Balancing his university studies with his burgeoning modeling career, Chris has an auspicious future ahead of him. Check his story out below.
Say hello to Chris:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I am from Cumming, Georgia! I’ve definitely done quite a bit of domestic traveling throughout my life. I’ve been to New York, San Francisco, LA, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and several other cities around the US. Unfortunately, I haven’t done any international travel.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world right now is probably San Francisco. I absolutely loved the culture, art, ocean, and vibe. It was all so incredibly beautiful and I hope to move there someday.
What sparked your interest in modeling? How did you get started?
My grandma, or “Gaga” for short, actually convinced me to begin my career. I started back in July of 2015 with just some simple headshots and lifestyle shots. I slowly built up a small portfolio that I then sent out to several agencies around the Atlanta area. I eventually signed in January with E.I. Model Management. I had an incredible experience and loved every moment with them because they truly helped me get to where I am now. Currently, I am signed with Meraki Models and Talent, based in Dallas, Texas. So far, my experience with them has been nothing but wonderful, professional, and positive. I can’t wait to see where we go from here!
Who are your role models in the industry?
I’d say my biggest role model in the industry is a recent model. Nyle DiMarco won ANTM in Cycle 22 and has been a positive and amazing role model in not only the modeling industry, but the deaf community as well. He has made incredible progress in proving to society that those born deaf can do anything that a hearing person can. I think that Nyle is using his fame and publicity in a great way, and I hope to see more from him in the near future. He’s a name people won’t forget anytime soon.
Who are your top three fashion designers you would love to collaborate with?
Now it may be an oxymoron, but as someone that models clothes for a job, I actually don’t know a whole lot about fashion designers. However, I would love to work with H&M, Forever21’s men’s line, and Topman.
How difficult was it to attain agency representation?
To be completely honest, the hardest part was building up a few photoshoots to be sure that modeling was for me. Once I auditioned for E.I., everything fell into place. The audition was simple and straightforward. All the models really had to do was follow direction and show that they were passionate about the industry. My audition with Meraki was similar in that we had to show that we cared and viewed modeling not only as a passion, but also as a business.
As a university student, how difficult is it to balance your studies with your modeling career?
I would say it can be very difficult at times, especially with papers, exams, friends, a very active social life, and on-campus organizations to deal with. However, since it’s one of my strongest passions, I do my best to make everything work well.
What’s your favorite picture of yourself?
This photo was taken by Ara Zana several months ago. This picture is probably my favorite so far – it was the moment a photographer and friend truly expressed that she saw something in me that no one else had. She pulled me aside and told me that this photo exhibited much more than just a model wearing a flag and clothes. She said the expression was introspective, and the flag drew the element of patriotism into the image. When Ara expressed this, I knew I was on the right path.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
Generally, I do fashion and commercial. My favorite, however, is definitely high fashion. I love the weird stuff. My favorite thing to do is to really analyze the angles of the outfit and see what kind of creative poses I can put with the clothes to portray them in the best manner. My favorite project I’ve ever worked was with Carieo Crenshaw. He put together a beautiful project entitled, “Dynamic Men.” It was a fashionable editorial organized to show the elegance of masculinity. Here are two images from the shoot.
Modeling is very competitive. How do you stand out?
Many guys stand out by trying to be the most fit, the tallest, the one with the best teeth, or the one with the best fashion sense. On average, this works. However, I think the best way to stand out is less of a physical representation, but more of a mindset. I think what differentiates myself from others is my true and genuine passion for modeling and the entertainment industry. People care about the money and the fame, but I just think it’s fun. In a perfect world, I’d model for free. But we’ve all got rent to pay.
Who has had the biggest influence on your modeling career?
A multitude of people have influenced my career. It’s almost impossible to say who has had the biggest influence since everyone I’ve met thus far has shaped my career and opportunities. With that being said, I think Elbert Ivory, the Creative Director/President at E.I. Model Management has had the biggest influence so far, because he was the first guy to take a chance on me and my career. That’s something I’ll always be thankful for.
What’s been the most challenging part of modeling, and how did you overcome those challenges?
The hardest part of modeling is being flexible and malleable. Many people, regardless of profession or career, tend to get stuck in their own ways about how they think things should go. When it comes to modeling, there’s always something new to try, something different to wear, and a different way to view something. It’s definitely an art and it takes time to master.
What is the best thing a photographer can do to bring out your personality?
Probably just joke around, laugh, and have a good time. I get the best shots out of a photoshoot when we are just having a good time.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
My most memorable shoot was definitely the “Dynamic Men” editorial I did with Carieo Crenshaw. I had such a fun time with the shoot, and we all had on really stylish wardrobe styled by Carlos Aralas. Check out the project here.
What do you like most about modeling?
My favorite thing about modeling is definitely the freedom of expression I gain by doing it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself through the experience so far, and I can feel myself growing and improving every time I shoot.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great model?
Be flexible and be willing to change.
What’s a deal breaker for you when deciding to do a shoot?
I usually have to run shoots through my agency first, but if it were up to me, I’d want to make sure that the photographer was talented, experienced, and had a genuine reason for shooting.
What are the top 3 tips you have for aspiring models?
My first tip is to be absolutely sure that this is something you want to get into. It’s so rewarding, but it’s incredibly stressful as well. Second tip, stay true to yourself. Only do things that you are comfortable with and know your limits. My third tip may be the most important of all – be sure to know yourself before going into modeling. Know what makes you happy, what annoys you, what kind of people you can deal with and who you can’t. I’ve seen many models with confidence issues that are shocked by how brutal the business can be.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Spiders and most insects really freak me out. When I see them in my apartment, I always have my roommate find a way to take them outside!
Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
I’d like to give a huge shoutout to a good friend and photographer, Ara Zana. She has definitely pushed my career in the right direction and has cared so much about my well being and success.
What do you think is your best feature?
I think that my best feature is my eyes.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Ideally, I’d like to be more fit. One good thing about that goal is that it’s something I can achieve and work towards through a healthy lifestyle.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I’ve always wanted to go skydiving, but I haven’t done it yet mainly due to my crazy schedule!
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Chris, here’s some contact information:
Chris, thanks so much for sharing your story with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.