marvelous Wanderer

the un­usual jour­ney of nic thompson is def­i­nitely an au­da­cious one, tak­ing him from con­struc­tion to the cap­ti­vat­ing world of mod­el­ing and act­ing

DA MAN - Style - - Designer - pho­tog­ra­phy & in­ter­view ronald liem - styling peter zewet

With the most well-known agen­cies look­ing ev­ery­where for new ta­lent, to­day’s best male models can come from a surprising range of back­grounds. Case in point: Amer­i­can model Nic Thompson. Be­fore his jour­ney in the mod­el­ing world be­gan, the fa­ther of two worked in con­struc­tion and at one point was even train­ing to be­come a pro­fes­sional MMA fighter. To­day, however, he’s a suc­cess­ful model with quite a few no­table campaigns un­der his belt. What’s more, he has moved from Chicago, Illi­nois, to sunny Los An­ge­les as he has also ven­tured into act­ing. Through it all, Thompson re­mains a pas­sion­ate sports­man and a ded­i­cated fa­ther, even as he trav­els to the fur­thest reaches of the world, in­clud­ing here to In­done­sia for a number of photo shoots with

DAMAN. Nat­u­rally, this was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to delve into the life jour­ney of this model extraordinaire.

DA MAN: How did you get your start in the mod­el­ing world?

Ni­cholas Thompson: I started four and a half years ago. I used to be a con­struc­tion worker and I got picked out by my agent. Work­ing at con­struc­tion, you know, I didn’t re­ally think I could do what he thought I can do. But I ended up becoming a model.

DA: As a pro­fes­sional model, what would you say are your most dis­tin­guish­ing phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics?

NT: I think it would be my face, like my jaw struc­ture and my all-Amer­i­can look.

DA: Be­yond your physique and looks, what else are the keys to your suc­cess in the mod­el­ing world?

NT: I think the key to suc­cess is be­ing who you are; just bring­ing the char­ac­ter. It’s just like act­ing, just bring­ing the char­ac­ter in front of the cam­era. I feel like if you bring out who you are, you play well.

DA: What was the big­gest ad­just­ment you had to make as you started to model pro­fes­sion­ally?

NT: I weighed 235 pounds when I first started. The only way for me to sign up with my agency was to lose 25 pounds. So, yeah, that was the big­gest ad­just­ment.

DA: You’re also into act­ing these days. Has act­ing helped you with your mod­el­ing work or vice versa?

NT: I feel like the way it does, it’s like bring­ing the char­ac­ter to who you are. Like, when you’re wear­ing this Alexan­der McQueen piece, I feel rich. In my mind I’m por­tray­ing my­self as be­ing rich. Or for the time when I ap­peared in Ver­sace’s Dy­lan Blue cam­paign. You’re a fighter; so, if you want to be­come a fighter then you have to be a fighter. It surely helps you to bring out the char­ac­ter.

DA: We’ve also learned that prior to mod­el­ing, you were well on your way to becoming a pro MMA fighter. What was it that even­tu­ally con­vinced you to leave the ring for run­ways and photo sets?

NT: Fight­ing was re­ally fun; it just took a lot of time of my life. With two kids, it was just re­ally hard to man­age the time be­tween fight­ing, my ca­reer, work­ing and kids. So, I left that alone, gave it up and went straight to mod­el­ing.

DA: After work­ing in con­struc­tion, train­ing to be an MMA fighter, you some­how stum­bled on mod­el­ing and act­ing. This is not a typ­i­cal jour­ney for a model...

NT: No, it re­ally isn’t. [ Chuck­les] I mean, you get your face hit a cou­ple of times, but it’s a part of life, you know.

“For the First time ever i asked a man to kiss me and he turned me down”

DA: Do you think be­ing a fighter makes you a bet­ter model?

NT: Yeah, I do. It gave me grit. And par­tic­u­larly for the Ver­sace Dy­lan Blue cam­paign, where it was all MMA fight­ers. We had Alan Jouban, Lukasz Kowal­ski; they’re big peo­ple. It re­ally helped out.

DA: What would you say do most peo­ple get wrong about work­ing on the set of a pro­fes­sional photo shoot?

NT: That it’s just an easy, cake-walk job. Be­cause it re­ally isn’t. If it was an easy job, I mean, ev­ery­body would be skinny and in shape too, right? You have to bring char­ac­ter; you can’t just sit down in the front of cam­era, smile, look pretty and think that’s going to be a great pic­ture.

DA: What was the most chal­leng­ing shoot you’ve ever par­tic­i­pated in?

NT: Yeah, so, it was my first job ever for Mon­cler. I’ve never worked with Bruce We­ber and on that level. I’m not mak­ing this up. It was one big shoot. There were cow­boys and In­di­ans, there were le­git aliens, rodeos and all over the road there were wild an­i­mals. It was re­ally hot out­side and I didn’t know what to do and where to go. But yeah, what an ex­pe­ri­ence.

DA: How about the most sat­is­fy­ing photo shoot you’ve ever done? As in, the one you’re most proud of.

NT: My proud­est one would be the Ver­sace Dy­lan Blue cam­paign. Not only be­cause it was of a higher cal­iber, but also be­cause it was some­thing that I liked. It was fight­ing, a bunch of guys hang­ing out. I also kissed a guy for the first time ever, which is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. But it was ev­ery­thing that I wanted to do as a model.

DA: What was it like kiss­ing a guy for the first time?

NT: It def­i­nitely wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I was asked by Bruce We­ber to kiss a guy. He asked me to do it, he told me to kiss this guy and ask this guy if he wants to kiss me for the shoot. Then I went up to him: “Hey, man, Bruce wants you and I to kiss” and he freaked out and made a huge deal out of it. And I’m think­ing to my­self that for the first time ever I asked a man to

kiss me and he turned me down. Fi­nally, I ended up kiss­ing my spar­ring part­ner that I used to fight with in Chicago. It wasn’t that bad ex­cept when I told him that we had to kiss, I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand that we have to do it for 15 takes, be­cause it wasn’t just photo, it’s also a video. So, yeah, we kissed like 15 or 20 times.

DA: What would be your dream photo shoot if you could do it any­where and col­lab­o­rate with any­one? NT: Any­where in the world? I’ve al­ready done it! I shot with [ DAMAN ed­i­tor-in- chief] Ron for the mag­a­zine in Bali. I mean, I never even knew where Bali was un­til a cou­ple of days ago and it was the great­est thing in the world. I’d also love to get a fra­grance cam­paign or a nice big fash­ion cam­paign and travel all over. DA: So, tell us a bit about your visit to In­done­sia. What was it like?

NT: The best way to de­scribe it? Ev­ery­thing that ev­ery­one told me about this place was wrong. Ev­ery­one told me you have to be care­ful and that it’s dan­ger­ous there. But once I got here, it’s nothing like that. The peo­ple are great, the food is great, the cul­ture is great and ev­ery­thing is amaz­ing. Jakarta is awe­some, and then you go to Bali and it’s like you can’t even de­scribe the feel­ing you get un­til you’re there. DA: What were the main high­lights from your jour­ney to In­done­sia? NT: There are a lot of high­lights. I like the mon­key for­est. I learned a lot about the tem­ples in Bali. And in Jakarta I went to a fun party and met great peo­ple. It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, one that I will never for­get.

DA: Going through your In­sta­gram ac­count, it seems that you’re still quite pas­sion­ate about hard­core ex­er­cise—from semi pro football to train­ing in the ring. Nowa­days, what’s your go-to sport? NT: My go-to sport is basketball. DA: Speak­ing of which, can you give us some tips on how to stay in shape?

NT: If you want to stay in shape, there are three ways you could do it. You can do High In­ter­val Train­ing (HIT), tread­mill, or if you don’t like it and get bored, you can al­ways do jump rop­ing, which I found in fight train­ing. So, you jump rope for a minute, then do push-ups, sit-ups—a full body work­out. And some­thing else I do: I love rock climb­ing, it’s fun whether it’s in­door or out­door. DA: In terms of di­et­ing, in your opin­ion, what’s the most important thing? NT: You def­i­nitely have to stay away from carbs. You can’t eat carbs all day long. There are cer­tain times you can eat ev­ery­thing, but it’s not good if at 10 o’clock at night you eat a full bas­ket of fries. DA: Are there any par­tic­u­lar fash­ion styles or trends that you re­ally en­joy fol­low­ing? NT: To be hon­est with you, I don’t have a par­tic­u­lar style. I’m just a guy who wears jeans and a rock ‘n’ roll shirt. I’m a very sim­ple guy. You might see me in a photo shoot and think that I’m very high fash­ion, which is great to try out, but I’m just very casual and easy-going. DA: On the flip side, are there any pop­u­lar trends that you don’t see the ap­peal of ? NT: I don’t want to see over­alls. I just don’t un­der­stand why are they com­ing back.

DA: sider Out­sidey­our greatestof mod­el­ing, achieve­ment?what do you conNT: Hav­ing kids was the big­gest achieve­ment of my life. I like be­ing a fa­ther and a suc­cess­ful one too. DA: What’s your motto in life? Or per­haps a say­ing or a fa­mous quote that you feel per­fectly de­scribes your life? NT: Life is move­ment. As long as you’re mov­ing and push­ing your­self, you will never stop and you can’t stop. I got that from a movie, “World War Z,” and ever since I’ve seen it, it stuck with me for­ever. DA: If you could meet your­self from, say, 10 years ago, what would you tell him? NT: To travel and see the world. DA: Where do you see your­self in the next 10 years?

NT: In 10 years, I want to see my­self be­ing a very suc­cess­ful actor, trav­el­ing abroad and just seeing the world. Be­cause so far, trav­el­ing has shown me what an amaz­ing world we have and I want to see what more the world has to offer. DA: Last but not least, you’ve gone a long way from work­ing in con­struc­tion and train­ing to be­come an MMA fighter to the glam­orous world of mod­el­ing. What do you take from all that? NT: I feel ac­com­plished. I feel like I’ve done some­thing out of the box, with a lot of what­ifs and scary mo­ments of not know­ing if I’m going to make it or if I’m going to do it, whether it’s the right move. And yeah, this is an ac­com­plish­ment after what I’ve been through and what’s going on in the fu­ture. One thing for sure, hard work pays off.

“You can’t just sit down in the Front of cam­era, smile, look pretty and think that’s going to be a great pic­ture”

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