Cover Story : The Face of Calvin Klein is ‘Bringing Sexy Back’

BRINGING SEXY BACK. Clark Bockelman walks into a modeling gig and the rest is history. The Calvin Klein model opens up to DA MAN about everything from his start to his aspirations and his definition of sexy


Outfit by Louis Vuitton

Not everyone who aspires to become a model actually gets a shot at modeling; and for the few who do, there is no guarantee that they’ll make it in the fickle and fast-paced fashion industry. Clark Bockelman, who hails from Indiana, is among the lucky ones. Firstly, he is blessed with good genes that afford him an enviable muscular build and classic blonde hair—the all-American look every woman wants to be with and which every man desires to be.

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Shirt by Alexander McQueen, trousers by Just Cavalli, ring by John Hardy

Secondly, he has a really attractive presence, which gave him a chance to do an editorial shoot with renowned photographer Bruce Weber. Not too long afterwards, an even greater opportunity landed on his lap: meeting the creative director of Calvin Klein Collection, Italo Zucchelli, and his team. The model went on to win the hearts of the Calvin Klein insiders and has been signed to do both the runway shows and campaign shoots for the brand. His sculpted body and sharp gaze are suddenly everywhere—not bad for a farm boy majoring in geography, right?

Setting aside his covetable contract with the iconic American brand, what makes Clark Bockelman all the more special is the fact that he has been himself this whole time. He is confident and eager without ever boasting about his achievements or his above-par looks. He is genuine and fully aware of the golden opportunity that has been presented at his door. He is sexy without trying too hard. And for those reasons, it is easy to envision a promising future for this blonde haired model.

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Outfit by Roberto Cavalli

DA: What was your first big break in the modeling industry?

CB: After arriving in Miami from my study abroad, I was scouted by someone who sent me to meet Bruce Weber. Two days after that, I shot my first editorial for CR Fashion Book—Carine Roitfeld’s magazine—then I worked with supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Irina Shayk, and built a lasting relationship with one of the biggest names in the industry, all within a single week.

DA: Can you tell us about your journey that led you to a major Calvin Klein campaign and even being a muse for Italo Zucchelli?

CB: Two weeks after I moved to New York, I was scouted on the streets of SoHo by Calvin Wilson, a casting director working for Calvin Klein at the time. Three months later I opened and closed the spring/summer ’14 Calvin Klein Collection show and shot the advertising campaign shortly after. I have worked closely with Italo through the entire process, learned a lot of things that a kid from Indiana would never know and have met some of the greatest people along the way.

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Boxer by Calvin Klein Collection

DA: How did you manage to embody Calvin Klein’s sexiness and modernism for both the campaign and on the runway?

CB: To be honest, I have always been myself since the beginning, so I guess you could say I was born with it, or we could go the nature vs. nurture route if you’d like. I’ll take the advice and hints from a photographer on location, and doing a little research every now and then definitely helps.

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Sweater by Alexander McQueen, trousers by Roberto Cavalli

DA: What is sexy in your own words? Would you consider yourself sexy?

CB: Sexy is having confidence in ourself and in everything you do. I’d like to consider myself sexy, but that’s a word I reserve for women and not men.

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Briefs by Calvin Klein Collection

“Sexy is having confidence in yourself and in everything you do”

DA: Since becoming an insider in the fashion industry, what kind of surprises have you encountered so far?

CB: One of the most surprising things I’ve seen is the amount of effort that goes into designing clothes and getting them to the shelves. I was lucky enough to be a part of the entire process from day one on the drawing boards all the way to selling the clothes to buyers with Calvin Klein. Also, would have never guessed that you sit around as much as you do. I’m a very active person and during photo shoots I have a hard time just waiting around doing nothing. I like to help out, but most people don’t want the “talent” getting their hands dirty.

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Top by Versace, scarf by Valentino

DA: What kind of challenges do you often face when doing your job? How do you overcome them?

CB: Modeling hasn’t been an 8-to-5, five-days-a-week job for me. I grew up in an atmosphere that revolved around the average workweek, and adjusting to the amount of down time has been quite difficult, actually. I’ve picked up a lot of new hobbies along the way, which is fantastic, and I’ve found some new passions, but sometimes it is hard to manage keeping myself entertained and not break the bank, especially in a city like New York.

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Jumpsuit by Louis Vuitton

DA: You seem to update your social media channels on a regular basis. How important is social media for models today?

CB: Social media has become the new way to brand yourself. As a model, I’ve become my own brand, and the amount of exposure I have is something that most people would pay big bucks for. It’s very important, and keeping clients interested in you and having fans are a part of the job.

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Outfit by Etro, necklace by John Hardy

“To be honest, I have always been myself since the beginning”

DA: Out of all the places you’ve been to for modeling jobs, which one has been the most interesting? Why?

CB: I’ve definitely had some interesting adventures, but I worked for a German client once that flew me out to Acapulco, Mexico. The hotel was amazing and looked out over the Pacific. Each location we shot at was beautiful, and one day they rented a boat and had all of the models waterskiing at once behind the boat. It was great! I grew up on a lake surrounded by water sports, and here I was getting paid to waterski in the Pacific Ocean.

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Shirt by Louis Vuitton

DA: How do you stay in shape? Can you share your health regime?

CB: Right now I’m on a program to gain mass. The body always needs to be confused, and the mind always needs to be entertained, so I am always switching it up when it comes to my workouts and nutrition plan. A month ago I was eating only vegetables and lean meat, training specifically to lean out, but now I’m taking in whatever my eyes see and doing heavy lifting.

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Briefs by Calvin Klein

DA: Having come so far as a model, do you have any plans to explore other aspects of the fashion industry?

CB: Modeling is great and all, but my current interests lie within the film industry and also being behind the camera.

DA: What do you usuallly do in your spare time?

CB: I spend a lot of time climbing, skiing and working with cameras.

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Outfit, earrings and shoes by Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

DA: If you were not a model, what would you do?

CB: I would have graduated from the University of Denver last year and I would have probably ended up working somewhere out west for a National Park or some government agency.

DA: What are three things that most people don’t know about you?

CB: I’m an only child; I want to live on a sailboat; I floss every night.

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Outfit by Roberto Cavalli, ring by John Hardy

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Outfit by Etro

Photography Mitchell Nguyen Mccormack

Styling Alexa Rangroummith Green

Grooming Mark Edio at See Management using Three Cosmetics and Oribe