scent of a man
ONLY A SELECT FEW HAVE BEEN THE FACE OF FRAGRANCES AS ICONIC AS GIORGIO ARMANI’S ACQUA DI GIO. FRESH OFF THE SET OF THIS SEASON’S CAMPAIGN IS TOP MODEL JASON MORGAN, WHO RAPS ABOUT BEING NUDE, HIS DREAM PHOTOGRAPHER AND STARTING A CHARITY
Fresh off the set of Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio’s campaign this season, Jason Morgan fields various subjects from nudity to charity. Photographs by Peter Ash Lee
Booking a fragrance campaign for a major brand is a big deal for models, and it’s basically seen as one of the marks of a top model. So, when last year it was announced that American-born Jason Morgan would represent a new fragrance from a brand as esteemed as Giorgio Armani, the world took notice. Not that Morgan has stayed under the radar before. Since taking up modeling in 2009, he has appeared in numerous runway shows and lookbooks, along with scores of editorials. And he has also done several risqué photo shoots that really, shall we say, stood out. This year, his work with Armani continues with the brand’s underwear lineup as other projects loom on the horizon. It would seem that we will have many more reasons to take notice of Jason Morgan in the months and years to come.
DA MAN: Hi Jason, how are you doing and what are you currently busy with?
Jason Morgan: Hi, I’m doing well. I’m currently in New York after traveling to Milan and Madrid this past week. I’m a little jetlagged, but it’s nice to be home for a few days.
DA: What was 2015 like for you?
JM: 2015 was a pretty amazing year for me, work-wise. I have been traveling a lot and have been really enjoying all of it. I try to take it all in and take a few moments to enjoy where I am and what’s been happening. Sometimes I try and stay an extra day or two at the city I’m working in if I can. Because, sometimes, I never know if I will ever get a chance to come back.
DA: You are appearing on Aigner’s spring/ summer ‘16 campaign. Could you tell us how the shoot went?
JM: I shot the Aigner campaign last summer in Miami. The shoot was great! I always enjoy working in Miami. I have two close friends who live down there. The crew was great and it was with supermodel Toni Garn, who is a really lovely person inside and out. DA: You also became the face of Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio fragrance as well as Emporio Armani’s underwear collection last season. What was it like working on those two projects? And will you have more campaigns for Armani brands?
JM: Working with Armani this past year was really a dream come true in this business. The shoots are always a lot of fun. The Armani teams are very easygoing, and they all love what they do. Being around that kind of energy makes my job a lot easier and fun. To me, as a male in this business, working with the Armani brand is probably the top job you can do. It really is an honor to be the face of such an iconic brand, and it’s still kind of hard to believe. We just finished working on a new project for the fragrance last week that should be out in March. So, I’m excited to see more of what they release soon.
DA: How do you prepare yourself before any campaign photo shoot?
JM: I prepare for a campaign shoot the same way I prepare for anything I am working on. I don’t want to show up to any kind of job unprepared. If my image is tied to a project, I take it seriously. I try and keep myself mentally and physically healthy at all times. You never really know when you might get a lastminute call to do a big project. I have learned that it’s good to be prepared as much as pos- sible through my many years in this business. It’s not always easy with all the travel and the long days, but you have to make time for your health and rest when you can.
DA: You’ve been in the industry for more than a decade. Does modeling, as a job, get easier as you get older?
JM: I think for me it has gotten easier as I have gotten older. I think a lot of things in my life have gotten easier as I have gotten older. You learn about yourself as you go along and hopefully grow as a person and become more comfortable in your own skin. I can remember my first few shoots starting out, and I wasn’t very good at it. But I got better the more times I did it, and I learned a lot being in the business for so long.
DA: How do you see and compare yourself to your fellow models?
JM: I try not to compare myself to anyone as a model. I think that’s one of the things I have learned through the years of doing this: You can’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, and everyone’s path is different. A lot of this is being at the right place at the right time, as well as doing the right jobs at the right time. Everything kind of fell into place for me recently. A lot of it was hard work and persistence, but I also got very lucky with certain things. There were certain jobs I really wanted and was hoping for in the past few years that I didn’t get. But had I gotten those jobs, then who knows if I would be doing what I’m doing now.
DA: What are the highs and lows in being a male model for you?
JM: Some of the lows of being a male model would definitely be the constant travel that seems to happen in bunches. Sometimes, I would be sitting around a few weeks doing nothing and then, all of the sudden, I’m working 12-hour days and traveling to three different continents in a single week. It’s hard to catch my breath at times. The airports, delays and cramped spaces can drain you. But the highs are that I get to see these amazing places and do something I truly enjoy while meeting really cool and interesting people. There’s never a dull moment.
DA: Tell us about your most unforgettable photo shoot you’ve done so far so far.
JM: I can’t really think of one photo shoot that would be the most unforgettable, but I have done a lot of summer shoots in freezing weather and shot a lot of winter coats in 100-degree [Fahrenheit] weather. Sometimes these jobs aren’t fun. But I always try and think about some of my non-modeling jobs that were really awful to get me through the day. I used to clean dorms every summer at the University of Pennsylvania as a teenager.
DA: You were shot nude in some campaigns and editorials. How do make yourself feel comfortable on set?
JM: I’m fine with being nude. Of course, it has to make sense and it has to be with a photographer I trust and whom I know will do
“ONE DAY NOBODY IS GOING TO EVEN WANT TO LOOK AT YOU NAKED SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL ENJOY IT NOW"
it tastefully. But I guess I just don’t think it’s a big deal. One day nobody is going to even want to look at you naked so you might as well enjoy it now. But really, who cares? If you’re a model and you have hang-ups about it, you probably should think about looking for another job.
DA: You once mentioned that your dream job would be doing the Giorgio Armani fragrance campaign. Since you’ve nailed that already, what’s your next dream then?
JM: Honestly, I think it would be pretty hard to top Acqua di Gio. But I still get excited about working with great photographers on any kind of job. I like creating images with some truly great artists whom I am lucky to get to work with.
DA: If you had an unlimited budget for a shoot and you could get anyone onboard, who would you pick as photographer?
JM: There are a lot of photographers I haven’t worked with yet, and who I would love to work with: Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, David Lachapelle and Mario Sorrenti, to name a few.
DA: What do you do besides modeling?
JM: I love to go to museums, I like movies and sports. I’m into doing outdoor stuff like hiking, biking and being at the beach.
DA: You initially studied to become a teacher. Have you ever taught students in a professional capacity?
JM: I taught for a semester at the University of Arizona as a requirement for my degree. I also did hockey camps in the summers when I was studying. I really love working with kids and I’m currently looking to get back with working with kids through sports and physical activities in some charitable way. Starting a charity like this is my next goal.
DA: Based on your own experience, what is that makes or breaks a male model?
JM: Those who make it are the ones who treat it like a business and take being professional seriously. Being fun and young at heart is a big part of what attracts clients to a model, but you have to remember to also do your job professionally and perform. If the fun part of all of this is getting in the way of being professional and doing your best job, you really have to find a balance—which isn’t always an easy thing to do.