Delve into the somber moods of the season with British model John todd as he roams across the sand dunes and beaches off New York.
The world of modeling is awash with stories of unassuming young men who happened to be in the right place at the right time to be scouted by a rep from a modeling agency. It all sounds bit too good to be true and almost feels like an overused movie cliché but it is, in fact, how many of the world’s best models came into the business. It was also how English model John Todd came into the business.
One day, Todd was hanging out at a beach that proved to be his “being in the right place at the right time” moment. Fast forward three months later and he found himself in New York, on a set with none other than Donatella Versace. That was in late 2011. In January 2012 he walked on the runway of Calvin Klein Collection Men’s Fall 2012 show. He was also seen on the catwalks of Louis Vuitton, Rag & Bone, and several others. In the years to come, that list would grow to include Nautica to Moschino to DSquared2 and so on.
It certainly isn’t hard to see why he has attracted so many clients. His toned physique and chiseled face scream masculinity, but there’s that subtle touch of androgyny that really sets him apart. Most importantly, however, beneath all that, John Todd is still John Todd—a man with a penchant for excitement and a strong believer of just being himself.
DAMAN: Hi, John. Thank you for making the time for us. So, what are you busy with these days?
John Todd: Not a lot. Just hanging out with friends and trying to pay the bills. Modeling keeps me pretty busy, so going to castings and gym plus traveling for jobs etc.
DA: If we could start at the very beginning of your career, what was it that brought you to the world of modeling?
JT: I was scouted in England and it’s all gone from there. I started working consistently and then was placed with other agencies and have since travelled to different cities and different markets.
DA: Do you remember how it was to pose in front of a camera for the very first time?
JT: Pretty awkward but it got easier as it went on. The first time I was definitely a bit stiff and out of my element but working with great photographers and stylists who give you pointers I adapted pretty quick and got more comfortable.
DA: Roughly how long did it take before it all became natural for you? Or was there sort of like a Eureka moment where you realized that modeling was a profession that you want to follow seriously?
JT: There wasn’t really a Eureka moment but once I started traveling that’s when I really started enjoying myself and knew I wanted to pursue it further. Being able to see that world was a huge factor, and still is!
DA: On a related note, what would you say was the most challenging part of growing into a professional model?
JT: Not knowing when the next job is. It’s not like a normal nine-to-five job where you go into an office every day and have a routine. There are a lot of moving parts involved and you kind of have to just go with the flow of things.
“It’s funny how just being yourself really is all you need to do.”
DA: You’ve been modeling for over six years now, right? What has been some of the biggest highlights or milestones of your career so far?
JT: Working in different countries that I would never be able to go to otherwise and meeting great people from all around the globe.
DA: In those six plus years, you’ve walked in a lot of the big shows during Fashion Week season. What is it really like to be part of fashion events of that scale?
JT: Good fun. Some shows can really be out of this world and being in front of a crowd like that is an adrenaline rush.
DA: Obviously, for high profile shows— like, for example, Ralph Lauren’s fall 2017 show, which you walked in—you’re competing with hundreds of other models. How do you stand out?
JT: By talking to people. It’s funny how just being yourself really is all you need to do. Talk to people and make friendships—that’s just what I’ve always done.
DA: Generally speaking, what would you say does it take to stand out as a professional model these days?
JT: Don’t know; that’s a tough question. But, like I said, just being yourself and talking to people usually seem to work.
DA: Social media has become a major disruptive element in the industry, what with the popularity of “Instagram models,” influencers used in campaigns, etc. How much has social media influenced your personal career?
JT: That’s another tough one. I don’t really know how to gauge that. It [social media] has definitely become a part of it, but I’m not really sure the impact it has had on me or my career personally.
DA: Do you curate, for lack of a better word, your social media posts to better present yourself to potential clients? Or do you just use Instagram and so on more for personal stuff ?
JT: No. It’s for me to remember what I’ve been up to. Like I said, just be yourself.
DA: Looking ahead, do you have any major projects lined up for the rest of 2018?
JT: Yeah, I want to buy a new bike!
DA: Plans aside, what kind of modeling projects would you like to take on more of in the near future?
JT: An underwater one! I’ve always wanted to try that.
DA: Are there any particular brands or perhaps photographers that you would really like to collaborate with one day?
JT: Any, really. There are so many great people out there it’s tough to narrow it down.
DA: Moving on to more personal stuff, when it comes to your day-to-day look, what kind of outfits do you feel most comfortable with?
JT: Tracksuit pants and a T-shirt. I like to keep it simple and comfortable.
DA: In your opinion, what are the most important styling tips that everybody should be familiar with?
JT: Do what you want, be yourself. [Laughs] That’s turning into my mantra.
DA: And, of course, you’re also known for your toned physique. What’s your secret to stay in shape? Do you have a special workout regimen or maybe a diet plan?
JT: It’s just my body type; I’m really lucky that way. I definitely try to stay active. Moving around, doing things while I travel exploring the places I’m in also helps a lot.
DA: Outside of your work, what else are you passionate about? Do you have any serious hobbies or other interests?
JT: Sharks. [Laughs]
DA: Lastly, what’s your number one source of motivation?
JT: Eating. I love food!
“It’s not like a normal nine-to-five job where you go into an office every day and have a routine. There are a lot of moving parts and you kind of have to just go with the flow of things.”
Photography Will Warasila
Styling Paul Frederick
Grooming Scott McMahan at Kate Ryan Inc., using Tom Ford Men
Model John Todd/ SOUL Artist Management