The Hype Beast: An in-depth chat with American model Parker Gregory

As we talked about how the modelling industry has changed over the years, veteran American model Parker Gregory also opens up about his motivations for becoming a personal trainer

Suit by Brunello Cucinelli; sneakers by Dior

Model Parker Gregory is no stranger to the fast-paced world of the modeling industry. With his extensive knowledge of how things work, good looks and positive attitude, Parker also built his career on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle through his modeling career. Backed by his dedication to fitness and passion for personal training, Parker inspires others to lead physically and mentally healthier lifestyles. We sat down with the charismatic model to discuss his career motivations and more.

DAMAN: Hi, Parker; great to have you with us.
Parker Gregory: Great to be here, and not just for the privilege of this interview, but to shoot for the magazine. It’s an honor.

Coat and neon turtleneck by AMI Paris; nylon jumpsuit by Prada; watch by Vaer

DA: How has the modeling industry changed since you started, and what do you think the future holds?
PG: Well, the cameras and process of setting up photos, for example. Film to digital. Even though there are such amazing photographers who started on digital, at the beginning of the digital era, many models and photographers could only be more consistent in their craft. We went from being limited to several roles of films or clicks of the camera for a shot to checking the photos in real-time and seeing if we have it. I feel a lot of it is overshot.

DA: Do you have pre-shoot rituals or habits that help you get into the right mindset?
PG: Not really. I show up, see the mood board, talk to the client and photographer and give them what they want. We aren’t there to waste film or time!

Tracksuit by Casablanca; necklace by Cartography

DA: You’ve modeled for various brands in print and on the runway. Do you have a preference, and what do you enjoy most about each?
PG: Runway can be fun, depending on the show, who’s show, the concept, etc. I prefer being on set shooting.

“Life dealt me some fantastic cards and some bad ones. My life has always had a unique way of humbling me many times.”

DA: What do you look for in a brand or project, and what excites you most about a potential collaboration?
PG: Loving the brand, such as Armani Sport, and working with Mr. Armani and his team is always a pleasure! I ask myself if I would wear the clothing for other jobs where I get a more prominent role. Who are the people behind the brand? Do I get some creative input for the shoot? And possibly asked about the design, material, function, etc., of the clothing; if so, I become more invested mentally and emotionally and our work shows.

Jeans by Ralph Lauren

DA: You are featured in fashion campaigns that showcase athletic wear. How important is it to you to promote a healthy and active lifestyle through your modeling work?
PG: Consistently. Not only have I modeled for about 20 years, but I’ve been a trainer and coach for over 10 years. I love fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

DA: How has your healthy lifestyle impacted your modeling career physically and mentally?
PG: I wanted longevity in my careerand my life. So, making sure I made changes to stay healthy and age gracefully became important.

Watch by Vaer; necklace by Cartography

DA: Have you ever felt pressure to maintain a particular body type, and how do you deal with that pressure?
PG: Yes and no. I naturally carry more muscle than most male models. I can gain muscle mass quickly, which doesn’t make for fitting some brands easily. I’ve always carried more muscle mass in my legs and butt than the standard male model figure. So being aware of my size does play a role. Do I worry about being super lean day in and day out? No.

Watch by Vaer; necklace by Cartography

DA: How do you approach networking and building relationship within the industry, both with other models and with photographers and designers?
PG: I’m kind, respectful, and open to all on set. I don’t believe in treating anyone on set lesser than anyone else. We are all there for our specific job and continue to do so because we love our job and are masters of the craft. Someone might not be seasoned, they are new to the industry, and their job doesn’t mean they do serve less respect. I was new once, so I’m happy to give any advice if asked and needed. Still, to this day, I have learned something new.  I also love discovering that I can connect two people for business. It does not mean I must be involved further than the two parties’ introduction. Now if I am involved, fantastic, but not always the focus.

DA: What motivated you to become a personal trainer, and what do you find most rewarding about it?
PG: I’ve always had a caretaker side. I love motivating individuals and groups. I love leading and guiding people to achieve more than they thought was possible. I’m a hype man by nature. I get as excited or even more excited when my athletes and clients achieve their goals as they do themselves. I was once a high-talent baseball and football player but lacked discipline and the understanding of how great I could have been. I pull a lot from that and give that to my clients and athletes. I want them to know that “you can!” Make the most of it. Discipline creates freedom.

“I love motivating individuals and groups. I love leading and guiding people to achieve more than they thought was possible. I’m a hype man by nature.”

DA: What are some of your go-to recovery techniques after a long work day, whether a challenging workout or a busy shoot schedule?
PG: I’m by nature a “Go Go Go” individual. My wind-down time and methods vary. Sometimes it’s doing something physically demanding. Other times my mind, body, and emotions override and tell me to “relax,” and it’s ok.

Watch by Vaer; necklace by Cartography

DA: How do you stay motivated to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, especially during busy or stressful times?
PG: Motivation is one thing; discipline is the main anchor. Discipline trumps motivation. Now, if your motivation relies on discipline and your goal is to consistently better yourself and chase a better you, you will stay motivated. Life is stressful no matter what. How you view, respond to, and manage it makes all the difference.

Underwear by Dsquared2; necklace by Cartography

DA: What’s your philosophy regarding creating training programs for your clients, and how do you tailor them to individual needs?
PG: Creating programs for individuals is simple. Find out what they want, what they need, what they are capable of, and their weak points. Start at the weak points and build. Most people want to avoid the slower road to get there, but the journey is more sustainable and fuller of knowledge and growth.

watch by Vaer; necklace by Cartography

DA: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned throughout your life and career, and how have they shaped your perspective and approach to your work and personal life?
PG: Humility. Life dealt me some fantastic cards and some bad ones. My life has always had a unique way of humbling me many times. Learning in those moments is the best part of how I view people and life. I’ve been at the top of the mountain only to cause my fall.  Learning to be more grateful and have grace and patience is something I learned later in life. When granted the opportunity, I pass this information on to younger people.

Outfit by Diesel

DA: And lastly, what’s next for you, and what are your future goals and aspirations?
PG: I love modeling and would love to continue as long as possible. It’s a fun job and I think I’m great at it. I also love fitness and have put a lot of time, energy, and focus into building that part of my life as a profession I love and a business. The joy I receive from both is nothing short of a fantastic feeling. I’m currently working on a few projects involving apparel. I’ve always wanted to be directly overseeing a clothing line. I haven’t had nearly as much luck on the acting side as I have had on the modeling side of things, but that doesn’t cause me to call it quits. I love the film (TV and movie) process and the opportunity to play a character. It’s another level of enjoyment. Being on set for a film is a ton of fun for me.

Tracksuit by Casablanca; necklace by Cartography

Watch by Vaer; necklace by Cartography; Jeans by Ralph Lauren

Coat and neon turtleneck by AMI Paris; nylon jumpsuit by Prada; watch by Vaer

Suit by Brunello Cucinelli; sneakers by Dior

Outfit by Diesel

Special thanks to Marcus Niska at Maxx Management