scent of a man



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


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.

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