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Photo finish: Gay male supermodel Chris Fawcett on his success

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BY Shawn Schikora

Former Navy serviceman Chris Fawcett, 25, is fast becoming the "it" boy of the moment. Sexy in a sweet, wholesome way, the openly gay Fawcett is different from the dark, buff, brooding male models of the last decade.

Moving from Denver, Colo., to New York several years ago to pursue a modeling career, Fawcett quickly gained success, getting exposure in publications such as Man, Genre and MetroPop, and modeling for such high-profile designers as DKNY and Calvin Klein as well as ad campaigns for Anson's SS11. Aside from modeling, Fawcett hopes to pursue both acting and writing careers. He recently spoke to WCT about his career as a model and his future ambitions.

Windy City Times: Your career is gaining momentum quickly. Any thoughts on perhaps becoming the next male supermodel?

Chris Fawcett: [ Laughs ] As far as being the next male supermodel, right now I have my niche, and I do what I need to do [ professionally ] . But yeah, it's a dream, I'd love to have the next fragrance campaign and that prestige. It's about how much work you put into it, so hopefully, with time.

WCT: If you weren't modeling, what would you be doing professionally?

CF: Acting has always been a big dream of mine, and as I grow older, I find whatever I do has to be creative. For the last two years I've [ also ] been focusing on writing, it's been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I never thought of writing as something I could turn into a career until recently. I'm about seven or eight chapters into [ writing ] an urban fantasy novel. I definitely think writing is going to be one of my next ventures.

WCT: You recently did a fun, sexy photo shoot with Brooke Shields. What was she like to work with?

CF: She's amazing, she's such a trouper! First of all, she's one of the sweetest women, or celebrities [ for that matter ] , that I've ever met. She's so down-to-earth, and really open. She loved talking about her kids, she's so in love with them. And, she's still got it! She is so sexy. We did some pretty risky scenes but she is a really great woman, and she's very professional.

WCT: You're openly gay professionally; even today, many models are not. Yet, you get regular work for hetero-oriented ads and photo shoots. Do you feel being out significantly affects, or limits, your fan base, with either men or women?

CF: I didn't mean to be openly gay in the industry; it just kind of happened. I have trouble with holding things back, or trying to hide things that I don't feel like I should have to. Regarding the industry, I think sometimes people are quick to label you, and it's sad that it's like that.

In this day and age, as much ground that we've seen breaking when it comes to equal rights, I feel in some cases [ discrimination exists ] . I know there are plenty of photographers who won't shoot gay models, and I think it's sad because they're passing on models who are truly talented and have a great gift. I see it happen a lot. But I have gotten work for hetero-oriented jobs, like you said, and actually those are my favorite, because I enjoy being free like that. It's exciting to kind of play that role, because I'm very comfortable with women.

WCT: Your looks are quite different from the brooding, heavily muscled models from the past decade or so. Do you feel having a boyish, lean appearance has helped set you apart from many other male models?

CF: I think it has. But, I'd like to believe I'm sort of a chameleon, and can fit into many images. I do think I have an interesting and different look that is moldable, and I think it has helped me.

WCT: Do you prefer print or runway work?

CF: Well, with runway there's this rush—it's a high, and that's really fun. But, for me, I'm really strongest in front of the camera. I really love creating a little world … while I'm at the shoot, evoking emotions and letting the photographer capture those feelings.

WCT: You seem comfortable modeling semi-nude. Have you ever gotten advice against appearing in erotic ad campaigns or photo shoots?

CF: At times, I feel I should have gotten advice when I didn't. Being such a young, new model when I first moved to New York, I did some shoots which I feel are sexy and which I'm proud of, but for those photos to be what I was coming out of the gate with, I now feel like maybe I should have had some advice against it.

I've definitely learned how to govern myself and, these days, if I'm doing something that I'm not comfortable with I'm not going to do it. In this industry, you get put into a niche. I was doing a lot of body [ photography ] when I first emerged on the scene and, for a time, that became my role. But lately, I've been focusing on getting more into the fashion [ side ] of modeling. I'm very comfortable with my body, and I'm sort of an exhibitionist! [ Laughs ] But as far as my career, I'd like to continue to book more fashion.

WCT: What do you feel are the elements that create a good working relationship between a model and a photographer?

CF: I think when the model is completely comfortable with himself and he's able to listen to what the photographer has to say. It's also important for the photographer to be able to convey what he wants to get across. I think that when both parties can find the understanding of what needs to produced, from there it becomes a very pleasurable experience. Ego needs to be checked at the door as soon as you walk into a job, on both parties.

WCT: Lastly, you've achieved success quickly, at a young age. What's the philosophy, attitude or belief behind your early success?

CF: You know, I've given everything that I can. There are plenty of times in every model's career when it seems like a struggle. But perseverance is key in anything that you do. I was never ready to give up—I have too much to prove to myself. So, I persevered and I think perseverance is key to my success.

For more info on Fawcett, visit .

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