To borrow a phrase from Ben Stiller’s male model in the comedy Zoolander, being “professionally good looking” is a career that is neither easy nor lucrative for men. The 10 top-earning male models earned a total of $8 million from September 2012 to September 2013, a measly amount compared to the $83 million their female counterparts raked in over the past year.
1. SEAN O’PRY [$1.5 million]
Coming in at No.1 on our list is Sean O’Pry, a 24 year old from Kennesaw, Ga., who we estimate earned $1.5 million during the 12 month period. Discovered on MySpace at 17 by Nole Marin, a notable fashion stylist who has been a judge on America’s Next Top Model, and Lana Winters, his current manager, the blue-eyed O’Pry has landed major ad campaigns with the likes of Giorgio Armani, Versace, Calvin Klein, H&M, Versace, D&G, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and Salvatore Ferragamo. The lion’s share of his earnings come from the multiple fragrance contracts he’s picked up this year from Jil Sander’s “Ultrasense” and Viktor & Rolf’s “Spicebomb”. In 2012, he was featured in Madonna’s music video for “Girl Gone Wild”. Unlike the other male models who made our list this year, O’Pry is the only model to be managed under one single agency worldwide. (New York agency: VNY Model Management)
2. DAVID GANDY [$1.4 million]
David Gandy, a favourite face of Dolce & Gabbana, comes in at No.2 with $1.4 million in earnings from September 2012 to September 2013. In the business since 2001, the 33-year-old U.K. native has also held contracts with Hugo Boss, Banana Republic and Massimo Dutti. Though he isn’t No.1 on this year’s list, the industry veteran is one of the few men to reach supermodel status with work beyond the runways and catalogs. In addition to his role as brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker Blue and Whey Hey ice cream, a company in which he owns a stake, Gandy hawks his own training app and writes about fashion for British Vogue and GQ. (New York agency: Ford Models).
3. SIMON NESSMAN [$1.1 million]
Originally from Canada, Nessman began modelling in 2007 and has quickly become one of the most recognisable faces in the industry. Currently, he is the face of Giorgio Armani and on his eight season as the face of Michael Kors. He has also appeared in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana. (New York agency: Soul Artist Management)
4. ARTHUR KULKOV [$950k]
While most male models get their start in the industry by juggling editorial work and runway shows, the 30-year old Russian model found success almost immediately when he began modelling for campaigns with Barneys, Sisley and Russell & Bromley. Kulkov’s earnings comes largely from his lucrative multiple-year contracts with Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce and Gabbana. (New York agency: Re;Quest Model Management)
5. NOAH MILLS [$740k]
The Baltimore native began modelling in 2003 and has appeared in ad campaigns for major luxury brands like Versace and Michael Kors. Mills made his first acting debut in “Sex and the City 2”. Earlier this year, the model starred in “Wracked”, an independent movie that he wrote and also produced. (Agency: IMG)
6. RYAN BURNS [$610k]
The bulk of burn’s earnings comes from his work with Zegna, a brand in which he has held fragrance contracts with for multiple seasons. Though Burn’s modelling resume may not be as diverse, his exclusive deal with Zegna has allowed him to earn more than many other models with a broader portfolio but more sporadic work. (New York agency: Ford Models)
7. TYSON BALLOU [$425k]
The American-born model started his career at the young age of 15 and has appeared in campaigns for H&M, Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Salvatore Ferragamo. (New York agency: IMG)
8. OLLIE EDWARDS [$410k]
The British model got his career start in 2007 and is best known for being the face of Ralph Lauren. Currently, he appears in multiple campaigns, including Neiman Marcus, DKNY, aand Brioni. (New York agency: VNY Model Management)
9. JON KORTAJARENA [$290k]
This year, the Spanish model has signed contracts with H&M, Hudson Jeans and Karl Lagerfeld (New York agency: IMG).
10. TOBIAS SORENSEN [$265k]
The Danish model has been featured in ad campaigns for Zara, Diesel, Dolce and Gabbana, and has walked in runway shows for DL 1961, Nautica and Elie Tahari (New York agency: VNY Model Management).
For men, attaining supermodel status is rare and challenging; they don’t have the opportunities to gain wide-scale exposure that Victoria’s secret or a major cosmetics campaign offer female models. And the rates they command are far lower.
It’s conventional wisdom in the fashion world that men in ads provide a lower return on investment.
But there is one area where male models have an edge over their female counterparts. Says O”Pry: “The best part about being a male model is not having to wear high heels”.
Culled from Forbes.
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