ROGER MORIN is French-Canadian, in his 30’s, 6’1 and 182lbs. He is tall, dark and handsome with strong features and a statuesque figure that angels are made of—no wonder he is an International Model! You can catch Morin in one of his traveling escapades or in the front cover of a Harlequin novel where he is the Prince Charming you read about. We get many emails from our male readers inquiring on how to break into this industry, so Morin volunteered to tell you the Ins and Outs of modeling and why he’ll never quit.
So you went to college, and now have your own construction business, where did modeling come in between the two?
Well I had done construction (drywall finishing) since I was 9, so I always knew that I was going to be in the construction business. During my last year in college (2000) I was dating a model who felt I should go in. I did. I got a great response, but picked one agency. In the summer of 2000, I began my 1st stint as an international working model. As the owner of my own construction business it coincides with modeling, since I make my own hours, am able to travel and construction keeps me fit.
What designers/companies have you worked for and who were your favorites?
Most of my work has been print work, which it is to say I’ve worked mostly for the company, but not at the designer end. Most notable one was Armani. And the best magazines have been in are Men’s Italian Vogue, and GQ. My all time favorite was a company called Rhodes and Beckett in Australia who specializes in high-end clothes. They paid well, and they flew me from Athens to Cairo, Egypt for the job.
How was it working for SONY VAIO?
The people were nice. When not directing me, they were deciding why they didn’t have an underwater camera like Olympus. It was cool to see myself on their website and all over Toronto.
How does it feel going out and seeing your ad somewhere? What’s that feeling like?
It is an interesting feeling, albeit a good one. My first was in Taiwan when I did a huge campaign for Hang Ten, a popular Asian clothing brand. It was everywhere! There were 15 of my posters running through a park, alongside 15 posters of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 2! The dreadful thing about it was that I hadn’t slept in 7 days when I had arrived and the pictures showed it. Some pics after you shoot are embarrassing to see, but it’s a good feeling for the most part. I do a lot of Harlequin romance covers now, which are usually kind of sexy, but if you squint your eyes, all the guys look the same (tall with dark hair).
Many men think that because they have the killer abs (six-eight pack), and a nice smile that they can model. Modeling isn’t for everyone, what can you tell them?
Modeling isn’t for everyone. Bottom line is you need to take good pictures. I know some attractive people who aren’t photogenic. At the same time, I know tons of models that look average in person, but amazing in photos. Certain features such as low brows/huge lips may look weird in person, but on film those features are numbed down, yet stand out. Lastly, a good body is great to have, but muscle is not necessary. If you can’t fit into a 40 R, then you will have to. Depends if you are the catalog type (tall and handsome) or the high fashion type (skinny and boyish looking).
Any fashion designers/models/photographers ever hit on you?
Yes, mostly stylists. In my experience, many hair stylists, clothing stylists, and makeup artists I’ve worked with have been gay. Not all of course, but most. They hit on you, but mostly for fun I guess. For models who are secure with themselves, it makes the job go by quicker, more relaxed. But, in Europe, I find most of the photographers are homosexuals and some of them have been quite forward asking if they could take some nudes. Maybe some just wanted some tasteful nudes, but I had one clearly grab my chest and ask me if I wanted to “PLAY” this was after he lured me into his vehicle off the street with the promise of a “Potential Creative” (a term for a free photo session, in which he gets the photos and one gets copies). I quickly learned of these tactics and steer clear of these types of advances.
Met any supermodels during your work?
I haven’t worked with any real supermodels, but my friends have. Their experiences differ. One met “Miss Ego” a.k.a. Naomi Campbell. The others have worked with a few, and said they weren’t as hot as they thought they would be. An acquaintance of mine dated Supermodel Daria Werbowy. I guess he dated her for a while, but it didn’t work out when she got famous. I never met her, but I was told that she was a very nice girl.
What fashion designers would you like to work for?
At this point in my career, there isn’t anyone I would like to work for really. The fact that I am older now restricts who I could work for. Maybe some mature brands like Nautica or Hugo Boss. The jobs just don’t pay anymore, partly because of the digital age, and because of the economy. People are getting paid a fraction of what men were getting paid in the 90’s. We are talking thousands less. The only chance for longevity in this business is to crack the catalog market. 2-3 thousand a day, 3 or 4 times a month, is going to keep you working, 1500 euros for an Armani show in Milan is NOT.
We have to ask, who is your favorite clothing designer and why?
I like Diesel. Their jeans last forever! The clothes are cool and funky, but wearable. They are fitted, plus you don’t have to be skinny to wear them. I like European styled clothes (except skinny jeans and capris!).
Your best modeling experience was…?
I have two. I once made a lot of money for Timex and all I had to do was kiss a girl for 4 hours. I think I even fell asleep for 20 minutes during. The second one was in Athens, Greece. I got to frolic in the sea with a couple buddies and a pretty girl. We played volleyball and lay in the sand all day. Who gets paid to do that ever?
Any additional advice and tips to those wanting to step foot in the industry?
I would say, that if you can do it, do it. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I met so many people from around the world. It really cultures you quickly. You learn a little about a lot of languages. Do it while you are young. I started late. Go and see all the agencies that you can. Even if they all say “NO”, keep trying. There are so many international markets looking for different things. And if you manage to get an agent, bother them. Get them to place you internationally. If a local agent likes you, and they are reputable, then chances are there is a market for you somewhere. Just don’t think of it as a career, just an opportunity. If you can make it work for the long run, then good for you, many won’t since digital jobs shoot twice as quick as before, so instead of shooting an 8 hour day for 300 an hour like in the old days, jobs end up being 4 hours for 300 an hour. And the competition is STIFF. Don’t take criticism personal. If you cannot handle harsh comments such as “you are too fat” or “your nose is too big” then you need to harden up.
Any mean diets or intense workouts?
Being the muscular model type, I always felt the pressure to have a “great” body, which is hard for me to maintain, because it is much easier for me to just look good and not great. Don’t go to extremes to look phenomenal. Different people have their modeling niches. Underwear models do underwear. There are body models, who just do body stuff and that is tough to compete with. If you have the look, you can get jobs. Most markets don’t like veiny guys… definition is good, but not veiny. I know guys who have just decent bodies and they got jobs that required their shirt off. In terms of dieting, I have tried vitamin E, red wine, Hydroxycut… ultimately, for me, it is just a good diet that works. Some guys are just naturally ripped.
Worst modeling experience was?
The worst job had to be in China, when I worked all day outside in 100 degree weather wearing winter coats on black asphalt. My friend and I had our faces in the crack of the neighboring building’s window just to get a whiff of the A/C. And for our breaks they brought us warm water to drink. All you want is a cold drink in those temperatures, but to no avail.
You love traveling, what places have you traveled to and which place you loved the most?
The first place I went to was Taiwan. I’d had never been anywhere before out of the country besides the US, so that was quite a change. Taiwan is widely considered a Model Boot Camp. You work a lot, the conditions are bad, and Taipei is a really dirty city. Then Milan, where I did a couple shows. Then Milan again, South Africa, NYC, Hamburg, Germany, Greece (4 times), China, Hong Kong, Brazil, London (a few times), Hungary, Turkey, Japan, Amsterdam… and a few other places not for work, but for pleasure, such as Honduras, Mexico and St. Martins. I liked traveling more when I was younger because as long as there were some pretty girls around then it was a great time. The nightlife as a model is basically FREE. You’ll get amazing VIP treatment in most of these places above. Now, I would just like to travel with someone, instead of just taking pictures. Athens is my favorite place. The beaches and the islands are wonderful. I have some really good memories of the parties and the relationships. It is definitely the best place to party if you are in the model scene. Guys, if you have a girlfriend, don’t let them go model in Athens alone, you will see why if you ever go model there yourself! One word to describe it— debaucheries!
What are your future plans and is modeling in them?
Well, I will always model, as long as I have my hair that is. As my hair gets a little grayer, some different opportunities will arise, like young dad/family stuff (mature look). I also love and will continue in construction as it leaves me time to do all this traveling on the side.
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