In our ongoing seriesModel in the Spotlight, we get up close and personal with the world's leading male models.
Ryan Cooper is used to taking off his shirt. After all, he spent most of his adolescence growing up in the tropical climates of Papua New Guinea and Australia, as well as other exotic South Pacific locales. But like so many models today, Cooper is out to prove he has more to offer. You can see him flex his acting muscle for yourself on the daytime drama One Life to Live.
Height: Six one—almost. I round up. My three brothers are all six three. I got the arm length but not the torso length. They call me the missing link.
Hometown: That's actually hard to say. I was born in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, was raised for five years in Brisbane, Australia, then spent six years on Vanuatu in the South Pacific and 10 years in Auckland, New Zealand. For the last six years, I've been traveling, but I'm based in New York City. Ultimately, though, Sydney, Australia, could be the destination to live and raise a family.
How were you discovered? I'd never thought of modeling, but a friend took some pictures from our summer into her agency. They said I'd never ever model, but then the man who's now my international manager saw them and he wanted to sign me up straight away.
Career highlight: Having three billboards in Times Square—at the same time. That was very surreal.
Congrats on your part on One Life to Live. What's that transition been like? Thank you! It's been a blast. The biggest shock was how much they actually shoot in a single day, about 20 times as many pages as a feature film. It's very fast work, more so than modeling.
Any pre-show or pre-shoot rituals or superstitions? I like to go for a run or do a spin class to get the blood pumping.
How do you stay in shape? I do a whole mix of fitness. I like riding my push bike around the city. I also do hot yoga, kickboxing, and high-intensity interval training, and I eat healthy.
We hear you are a pretty serious vegan. I'm actually not vegan, strictly speaking, although I do often spend days or weeks meat-free. I find it can help to keep lean, and you have so much more energy when your body isn't trying to digest heavy foods. When I do eat meat, I try to eat organic.
What are your favorite things to cook? Stir-fries. They're quick and easy, and I like to add some spices and turn it into a curry.
Describe your personal style in three words: Bipolar, shabby, unsure. I wouldn't say I have a specific style. I feel very comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans driving my old ute. Or rocking a beautiful suit and driving a Porsche—but that's more of a future vision than a reality. How about: classy, not ostentatious.
The one item from your wardrobe you'd save in a fire: I would let my wardrobe burn and film it. Clothes are replaceable.
If you could change one thing about your body, it would be: I've never really thought about that. Maybe I'd fix the monkey arms!
The song getting a lot of play on your iPod right now: Eddie Vedder's "Without You." It's going to be the next song I learn on my ukelele.
Best piece of advice you've ever been given: My father taught me that hard work always pays off. Whether you achieve the goal you were aiming at or discovered something about yourself, it's never pointless.
—Todd Plummer, follow him at @toddkingston