of people here are way more clean cut. I think the boys are cuter here though.
My favorite NYC moment…you can’t really beat summers in New York. Summer is just so fun, you have Fire Island and just overall summers in the city are my favorite. But, also when I did SNL with Betty White, that was really, really fun. It was one of the coolest days because I got to meet Kristen Wiig and got my makeup done next to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I had the opportunity to meet all these hilarious people that I’ve looked up to so much. The skit was Betty White kicking me in the balls, and no, I didn’t wear a cup for it, and yes, she kicks very hard. Andy Samberg fell to the floor laughing hysterically. Who can say they got kicked in the balls by Betty White?
I just want to…thank everybody. So much of what I’ve done and continue to do is because of my online persona and the people who support it, by sharing it. It sounds so silly, but social media is big in making your career nowadays. So yeah, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported me.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Derek Allen Watson