IN A OWN LEAGUE OF HIS OWN. He used to make his plays on the soccer field, but now John Halls is a permanent fixture in the modeling world. DA MAN gets to know the soccer player-turned-model a little bit closer
Outfit by Versace, shoes by Ermenegildo Zegna
Up until 2012, John Halls was a familiar face on the English pro soccer scene. But an unexpected twist of fate happened: Unforeseen injuries forced him to retire and embark on an entirely new journey. His leap into the fashion industry turned into a series of fortunate events, as he turned out to be a prolific model with an almost natural affinity with runways and photoshoot sets. So today, the ex-Arsenal defender runs with a new kind of squad as he continues to grace magazine covers, pose for ad campaigns—not excluding Thomas Pink, Next and H&M this season—and prowl the catwalks as if he was never meant to be anything else.
Outfit by Issey Miyake, shoes by Ermenegildo Zegna
DA MAN: Hi John, how are you doing? Can you tell us where you are now? We heard that you have just come back from a photo shoot in some faraway and exotic location.
John Halls: Hi! I’m very well, thank you. I’m round my nans at the moment for a lovely roast dinner, but, yeah, I have just got back from a nice job in Antigua, which was great.
Outfit by Kenzo, shoes by Ermenegildo Zegna
DA: You started modeling quite late. Before you went into modeling—you were a professional soccer player. Could you tell us a bit more about your time on the field?
JH: So, I was lucky to be a pro footballer for 14 years up to the age of 30 when I had a bad injury that eventually forced me to retire. I was at Arsenal from the age of 10 and made three appearances before going to Stoke City and Reading F.C.
Outfit by Alfred Dunhill
DA: Can you share with us some of your highlights when you were playing soccer professionally?
JH: I had a good career, although it was plagued by a lot of injuries. I made three appearances for Arsenal, which was the team I grew up supporting, so that was a bit of a dream come true. I went on to play a few years at Stoke City and Reading F.C. in the Premiership, and I also played for England up to the age of 20.
DA: And then came the untimely end to your soccer days. Could you tell us what exactly happened?
JH: I had suffered a bad injury to my achilles tendon, which eventually finished my career despite a few operations and many injections meant to sort it out.
Outfit by Thomas Pink
“My family was really excited, but I definitely still get ripped by my friends about being a model”
DA: A lot of people find it hard to let go of a dream, especially when it’s something exciting like their favorite sport. How did you cope with that?
JH: I had a really bad time coming out of the sport I loved. The first few months were really tough, but I’ve got a great family around me, and they helped me a lot.
DA: After leaving soccer behind, what made you look into modeling as an alternative?
JH: A few months before I retired, I met my current agents [Next] and they gave me their card. But I thought nothing of it until I actually finished football and I phoned them and begged for a job!
Outfit by Giorgio Armani
DA: How long did it take you to realize that, yes, modeling is your future?
JH: I still consider myself feel relatively new to modeling, so I think I’ve only just realised this could hopefully last for a while and that it’s something I could actually make a career from.
DA: How did your friends and family react when your image started to transform from the roughand- tumble footballer to a decidedly more refined fashion model?
JH: My family was really excited and proud, but I definitely still get ripped by my friends about being a model! I won’t tell you some of the things that get said.
Jacket by Ermenegildo Zegna, shirt by Ted Baker, trousers and shoes by Kenzo
DA: Do you still remember your first modeling gig? What was it like to be in front of the camera for the first time?
JH: I actually modeled as a kid, so it wasn’t too strange going back in front of the camera. I worked quite a bit up to the age of 11 and being in a Kylie Minogue video was one of my bigger jobs. Football then took over and I stopped modeling.
DA: Tell us a bit more about your “makeover,” both in terms of the physical and mental changes you underwent as you really started to embrace the modeling career?
JH: I think I’ve always taken care of my appearance so the transformation to modeling didn’t seem to extreme except for a few new haircuts and a bit more moisturising. [Laughs]
Blazer by Kenzo, sweater by Alfred Dunhill, trousers by Etro, shoes by Tod’s
“I actually modeled as a kid. I worked up to the age of 11 and was featured in a Kylie Minogue video”
DA: Were there any elements from your sporting career that you took into the world of modeling?
JH: My experience as a good team player has helped me quite a bit in the modeling world. I value everyone’s role when on set, from the photographer to the hair stylist to the runner. It’s 100 percent a team effort!
DA: More and more pro athletes dabble in modeling. What do you think about this phenomenon?
JH: I think it’s great if they are able to fit modeling in and around their training. As long as they’re not stealing any jobs from me, it’s all good. [Laughs]
DA: What would you say are the main challenges that male models today have to face?
JH: Obviously, keeping in shape and looking good is a big part of being a model. But I also think that a lot of models struggle with the inconsistency of work and not knowing where the next job is going to come from.
Jacket by Alfred Dunhill, swimwear by Calvin Klein
DA: What has been your favorite modeling project so far? A favorite campaign? Or something unforgettable that you’ve done as a model?
JH: I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some great places; but my favorite so far has to be my latest trip to Antigua. There was this unbelievable villa and it was a great company shot for Next’s directory.
DA: Where do you see yourself in five or maybe ten years from now?
JH: I like to think I’d still be modeling but also doing something else in fashion. I do have a few plans of my own.
Outfit and shoes by Etro
DA: Have you ever thought about what you would be doing now if modeling didn’t work out for you?
JH: I would probably still be doing something in football, coaching or something along those lines.
DA: When you’re not on a photo shoot set or a runway, what do you usually wear?
JH: I’m really into my clothes and always take a lot of time with my appearance. I do love a good blazer.
DA: And what tips and advice do you have to be a stylish dresser?
JH: My main tip would be to make sure your clothes fit correctly. You can spend a fortune on a suit, but if the fit’s not right, it’s not going to look good.
Outfit by Gucci
DA: Who are the biggest influencers in your life and career?
JH: My family and friends have always been the main influencers in my life and my professional career.
DA: What do you usually do during the downtimes between photo shoots and runway shows?
JH: I like to spend time with my girlfriend, friends and family. I have a dog and I love walking him. Also, I love to do a bit of betting once in a while, as it keeps me busy. I wouldn’t recommend it though! [Laughs]
Outfit and shoes by Ted Baker
DA: What would be the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring models?
JH: Work hard and always act professional.
DA: What are the three most important things that you can’t live without?
JH: Family, friends and meat.
Tank top by Gucci, trousers by Alfred Dunhill, shoes by Giorgio Armani
Outfit by Ermenegildo Zegna
Photography Marcos Domingo Sánchez
Styling Angel Cabezuelo
Grooming Gloria Peñaranda using MAC Cosmetics
Hairdo Matthew Waddoups using KIN Cosmetics
Production DeeBee Creatives
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