When the word model comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is an ideal female figure that everybody looks up to and defines as the embodiment of beauty. At least, that is how it used to be for most people. That is, until a few decades ago, when male counterparts of the classic models decided to step into the industry. In fact, seeing male models in the same light as seeing female ones is a fairly recent development in the US.
In the last two decades of the 20th century, the fashion industry was caught by storm as more and more female candidates stood up to compete for the big roles. Thus, seeing the potential of modeling in our modern world, it is no surprise that as early as in the 70s, male models had started to become a sensation. With the ever-expanding competition within the advertising industry, there was a hot demand for variety that was instantly noticed by marketers all over the world.
The typical definition of a male build was subjected to a sharp change with the rise of male models in the industry. From Jeff Aquilon, one of the first supermodels the world had seen, to Paul Palmero, the international male icon of modeling, these youngsters helped evolve society’s paradigm of the “ideal man” from muscular to graceful in a matter of years. Starting with small achievements, most of the models that tried for the fashion industry had successfully transitioned to supermodels. They were paid thousands of dollars just to participate in a photo session or appear on the front page of a best-selling newspaper.
Their efforts most certainly did not get wasted. In return for them expressing their potential to the world, they were rewarded with opportunities to choose between contracts from leading fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana and Armani. With the initial successes flooding the industry, the striking faces and enchanting postures of these models could be seen everywhere from magazine covers to ads on TVs and newspapers. They could be observed walking the runways in the view of thousands of spectators, were featured in top-ranking movies, and invited as guests on TV and radio shows. Their posters could be seen in the bedrooms of kids and adults alike.
So, here’s a look at 5 of the top male models of the 80s, picked by us.
1. Hoyt Richards
In the late 80s and 90s, Hoyt Richards was known as one of the biggest models to walk the runways of fashion shows. He was part of several advertising campaigns that were active at the time. His fame as a model was supported by the fact that he had also chosen to pursue his career in acting. He did several films and TV ads that resulted in him eventually becoming a full-time actor, later in his life.
Born in the US, Richards was a hard-working student, earning a scholarship that sent him to England. During his college and university years, he was renowned as a proficient athlete and had a special interest in basketball. His whole life took a great turn when he received a severe injury to the shoulder that rendered him incapable to ever go back to the field. However, his looks attracted a casting director, who introduced him to the vast new world of fashion and acting.
Richards’ life as a model would last for more than 15 years, in which time he had effectively gained the people’s love to allow him to focus on other aspects of his career like acting and screenwriting. He has appeared in more than 200 major ads and participated in hundreds of commercials. Photographers including Bruce Weber, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, and Steven Meisel have all chosen Richards at one point for their projects. Gianni Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, Valentino Ralph, and Lauren are only a few of the brands that made him a part of their campaigns.
Richards was certainly one of the top models of the last few decades, as well as a sort of celebrity among many of his fans. Besides the award-winning comedy, Hit and Runway, he has appeared in more than 15 independent films.
2. Tony Ward
Besides being a model, Tony Ward was an artist and a photographer. He was one of the most famous international models but was particularly liked in the US. At the young age of 18, Tony was caught by the eye of a model scout who immediately sized up his capabilities. Ward was also some of the only models of his time that were considered supermodels.
His early life was spent mostly in California, from where he worked his way up to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. Seeing his natural talent, he was soon being contacted by major brands, like the famous Calvin Klein. He also posed for photographers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Steven Meisel and was also popular among several fashion designers.
The fact that he started dating Madonna, the celebrated singer, and actress, certainly gave him a unique status among the fans. Alongside his professional life, he loves to spend time photographing and capturing his thoughts through painting.
3. Bruce Hulse
Bruce Hulse was one of those celebrities that can more suitably be termed as a “walking sensation.” From the moment he entered the spotlight, rumors started to circulate that he was deeply involved with more than one of his professional female counterparts. He soon became the embodiment of the fact that a little romance always stirs up people’s interest.
He was the face of hundreds of magazine covers worldwide and was globally known for his charismatic figure. He has black belts in both Jujitsu and Aikido and loves to surf every once in a while.
4. Tomás Valdemar Hintnaus
Originally a Brazilian pole vaulter who was very much praised for his athleticism and physique, he changed both his profession and his nationality to become the very first model in the underwear ad campaigns of Calvin Klein.
The famous photograph of him leaning against a chimney, on an island in Greece, became the icon of male sexuality in the 80s. In fact, according to the magazine American Photographer, it was one of the “10 Pictures that Changed America.”
5. Cameron Alborzian
Cameron Alborzian led a successful modeling career in the 80s that was filled with music videos and ad campaigns. Respected labels like Versace, Levi’s and Guess commonly turned to him to pose for the audience and capture their attention. He worked for multiple designers like Valentino, Arman, and John Galliano and made a three-year contract with Guess. The latter earned him a great deal of love, including that of Madonna, who personally chose him as her partner for her music video Express Yourself, in 1989.
Following the death of one of his close friends, he officially abandoned his modeling career near the end of the century and decided to pursue the arcane arts of Ayurveda and yoga therapy.