This is what it’s like to be a male model

Félix Gesnouin, face of Roberto Cavalli’s newest fragrance called Uomo, tells us what goes on behind the scenes of a fashion show.

Meryl D'Souza August 29, 2016

Here’s why you don’t enjoy your nine to five desk job: it doesn’t have partying as a job requirement.

Believe it or not, being a male model is so much more than dieting, working out, walking on runways, waiting for fittings and perfecting the stoic intensity look. 

Being a model is apparently really, really fun. Models get to travel and have a good time while designers and brands pay them to look even better than they already do. Hate your job yet? We caught up with French male model Félix Gesnouin, the face for Roberto Cavalli’s newest fragrance for men called Uomo, to tell us more about the life of a male model.

You’ve been on the scene for quite a while, how does it feel to be the face of a Roberto Cavali fragrance?

The Uomo fragrance campaign is a new step for me and it’s taking me into something that is way more intense because it’s like working with a film crew where at any give time we have about 70 people on set. Working with Scott Cooper was a pleasure but I’m grateful to the Cavalli team, and Peter Dundas especially, for giving me something I have never had in this business.

What does your grooming routine entail?

I prefer to stick with quality products so I usually go for some Shea butter for my hair because it helps with the hydration and Marseille Soap for my face. I have sensitive skin so I make sure to use olive oil before going in for a shave.

Given your sensitive skin, do you shave often?

I have to. Since I’m a model, most brands and designers won’t let me grow a beard. I’m lucky Cavalli let me have a light stubble but otherwise I follow a three day rule. I don’t mind it though, I’ve got sharp features and I like to show off my cheekbones.

How long do you have to work out every day to stay in shape?

I don’t really go to the gym to workout at all. Luckily, I’m into rock climbing so that keeps me toned. Apart from that, I think it’s the environment that keeps me thin. In Paris, you have to walk about 20km a day to get around the city.

What about your diet then?

My eating habits are terrible. I’m a typical French guy so I gorge on sausages, cheese and wine. The only time I eat less is when I’m eating with my girlfriend because she cooks in really small quantities. Sometimes, I ask her where the main course is.

You probably get to travel a lot in you line.

Of course! It’s amazing. I can say I’m working right now. My all-time favourite place to visit is Japan, the hospitality there is unbelievable. Second to that I’d say is Mykonos.

Do you feel like we’re in the golden age of menswear now, with men more willing to try on new things?

Yes, I think there’s a strong sense of renewal in fashion today. For too long we stuck to the image of a man in our head and wouldn’t dare try anything. Like cropped pants, you wouldn’t see a lot of men wear that a few years back, but today men rock it. I feel this generation has changed that notion and we’re not scared of trying new things. 

Do you shop a lot?

I’m a shopaholic, but I don’t like to spend a lot. I prefer vintages. So I spend days looking through the little stores of Paris searching for the best piece. Most male models love to shop. The problem is it’s an expensive industry, so most of us just go about looking for things ourselves.

What are Fashion Weeks like?

Fashion Weeks are hell if you’re new. But the older you get, the more fun it is. I’m in my 14th season so I’m more of a veteran. The key to fashion week is to not touch your hair since designers love to work with hair and attending them with as much energy as possible because apart from the shows, you also have to party. A lot. 

What’s the biggest challenge of Fashion Week?

The biggest challenge at a fashion week is not messing up the clothes. It’s so easy to wrinkle, rip or dirty some of the stuff we’re about to showcase. Us models are really reckless like that and the poor designers are always on edge.

Being a model, is it harder to get women to talk to you because they may feel threatened?

I’ve heard of cases like that, but no. It’s so easy. The key is to be charming and not be uptight. Women can be shy, but if you approach them, they’re fine.

Roberto Cavalli Uomo is available across perfumeries and department stores for AED 320 for 60ml and AED 420 for 100ml.