Q The Runway: What It Means To Be A Male Model In The 21st Century
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Let’s face it: The sight of male fashion models walking for top designers during fashion week in London, Milan, Paris, and New York seems like an oh-so-fabulous dream job. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not as glamorous as it appears.
The monotonous routine of never-ending casting calls, cut-throat competition, and tiresome traveling between the world’s fashion capitals eventually takes its toll. Nevertheless, it’s career gold for the lucky few who manage to land the most coveted shows on the fashion calendar.
“The shows are a stepping stone for male models,” explains Jeffrey Kolsrud, founder and director of Q Management, a leading modeling agency in New York City. “[They’re] a chance to be seen by the fashion world, showcasing the latest designs, and showcasing themselves to all of the most important editors, stylists, press, photographers and casting directors.”
It’s no surprise his men’s roster rocked the fall 2019 runways during New York Fashion Week: Men’s in February. Q Management stalwarts, including Eugon McNeil, Jino Chun, Phil Sullivan, and Daniel McSweeney, booked one of the most highly anticipated shows of the week: Joseph Abboud. Evan Leff, a rising star on the scene known for his blonde buzz cut and lean physique, opened for Numero 00. Meanwhile, there was a lot of buzz surrounding newcomer Lyons Blum. As a fashion week first-timer, he not only walked for John John and Asia Fashion Collection, but was touted as a face to watch by the editors at Models.com.
Show season is always a crucial and competitive time for male models to stand out from the pack. The possibility of landing a top designer’s show could lead to a campaign and as a result can launch a successful career. Nowadays, particularly in this new age of celebrity, social media, and short attention spans, agencies are diversifying their men’s boards with models who offer more than just a pretty face.”
“Beautiful men are easy to come by, but good looks and a six pack are not enough to make a male model,” explains Jeffrey. “In today’s world, clients are really looking for the model who has more to offer — someone who has a voice, outgoing without being over the top, has that sparkle that maybe you can’t define or put your finger on, but is able to draw you in.”
Needless to say, a model’s ‘je ne sais quoi’ goes a long way in an industry that’s slowly starting to become more inclusive. More seats at the table have opened up to racial diversity, body positivity, and gender non-conformity. As Jeffrey explains: “Male models were more like Ken dolls. Now the industry has opened its doors to every walk of life.”
With that said, it’s been 20+ years since Jeffrey first launched Q Management in New York City. Since then, his business has blossomed and a whole new generation of models are breathing new life into his agency. From America’s Next Top Model alum Phil Sullivan (aka @insightphil on the ‘gram) to South African stunner Eugon McNeil, here are the boys who’ve made the recent fall 2019 show season their own season.