Name five models. The first five that come into your head.
If you are anything like me, and like the vast majority of the world, I am guessing that all five models you just listed are female. Am I right? Of course I am. There is no denying that when it comes to the modeling industry, ladies (and gents), we can safely throw our hands in the air when Queen Bey so poignantly asks “who runs the world”...
Unfortunately for my husband Oli, he is a male model in a females modeling world.
Fortunately for me, my husband is a male model, with a model body, cheekbones and jawline, but that’s irrelevant to this story, just something I wanted to share. And apparently, when it comes to Oli, sharing is something I have had to become accustomed to. Enter Tommy McKeown, the model who I have had to learn to share with. These last few months in LA saw Oli’s and Tommy’s male model bromance blossom into something beautiful, jaw dropping and sometimes concerning when around the ladies. Just follow either one of those two on Snapchat and you’ll understand why.
As partners in crime, these two practically held hands as they “worked” really “hard” in their eternal efforts to stay really, really good looking.
They love love the camera so interviewed these two about their experiences as male models…..
First off tell us how you were “discovered” and how your modeling career all started?
Oli: Once I finished school I moved straight from Noosa to Bondi. This is where I meet a well known photographer and all round legend Nick Leary. He said I should become a model and live the dream, sounded pretty good to me! So the next day I tailed on the end of his studio shoot and we quickly snapped a couple of headshot and by the end of the day I had signed with Chadwick’s. Cheers Nick!
Tommy: I guess it all kinda started a few years ago. It was 3am on a Thursday morning at the Bondi hotel in the pokie room where I was wearing a head to toe fishtank print suit smoking a cig and was given a scouted card by an agent who was diggin my dance moves to a small win on where’s the gold.
What has been your favorite shoot / campaign / work to date?
Oli: Tough one, as a lot of jobs can be super fun and stress free. Maybe making out with The Veronicas in there music video….that was pretty hilarious. Actually shooting the Corona Campaign in Mexico for 2 weeks surfing perfect waves with no one but your mates is about as good as it gets.
Tommy: Id have to say either in Fiji shooting for Myer, or hanging off the side of a yacht in the Sydney Harbour for LG.
What has been your biggest obstacle when trying to introduce yourself in the professional modeling industry?
Oli: Instagram. I was doing fine and didn’t have to tell anyone I was a model or have to self promote. Then Insta came along, I got on it late as you never really knew how much affect it would have on the industry. Then the next minute your losing jobs to guys that have never been in front of a camera before because they have a social media following. It’s lame, but it’s the way the industry operates now unfortunately – now you gotta be a player to play the game.
Tommy: I think being able to take criticism is a big one. It’s not the most kind industry to be in, you gotta roll with the punches and not let it get to you.
Oli: I can’t say I remember my first. However I’m sure there were definitely some awkward poses getting thrown around. I think it was a bonds underwear shoot with just dudes hahaha.
Do you remember your first photo shoot as a model? How did you feel during it?
Tommy: My first job was for Zanerobe, I knew most of the boys before hand so it kinda made me feel a lot more comfortable.
Whats it like to work in a woman dominated industry?
Oli: My work and home life is dominated by woman….have you met my wife? hahaha in all seriousness, I find female models definitely get the special treatment. However they also work twice as hard. Being a woman in the modeling world means you have to scratch and burn to compete. Where as guys have the relaxed take a back seat kinda journey. Not sure we would ever complain.
Tommy: Its the only industry in the world where women are noticeably more prominent. It’s a lot more glorified in the female direction in the way of demand and higher rates. The men’s market isn’t as big which makes the hussle a little more real, and definitely harder to succeed in.
Oli: My cute ass usually is enough. Haha! Actually I couldn’t even tell you one off hand….I also think its safer for me not to say that since my mrs. is editing this. Haha.
Whats your go to favourite pick up line?
Tommy: Something off the cuff I guess, throw a curve ball to get a reaction, “Yo baby girl what’s good?” Hasn’t worked yet.
Do you date other models?
Oli: Refer to question above, haha. No I haven’t dated other models before, but a lot of my friends are female models and I can see how it could prove difficult not mentioning any names…(cough). I can imagine there would be a lot of traveling and time spent apart, also a lot of ego involved, maybe too much vanity, haha.
Tommy: I have dated other models. It’s kinda hard tho if one or the other is constantly on the move. Long distance is shit.
Oli: My dream job would be to flaunt a nude double page spread in Playboy. Still working on it. Hahaha!
What are your goals as a model, i.e, dream jobs to book or photographers to work with?
To be honest I never really took modeling too seriously until I was overseas, I didn’t know too much about the actual career side of it, it was more of a great way to make money and travel. Now being in NY I can see how massive the modeling world is, and there are a lot of really talented people I would still love to work with, Bruce Webber or Steven Klein. Ill keep them on my bucket list. But really, the dream jobs to me are the ones where you get to travel and experience something new.
Tommy: Being a Victoria secret girl has always been a dream of mine. As for photographers I like Terry Richardsons seedy quirk.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Oli: I grew up in a jazz musician’s home. So music is my hidden talent. I also have a mad freestyle on me, which only activates in the early hours of the morning. Its similar to a guy named Kendrick Lamar with a dash of Eminem. Yawn.
Tommy: Yeah there hidden for a reason tho
Photographer: Lucas Passmore - @lucaspassmore
Stylist: Sasha Benz – @sasha___benz
Models: Oliver Benz – @olibenz & Tom McKeown – @tomckeown