Contrary to what one might see on runways and in many print ads, there is a crop of men who look like men and bear no resemblance to waifish, prepubescent or drug addled young boys. These silver foxes are those who might actually resemble the demographic of a brand rather than some absurd notion possessed by a designer. Models have always represented an ideal or dream rather than a nightmare or the nadir of life. So, it is my privilege to introduce you to some of those who were the so called founding fathers or the foundation of men’s modeling but continue to give the fashion business a patina of true class and elegance via their enduring and thriving careers. These are the men who the savvy of readers and viewers might actually relate to!
From Andrew Mitchell-Namdar, VP Marketing & Creative Services, Mitchell Family of Stores, one of America’s premier retailers: “We always believe in using a diversity of models. Style and fashion can be shown at any age, race, and ethnicity. Our customers are diverse and thus our marketing reflects this.”
Without any further blah, blah, blah, here is T.R. Pescod in his own words:
Jeffrey Felner: How, when and why did you begin your career? And what is your current profession?
T.R. Pescod: I began my career in 1989 when a NY photographer and friend said I should take some photos with her. I had just quit my “real” job in A&R for a record company and wanted to move back to Europe (I studied my junior year in Paris). She showed the photos to an agent here in NYC, Boss Models, and within 2 weeks I was on a plane to Paris for the Men’s shows. I saw modeling as my passport to experience the world. In a matter of months I went from Paris to Barcelona, Milan, London, Hamburg back to Paris, Japan…and many other stops in between. My dream of experiencing the world, different cultures, seeking my spiritual truth and center had begun. Modeling was my stepping stone to a larger ambition of becoming an actor. After spending 2 1/2 years traveling the world and smiling for the cameras I left Europe and made my way to Los Angeles. I spent 6 years in LA shooting many TV commercials, various roles in films and TV and honing my acting chops. Then in 1999 there was a major actor’s strike which lasted over 6 mos. No auditions and no acting work. Just previous to the strike I had shot a TV commercial for Banana Republic with celebrity photographer Peggy Sirota, who on set suggested I get back into modeling. “Why?” I asked, and she replied, “The gray hair is money, honey!!!” The rest is history. I went to an agency that next week, was signed and my modeling career was re-ignited!
I’m still modeling on a regular basis. Having just turned 50, I would have never imagined I would still be enjoying a career modeling! I think certain brands have realized the importance of reaching out to their core buyers and using models that the buyer can actually relate to as a peer and aspirational figure. I enjoy acting gigs here and there, have done a number of TV commercials, and in the past year have launched my own design firm TRP Design. In 2010, I embarked on another dream to design and build my own house. Completed in 2011, the house was photographed and published and from that point I have taken on a number of clients, curating their dreams and making them a reality!!
JF: What would you describe as your most memorable, defining or gratifying moment of your career?
TRP: All three can be wrapped up in one when I was 6 stories high on a billboard in Times Sq.! I had done a shoot for Target which ended up in Times Sq. One of my oldest friends had suggested we go to the Marriott to the sky bar which overlooks Times Sq. to get a glimpse of the billboard….when we arrived she had assembled a large group of friends who were all there to celebrate the billboard. To have all my friends together excited for a billboard! That kind of blew my mind and heart!!
JF: Would you care to offer your opinions on the current crop of models that populate runways and magazine pages?
TRP: Americans will always be obsessed by youth, I don’t think that will ever change, runway has always been for the “boys”. I did a runway show for Kenneth Cole a couple years ago and it stirred quite a conversation. After the show a number of publications came back stage and wanted to interview me, wanting to know how it felt to be grey on the runway! I got a great laugh out of that and really enjoyed the show. I think as the ethnic pool continues to diversify we are experiencing an ever expanding definition of beauty. I love the direction our current societies’ viewpoint is taking, re-defining what gender and beauty is all about. However, our current obsession with celebrity is really hurting the modeling industry as every cover you see these days is a celebrity. Gone are the days of the super model.
JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner … who would they be and why?
TRP: Egon Schiele, Diana Vreeland, Christian Liaigre, Cary Grant & Mies van der Rohe. These 5 have influenced me, helped to shape my aesthetic, given me inspiration in how they live and have lived their lives and continue to shape my world and personal view. To have the opportunity to sit down with them, have a couple of cocktails and enjoy an amazing meal cooked by Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant in NYC would be my dream dinner!!! OK so I guess it’s 6 people since Dan Barber would have to be cooking for us (I’m a bit of an amateur chef and foodie) LOL
JF: If you could rewrite your own life story, what, if anything, would you change and why?
TRP: Nothing. For me LIFE is about experience, we are here for a finite period of time….experience all you can and have no regrets. The Dali Lama has a quote that I will paraphrase: Most people live life as if they are never going to die, then die having never lived. I want to LIVE LIFE!