Chris Brown: “I can’t say that any models really inspired me to get into the industry, my path was mostly incidental and financially motivated”

23 nov, 2013

Hey, my name is Chris Brown. I’m originally from Maryland where most of my family still is, but I grew up in Park City, Utah: home of the Sundance film festival and the greatest snow on Earth!

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I split my time not on set between my furniture design company, Andrew Mason Design, that I started with one of my oldest friends, and spending time hanging out with family and friends, exploring my favorite city and home, Los Angeles or cooking big dinners for everyone at our place.

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How did all begin: The Hollister job

I started modeling in college after I booked a Hollister job via my part time retail gig at the ephemeral Rhuel store (gotta pay for beer somehow!). I was still a full time business major so I started slowly, but within the first year after graduating, I was shooting so consistently that I decided to leave my job in finance behind and move to LA permanently to model full time.

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That first shoot for Hollister was my first time doing any modeling at all, I just had to wing it. Luckily a lot of the other models were in the same boat and it was a really natural lifestyle shoot so it was an easy introduction to modeling. Plus we had a little hotel party after the first day and logged some time in the hot tub which wasn’t too bad either.

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My first test shoot was the exact opposite: a one on one with an old Italian guy at his condo in the valley. Awkward. 

My favorite things about modeling are the opportunities to travel and always be doing something new with new people. Plus it allows a lot of free time to pursue your passions without being forced into a job you hate to stay afloat.

Posing to photographers: patience, respect, trusting and rhythm

The best kind of photographer is a patient one who respects your end of the job. Someone who gives you the one to find a rhythm and trusts you to know what you’re doing, then captures the moment he’s looking for and puts the camera down.

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The worst kind are the high maintenance, over explainers who treat you like a prop in their grand vision. That’s the fastest way to get me to check out mentally. As far as preparation goes, that’s what those first 25 frames or so are for, when you feel out the vibe of the story the ad is telling.

Nudity is something I am comfortable with and even enjoy provided everyone is professional. It can be totally liberating in the right setting, but if you don’t share the creative vision of the photographer/production, or you feel like they’re doing it out of personal desires, that makes it cheap and I’ll sign off without thinking twice.

The most bizarre backstage scene I’ve ever been apart of was an art installation for a MAC cosmetics corporate event. There were 12 models including myself, 6 guys and 6 girls, and we all had to strip completely naked in one big room to be painted, head to toe and every nook and cranny in between.

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Imagine making small talk with the people on either side of you while someone applies body paint to your nether regions. Those brushes tickle! The show lasted 2 hours during which people wandered around having cocktails, checking out our paint jobs. By the end of a 6 hour paint session and a 2 hour party, everyone was stripped of their inhibitions as well as their clothes, so when it came time to clean off, humility went out the window. There were big vats of olive oil and coarse sugar in a room covered with plastic, Dexter style. It was a greasy orgy (not literally…) of hand scrubbing madness, until everyone was naked as a baby again. There were 6 or 7 rounds of this internationally and by the end we all new each other INTIMATELY. One marriage even came out of it!

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The runway experiences

I’m only 5′ 11″ and I live in LA full time, so my runway potential is limited, but I’ve been lucky enough to walk for a few designers including John Varvatos, Levi’s, and 7 For all mankind. Backstage is pretty much the exact opposite of the intense, composed, and meticulously choreographed time on the runway with everyone frantically stripping, throwing their clothes all over the place, and getting into their next outfit with the help of the handlers so they can find their spot in line in the nick of time.

When I’m walking down the runway I’m usually just trying to keep a straight face, whenever people cheer it makes me want to crack up!

The fashion industry: women still rule 

I feel like women are higher paid in general because they are taking a bigger risk entering the industry. They have to start younger, sometimes putting off school or another career, because they have a smaller window than men and even more competition. Also, women represent a much larger portion of the consumer base and spend more money on fashion, so female models will always be paid accordingly and have a stronger following individually. 

Chris Brown By Benjo Arwas_2

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Any model as a role inspiration?

I can’t say that any models really inspired me to get into the industry, my path was mostly incidental and financially motivated. There are some models who influenced me once I was already here though. I worked with Caleb Lane on one of my first jobs and he was really friendly and unpretentious to me considering he was such a veteran and I was so clueless. He was a great mentor for those few days and he even let me stay with he and his girlfriend in between days to get me out of the models apartment.

In the ladies’ department, I really respect the women who have managed to brand themselves and outlive the stereotypical window for female models. Women like Kate Moss or Heidi Klum who became icons of fashion, even bigger than the brands that make or break girls careers as they enter the industry.

Chris´ style: a fashionista?

Personally, when it comes to fashion I try to live by the time travelers code: Wear classic pieces that could be in style anywhere in the last century. I definitely come across pieces here and there that are in trend and slip them into the rotation, but overall I stick to simple, timeless clothes that fit well. I would say that personally, fit is paramount. I’m hardly a fashionista, but I always take care to stay well put together. 

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Imagine u a famous model surrounded by a huge crowd!

I can confidently say that nothing like this has ever happened to me, but if it did I would try to keep my composure while looking for a quick exit. It’s important to be gracious in the face of flattery, but I hate crowds!

Dating x Loving

In dating and love I have learned a lot of lessons the hard way, through some trial and a lot of error. I have always been a romantic and my bachelor days were always intense breaks between more serious relationships, most of which ending anywhere from bad to ugly. From these trials and tribulations I have learned a few lessons that have turned into core values:

 1) Honesty is always the best policy; no matter the justification, lies are always told for the wrong reasons.

2) If you can’t be happy alone, no one else can make you happy. Codependency is a bad foundation for a relationship. 3) Never stay with someone out of a sense of duty. If you’re not all in, you have to tell them even if it hurts them because their time is not yours to waste.

Chris Brown By Benjo Arwas_31

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Sports

I haven’t really played many sports since high school, but I am very competitive by nature. I’m not interested in playing a game that doesn’t have a winner and a loser.

If you could have a super power what would it be?

If I could have any superpower it would be invulnerability (not to be confused with immortality). That way I could live life without fear and perform death defying feats like skydiving without a parachute or motorcycle racing without a helmet. Also, you could help people in positions where no one else could reach them.

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Who’s your favorite superhero?

My favorite superhero is definitely Batman because he is so dark and complex. He is like the anti-Superman.

What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a model say?

I once told someone that there were 51 states in America and they believed me

Having fun, enjoying life

These days I’m pretty busy, so when I get time off I like to spend it with the close friends I have already doing something mellow like having a barbecue or going bowling, even if the drinks get flowing and we get a little wild, I much prefer and intimate setting to a noisy club full of strangers.

Atracting someone´s attention

I am a bit if an introvert so I don’t usually do much peacocking. If there is someone I think is cool or interesting I just start talking to them, no real strategy involved.

The craziest (nastiest?) thing in a summer time season

I cannot answer this question on the grounds that I might incriminate myself…

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Fav body part and why

If I can assume this question is carnal in nature, I have to say that a great butt is the most important thing to me, apart from a pretty face and generally good fitness. The more romantic answer: I am a sucker for beautiful eyes and I love that little soft spot on a girl between her jaw and earlobe.

Fav underwear for daily acitivities and for those cool sexy moments :)

I always wear boxer-briefs in black, navy, grey or white. If I think someone’s going to see me in nothing else, I wear whichever are the newest and snuggest.

In his IPOD

My Ipod is in current rotation. Right now I’m into Mount Kimbie, King Krule, and some Van Morrison deep tracks from before his R&B days.

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Fav food

Pizza. I could eat it 3 meals a day.

Guilty Pleasure

This might sound kind of girly, but my regular guilty pleasure is baked goods. I live behind a bakery and I float over there on the smells just like Bugs Bunny.

If you weren´t a model you´d be…

I would be doing furniture design full time and going to school for architecture if I could afford it.

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The Projects

I would share some upcoming projects, but we usually only get a couple days notice. Right now I have an option for a Japanese commercial though that I’m pretty excited about. At the casting they had us rip a jacket off, throw it at the wall, and march out of the room.

Motto

Never make any decisions out of fear.

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Agency: Wilhelmina LA http://www.wilhelmina.com/

 

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