Sean O’Pry has been around the world in the last couple years. The world’s most popular male model, O’Pry’s face has been gracing the covers of the best fashion magazines in every corner of the globe. Not bad for a small-town boy from rural Georgia.
Here in the year 2012 exactly a power player among social networking sites. Still, no matter what the future holds for the site, the owners can always take pride in being the ones who made the rise of the Sean O’Pry phenomenon possible. The 22-year-old male supermodel was first discovered by fashion guru Nolé Marin (you may know him as a sometime judge on America’s Next Top Model), when he happened upon some high school prom pictures of O’Pry on MySpace.
That was 2006 and at the time, O’Pry was just a 17-year-old kid from the little town of Kennesaw (pop. 29,000) in the southern U.S. state of Georgia. Maybe it was because of his brooding good looks, or his charming Southern personality, or simply because of his raw talent; but for whatever reason, O’Pry quickly became the favorite of designers and photographers. In 2007 alone, he walked the runways for Diesel, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Zegna, among others. He has been photographed with supermodel Jessica Stam. He has been the face of Calvin Klein and Gianfranco Ferré. It was hardly a surprise when Forbes magazine ranked him as the world’s most successful male model in 2009, just two years after O’Pry started full-time modeling.
Three years on and O’Pry hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. So far this year, he has been featured in ad campaigns for Viktor & Rolf cologne, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren Black Label Denim and Calvin Klein, in addition to appearing in one of Madonna’s music videos for Girls Gone Wild. O’Pry proves to DA MAN that he’s really worth all the buzz around him in this exclusive fashion shoot and interview.
DA MAN: Can you share with us your story? How did you get started in modeling?
Sean O’Pry: Well, I was on a traveling baseball team, and our [high school] football season was about to start as well, and I get this message in my inbox on MySpace from a guy called Nolé [Marin], from my prom pictures. And then he called my parents, and put this woman on the phone and she speaks to my mom … and then they get off the phone and my mom and dad tell me the deal—that VNY [Model Management] is sending a contract in a few minutes. We sat down and talked and thought ‘why not give it a try?’ That woman that was on the phone with my parents was named Lana Tomzcak [née Winters], the owner of VNY. Lana, and her husband Damian, have raised me since November 27, 2006.
DA MAN: Did you ever dream of becoming a model? Traveling the world? Living under the spotlight?
Sean O’Pry: Not even close! But when I got the opportunity … why not try? And at the beginning, it was all up in the air, was I going to go, or not? Was I going to make it? But anything I do, I devote myself to it. I’m not one to fail and if I do, I do it again and again till I succeed. It’s probably my greatest and worst flaw.
DA MAN: Describe your life in the past few weeks? What’s a typical day in the life of Sean O?
Sean O’Pry: Interesting (laughs) … hectic, but blessed.
Leather pants by Blonds, necklaces by Chris Habana, boots by Kaufman’s Army & Navy
DA MAN: What was it like moving away from home in Georgia to the big city? How did you feel? Were you apprehensive? Excited? Why?
Sean O’Pry: It was crazy, I didn’t speak for three days, and if you ask anyone around me, that’s miraculous. I was terrified. I left on my own, no family, no friends … I left everything to see what would happen.
DA MAN: You’ve been modeling for six years now, can you share with us some of your most memorable parts of the journey?
Sean O’Pry: Truthfully, every second of this job has been memorable. Some amazing, some not so much, but every day I open my eyes … the memories don’t stop.
DA MAN: Any favorite campaigns?
Sean O’Pry:You know I can’t answer that.
Jacket and shirt by Louis Vuitton
DA MAN: You’ve worked with some of the best photographers? Who are your favorites?
Sean O’Pry: Every photographer brings something different to the table, so it’s impossible to say. I’m just happy I’ve got to work with some of the most talented and creative people.
DA MAN: What do you think about the modeling world? Living the fast life—flying from city to city, continent to continent?
Sean O’Pry: The fast life (laughs) … not my thing, but the travel is hectic. In June, I already have to go to 13 countries, which is great, but it’ll be all work and no play. But [I am] just appreciative of the work. I don’t get paid to complain. But I have a really cool job coming up, and my family is going to be a part of it, so I’m stoked about that.
Leather shirt and leather jacket by Calvin Klein Collection
DA MAN: What aspect of the job do you like most?
Sean O’Pry: The idea of being able to create and be a part of something that inspires others.
DA MAN: And what do you dislike most?
Sean O’Pry: Flying.
DA MAN: What’s your motto in life?
Sean O’Pry: Don’t think I have a motto.
DA MAN: How do you keep yourself fit? Any particular regimen or tips you can share with us?
Sean O’Pry: I’m just always active. I’m too hyper to stand still.
DA MAN: Having traveled all around the world, where do you envision settling down?
Sean O’Pry: Part time in the mountains in [the U.S. state of] Georgia and the other part on some island in the Caribbean.
Twill jacket, silk pants and patent leather shoes by John Galliano, sunglasses by Dior Homme
DA MAN: Any plans to do so? Settling down? Are you dating anyone in particular?
Sean O’Pry: Oh yeah, I can’t wait to one day have a wife and kids … but not right now. I’m just doing me, and staying focused on my career right now. So just flying solo at the moment.
DA MAN: Being always on the move, how do you maintain relationships with relatives, friends?
Sean O’Pry: It’s sometimes very difficult, but we all make it work the best we can.
DA MAN: You’ve been named by numerous publications and pundits as the world’s top male model, what do you think of that?
Sean O’Pry: I mean hey, if you’re asking if I mind … not at all. I’m just happy to have consistent work.
DA MAN: What are your plans for the immediate future? Any projects outside modeling that you can share with us?
Sean O’Pry: Hmmm… I’d like it to be a surprise.
DA MAN: If we were to read your autobiography 40 years from now, give me a synopsis, what would the story entail?
Sean O’Pry: Probably a family, couple kids. Definitely a dog, couple more classic cars and a lot of fishing trips … oh yeah, and me trying to get under par on the golf course—but that one’s a long shot.
DA MAN: What is your idea of happiness?
Sean O’Pry: It changes all the time. Right now, it’s getting this interview done.
DA MAN: What is your current state of mind?
Sean O’Pry: Relaxed. I’m in ‘lake mode.’
DA MAN: What is fashion to you?
Sean O’Pry: A career, at the moment.
DA MAN: And what is your personal style? Any favorite designers?
Sean O’Pry: Jeans, a T-shirt, my [MLB team Atlanta] Braves cap and boots. I’m not too fancy.
DA MAN: What represents masculinity to you?
Sean O’Pry: Being able to just be you, not what you think you should be.
DA MAN: Three words … if a friend were to describe you?
Sean O’Pry: Depends on the friend. My buddy Randy would probably say things I’m not allowed to write (laughs).
Pants by John Varvatos, necklaces by Chris Habana
DA MAN: You’ve worked with some of the most beautiful girls in the world. Do you ever feel nervous like many guys?
Sean O’Pry: A pretty lady always will make man nervous.
DA MAN: Greatest achievement to date?
Sean O’Pry: My family being proud of the man I’m becoming.
DA MAN: What inspires you apart from modeling?
Sean O’Pry: Too many things to list, I couldn’t function with just a few inspirations.
DA MAN: Who is your personal hero?
Sean O’Pry: Papa and Father.
Photographs : Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling : Cannon
Location: YOTEL New York
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