The 90s were perhaps the most iconic decades in American history. They shaped the face of the fashion industry in countless different ways. From child models storming advertising businesses to adult models in all sorts of mystifying looks and eccentric hairstyles, it was becoming more and more difficult to find someone who hadn’t heard of the term “catwalk.” People started to relate themselves to the most famous modeling figures. Product ads that featured top-ranking models had a much better chance of thriving than those that did not.
We may remember the 90s by the striking postures and glamorous haircuts of supermodels like Christy, Naomi, Lindy and Kate. However, even though celebrities like the Big 6 practically ruled the decade, they weren’t the only ones to glide gracefully over the runways. Their male counterparts played an equally important role in defining the respective modeling era and contributing to the traditional hype surrounding the beau ideals of fashion. Thus, the career of male modeling in the 90s also saw a massive increase in candidates and a vast potential for how such models could serve the marketing world.
Models like Mark Vanderloo, Jason Lewis, Scott Barnhill, Tyson Beckford, and Alex Lundqvist rose to prominence in the last decade of the 20th century. Their faces became one of those things that you were most familiar with. From illuminating the front pages of newspapers and the cover of best-selling magazines to being featured in T.V. shows and receiving international fame, some of these models were talked about enough to have the status of a celebrity. Many of them rose to the level of supermodels, earning thousands of dollars from a single week’s activity.
While it’s true that, besides a few, none of them reached the degree of popularity to make them a household name, they influenced the pop culture enough to leave a lasting impression. They presented to the youth the potential of being a male model and cleared the path of fashion for future models, many becoming the idols of current supermodels. Hence, it’s not a surprise that people fell in love with them so easily, and that even after three decades later, some of them are still a big name for so many of us.
Below we list the top 5 male models of the ’90s that were simply nailing their jobs.
1. Tyson Beckford
Perhaps one of the most renowned models of the 90s was Tyson Beckford. His exquisite frame was unlike any other candidate the world had seen before. His height, which happened to be not an inch above or below 6 inches, was the ideal thing that marketers looked for in a model. His impeccable facial features included flawlessly straight brows, high, prominent cheekbones, and classic eyes that were set deep in their sockets and held the viewer’s gaze. His bald, alluring figure was a standard for one of the most well-defined symmetries represented by the human body.
His career started in 1992, when a talent scout named Jeff Jones (who would be later known as the man who “discovered” Beckford), recruited him to hip hop magazine The Source, in New York City. Later in 1993, another designer Ralph Lauren chose him as the front model for his company’s Polo line of sportswear.
In 1995, the American weekly magazine People accurately described his physicality by categorizing him as “One of the 50 most beautiful men in the world.” In the same year, he was dubbed as “Man of the Year” by VH1, a cable T.V. music channel. Like most supermodels of his time, modeling was only one aspect of his career. A lot of his reputation was built up from the fact that besides being a model, he had proven to be a successful actor and a T.V. show host.
Since the 90s, Beckford has appeared in over 20 films, including Ben Stiller’s Zoolander and Chocolate City by Jean-Claude. Similarly, he has been featured in countless music videos, including the famous Anything by SWV. Nearly 50 now, nothing has managed to affect his top-ranking status as an actor and a model, thanks to his perfect health and stainless bearing.
2. Jason Lewis
You might have heard of Jason Lewis from the film Sex and the City, where he plays the role of Samantha’s boyfriend. However, before he went for the acting industry, he was celebrated by people all over the U.S. as one the most attractive and handsome models. His life as a model immediately started after he left college. He moved to Paris in the beginning, gained a decent amount of fame and tried his luck in Italy, where he was loved as a star.
It didn’t take much time for him to reach the top of the ladder in the U.S. either. He ran several campaigns for some of the fanciest fashion houses including Versace, Calvin Klein, Dolce and Gabbana, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and GUESS.
Besides his successful career as a model, he has had successes while portraying many other characters in his acting life. He played the leading role in several films like My Bollywood Bride by Richard Martini and Mr. Brooks by Bruce Evens. He is a supporter of the LGBT community and has contributed to several charity works over the years. Being a staunch philanthropist, he has managed to win the attention of his fans not only by his looks but also by his heart.
3. Marcus Schenkenberg
Born in the Netherlands, Marcus Schenkenberg settled in New York in his early twenties and showed off to the world as a marvelous model. According to Channel 5’s, Schenkenberg ranks 17 on the list of “World’s Greatest Supermodel.” He is widely known for his Calvin Klein underwear advertisements, though he has also performed for Versace, Donna Karan and Iceberg.
Storm Model Management in London and Success Models in Paris are just two of the model agencies he has been a part of. Besides being a model, he has various other passions; writing books, singing hit songs, acting and hosting T.V. shows.
4. Antonio Sabàto, Jr.
Born in Rome, the son of the film star of the same name, Antonio Sabàto Jr., gained popularity as a model in the early 90s. Like many others, Calvin Kleinshelped him reach a national status as an underwear model. He was also featured in some of Playgirl’s erotic magazines. In 1990, he was featured in Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” music video, alongside actor DjimonHounsou.
Besides appearing in some T.V. shows and budget films, Sabàto also ran as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress in 2018 elections.
5. Alex Lundqvist
When Bruce Weber tracked Alex Lundqvist, after seeing him in a photograph in a local publication, he was immediately booked by Versace for a worldwide campaign. Later on, he would also work for Guess in U.S. and Lagerfeld in Europe.
He has been featured in many magazines inclining GQ, Elle, Playgirl, L’Uomo Vogue, and Top Model. Albeit not as well remembered, Lundqvist was one of the top-paid and most followed male models of the final decade of the 20th century.