Friday, May 26, 2017

Stephen James, Modeling’s Favorite New Hardbody


Stephen James, Modeling’s Favorite New Hardbody, Is Really a Big Softie

 To excel in the modeling industry requires an innate understanding of one’s body, which serves, in the modeling industry, as both your calling card and your instrument. And when it comes to unforgettable bodies, few can compete with rising star Stephen James. 


 A former pro soccer player, James’s sculpted physique is covered in intricate designs, from photorealistic portraits of art icons to swirling geometric patterns, religious idols and various memento mori. More than a blank canvas for ink, James has also built a reputation as a formidable presence in front of the camera for such brands as Calvin Klein and Philipp Plein.  Signed to Storm modeling agency in London, the Hammersmith, London–bred James has quickly become a bona fide male modeling sensation. And the fact that he has followed in the footsteps of Insta-celebs Kendall James and Gigi Hadid hasn’t hurt either; he has personality built up a dedicated online fan base that currently numbers in the millions.


Though he’s in the midst of a “moment,” James insists he’s still a shy guy who’d rather be at home listening to the Smiths. And while on the surface his soft-spoken persona seems at odds with the hard-edged image he often portrays in photo shoots, we’ve come to realize that James has never been one to play by the rules. We caught up with the next big thing to talk about the transition from pro sports to fashion shoots and what he owes his fan sites.

What made you want to become a model?
I was living in Barcelona and playing soccer there when I got hurt, and I was scouted while in rehab for the injury. So modeling was bit unexpected, but I had thought about it prior to that. As I traveled for soccer, I would always pick up modeling cards from different agencies, but it wasn’t until I had the problem with the injury that I decided, Why not give this a try! Luckily it’s worked out so far.

Recently, you hit the million-followers milestone on Instagram —was social media something you were always engaged in?
When I first got started, it was kind of a joke. I was friends with a few guys who were really big on social media and they encouraged me. Getting used to sharing so much was different for me since I’d never had Facebook or Myspace, any of that. I’d had Instagram for a couple of months when I got offered the chance to be in a music video for a Russian singer, Victoria Daineko. From that moment I saw the power of social media; it has the pull to bring in jobs, income, to let people discover you. After that, I started putting in the effort and taking it seriously as a platform.


It slowly builds: One day you get 10 comments, another you get 100, and suddenly you find you’ve built a following. I don’t get to reply to every comment anymore, but the people I try to stay in touch with are [my] fan pages, because at the end of the day I’ve gotten this far thanks to their help. It’s a good feeling to think that people can devote their time and energy in that way. Sometimes they find photos that I haven’t even seen before; they’re incredibly helpful, and it is just nice to know that there are people from all over the world who are interested.


Is there any aspect of your personality that your social media fans might find surprising?
The biggest thing about me is that I’m actually very shy. I’m not confident in certain situations. But with the success I’ve been experiencing, I have learned to be a bit more approachable and open.
You’ve amassed countless tattoos, but which was the very first?
The first tattoo was a Star of David on my right elbow. I got that in Prague. When I was playing soccer, I had friends who were tattoo artists, so I used to spend a lot of time in tattoo shops, but my friends would never give me a tattoo. They’d always tell me that I’d regret it, so I got my first tattoo at a random shop. After that, my friends were fine tattooing me; I think they just didn’t want to do that first one.
I have a whole arm of Dalí [paintings]. When I was in Barcelona, I started studying him and became fascinated with his personality. I found a lot of similarities [between us], given the way he was perceived as being eccentric, and I’d experienced a lot of that playing soccer.

 There are several notable people etched on your body—Morrissey, Salvador Dalí, Queen Elizabeth, Frida Kahlo

Morrissey is on the other arm because I grew up listening to him and the Smiths. I have a big connection to that sort of music and their lyrics. I used one arm as my artistic inspirations, and then my right arm has a British theme—it’s the music I listened to growing up. There is Robert Smith from the Cure, Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees, Ian Dury from the Blockheads. Some of the tattoos are very intricate, so it’s not like I could go to my local shop and get them done. There are a few where I’ve had to travel, or wait months and months in order to get them done, but in the end I’m lucky, as it has all come together very well.
 stephen james 101
Do you ever find that your tattoos get in the way of your work, or that a client won’t hire you for a job because of them?
I’ve been modeling for two and a half years, and it’s funny because I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve seen a real change in the way tattoos are perceived in the industry. When I first started working in Spain, the market was very close-minded when it came to tattoos. They don’t like a lot of edgy stuff, so I had to prove myself two or three times over. Now I find going to jobs is so much easier and tattoos have become the norm, but the neck tattoos and tattoos on the hands and on the head were hard for people to accept, especially for the more conservative brands.
 So what’s next? Any more boundaries to break?
Right now I’m focused a lot on fitness—I was just able to do my first Men’s Health cover [in Spain], and that was a big deal for me. I’d love to one day create my own fitness label and get more involved with that industry as well. Three weeks ago I had a chance to attend the Mr. Universe competition, which was fascinating. Right now that industry is dominated by a lot of guys who are heavily on steroids . . . it would be great to challenge that perception and show that all it takes [to have a career in fitness] is hard work.

15 Male Models Reveal the Stories Behind Their Tattoos Skin 14 Male Models Reveal the Stories Behind Their Tattoos
Male models have never been more tattooed than right now. In fact, the archetypal models of yore were valued for their malleability, so the fewer distinguishing characteristics the better. They represented unblemished canvases for designer clothes, accessories, and, say what you will, our highest aspirations. But as male models started to gain the kind of star power their female counterparts have long known (see cool teen Lucky Blue Smith ), and as societal priorities began to shift, the demand for a not-so-blank slate set in—models are real people after all. These days hiring a male model to walk down a runway or star in an ad campaign involves careful consideration of not just how they look, but also their social media following, and their personality. Combine that with the rise in mainstream tattoo popularity and welcome to 2017.
Now male models are flaunting ownership of their chiseled bodies—inking very personal, Instagram-ready works of art all over their perfect skin. But what tattoo can rival the world's most sculpted forearm? We had to find out. So we invited every tattooed male model we know to come in and tell us their stories of going under the gun.

Jeremy Matos
What is the first tattoo that you got, and when did you get it?
My first tattoo was the Statue of Liberty with a gas mask. I got it when I was seventeen, so, five years ago.
Do you want more tattoos?
Yeah, I want to get a lot more but my ideas always change. I jumped into my first tattoo, so I kind of want to take the next ones a little more slowly.
Can you tell me the inspiration behind it?
Well, the inspiration of my tattoo is just, it’s like, it’s my twist on New York City. It’s where I was born and raised. So that’s just like a little different from the normal image of New York City.

Lukas Sindicic
How many tattoos do you have?
I don’t even count anymore, I don’t know. I plan on getting more on my legs. Then definitely gonna close my lower back and the ribcages, so it’s gonna be like a full body suit.
Which was your first tattoo, and how old were you?
I was eighteen, and it was a little Chinese zodiac sign.
What is the story behind the tattoo in the center of your back?
That’s a Croatian flag with an eagle. I was born and raised in Switzerland, in Zurich, but my parents are Croatian.
Which one hurt the most?
Mm … the most painful area is probably the stomach. Yeah, your stomach is, that’s a tough spot.
Do you have advice for people getting a first tattoo?
The bigger the better! The chances that you’re gonna get a second one, or just more in general, if you start with a very small one. Yeah, I think if I hadn't started this small, I would have ended up with this many.

Jonathan Santos
How many more tattoos do you want to get?
I want to finish both my arms, one leg, and maybe … I don’t know, do another one on the neck? But I don’t want to tarnish my chest and my abs. Those are the only parts I’m not gonna touch.
Do you want anything on your back?
On my back, yeah, I want to do on my back, a big tattoo. I already have one I want to do: It’s the Cristo from Rio de Janeiro. Because I’m from Rio de Janeiro. I want to do him big with the beach and all the views.
Do you have any advice for people getting their first tattoo?
Yeah. I mean, think about it a lot. Get a fake one before that stays for two weeks, enough to know if you really want it. Don’t do it without thinking, because it's for all your life, it’s crazy.
Which was the first one you got?
My first one is my arm. I was fourteen years old. I really didn’t think about it much. So now I have to do everything again, trying to delete some parts, you know? It’s very expensive, it’s very painful, and it’s stupid. I should have thought about that before.
Can you tell me what it was?
It was … a clown, actually. It’s a clown, I don’t know, it’s like, my English is bad to explain how it was, but it was a little clown, like, a bad clown, you know? He was not smiling that much. I just wanted to delete it. So, I covered it up and now I'm trying to start everything over again with lasers.

Therell Spires
Which was your first tattoo?
My brother’s name, up here on the top. The one under it was next and then my mother’s name.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind them?
Well, my older brother got killed when I was younger. So I got his name tattooed. And it was just some incentive to get my mom to say yeah, because I was so young to get a tattoo, you know. I was fifteen. So I was like, “Ma, I really, really want a tattoo.” You know, and I told her I’d get something meaningful. So it was definitely my brother.
Which of your tattoos hurt the most?
Well, I have two on the inner arms, they’re anagrams, on both sides. They hurt really really bad. The closer it was to my armpit, the more it hurt. And then the one on my chest, I swear it’s so far away from my nipple, but it felt like he was directly on my nipple the whole time.
What's the story behind one of them?
I got a hand right here holding some rosary beads. I believe in God, you know, I’m not like strong into religion. But I didn’t know it was Catholic! [laughs] So people were like, “Oh, you're Catholic?” And I’m like, “Nah, hell no!” And they were like, “But you have rosary beads on your arm!” But still I don’t regret it, like, damn, I’m stupid! I think it’s funny.

 Jeremy Ruehlemann
Tell me about the tattoo on your wrist.
Basically, it’s the Tree of Life, but it also has a skeleton buried in there. So it basically means to me that we’re everything. No matter what, when we decompose, we can come back to life in all different ways. Oh, I guess I gotta say the most meaningful tatt, I’d have to say my mom’s name on my ring finger. I always told her I was gonna marry her when I was a little boy, so I figured I might as well put a ring on there for her.
Is there one particular artist you like the best?
Not particularly, no. I try to only go to shop owners, because usually they have the most experience. They’ve been tattooing for the longest. So I’ll wait until the tattoo shop owner has availability, and then I’ll go check out a new cool tattoo shop.

Jacob Riley
Where do you want to get your next tattoo?
I don’t really plan them out. It just kind of goes as it is. Like, if a friend says, “Hey, let’s go get tattoos,” I generally have an idea of what I want, but I'm not necessarily planning it out.
What was the first one you got?
The first one I got was my parents’ birthdays on my ankle.
Tell me about your white tattoo, and the one behind your ear.
Um … so, I have a white tattoo on my forearm, and it’s the molecular formula for THC. I got it when I turned twenty-one, as a representation that I’d moved on from that part of my life, so I got it in white ink so that it wouldn’t be visible, but I could still remember. And I have one behind my ear, which says “Amare,” which is Latin for “to love,” the infinitive “to love.” And I got that because I figured, you know, if I write something down, that means it’ll get done; but if I write something on my body, it’s guaranteed to get done. So that’s the motive behind that.
Any advice for white ink tattoos?
Yeah. I highly recommend, if you do get a white tattoo, that before they bandage it up, after you get it done, while the wound is still open, they smear white ink in it. Because I have another white tattoo on my finger, and it doesn’t show up as much, because they didn’t do the second application of white ink.

Bennett Jonas
What is your weirdest tattoo?
I have a tattoo on the inside of my lip. It says “Cheeks.” When I was younger, I was a fat kid, and everyone called me “Cheeks,” because I hold a lot of weight in my face, and I guess I had a fat face as a kid.
Do you want to get more tattoos?
I would love to. To be honest, if I could, I would have them from the bottom of my chin to my toes. But because of the line of work that I’m in, I’m holding off on getting tattoos for now. I haven’t gotten one in a few years. But for a while, it was looking like I was gonna be covered, and then I stopped myself.
Do you have any advice for somebody who doesn’t have any tattoos but wants to get one?
Yeah. I would say make sure you have a good plan. Know that it is extremely addictive. I mean, my whole family is covered in tattoos. My mom, dad, and my older sister. So growing up in it, it’s hard to stop. But also make sure that it’s something that means a lot and has a good story. You know, you get asked about tattoos a lot, and if you don’t have a good story, it can kind of make a conversation go bad.
What's your good story?
The one on my arm was for one of my best friends since I was a baby. Two years ago, he was hit by a car walking home. He passed away. So I got a tattoo in remembrance of him. And then I went through a lot with my dad in high school with sports and just stuff like that, and every year, my dad and I would go on a hunting trip in Colorado for elk. And these trips kind of started to turn our relationship around. And it’s now my favorite weekend of the whole year. So, I got a tattoo with my dad’s initials under the skull and antlers of an elk. It’s probably my favorite tattoo. It's just to remind myself of how far I’ve come with my dad.

Parker Gregory
Can you tell me something about your tattoos?
The TX on the upper part of my left arm is for Texas. I was born and raised there. My two younger brothers have the same tattoo. My brother Tyler is four years younger than me, we got them at the same time. Then we had to wait, like, a good ten years until our youngest brother could get it. And then of course he wanted to be a smartass, and was like, “What if I don’t want to get it?” I was like, “That’s not an option. You’re getting it whether you like it or not.” I was like, “’Cause if not, we’ll just find a tattoo artist that’ll do it while you’re passed out.” [laughs]
What about the one on your elbow?
Oh, on my elbow is a Native American sun, which also represents another part of my family heritage, being Native American.
Which part of your family?
It’s from my grandfather, my mom’s dad. It’s his side of the family. They have been in Texas for generations, and his grandmother was a hundred percent Native American.

Charlie Wilson
How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
I was fifteen. I got the first one with a fake ID. [laughs]
Which one was the most expensive?
None of them were very expensive, actually, because my dad was the landlord at a tattoo parlor. But he’s very, like, white-collar businessman and was not cool with me getting tattoos. So he hit up the people at the tattoo shop and was like, “Yo, quit tattooing my son!” Because I was a football player, and I was kind of following in his footsteps. You know, gonna go play college ball and stuff.
Did they do the tattoos for free?
I mean, next to nothing. I think my work would be well over three or four grand, somewhere in there. And I’ve maybe spent like eight hundred dollars on all of it.

Diego Miguel
What was your first tattoo?
The Om symbol on my leg. I lived in Asia for eight years (Bangkok, Japan, Thailand). So I got a lot of tattoos over there. Like, five, maybe.
Is the process any different than in the United States?
In Thailand it is. You can choose one that's called the Five Rules, done in a Buddhist temple. You talk with the monks for a while. They choose for you, they see what you need, the protection you need, and they do the tattoo for you. You don’t know what it means and it's done with bamboo.
They dip bamboo in ink?
Yeah, bamboo in ink. It takes a long time, but the pain is the same.

James Delury
Which of your tattoos hurt the most?
Probably the one on my chest. Because it was right on my sternum, so that really killed. It’s my whole depiction of how Heaven looks.
What’s the inspiration for your favorite tattoo?
On my left arm I have the Archangel Michael fighting the Devil, and all the angels and the fallen angels. And on my left arm I have the whole Creation story, with God’s hand coming out of the universe, creating the whole world and the seven days.
What’s the most expensive one you’ve ever gotten?
The most expensive would be my back. One half of my back is a demon wing, the other half of it is an angel wing. It cost about two thousand dollars to do my whole back. I was saving up for it. I do construction, and I have, like, a little tattoo fund jar. I save up for whatever big tattoos that I want to get.

Lloyd Dickinson
Tell me about your tattoos?
I’m from the island of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, so I have the USVI, US Virgin Islands on my hand. I also have a beach, palm trees, island stuff. I have the three islands on the back of my arm: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and I have our flag on the top of my shoulder.
What advice do you have for people who want to get their first tattoo?
If you get one, be prepared to get more. I think they put coke at the end of the tip [laughs]. Once you get one, it doesn’t stop. You want to get more [laughs]. I don’t even know if I can say that.

Adam Sperandio
What's was the inspiration for your sleeve tattoo?
It’s a swamp scene, and I’m from Louisiana. It has to do with remembering where you came from. I filled it in with alligators and the fleur de lis for the Saints and the symbol for New Orleans. That tattoo kind of became my biggest story piece, because it represents where I’m from.
What about the one on your ribs, on your side?
I’m a little bit of a Star Wars nerd, so a lot of my tattoos are Star Wars. The one that I have on my side, it’s kind of a tribute to one of my favorite characters out of Star Wars, Boba Fett. He’s a villain. He has one of the shortest screen times in the movie. And he supposedly dies in the movie. So the tattoo’s kind of a tribute to him. Because in the books, he lives on.
What’s your advice for somebody getting their first tattoo?
I’d say the biggest advice is, try not to get too wrapped up in the meanings of them. For me, tattoos are kind of a placement in time. I can look at a tattoo, and it’ll bring me back to an exact feeling, or an exact point in my life. Too many people get wrapped up in, like, “Oh, I want it to be meaningful!” But if you like something, then just do it.

William Dean Taylor
What was the first tattoo you got?
First one I got was my “Brotherly Love” across my chest.
Are you from Philadelphia?
No. No. Arizona.
Why “My Brotherly Love”?
We’re a close-knit family, only a few of us, and it was just a little motto that we had, brotherly love between me and my brother Vince. He has the same thing on his chest as well. So it’s just something we share, just a little bond.
Can you tell me the backstory behind one of your other tattoos?
Yeah. My tattoo from my mom means a lot. I have a little dog, dog paw print on there, because if you knew my mom, she just loves her dogs. Like, our dogs aren’t dogs; they're literally are family members. My mom’s dealt with a bunch of sicknesses. She had cancer in her thyroid and just to have her there with me, while I know she’s at home, kind of not feeling the best, it’s just nice to have that little reminder of how awesome my mom is.

First Lady Melania Trump Is All About Dolce & Gabbana in Sicily

 DOLCE’S SILVER STREAK: Nearing the end of the European leg of what has been a whistle-stop worldwide tour, First Lady  once again showed her love for Dolce & Gabbana on Friday.
Less than two days after she chose a Dolce & Gabbana ensemble to meet Pope Francis in Rome, FLOTUS wore the Italian label for two different outings Friday. When she and President Trump stepped out for a performance of La Scala philharmonic orchestra at the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina, she appeared in a shimmery metallic long sleeve Dolce & Gabbana dress. 
The first couple will cap off the night at a dinner at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina hosted by President Sergio Mattarella of Italy.
Earlier in the day while The Donald was decamped at another hotel in town at a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Melania Trump made the rounds wearing a vibrant floral Dolce & Gabbana jacket paired with a soft beige fitted dress. A Dolce & Gabbana spokesman did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Born and raised in Slovenia, FLOTUS has appeared to be right at home overseas, especially with the European crowd. She was all smiles chatting with Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, and Gauthier Destenay, Luxembourg’s First Gentleman whose husband is the only acting openly gay prime minister, at the Magritte Museum in Brussels on Thursday. Friday’s official appearances were tied to Trump’s meeting with G7 leaders. While France’s First Lady preferred a more casual look for Friday’s daytime photo-ops, wearing white jeans and a red short sleeve sweater, Melania was considerably more pulled together in her not-to-be-overlooked Dolce & Gabbana jacket.
Seemingly diplomatic with her fashion choices, the former model pledged her support for Italy by wearing Dolce & Gabbana when in Rome and Sicily. In addition to the papal visit, she arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport earlier in the week wearing a Dolce & Gabbana button-front coat with gold brocade on a fluted neck collar and at the wrists. She also sought out a Belgian label — Maison Ullens — for Thursday’s visit to Brussels. Michael Kors   was her designer of choice for a trip to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall in Jerusalem earlier in the week.
The First Lady will have one last fashion turn Saturday when greeting American and Allied servicemen, servicewomen and their families before jetting off with the President for Andrews Air Force Base.

Melanie Trump wears Dolce & Gabbana for Official Portrait

The White House released the first official portrait of the first lady, Melania Trump, currently displayed on her government webpage. Though the picture at first seems bland enough, it is worth a second look — both for the image itself and for what Mrs. Trump chose to wear to represent the country for posterity.
A black tuxedo jacket with a foulard around her throat. From Dolce & Gabbana.
The White House declined to confirm or name the designer of the jacket Mrs. Trump is wearing, but Stefano Gabbana posted the official portrait on his Instagram feed with the words #DGwoman, #MelaniaTrump Thank you, and #MadeinItaly. The jacket, it turns out, is one of Dolce & Gabbana’s signature pieces.
It’s a surprising choice, not only because the official portrait is an occasion that has been considered an opportunity to promote national industry (as opposed to Italian industry) or because it seems to undermine her husband’s mission to get everyone to “buy American,” but also because it confuses what is otherwise a pretty straightforward visual message.
Taken by Regine Mahaux, a Belgian photographer who has worked with the first family for the past five years (her photographs of President and Mrs. Trump have appeared on Us Weekly, French Vanity Fair, Paris Match and Russian Tatler), the portrait depicts Mrs. Trump with her arms crossed and the beginnings of a smile on her face in front of a large decorative window in “her new residence at the White House.”
Along with the jacket, she is wearing an emerald-cut diamond ring on one hand (this has been identified, variously, as 15 carats, 24 carats and 25 carats, so suffice it to say: It’s very big) and a diamond band on the other.

People Have A Lot Of Feelings About Melania Trump's $51K Coat

Melania Trump’s first outing in the Sicilian sunshine was in a colorful floral applique jacket by Dolce & Gabbana that comes off the rack at $51,000.
Mrs. Trump also carried a matching clutch when she went to lunch with the other spouses of G7 leaders at the historic Elephants Palace hosted by Catania’s mayor.
The colour burst comes after a steady wardrobe of mostly black during President Donald Trump’s overseas tour, including a prim black lace dress with a matching mantilla headcover that she wore to meet Pope Francis and a dark jacket with golden detailing on the cuff and collar that she wore for her arrival in Italy, both also by Milan designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
Gabbana has been celebrating each appearance. He shared three photos of the floral jacket, worn over a simple white shift dress, with the U.S. first lady looking model-perfect stepping out of an SUV. Gabbana tagged the photo with hearts and a Thank You to @flotus #melaniatrump.
Dolce & Gabbana have made Sicily their fashion muse, so it makes sense that she would also wear their designs in Sicily.
Melania Trump’s most adamant supporters in the fashion industry thus far have been the designers behind Dolce & Gabbana. The Italian label was the first major brand to enthusiastically promote that the First Lady was wearing its designs earlier this week, when it regrammed Stefano Gabbana’s posts of Trump wearing D&G while meeting the Pope to the brand’s official Instagram account. The admiration is clearly mutual, as FLOTUS has worn the label while accompanying President Trump to stops in numerous countries over the past week, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Italy. She was also decked out in Dolce & Gabbana for her first official White House portrait, as well throughout the campaign trail. So, it’s not all that surprising that she wore the Italian label again — but her latest getup is eliciting quite the reactions on Twitter.
While the ready-to-wear label’s designs can frequently have four-figure price tags, the Dolce & Gabbana piece she wore in today is substantially pricier — $51,500, to be exact. The collarless jacket, festooned with multicolored, 3-D flowers, is from the label’s fall 2017 collection. Melania wore the silk coat draped over her shoulders, atop an ivory shift dress, during the last day of the President’s world tour (the final leg is for the G7 summit, held in Sicily today). She carried a matching clutch, complete with a bejeweled clasp, that’s comparatively less expensive, though still rings in at four figures, clocking in at $1,630.
Some users pointed out the irony of how the exorbitant piece has been received in contrast to a far-less-expensive, yet still four-figure designer looks worn by Michelle Obama during her time in the White House. (Scrutiny over wardrobe pricing doesn’t solely apply to First Ladies: During Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, she was criticized for her $12K Armani jacket ...that actually cost $7K , technically speaking.)
Below, check out some of the Twitter reactions to Melania’s exquisite but, yes, expensive look.