Bradley Greiner: model, actor and the Darfur activist!

28 dez, 2010

In 2004 he was shot by the famous photographer Bruce Weber in Santa Barbara and Golden Beach, Fla. These pics are considered one of the most iconic in A&F’s artistic vault; “I only shot for two days and had not the slightest idea that my picture would be plaster all over the country”.

Southern California, born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days.I used to watch Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a kid, so I guess that’s where we’ll start.  Around the age of 13 my Mom noticed I was getting rather tubby (I remember watching Fresh Prince after school and eating chips and salsa every day), so she enrolled me in swimming.

Wearing a speedo was difficult at first, especially as the new, doughy kid, but after a few years of swimming I began to do very well in both swimming and water polo.  I went on to be an All-American swimmer, then  played water polo at UCLA, and won a National Championship with that team in 2004.  I always knew I was a better swimmer than water polo player, and who knows, you could have been speaking to Michael Phelp’s competition if water polo hadn’t been so much more fun than swimming laps!

So sports is probably my biggest personal interest, and nowadays I am also very interested in health and nutrition as well as the environmental movement.  Being in this industry gives me a lot of free time to follow my passions, and for the past few years that has been the environment (I read a lot about sustainability) and nutrition (in particular, America’s food system and current eating habits).

From Water polo to A&F model!

To me, it would be odd for any person to look in a spoon and say, “Wow, you’re incredibly good looking, maybe you should do that for a living.”  I think most models get discovered, as did I.  I was playing water polo at UCLA and some creeper (just kidding) in the bushes approached me after practice.  He was a scout for Abercrombie and Fitch and that lead to my first shoot with Bruce Weber.  I was in the middle of season during the week-long Abercrombie shoot, so my only time off was after a game on the final Sunday of shooting.   After that game I drove directly up to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles and only made it to the last 3 hours of shooting. Since I was caught up in the water polo season, I didn’t know the first thing about Bruce Weber- I just showed up to work and the rest is history.

Working with Enrique Iglesias and the interaction with other models

I think my favorite thing is when I get to work with another model, because the interaction between two people or more always makes for the most interesting photos in my mind.  I guess the most recent job I did was interesting- I worked with a female for the new Enrique Iglesias featuring Nicole Scherzinger music video for the song Heartbeat.  I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail since it isn’t out yet, but all I will say is I consider myself very lucky to get paid to work very closely with a beautiful female model. Before any shoot, my only real preparation is trying to abstain from alcohol the night before.

A  fashionista?

I wouldn’t consider myself a fashionista.  I mean, I know a lot of people that care much more than I do, so I can’t categorize myself with them.  I like my Levis, Calvin Klein underwear, Toms shoes, and American Apparel T-shirts.  In the gym, you can’t go wrong with Lululemon…and NO, it’s not only for girls!   Nothing is more comfortable nor longer lasting than Lululemon.

Imagine u a famous model surrounded by huge crowd!

If this is in my imagination, my close friend and model Sterling Folkestead would be right next to me so that we could bust out a mother-f*ing walk-off to give the crowd what they want.  About a year ago in NYC, a drunken group of 30 or so of us commandeered a city bus and everyone wanted a walk off, so we gave them the performance of our lives.  Sterling and I are both able to laugh at the ridiculousness of our lives, so any time we get to reference Zoolander to make fun of ourselves, we take advantage of it.

Human Rights: The Darfur activist

Whoa, now that’s a 180 from the previous question…  I stepped away from modeling in 2007 to start a nonprofit targeting many of these issues called Team Darfur.  We worked with over 400 Olympic and professional athletes around the time of the Beijing Olympics to draw attention to the crisis in Darfur, and the athletes that joined were very brave to speak out about all of these issues.  Not only did they draw attention to the human rights concerns in Darfur, but also faced criticism from the Beijing government about free speech.

So, I guess the best way to face the world concerning these issues is to act if you have an idea you think will change the world for the better.  I naively started Team Darfur with the idea that it would be part-time, and because of the generous support of donors, I quickly had a full-time job with a lot of responsibility.  I was just too busy to model, but I believed in the idea and the power of athlete’s voices, and the nonprofit was successful in keeping the victims of the crisis in Darfur in the spotlight and showing the world that every country, including China, has a right to uphold the human rights of every human.

Show biz, Fame, Success..

I think show business is a wonderful thing.  I mean, it would be easy to sit back and complain about the negative sides of show business and especially fame, but whenever I think of show business I am reminded of the countless films and TV shows that inspired me, changed me for the better, and opened my eyes to different perspectives.  The power of show business is why I am in the industry- I’ve seen how talented crews can move me to think, act and perceive the world differently, and I want to add my perspective to this mix.

So I try to view show business separate from fame, because to me it’s pretty clear who is in the industry solely for the fame, and those that are in the industry to entertain first, and second to use their fame for the betterment of the world.


Dating X Love: A strong connection trumps the physical
Sports: would rather play them than watch them.  Training with professional athletes on a regular basis prevents me from having some of the common body issues I see in this industry.  I train and play sports very competitively so that I don’t have to think much about how my body is looking.
Atracting someone´s attention: Eye contact.  Other than that, I am too laid back and never make the first move.
Having fun: by surrounding myself with people that have a positive outlook on the world and a good attitude.  A hike with friends or a dog will always trump the treadmill, and snuggling up to a good film will always beat going to clubs.

Fav body part and why:  my nose.  The reason being, when I first entered the industry I only shot for two days and had not the slightest idea that my picture would be plaster all over the country.  I wasn’t ready for the criticism about my nose being broken and I took it pretty hard.  I was told multiple times that I would book more if I had my nose “fixed.”
Plastic surgery does serve a purpose and that’s a much larger discussion, but I think that as a society if every model conforms to the idea that we will make more money if we look “perfect,” we would really be moving in a dangerous direction.  The best photographers in my mind don’t look for perfection, but instead beautifully photographing that that is unique.

My nose was broken in the final game before playoffs my senior year, and if I would have taken two weeks off to get it fixed, I would have missed playoffs with my best friends, likely not been recruited to UCLA (I played very well in playoffs), and who knows how else my life would have changed.  It has been a process, but I’ve been able to embrace that what makes me different…And not to mention, it gives me a much more distinct look as an actor.
Fav undies for his daily activities and for those coooool sexy moments (lol!): CK

Fav singer and which music he listens in his IPOD: Citizen Cope, Vampire Weekend, Alice Smith (hear this woman live if you ever get the chance- her voice will move you like no one else), Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Beatles, Damien Rice
Fav food: Thai

Upcoming projects

I’m living in LA now, focusing most of my time on acting classes and writing (I recently wrote a spoof for Zoolander, so I have Zoolander quotes on the mind if you didn’t notice).  I’ve been fortunate that modeling has paid the bills while I embark on this new journey.  I recently shot a 3D commercial for Panasonic, music videos for Enrique and Michelle Johnson, and I’ve been shooting a lot with Tony Duran.

An unforgettable moment: Shooting the Enrique Iglesias Heartbeats music video in a virtually pitch black sound stage
Motto: Follow your passions
Full name: Bradley Thomas Greiner

Contact info: APM Model Management