Continuing on my gonzo-list kick, I enlisted the aid of my good buddy Jeff, a model-industry insider and a man of great taste, for help in compiling this tally of the most incredible-looking male models from throughout history. (The cavemen didn't have much call for male models, so I think we went as far back as the 1970s.)
Some of these guys are icons, some supermodels, some mere posers with faces only a mother superior couldn't looove. The common denominator is that they're stunning and that the history of modeling—runway, print, fitness or even neo-Web entrepreneurial—would not be the same without them. Purists be damned!
Here they are, in alphabetical order by first name (I know, but it saves so much time), with my Top 20 indicated at the end...
Aaron O'Connell (?, 1984—)
A Midwesterner born and bred, O'Connell initially pursued a career in the fitness industry before becoming an in-demand poser who's worked for everyone from Hanes and Jockey (guess why?) to A&F. His dream of being an actor may be coming true—as recently as last week, he was working with Tyler Perry on a new TV show for Oprah's OWN. I wonder if the working title is Madea Goes Down?
Adam Senn (April 10, 1984—)
"The best thing about being me is, uh...I would say nothing, would be the first thing...Getting to come home to my dog Gunner."
Alberto Guzman (September 8, 1981—)
This Spanish-born model with a lean body of death is famous for his work with Armani, and has darkened many a runway with his smile-free countenance.
Alex Lundqvist (April 14, 1972—)
Are you as Swede on Alex Lundqvist as I am? This familiar and handsome face has been modeling for almost 30 years, ever since being shot by Bruce Weber right after his discovery. Baby steps. Success runs in the family—his brother is pro paintballer (I know...people do that for a living?) Maximus Lundqvist.
He's also done a little acting, if that's what it's called when one looks gorgeous in music videos, such as this co-starring role with Fergie:
Alexandre Cuhna (?, 1987—)
This Brazilian bombshell has been a D&G favorite, has worked for Armani Exchange and fronted a spring campaign for Bottega Veneta. He was discovered by two men while riding a bus at age 17, the kind of encounter that either leads to worldwide fame and fortune, a brief but unhappy career in porn or a below-the-radar residency in a makeshift grave somewhere. Happily, it was the famous outcome for Cuhna, who has spent most of his career naked or next to it. He told New York Magazine:
"Well, if that were to make me uncomfortable, I would have stopped doing this because they always fucking put me in underwear. It's cool, though, I'm used to it."
Andre Ziehe (November 6, 1984—)
Coincidentally, and highly erotically, Ziehe happens to be the roomie of Mr. Cuhna. I'm sure their apartment is big enough that they don't have to reside one atop the other, as they do on this list. Brazilian Ziehe is a born swimwear/underwear model, having been the high-profile, er, face of 2(x)ist as well as working with DSquared.
Andrés Velencoso Segura (March 11, 1978—)
He's a fan-favorite and favors his fans with courtesies, according to an interview with Cover Men:
"I have a fun time with fans. They are very nice and humble. I don't mind giving autographs to them—it's an honor to me they like my work. I appreciate them a lot."
Imagine the in-depth conversations he and Kylie must have.
Andrew Cooper (?, 1981—)
The new Diet Coke hunk is this blue-eyed Brit of D&G, Adidas, Cottonfield, Armani and L'Oreal fame. All those good looks and he sings, too? His single "I Feel Something" (me, too) was released in 1998 when he was just a baby. His best friend is equally successful model Will Chalker.
Annibal Llende (?, 19?—)
This gorgeous guy with eyebrows thicker than Sophia Vergara's accent was featured in Andy Warhol's TV, a 1979 program that combined the artist's interests in popular culture, sexy men and nothingness (long before Seinfeld). By 1981, he was a part of a group shot of the 15 hottest male models taken by Albert Watson.He was an International Male coverboy as well, which means he helped bring a large percentage of American gay boys out of the closet. Speaking of which, he wasn't in one himself.
Antonio Navas (March 28, 1987—)
This Spaniard got his start after being recruited in Barcelona, and quickly moved into Armani Exchange and H&M gigs that flaunted his swarthy good looks. He's a student of kinesiology who may or may not continue modeling:
"I wanna keep studying this by myself to get more in deep with my knowlege, but also I'd like to do something about my passion, which is surfing. Also, I think about doing something for peole that have had less opportunities in their lives."
Forget surfing, he'd be a perfect Miss America.
Arthur Kulkov (August 20, 1983—)
This top model was born in Siberia, making it seem less terrible of a place to which one might be banished. He's been an Adidas regular and is renowned for his "soccer body," which is often the envy of those with a fascination for watching balls criss-cross a playing field.
Arthur Sales (July 22, 1991—)
Another Brazilian overachiever, Sales was in law school before modeling, and before that won a child beauty pageant at age 10. He first became known to me (code for stalkers) when he was given the cover and 200 pages' worth of L'Officiel Hommes Paris. Body-wise, his calling card is his eight-pack.
Atesh Salih (May 25, 1972—)
Exotic Atesh is a British model and actor of Turkish ancestrymost famous for his work with Armani and Pierre Cardin. His facial hair is always so perfect it looks delicately applied by the tiny hands of elves.
Baptiste Giabiconi (November 9, 1989—)
The "world's highest-paid male model" is good work if you can get it, and this boy can get it with the best. Born in France, he has worked high-profile (literally!) jobs for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld and other top brands and in 2010 released a single called "Showtime". No wonder that the jack-of-all-trades then took up dancing, appearing on the French version of Dancing with the Stars...and almost winning.
Ben Hill (?, 1978—)
This Georgia-born stunner has been the face of Zegna, Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton as well as appearing in countless print ads and in editorials in Details, GQ, L'Officel and more. He's got a classic look that works even better with facial hair, something I personally rarely say.
Rather than going the old-fashioned route in the world of modeling, Godfre—as photogenic as anyone to ever duke it out with a camera—has entrepreneurially put together his own brand. Like the James Franco of male models, he consistently does things to challenge the status quo within his field, such as posing not only naked but aroused or submitting for a tickling video. He's since ventured into video art and has worked with mystery shooter Venfield 8 (sample at right) in his quest to be more than just another pretty face. Doesn't identify as gay, but is most definitely queer.
Bob Menna (?, 19?—)
This '70s and '80s superstud, with luxurious hair (on his scalp and over his eyes) was once the boy toy of fellow model Janice Dickinson. In her best-selling book Everything About Me Is Fake...And I'm Perfect, Dickinson remembers:
"At one point, I was dating hot-hottie-hot male model Bob Menna, who had jet-black hair, thick eyebrows and a chiseled hot bod that would put Superman's to shame. Bob was sweet, but going out with him was a pain in the ass. At restaurants, he waitresses could hardly write or speak, they were so busy drooling...Such was the power of Bob."
Sounds like a classic case of "I'll have what she's having."
Brad Kroenig (April 23, 1979—)
A fizzled soccer player, Kroenig quickly became a top model from the early 2000s on, most especially as Karl Lagerfeld's dude muse. Of his bond with Lagerfeld, Kroenig says:
"The first time we shot together, there was like an instant connection...pretty much changed my life and helped me so much in my modeling career. And we're still really good friends. I think he treats me and my son kinda like family to him because, you know, he doesn't have family so we're almost like his sons in a way."
Brian Buzzini (August 18, 1962—)
Buzzini got into modeling through the back door...or rather, the front: He posed nude, including with an erection, in Playgirl in the '80s. Though he didn't become a major runway star, he found success as the subject of a series of top-selling posters that adorned the walls of smitten girls and that were, no doubt, furtively ogled by not a few of their closeted brothers and fathers.
Brian Shimansky (?, 1988—)
Picked out of a crowd at a John Mayer concert (as so many young ladies undoutedly have been themselves, albeit by Mayer or one of his handlers), Shimansky was thrust into the world of male modeling, popping up in campaigns for top brands like Versace and Nautica, playing no less than a god among men for the former:
Born in Pennsylvania, Hulse was a pro basketball player overseas for a few years before being discovered by none other than Bruce Weber, who—let's face it—seems to only see the most beautiful things in this world and block out anything unpleasant or ordinary. An absolutely top draw in the '80s, he's considered by man to have among the trade's biggest icons. He's now a photographer who's aged as well as his work with Weber.
Cameron Alborzian (February 26, 1967—)
Yes, he was the sexy dude on Madonna's 1989 video for "Express Yourself", but there's so much more to Cameron, one of the most familiar faces in the biz in the late '80s and early '90s. Nowadays, the strapping, sultry British-Iranian is a full-on yogi, specializing in the subjects of and writing books on natural medicine and reflexology.
Chad White (July 11, 1985—)
How do you choose a representative photo of Chad White, who's so versatile (from my mouth to God's ears) he can do goofy, aloof, sexy, wholesome and bad-boy all within a few frames? Instantly iconic in work by Steven Klein for L'Uomo Vogue, he's been used and abused by Dsquared2, Versace, D&G and many others, and is a favorite in gay-magazine fashion spreads.
Christopher Fawcett (?, 1986—)
You've seen this razor-cheekboned beauty everywhere from ads for DKNY to Calvin Klein, but his first career was in the Navy. After getting out, he was snatched up by Click and ever since then it's been click, click, click.
Clint Mauro (?, 1986—)
Mauro was discovered while working as an A&F store greeter. Jeez, when I did it they called it "assaulted." Anyway, he worked early on with Bruce Weber but really hit the stratosphere as the face of Armani Exchange. He aspires to act and write but definitely has the cheek-sucking and walking things down pat.
Colby Melvin (?, 1986—)
A ray of light in the sometimes edgy world of, for lack of a better term, "high-end naked modeling," Colby Melvin is more than just a purdy face...purdy smile...purdy butt...purdy everything. He's a straight-up LGBT activist, one whose appearance in a One Direction parody slamming Mitt Romney garnered him national attention during the 2012 presidential election. He became a favorite model among gay audiences by flaunting what the Lord gave him in a series of Andrew Christian spots, each one more salacious than the last. He seems to be enjoying all the naughtiness, perhaps more so because he comes from a conservative area and worked in the staid oil and gas industry as late as 2010, where he felt the need to repress all aspects of his sexuality. Not a problem for him anymore.
Corey Baptiste (January 30, 1991—)
One of today's most in-demand models, this exquisite Trinidadian/Grenadian-American guy is from...the Bronx! Like at least one other guy on this list, he was brought into the industry after working at an A&F store. He was snapped up immediately and has been working steadily since, including for DKNY, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. Most notably, at a 2011 D&G runway show, David Agbodji opened and Baptiste closed, making it a rare moment when two men of color had anchored an A-list show.
He recently chose Jay-Z's "Star is Born" as a favorite track because "I believe, with all that is happening right now, that my star is rising."
Cory Bond (?, 1978—)
From his birth in Nashville to the birth of his career on the runways of Paris, Bond's masculine beauty has led him to become a top model, working for Guess, D&G and Solid. He fills out his Calvin Kleins as well as any who've ever climbed into a pair, but his work with Bruce Weber in Arena Homme + was especially sizzling. Oh, and yes, sir—he can boogie:
Danny Schwarz (April 17, 1989—)
A model so hot one of his spreads was banned for being obscene...did I mention it was a threesome photographed by Steven Meisel? Schwarz, a favorite of Mario Testino and other A-listers, is one of the most successful male models of all time, and the explanation is there for all to see.
David Boals (February 14, 1971—)
Spotted while working as a carpenter and later a part of Madonna's Sex book, Boals worked for virtually every major designer and appeared in ads for mass-market retailers like Banana Republic, renowned for his hair. He's been away from the business for a decade, but something tells me he's probably still in fighting shape.
David Fumero (December 29, 1972—)
In the '90s, after a stint in boot camp and a string of unsatisfying, hand-to-mouth jobs, Fumero's girlfriend pushed him to try modeling. He earned a small fortune of $1,500 on his first job and never looked back. When modeling bored him, he tried out for and was given a part on One Life to Live; he stayed with the soap for years and appeared in many Spanish-language entertainment magazines thanks to his Cuban roots, becoming a major sex symbol.
David Gandy (February 19, 1980—)
One of the all-time most in-demand, recognizable and successful male models, this muscular, manly Brit got into the biz when a GF submitted his photos to a TV modeling contest. He handily won, going on to become supersaturated in 2007 when he was chosen by by D&G to be the face of their fragrance Light Blue. Since his start, Gandy has enjoyed a unique level of personal fame, much more so than most models male or female achieve, publishing style books and becoming fodder for gossip magazines. His appearance at the Olympics cemented his identification as being as much of an English icon as the Spice Girls or Big Ben.
Enrique Palacios (May 22, 1975—)
One of the most famous male models from Venezuela, Palacios has fronted campaigns for D&G (see above), Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and many others. More than a spot on this list, Palacios deserves a medal for enduring a relationship with Naomi Campbell at one point.
Francisco Lachowski (May 13, 1991—)
This Polish-Brazilian Lolito has only been modeling for three years, but is already recognized around the world as one of industry's rising stars. He's all over the 'Net, something he told his agency Ford, in an interview, that he rather enjoys:
"The fans, like, um, ah...that’s, that’s weird for me, like, because I’m normal guy, you know? Like, ah. I go on Internet and I saw like Fuck Yeah Francisco and I saw a lot of Web sites with my image and a lot of guys and girls, like, saying, 'Yeah, I love...I love'—I’m, like, that’s really weird for me. I like it...I really like it."
Listen, who cares if they can't put two words together as long as they keep their legs apart?
Fred Souza (?, 19?—1987/AIDS)
This preppy-handsome Michael Ontkean look-alike was a top catalogue model in the '70s and early '80s before succumbing to AIDS. It's shocking how successful he once was considering how bereft of any information on his life the Internet is just 25 years after he passed away.
Garrett Neff (April 12, 1984—)
One of the ultimate CK boys, this Delaware native is more than a supermodel...call him a superdupermodel. In addition to working on behalf of every top brand, he's been shot by a who's who of the world's leading photographers, who can't get enough of his dreamy, dark-eyed good looks. One of his hobbies is photography, and he couldn't be in a better business in which to learn it.
Born in Upstate New York, Richards is one of the most recognizable models of the '80s, having posed for all the usual suspects (Weber, Newton, Meisel) and fronted campaigns for Versace, Burberry, Donna Karan and other luxury lines. For the past 15 years, he's focused more on the acting side of things...that and aging very gracefully.
Jamie Dornan (May 1, 1982—)
This Irish looker was in a folk band and then college before being discovered and offered a modeling contract, thanks in part to then-girlfriend Keira Knightley. He's made a name—and a face—for himself via work with CK (in particular), Dior and others, and is more familiar to Americans for appearing in the series Once Upon a Time. Oh, you've never watched that? Well, too late, he's already dead on it.
Jamie Jewitt (?, 1991—)
Does every male model who becomes famous get there by working for Calvin Klein? It seems so. Jewitt memorably clicked in a CK Swimwear campaign, but has also burned up the runway and been a staple in magazines (and not the kind holding them together). A big, solid Brit, he claims his nickname is "The Big Juicy."
One of Bruce Weber's earliest and most iconic muses, Aquilon was famously the captain of Pepperdine's water polo team when the soon-to-become legendary photographer encountered him.
Along with Tom Hintnaus, Aquilon became one of the first male supermodels and one of the first male sex objects in his field.
The two enjoyed a long and fruitful and tight relationship, one that Aquilon reflected on in a Vman piece from 2010.
Jeffrey Brezovar (?, 1962—)
You couldn't have avoided this guy's fine features in the '90s even if you'd wanted to—but why would anyone want to? The face of Aramis, he adorned many magazine pages for the better part of the decade. In 2001, it was rumored that he was the father of actress Camryn Manheim's baby, Milo, about which he told People:
"I really can't answer that question. I have an agreement not to speak. He's the most spectacular baby, with a full head of brown hair and beautiful long eyelashes."
Openly gay, an all-too-rarity in the modeling world, Brezovar appeared on the cover of Out in 2005 and named himself as Milo's dad...only to have Manheim's lawyers put the kibosh on that angle of this story.
Joe Kloenne (?, 1953—)
A male model who's worked as long as any in the business, this silver-haired devil was once a top model working for every major house. Today, he's a top over-50 model, as handsome (or handsomer) than ever.
Joe Macdonald (?, 19?—1983/AIDS)
A gorgeous model with work to burn in the late '70s and early '80s, Macdonald became a very early and high-profile face of AIDS in the industry when he passed away from the then-new and terrifyingly unpredictable disease. New York Magazine ran a story about how straight female models were becoming too paranoid about infection to work with gay male models; the article is as direct a link as is possible today to the moment when the industry decided it was career suicide for any male model to be openly gay. It's still mostly that way today, 30 years later, when the mystique of AIDS transmission has faded.
Joel West (April 6, 1975—)
West was scoped out while working at a Dairy Queen, and soon after was considered to be among the biggest models of the '90s. His work for Boss and CK led to some indelible images and kept him working steadily for several years. In the 2000s, he moved more into acting.
This Spanish model is capable of insinuating just about anything he likes with his gaunt features and those expressive eyebrows. He's been a huge force in the field with work for Tom Ford (in whose movie A Single Man he has a great scene, pictured), Pepe, H&M and Guess. His 200-page spread in L'Officiel Hommes made it l'officiel—he's a supermodel.
Joseph Sayers (October 15, 1983—)
One of the shortest models imaginable at just 5'6", he makes up for his smallness of stature with his largeness of beauty. Sayers has been a part of numerous racy high-profile campaigns—and was memorably nude for A&F Quarterly—yet was the subject of a so-called "scandal" in 2004 when pre-career, pornographic images surfaced, images Sayers has worked hard to scrub from existence. Just knowing it happened makes it hotter looking at him in other photos, and it's not like he's shied away from the hot stuff—one Google search away, every inch of his flawless body is available for all to see.
Justin Clynes (July 24, 1984—)
If ever a more perfect match for the camera of Rick Day existed, I'm not sure who it is. Clynes, discovered after apeparing in Cosmo in 2005, has worked in print ads, been featured in magazines, acted on TV and trod the boards in A Chorus Line in New Haven, Connecticut. Just about as handsome as you can get.
Kerry Degman (October 4, 1988—)
This natural-born jock was an accomplished baseball player in high school and was headed to more of the same in college when an injury sidelined him into modeling. His back-up plan has turned into a bustling career, including an early shoot with Bruce Weber for A&F that raised his profile exponentially.
When models are encouraged to make love to the camera, or at least to present a blank face that will somehow fill the viewer with complex but ultimately curious emotions, the look being referred to is the one Larry Scott gave in his iconic '90s Armani print ad.
A supermodel in demand for 15+ years, he looks equally good from a distance as he does close up, and both in and out of clothes.
Marcus Schenkenberg (August 4, 1968—)
Schenkenberg is one of the few male models to rise above the sometimes anonymizing confines of his field and become a household name, thanks in no small part to his explosive Calvin Klein campaign in the '80s. He has worked for and with everyone, and has branched out to publish books and make TV appearances to capitalize on his brand.
Mark Vanderloo (April 24, 1968—)
A Dutch supermodel with fluid eyes and a prettiness that's carried campaigns for CK, Valentino, Guess and countless others, Vanderloo has a reputation for being nice even if his name is suspiciously close to that of Ben Stiller's boorish "Zoolander" character. He was unforgettable as Calvin Klein's model for Obsession and for Boss in '95, but continues to work well into his forties.
Marlon Texeira (September 16, 1991—)
This upstart Brazilian model got his start through a friend of the family, but it was his grandma whose idea it was that he should model. Most people's grandmas think they're cute, but Marlon's had a real eye—he has been the toast of many runway shows and racked up dozens of campaigns in just a few years, inlcuding Armani and Diesel.
Matt Norklun (?, 19?—)
In the '80s, you had no better yardstick by which to measure your success as a male model (outside of how much cocaine people would give you for free) than scoring the cover of GQ, something that was a snap for handsome Norklun, who looked to be carved from granite. Over the years, this early supermodel has continued posing, and is now one of the handsomest old-timers around, really putting the "sex" in "sexagenarian." In spite of the fact that New York Magazine called the Perry Ellis frontman a "cult figure" in 1986, his legacy has not, so far, warranted a Wikipedia entry.
Matthew Terry (?, 1990—)
The Calvin Klein Concept model hit the big time when he won VMan's 2001 model search, landing the magazine's cover. There is very little evidence he won't ascend to god-like ranks within the pantheon of male models in no time flat.
Michael Bergin (March 18, 1969—)
Forgetting his crass foray into book publishing (he wrote a memoir about his time with the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy), Bergin is certainly a looker, one who Calvin Klein used as the follow-up to his hugely successful Marky Mark (Wahlberg) campaign for CK Underwear. Bergin was used often by solid brands like Bacardi and Maybelline, achieving what some would call supermodel status in the '90s before venturing into acting in the 2000s.
Michael Flinn (?, 1959—)
In the '80s, People declared him "the most beautiful male model in the world," but it was GQ that ran his images to the point where he was found there as commonly as the table of contents. For nearly a dozen years, he was the exclusive face of Boss, a feat still widely remembered and documented in print and TV ads.
"Moose" Ali Khan (?, 19?—)
This darkly handsome modeling icon has been in the biz forever, long enough to have branched out into the world of yoga and into making music that he says is inspired by "ballet, Bach, Stravinsky, flamenco, samba, African rhythms, trance and dance." In 2012, he said of his progress with yoga:
"Jumping from the dance club scene to the yoga studio was a natural and welcome change. I know found a more concentrated conscious audience who are taking steps to better themselves."
So much more than just another pretty face.
Nacho Figueras (March 4, 1977—)
This Argentinean polo player was recruited into the world of modeling by Bruce Weber, and went along on a lark. He quickly made it into a serious business, one he's used to raise awareness of his sport. Has for years been associated with Ralph Lauren...how literal!
Nick Ayler (April 29, 1987—)
An A&F model catapulted to gay-household name status thanks to his idyllic DNA cover, this DJ, dancer and actor has made an impact with his arresting beauty and fitness-model bod. Ayler is a self-starter with a goal of making it not only as a top model but as an actor. In front of the camera, he's about as shy as a bowl of fruit but far more interesting to look at. Visitors to his site are thanked profusely for visiting then told:
"Life has taught me many things since I have started to pursue life in the entertainment industry, but none more self-taught than: Nothing worth having is ever easily had. Patience truly is a virtue. And take advantage of opportunities, not people."
Nick Constantino (?, 19?—)
With his movie-star looks, dark and dreamy Constantino was a hit in the '80s and early '90s, working with top talent and appearing in such campaigns as Luciano Soprani. his biggest get was probably opposite Claudia Schiffer for Guess 23 years ago. All I can say to that company for hiring him is: Lucky Guess.
Nick Kamen (April 15, 1962—)
This adorable model (with a cute brother, too) caught the public's attention in England when he did a striptease in a laundromat for a widely viewed Levi's commercial. That spot and his work as a fashion model helped pave the way to a brief but quite credible pop-music career, one that bore Madonna's fingerprints in the form of the song "Each Time You Break My Heart", written and produced by Madonna and her longtime collaborator Stephen Bray. He retains an avid following 20+ years after his last album was released.
Nick Scotti (May 31, 1966—)
Coincidentally, as with Nick Kamen directly above, Scotti owes some of his notoriety to a Madonna connection. This Queens-born model had been knocking down jobs overseas from the time he was a teenager but yearned to make an impact as a singer. With his debut album, he realized a couple of modest hits, including one written by Madonna with Stephen Bray, "Get Over", that appeared in a Demi Moore movie. The album didn't fare well enough to warrant another, but Scotti made the jump into acting, workign for many years on the soap The Young and the Restless and later starring in the feature film Kiss Me Guido (1997), which in spite of being aimed squarely at a gay audience enjoyed a wide release and made a couple of million at the box office. It is still one of the Top 100 earning gay-themed films of all time.
At the time of the film's release, I got to interview Scotti for an Attitude cover story. He was extremely nice in person and suggested I was making a mistake by not attending his cover shoot. "I think you would like it," he said mysteriously. The shoot wound up featuring nudity. I was probably home watching Friends.
In 2004, Scotti was ahead of the eponymous reality TV trend, starring in New York Nick for the Style Network. If you've always wanted to meet him and aren't sure how, my advice is to attend any New York area Blondie gigs that come up—he's an avid fan and is sure to be there.
Nikola Jovanovic (?, 1989—)
This Serbian model has a clean yet sexy look that has landed him quite a few covers and campaigns, most importantly Gucci in '11. He's walked the runway for Versace, D&G, Boss and Kenneth Cole. He told The Fashionisto that he's not too impressed with his current HQ, NYC:
"It is so hard to find friends in NYC. Everybody is busy and is just working, working, working, 'cause it's so expensive there!"
I'm here for you, Nikola. Just drop in anytime.
Nicolas Ripoll (?, 1987—)
Born in Argentina, Ripoll's first big splash in modeling occurred when he opened and closed the Prada show three years ago. I tend to prefer meaty men, but Ripoll makes thin look "in," and has graced runways for Louis V, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis, Lanvin and others. He definitely doesn't fit the male-model stereotype of being aloof:
Noah Mills (April 26, 1983—)
This popular D&G and Michael Kors model has benefited from appearing alongside famous females like Claudia Schiffer (naked, by the way), Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City 2 and Taylor Swift in her "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" video. His turn with Lacoste helped place him among the world's most in-demand and successful male models. Well, that and his killer look.
Oraine Barrett (?, 19?—)
Coming to prominence as the male love interest in Rihanna's "Man Down" video, Barrett describes himself as a humble guy who loves soccer and is just discovering a love of reading. (A male model who reads???) He's appeared on and in Out and Flaunt and is currently identified with Ralph Lauren.
Oriol Elcalcho (August 8, 1979—)
This Spanish model is one of the most recognizable working models of the day, with work in the past for Chanel, Paul Smith, Gap and other top brands. He's ideal for print work (see above) and has a romantic look that makes him sought after for editorials with female counterparts, such as the Bally '09 campaign with Christy Turlington.
Parker Hurley (?, 1986—)
Thrill-seeker and "superhero fanatic" Hurley is an American boy who's fronted campaigns for Von Dutch and Buckler Swimwear, and whose lean, tatted up look has made him ideal for edgy photo work with the likes of Tony Duran.
Paul Palmero (April 25, 1948—)
This Cuban refugee became a Francesco Scavullo favorite, landing on the cover of GQ in the '70s and doing campaigns for Armani, Valentino, Lanvin and others. He turned to photography himself and was a success there, too, before settling into model management, which he does to this day. This timeless beauty and opinionated veteran is looking to get his memoirs published—until then, one can only imagine the things he saw and did!
Philip Fusco (September 19, 1987—)
In possession of a face and body that could be used to argue on behalf of creationism, the divine Philip Fusco has parlayed his admirable attributes (all of them...with nothing held back) to become a highly desirable physique and fashion model. In a short period of time, this Long Islander has worked with a dizzying array of shooters, most recently check into the Andrew Christian stable. His lifestyle and fitness blog and YouTube channel are powerful assets in helping him along the road to icon status, which one has to assume is his goal because...well, why not when you look like that?
Quinn Christopher Jaxon (?, 1990—)
This one's earliest Model Mayhem listing opened as follows:
"Hi Everyone!! My name is Quinn Christopher Jaxon and I'm a dancer, model, actor, stuntman, and all-around entertainer who dreams of being on a Big Billboard!"
His enthusiasm, and his physical talents knowing no bounds, it wasn't long before he'd been picked up by Andrew Christian to appear in the full slate of the designer's softcore-pornographic Web spots, which allowed Jaxon to show off not only his movie-star charm and uninhibited dance moves (where does a straight dude learn to booty pop?) but also his ample rear end and a third leg that must make Christian's tightie anything-but-whities more like supertightie.
Since then Jaxon has done private modeling that includes full nudity and erections, go-go danced in clubs , booked bachelorette parties and taken legit stage work (he's a brilliant dancer, not only of the booty-poppin' variety). This full schedule might help to explain why he's been so hard to nail down for an interview when I'm in L.A.! He seems, along with Colby Melvin and Benjamin Godfre, to be at the forefront of a new wave of modeling that has few rules and that places the model's fate in his own hands.
River Viiperi (August 4, 1991—)
Though this Spanish sizzler has lost a bit of his spark by dating the passé (wait, human beings can go in and out of fashion?) Paris Hilton, Viiperi's presence on the Web and in countless ad campaigns (CK, A/X, Versace, H&M) has made him one of the most famous young models working today.
Rob Evans (?, 1988—)
This utterly beautiful Brit was discovered boxing at a local gym in his native Oxford...all those guys out there struggling to become models, and some of the best wind up being men who have it foisted on them. He has risen in the ranks with lightning speed, helped along by a sensational Givenchy runway appearance and his work with Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model.
Ronnie Kroell (February 1, 1983—)
Appearing on the realty show Make Me a Supermodel on Bravo, Kroell's chemistry with Ben DiChiara brought him national prominence, leading to runway and print work as well as acting and charitable opportunities. An out gay man, he's been an activist for AIDS research and a high-profile participant in the It Gets Better Project. Having met Kroell, I can attest to how kind he is, and as further proof that his generosity knows no bounds, he graciously showed off every inch of his body in Playgirl three years ago.
Ryan Barry (?, 19?—)
This sought-after fitness trainer made a big splash as a DNA cover model, for his work with Adam Bouska and as the high-profile squeeze of out celebrities Reichen Lehmkuhl and Victor Fehrenbach.
He told Cover Men about himself:
"Family is extremely important to me, as well as the loving relationships I've made along the way. I want to live without fear and without regrets. I want to keep living dreams, having fun, and making the most of every day. Our time on earth is short, so I'm trying to live it to the fullest. And of course, I strive to give glory to God."
This hot South African with Spanish looks is a rarity in the field, an out fashion model who started in the '90s. Interestingly, he told The Advocate in '97:
"Fashion is a very gay place to be. I honestly think it's harder for a straight kid to work in it. When you're standing there with your shirt off and some gay photographer says, 'Oh, you're gorgeous, gorgeous,' a straight guy might have trouble with it. When you're a gay man, your response is more like, 'Really? Why, thank you!'"
These days, Findlay is easy to spot on tumblr, where full nudes abound.
Sean O'Pry (July 5, 1989—)
According to Models.com, O'Pry is the world's most successful male model, with a dizzying array of campaigns capped off by his work for CK, Zara and Armani. His unique look, which fits with wholesome or exotic motifs quite handily, got him recruited into the biz when he posted prom pictures on MySpace that caught the wandering eye of Nolé Marin. More recently, O'Pry was among the gaggle of fresh-meat fashionistos framing Madonna in her "Girl Gone Wild" video.
Seth Kuhlmann (January 1, 1991—)
Kuhlmann sports a tattoo that says, "God's Appointed Warrior" on one of his biceps and has made the "Warrior Heart" a motif of his brand. Recruited after doing some work for MTV (which he, in turn, had been spotted for while walking around at one of his football games), Kuhlmann has shot with all the fitness greats in the space of just over two years, becoming omnipresent on gay blogs.
Simon Nessman (November 5, 1989—)
Instantly recognizable as the face of Armani, Nessman (who like Mr. O'Pry, two entries up, was in Madonna's "Girl Gone Wild" video) has been an in-demand runway and print model from the moment he debuted. I have underwear older than he is, but none that are quite as cute. Along with Armani, he's been a fixture in CK and A/X ads and has quickly developed a massive fan following on the Internet. He's still so young he adorably has no idea what to do when confronted by a horny woman pulling his leg:
Terron Wood (August 1, 1986—)
An in-demand, all-American type, Wood's been working for about seven years, and has been seen in campaigns for Nordstrom, Bottega Veneta and Ralph Lauren. He's equally adept at stalking the runway as he is posing for catalogue work. With a mug like that, he looks like he could work 30 years, no?
Tim Boyce (?, 19?—)
A supermodel of the '90s, Boyce's star was bright enough to land him in an era-defining image by Albert Watson for the cover of Arena Homme + in 1994 that immortalized the five hottest models of that moment. Openly gay, Boyce later did the cover of Out and, when his fashion career ebbed, more recently did a cover and eye-opening spread for Playgirl.
Tim Easton (?, 19?—)
One of the biggest models of his era, a real "face of the '80s," Easton has continued modeling into his silver-fox years, most memorably posing for Bruce Weber. This is as good an entry as any to decry the utter lack of information available on the 'Net about some of this industry's most indelible workers. It's hard to believe, but many of the most famous male models in history don't even have Wikipedia pages. I have a Wikipedia page.
Todd Irvin (?, 19?—)
A Bruce Weber muse, this dark-haired dude with suggestive eyes was a hot commodity in the early '80s. As such, he is used by peer Bruce Hulse in the latter's Sex, Love, and Fashion: A Memoir of a Male Model to make a point, both about Irvin's status and about the wisdom of working when you're hot since you'll want to when you're not:
"Todd made his way around the room, hugging and kissing agents and assistants. Everyone was at his beck and call, asking if he needed anything. 'A drink, Tood? A cigarette? Would you like a coffee?' An agent approached Todd and began to discuss his upcoming schedule, mentioning that he was booked solid for the next three months. I was shocked when I overheard him tell the booker that he didn't want to work that much. I would have done anything for a single job, let alone three months of work."
Todd Sanfield (February 18, 1989—)
Why does one get the impression that every Todd Sanfield photo shoot ends like most sex acts do? Maybe because this entrepreneurial Michigander has a can-do (and can-be-had) air that makes him absolutely smolder for the lens. That and his inability to keep his hands off of himself (can't blame him) and his passion for showing off as much of his perfect body as possible.
I'm not sure if I like him better with a shaved head or with his dark hair since he looks great both ways. Luckily, he doesn't seem too keen on shaving where it counts.
Sanfield's segued into erotic work that places him outside the mainstream of the high-fashion modeling business, but that has helped to make him one of the world's most-searched-for male models on the Internet. It all sprang from his appearances on gay-targeted magazines like TETU, Out and DNA, and has culiminated with his own brand of underwear.
He has said he'd like to be the next Brad Pitt, but at the rate he's going, he's more likely to be the first Todd Sanfield.
Tom Hintnaus (February 15, 1958—)
This Olympic pole vaulter from Brazil became Calvin Klein's original male sex symbol in the early '80s as the face—and the package—of the then-closeted designer's underwear line. Hintnaus and Klein (and, of course, shooter Bruce Weber) were at the forefront of sexualizing the male figure in advertising, ushering in an era of torso-worship in broader pop culture.
In an October 1980 interview, Hintnaus was speaking of pole vaulting but might just as well have been summing up the modeling trade:
"A vaulter has to have a little bit of crazy in his personality, too. He can't be afraid of anything. At the same time, the vaulter has to have a keen mind so he can follow the competition and know when to pass and when to jump. It can be like playing chess. And that element of risk in it is what makes it exciting."
Tomas Skouloudik (October 24, 1985—)
This sleek, lanky Czech is known for his work with Gucci, Gap, DKNY and others, but it's his Emporio Armani campaign with Rihanna that has secured his spot in male model history. He's also abs-olutely f-abs-ulous.
Tommy Dunn (April 6, 1977—)
A top model since being discovered in his native NYC at the South Street Seaport, Dunn has fronted for Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, Perry Ellis, DKNY and many other all-American brands. Hilfiger told Vanity Fair of one of his favorites:
"Tommy Dunn personifies the Hilfiger man with his cool, offbeat yet elegant look. His casual yet sophisticated look reflects the man that this fragrance [Hilfiger] was inspired by, the man who makes a statement with his confidence and playfulness."
I think all that means: He's real cute.
Tony Hamilton (May 5, 1952—March 29, 1995/AIDS)
A classically trained ballet dancer, Australian Tony Hamilton became an in-demand model throughout the '70s thanks to his chiseled look and perfect catalogue style. He went on to act, including taking over on TV's Cover Up for fellow ex-model Jon-Erik Hexum when Hexum fatally injured himself on the set of that series. Hamilton was at one point a contender for the role of "James Bond," but his acting career never matched the heights acheived by his modeling efforts. A sexual libertine (the stories people who knew him will tell!), Hamilton definitely had fun while it lasted.
He describes the current state of fashion as "not my style!"
Tony Spinelli (?, 19?—)
One of the industry's longest-working models and an instantly IDable face of the '70s and '80s, Spinelli had that chiseled, guy's guy look that made him perfect for the cover of GQ (twice) and a favorite of shooters from Avedon to Newton to Scavullo.
He retired, then unretired as a mature man and currently works for the I Am Waters Foundation, dedicated to bringing water to the homeless.
Tony Ward (June 10, 1963—)
Who could have predicted that Ward, already a working model (albeit one with a nude past in gay mags) at the time he was catapulted to notoriety as Madonna's first high-profile boy toy, would go on to become one of the field's most successful and enduring icons? But that he has. Starting in the early '80s, Ward posed for Colt (under the alias "Franco Kier")and other porn outfits, winding up a coverboy on In Touch for Men, where his mind-boggling rump stole the show. Soon after, his association with Herb Ritts for Calvin Klein made him a rising star, one who would go on to work with every important fashion photographer of the era.
While dating Madonna, Ward's place in the pop cultural firmament was fixed when he starred opposite her in one of her most recognizable (and most controversial) videos, "Justify My Love", and then again appeared alongside Madonna (in chains, licking her boot and doing other pervy stuff) in her even more controversial Sex book.
Their relationship did not last, but his career has only expanded over time. Now 50, he's still knocking down huge campaigns and has been able to create his own art as an actor and designer.
Travis Bryant (January 21, 1987—)
An excellent print model who sprang onto the scene five years ago, Bryant has had some memorable magazine covers, includeing his incredible "Got Abs?" Genre shoot. He got his start with Access World Talent in Denver...as an intern!
Travis Fimmel (July 15, 1979—)
I remember spending an afternoon gently tearing down his posters from their perches near my Midtown apartment and selling them for over $100 apiece on eBay at the height of Fimmel's fame, such was the power of his allure staring out from those CK ads. Considered one of the world's most beautiful guys when he hit the scene, he racked up impressive shoots and was honored by People for his looks. He later acted, though not nearly as successfully, until landing a juicy lead on the current hit Vikings. Had sort of a latter-day Joe Dallesandro look with the hair, but with far more delicate features.
Ohio-born Lough has the kind of smoldering looks that tumblr was created to document. A football player with dreams of going pro, he was instead discovered at a game and talked into exploiting his lens-loveable looks. He's said to have studied business marketing and to have an eye on becoming stinking rich. Rich and gorgeous, two things in life that look great on one's résumé.
Tyler McPeak (November 24, 1984—)
This incredibly fit fitness model and trainer has spoken candidly of how the industry led him into an eating disorder, one he eventually conquered. He told Simply Shredded:
"October 2010 was when I devoted myself to this fitness lifestyle and I told myself I will never put myself through that again. The constant emotional roller coaster that food can give you is not worth it AT ALL."
So that means it's okay for me to O.D. on Oreos, right?
Whatever he's doing (he's following a strict but nourishing diet and using his own cocktail of supplements), it's working. Some of his shots with Rick Day are about as sexy as anything a camera can deliver.
Tyson Ballou (November 14, 1976—)
This face of Armani/CK/Hilfiger/Versace/take your pick is ubiquitous in print ads and on the runway, and has many times been selected as the #1 male model in existence. He also worked with Madonna on the MDG campaign, about which he had this to say:
"It was a great surprise as I only found out that I would work with her on the day of the shoot. I enjoyed it a lot."
I'm sure Madonna wasn't exactly watching the clock that day either.
Tyson Beckford (December 19, 1970—)
The most successful African-American male model in an industry that's been notoriously slow to embrace people of color (and that still occasionally indulges in blackface photo shoots), Beckford has built a name for himself as a true supermodel and industry personality. An Obama supporter, Beckford once said he'd probably work more in Jamaica if John McCain won in 2008. McCain (and Jamaica's) loss was our gain.
Vladimir Ivanov (September 20, 1988—)
Though he was born in Kyrgstan, Russian, not exactly San Francisco when it comes to gay rights, Ivanov is, nonetheless, a wonderful argument for homosexuality that might make inroads with even the staunchest hetero you know, you know? This Nordstrom employee (well, if modeling Billy Reid's line counts) has got some of the hottest lips, his dual calling cards in the biz.
Will Chalker (March 7, 1980—)
You'd think careers in modeling and boxing wouldn't mix, but the situation works out well for British poser Will Chalker. He's been all over the place since his debut in 2000, including Perry Ellis, YSL and Paul Smith.
Willy Cartier (?, 19?—)
This "unnecessarily hot" French dancer's modeling career, already having included work for Gaultier and Girbaud, has been accelerating ever since he tweeted photos that have led some to believe he is out singer Frank Ocean's current love interest. If that's true, they both have good taste.
Zeb Ringle (February 15, 1987—)
I first clocked him in reFRESH and he's shot with primo body documenters Greg Vaughn and Rick Day, but the job I might be most grateful for him taking was when he modeled jockstraps for aussieBum. Perfection, and a lovely way to end a lovely, lovely list.
Based on hotness and not necessarily on history or accomplishments, here is my personal Top 20:
#1 Tony Ward (Actually, he could be #1 for hotness, history and accomplishments!)
#2 Tom Hintnaus
#3 Todd Sanfield
#4 Jeff Aquilon
#5 Garrett Neff
#6 Tyler Lough
#7 Chad White
#8 Nick Scotti
#9 Nick Ayler
#10 Benjamin Godfre
#11 Rob Evans
#12 Noah Mills
#13 Philip Fusco
#14 Sean O'Pry
#15 Quinn Christopher Jaxon
#16 Jon Kortajarena
#17 Marlon Texeira
#18 Jamie Dornan
#19 David Gandy
#20 Francisco Lachowski
#20 Paul Palmero