Introducing Dan Murphy

After a short-lived career playing hockey in Canada, Dan Murphy migrated south to Florida to study Small Business Management. He began his modeling career shooting for W magazine with Kate Moss before working with Armani, Abercrombie & Fitch, Boss and Barbour in addition to shooting the cover of Fantastics magazine. I caught up with Dan to find out how he handles the hectic pace of modeling and to talk about his passion for the culinary arts.

Tell us about how you got started as a model.

When I was in college in Palm Beach, I became good friends with a photographer who took some simple pictures of me and sent me to meet with some agencies in Miami.

How do you feel your peripatetic upbringing helped you adjust to the hectic work schedules of modeling?

Well, I would say that because of the amount of traveling I did as kid I’ve always felt comfortable jumping on a plane at a moments notice and being dropped in a foreign country. I understand that probably doesn’t sound appealing to most people, but it is part of the job.  Over the years it just gets easier and easier. After doing this for so long I now have friends in most of the different cities around the world that I work in.

What do you hope to get out of modeling?

The fashion industry has been really good to me for the last eight years or so. Every day I count all my blessings and try to make the most of the opportunities that modeling provides. I truly do love what I do and enjoy connecting with people. Someday I hope to leverage my career and build a nice charity organization.

How do you feel your Bachelor’s degree in Small Business Management has informed the way you approach your career?

This is how I make a living and I do take the business side of it pretty seriously. I think most of the older guys understand that.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

The last couple of seasons I shot the advertising campaigns for Barbour. This company has an incredible history in the UK and sticks to their roots. I’ve been blessed to travel with them all across Great Britain and Scotland shooting on mountaintops, at horse races and historical country estates that take your breath away.  I will always cherish the memories and friendships I made on those trips.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I love to cook! One of my favorite things to do in the city is go the Institute of Culinary Education and take their cooking classes at night. They have a huge selection of recreational cooking classes I’m working my way through. It’s all hands on and the best part is the huge meal you get to feast on afterward.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with modeling?

In one word, balance.  I have a tendency to be an all-or-nothing kind of guy which can burn you out over time. In turn, I have to remind myself to try to find a happy medium and take a little extra time for myself here and there to unwind.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I talk about this one a lot actually – and it kind of goes back to finding balance in life. The advice, “enjoy the process” was given to me by a dear friend and mentor of mine. It’s easy to enjoy the high points in life, but it is trying to find the good within the bad times and finding little wins through the tough times. Whether you are up or down, you still have to go through it to get where you are going so you might as well make the best of it.

Follow him at @DanMurphyModel

Justin Hopwood – Iconic Beauty

With matinée idol looks, Justin Hopwood landed the cover of the Abercrombie and Fitch Quarterly and has become a mainstay in the Ralph Lauren family fronting campaigns for the brand season after season. Named by as one of the industry’s Money Guys, this native South African routinely has clients calling on him.

Tell us about how you got started as a model.

My younger sister, who was modeling at the time, dragged me into her agency to do some admin work and a gentleman by the name of Byron Kealumans asked me if I was interested in modeling.  I told him I wasn’t really interested. He asked me to grow my football inspired mohawk out and clear up my skin. At the time I had pretty bad acne. Once I followed Byron’s advice, I did a little work here and there in South Africa and then in 2010, Bruce Weber scouted me for an Abercrombie shoot. He flew me to Miami where we shot and one week later Jason Kanner, the owner of Soul Artist Management, signed me. Within minutes of meeting Jason he sent me to Ralph Lauren. A month later I shot my first ad with Ralph and then the rest is history.

Hailing from South Africa, what were the biggest adjustments you made living in the US?

I guess the culture and the exchange rate. Oh, and the weather – we don’t get snow in South Africa.

What do you hope to get out of modeling?

I hope to grow as a person as much as possible and really embrace the opportunity that I’ve been given.

Models Bridget Hall, Tyson Beckford and Tanga Moreau all had longstanding relationships with the Ralph Lauren Corporation much like yourself.  How does it feel to be part of such an iconic brand and family?

It’s a really special feeling! I remember growing up seeing all of the iconic Polo ads with Mr. Beckford. Now I’m able call him a good friend and work alongside him which is very special to me. Ralph Lauren has used the most iconic models in the world over the years and I am beyond grateful and humbled to be a part of the team. They really are like family.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

I would say all my shoots with Bruce Weber since day one with Abercrombie. The Big Pony fragrance and the new Polo S/S 15 campaign are also up there. Bruce Weber is really special to work with. He knows how to bring something out of you on camera that’s special and really captures a moment.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve had a unibrow since I was ten years old that I constantly have to tame.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with modeling?

The distance from my family.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Jason Kanner told me to “stay humble and be patient”.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

To invest in property and grow as much a possible in both modeling and as a person.

Follow him at @justinhopwood_

Mini Anden – From Sweden With Love

Stockholm native, Susanna ‘Mini’ Anden began her career at the tender age of ten before signing to Elite Model Management when she was 15. She has been on the cover of Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan in addition to campaigns for Gucci, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton. Mini met her now husband on the set of a DKNY shoot and resides in Los Angeles with her family. Still very much in demand, Mini spends her time between her home in LA and New York. Mini reflects on her career as Emily Sandberg and I caught up with her.

Can you pinpoint a time in your career that changed everything for you?

My career really took off in 1998 when I moved from Paris to New York. I had already worked with some great photographers like Peter Lindbergh and Mikael Jansson but the campaigns and money jobs started rolling in after I arrived in New York.

You met your husband on set while shooting DKNY. How did you make the relationship work with such erratic schedules?

Oh, the fun we had on that shoot! It’s true that’s when Taber and I became a couple, but we actually met a few years prior to that on a shoot in Sweden for Arena Hommes Plus with Mikael Jansson. We were both dating other people at the time but definitely noticed each other.

About a year and a half later we met again, this time in New York for an Italian Vogue shoot with Peter Lindbergh. We were attached the whole shoot and Taber gave me his number. He went home at the end of the shoot telling his roommates if this girl calls, I’m done. I did call but whoever answered the phone never gave Taber the message. When we met again two weeks later at the DKNY shoot I saw him and asked how he was.  He said he could be better and I asked him why. He said it was because I never called.  That’s that the beginning of our love story.

How did we made it work with our schedules? Well, we made it a rule never to go longer than two weeks apart. When we were both traveling a lot we made sure we connected around the world. Relationships will always hit rough patches but I truly believe we belong together so we’ve just made it work. Meeting at such an early age sort of meant that we grew up together and luckily we never grew apart.

Your family splits their time between LA and NYC. How do you manage to maintain balance now that you’re modeling again?

We have lived in LA for over 10 years. It means a lot more traveling on my part which sucks because I don’t like flying but it’s worth it because of the quality of life we have. When I started modeling again, after becoming a mom, we’ve traveled together as a family. Taber can take his work on the road so I have been really lucky. Until I’ve finished nursing Felix I want him with me. It will definitely be a challenge when I have to start traveling by myself again. Leaving my boys will be hard but that’s the gig. It’s not fair on a toddler to drag him across the world for a few days at the time.

How has your modeling career evolved over the years?

I feel my career evolved in the way that I am now more settled. I have my steady clients and don’t up and leave every other day. Things are definitely more planned. In the beginning of my career it was full-force all the time with 12 seasons of shows and traveling non-stop. All that work paid off and I now have my steady well-paying clients.

What kind of career guidance did you receive at the beginning?

I have been lucky in my career to always have great agents around me that I trusted with whatever they would throw my way. I always felt cared for and protected.

What advice would you give to younger self?

Buy an apartment in New York! I can’t believe all the years I wasted on paying rent.

Who were the most influential people in your early career and why?

My amazing agents Jan Stewart and Susanna Rönn and photographers Peter Lindbergh and Mikael Jansson. The editorials that I did with them really paved the way for me.

Did you ever notice a inversely proportional relationship between your success and weight?

When it comes to the weight issue I feel I never really suffered too much pressure. I’m naturally thin and athletic. Taking care of your body and fitting into samples sizes just comes with the job. But yes, I do think most models, including myself,  have a bit of a warped body image.

Follow her at @TheMiniAnden


Agyness Deyn On The Inspiration Behind Title A

Undeniably one of the most influential models of this decade, Agyness Deyn has generated more column inches than most of her contemporaries. Much of what has been written about her has focused on her style, celebrity friends and love life. Agyness has defied expectation and refused to be reduced to just another one of fashion’s It girls. As the founder of clothing line Title A, Agyness gives us a glimpse into the inspiration behind her latest venture.

You were lauded as a style icon throughout your career. How would you describe your style?

It’s always surreal and a little embarrassing to hear that. My personal tastes have been to the moon and back, but right now I just want an extremely classic and slightly awkward wardrobe.

Before embarking on the development of Title A you collaborated with Uniqlo and Dr. Martens. Has designing always been in your blood?

I’ve been around that world for a while now. I guess I’ve always had an opinion or preference to certain things and maybe maturity has brought out my ability to share it.

What was the inspiration behind Title A?

I wanted to create a place where someone could go and always find what they’re looking for.

How would you describe the blueprint of your line?

There is always a suit to ground the collection and it expands from there. We try to respect craft and detail in womenswear as much as it’s respected in menswear and strip out anything too frivolous.

Can you describe the typical Title A woman?

It’s tricky for me to nail her down; everyone is so different. I imagine the things they would have in common is the desire to have a wardrobe that doesn’t wear them and a love of strong female characters. I’m in love with Joan of Arc.

How do you think your background in fashion has informed your approach to design?

I would guess it helped me to know what I don’t want.

Were you conscious of the model cum designer label and if so did you have any reservations before embarking on this journey?

Ah, yes. I know the stigma but it doesn’t bother me. Probably because this isn’t a licensing deal and we’re pouring our hearts into it like anyone else who’s been insane enough to start a label from scratch.

Do you have plans to expand the line into accessories or menswear at any point in the future?

We do. We are in the middle of finalizing beautiful leather handbags, you can see sneaks of them on our Instagram. Sunglasses are next and we will definitely venture into menswear down the line.

Agyness is represented by The Lions NY

Introducing Bart Grzybowski

Bart Grzybowski may be a rookie in the modeling game but he brings to the table a wealth of life experience. This Villanova graduate quotes Robert Frost and cites The Fountainhead as inspiration while having the blessing of veteran photographer Bruce Weber. I caught up with Bart as he waxed lyrical about his passions and explains why there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.

How were you discovered?

I used to do high-end, residential construction for Laurion Construction in Miami, but after the housing market crashed things slowed significantly and I ended up bartending on South Beach. I was approached by Jose Ochoa, who was an editor at Ocean Drive Magazine, and he told me I needed to start modeling. He sent me over to meet with Christian Alexander at Front Management and they offered me a contract the same day. Since I was planning on moving out to California in six months to try to become a General Contractor, I needed to save some money for the move and I signed the same day.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?

Ever since I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, I was inspired to build and work with my hands, so probably something to do with construction/development. I love the creative expression it allows and also the reward of seeing what you have accomplished at the end of the day. There’s something to be said for busting your ass all day and falling asleep tired. I know that 30 years from now I can go back to a home I helped to build, knock on the door and meet the family that has created memories in something I put on this earth.  It means a lot to me to know a part of me will be around even after I am gone.

How do you define success?

That is easy. Are you happy? If yes, then you are successful. If not, keep trying. I think the most important thing a human can do is spend a lot of time with that question: what makes me happy? Once you figure that out, do it. For me, there is always something more that can be done, so I am constantly changing my goals and adapting my game plan to achieve them. When I’m gone I know I will consider myself successful if I have left the people who knew and loved me a little bit happier and more inspired.

How do you handle the scrutiny and rejection that comes with modeling?

You definitely need thick skin when it comes to modeling. When your job is to make money off your appearance, every inch of you will be critiqued. However, I’ve never considered myself to be solely a “model” and so my success in this industry doesn’t define me as a person. I graduated from a good school, Villanova, worked hard jobs in social work and construction, and most importantly, have been through the pain of losing a parent which, all by itself, forced me to evaluate, scrutinize and come to love and cherish the person I’ve become. No matter what kind of rejection I get, I’ve realized that “maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.”

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

Eventually I’d love to be comfortable enough financially where I can provide for my family and help take care of my parents and siblings, but money isn’t the most important thing. It’s just a means to an end.  In the meantime I’d love to travel a lot more: Italy, Greece, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, to name a few. I’d like to design and build my own home out West somewhere, probably Colorado or California. I’d like to make an impact on the lives of others and help make this world better rather than worse. After my experience working for a foster care program in Miami, I promised myself that I would adopt a child when the time was right. I guess ultimately though, it is to be a good person and make the ones I surround myself with happier for knowing me.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I love all the amazing people and places I have met and seen and I want to send a big thank you to everyone and everything that has made this incredible ride possible. If I had to pick one moment, I guess the highlight of my modeling career was flying out to Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado for the Ralph Lauren Chaps shoot. It’s a small mining town from the late 1800’s that was converted to a nature resort where each miner’s cabin has its own natural hot spring right outside in the back. It’s like a blast from the past, I got to spend a few days with the RL Crew and Richard Phibbs basking in the raw, majestic beauty of our surroundings and really getting to know everyone personally. We had family dinners in the main lodge and we even did a Tommy Boy movie night. It was incredible.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm, that my favorite movie is Legends of the Fall? I’m going to get my chops busted for that one.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about modeling?

That it is an easy job. Sure it pays pretty well, and there are a lot of perks, but like most things in life nothing is guaranteed. You never know when you will get booked, or how frequently for that matter. You have to take a leap of faith and have the will power to make your foray into the industry a successful and profitable one.  I see a lot of my friends becoming doctors and financial advisors and all sorts of high paying professionals and sometimes I wonder if that route would have been better for me, just based on the security it provides. But then I remember an often over-cited quotation, but one that is very fitting:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

You seemed to bond with Bruce Weber when working together. Did he have any advice for you?

Bruce is a legend in the industry and has a wealth of experience and artistic talent. His style has inspired other photographers for decades. When he took me under his wing, he helped launch my career, as he has so many others: for that I will always be grateful.  I can’t say for certain, but after spending time with Bruce on numerous shoots and talking about my life and what I’d been through, I think he saw something more in me: that there was a story there. His best advice to me was to channel that and to never hide it. To come out of my shell and to show it to the world. In fact, it’s probably one of the reasons why I’m so forthcoming with these answers. I guess on that note, I should say thank you so much for the opportunity!

Follow him at @bartgrzy