I grab my portfolio, jump on my skateboard and head over to photographer Rick Day’s studio in the Lower East Side of New York City. He’s casting for the latest campaign for C-IN2 Underwear and I’m going to try my luck. I’m familiar with the brand. Their first campaign, shot by Steven Klein, had policemen arresting guys in their undies bent over the bonnet of a car. It was quite controversial at the time and a great entry to the underwear market. Since then, iconic photographer Rick Day has taken over the reigns. He recently featured three models sweating it out in a beat-up Miami trailer, hiding out from the cops. There’s definitely a theme going with the C-IN2 campaigns – you’re either an a cop or a criminal; and I’m happy to play either.
Not surprisingly, when I arrive at the studio, the foyer to the building is filled with just about every male model in the NYC. At castings, models naturally form a line in order of they arrive. Even though I’m ten minutes early, the line is already out starting to head out the front door.
For the first time at a casting in New York, I heard an Aussie accent. I turn around to see if I know the guy, which isn’t that rare in this industry. It turns out he’s from Melbourne and I’m a Sydney boy. It’s good to hear the accent and to hear a similar story of another Australian Male Model trying to make it in the Big Apple.
As it’s a casting for an underwear shoot, I forego my usual lucky, but slightly worn-out pair and choose pristine undies. Some other models didn’t get the memo and are feeling less than comfortable to reveal the goods.
We’re called in six models at a time and immediately begin to strip down to our underwear. When my turn comes, I approach Rick and Steven Benistry, Rick’s manager, and present my portfolio. Before we get to the casting, we have a chat about the illegal use of the our image on a massive billboard in Mexico City. Unfortunately, none of us have any new details from our legal representatives and it seems as though my face will be plastered around the city for a little longer.
I stick my name tag on my right pectoral and throw some looks down the barrel of the lens. As I head off, Rick tells me that I next time I come in I will have to sign my calendar I sent him. Laughing, “No worries” I reply with a chuckle.
A few days later, I’m surprised to get a call from my agent at Wilhelmina. I have booked the job. There were loads of guys at the casting and it’s a great gig. Of course, the campaign will look amazing, like all of Rick’s work but also a great experience to shoot.
When I received the call sheet for the booking, there are two things that surprise me. The first was the 10:45am all time, which is late compared to what I am used too. Second is that I am not to shave or clipper any hair on my face or body. I’m not a fan of being clean shaven, which a lot of jobs require, so it’s nice to let it grow for once.
The campaign shoot is at The 1896 Studio in Brooklyn. It’s an industrial block with loads of cool interiors, which is used for many editorials, TV Shows and Movies. As I walk in, the crew is already setting up the location, creating the atmosphere with fans, lights, smoke and water. A crane stands ready to capture the aerial shots. And we’re shooting video at the same time. In the middle of the set is my co-star. a pommel Horse. Before the shoot, I didn’t exactly know the name of this piece of gymnastic equipment. I’ve always enjoyed seeing it in action and knew the skill it took to master it – skills I don’t have.
Luckily, I have a body double. He’s Olympic gymnast called David Durante. It’s his job to fool everyone into thinking that was me who just scored a perfect ten. Gregory Sovell, the founder of C-IN2, independently picked David and I, not knowing how similar we both looked, making us a perfect match.
Steering away from typical underwear shoots, the campaign for C-IN2’s new line is called Grip. It focuses on the importance of a gymnasts hold on the equipment. Set in an old warehouse in the Soviet Union, my character is sweating it out on the pommel horse, highlighting the underwear’s innovative moisture transport technology. Similar to a gymnast putting powder on their hands, the underwear fabric transfers moisture away from the body. This prevents the fabric from clinging to the body when it’s wet. The fabric is able to breathe and dries out faster.
We have a lot to get through so I head straight to hair & make-Up. The hair inspiration for the shoot is Dolph Lundgren as the Russian Boxer in the Rocky. I get a bit of a trim, a blow wave and lots of hairspray. Then it’s a quick stop into make-up before being fitted for the C-IN2 underwear. Add some white wrist tape to finish the look and I’m ready to start shooting.
Once I’m positioned on the pommel horse, I need lots of strength and balance to prevent myself from falling off. David keeps us in awe with his tricks on the horse and, of course, makes it look easy. Even the simplest moves are too difficult for me to follow. It’s definitely one of the more difficult shoots I’ve done. Nevertheless, we created some amazing images for the campaign and video. Rick and I have a great model/photographer chemistry and that combined with an amazing team made it all the more smooth and enjoyable. I can’t wait to see it posted all around New York. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the C-IN2s I scored from the shoot.