In our ongoing series,Model in the Spotlight, we get up close and personal with the world's leading male models.
Robbie Wadge practically grew up in the London pub his mother owned, so it should come as no surprise that his modeling career began when he was discovered there—after beating a fashion photographer at a few rounds of pool. The Brit has since purchased his own London home (an old Victorian) and is busy renovating it himself in between his turn down the Fall 2014 runways for brands like Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Valentino, and Dsquared2.
Agency: New York Models
How were you discovered? When I was 15 my mum bought a pub in the East End of London and became the landlady. I was still in school, but I got to see a lot of things most 15 year olds wouldn't. It was a typical East End pub, with drugs and fights all over the place. When I turned 16 I finished secondary school and was considering my options, whether to go on to college and so on. Then one day a photographer named Andy Cotterill came into the pub. After I beat him a few times at pool, we chatted, and he asked if I'd ever considered modeling, which I hadn't. So I thought I'd give it a go.
Your first modeling gig: Topman show in London.
Career highlight: Walking for big brands like Prada, Gucci, and Valentino to name a few. Wicked buzz! Also, shooting in Hawaii was amazing, and spending time in Tokyo, a city that I love.
Career lowlight: Breaking my ankle and being booked to do looks for a big brand in New York. I decided to fly in anyway, even though I was on crutches. It didn't go so well. Looking back now I would have turned down the job and rested my ankle until it healed.
If you weren't a model, you'd be: Studying architecture. If I had loads of money I would buy a piece of land somewhere and open an animal sanctuary with my sister. My family members are animal fanatics; we especially love dogs. I've also considered designing clothes. Since I've been modeling I've discovered a love for fashion, so maybe 2014 will be the year for this to happen.
We hear you're renovating a Victorian house in London. I have a passion for old historic houses. I was chatting with my mum, who's great and helps me out with life in general, and she said that I should do something creative and put some money into something stable. So the chance came up and I grabbed it. I've been renovating it for a year now and it's nearly complete.
How's it been going? It's been bloody hard, and at times I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew. But the motivation comes when you finally get something completed and it looks great. Then all of the hard, messy work is worth it.
Do you have any good interior design tips? Lots of natural light. Keep it simple and cozy.
How do you stay in shape? Working on the house has been great exercise over the last year. I hear sex is also pretty good for you as well! But in all honesty I don't have an actual regimen.
Describe your personal style in three words: Rough, street, comfy.
The one item from your wardrobe you'd save in a fire: My trusty Fred Perry waterproof jacket. It's been with me ever since I started modeling and it gets better with age.
The artist getting a lot of play on your iPod right now: I've been listening loads to this new band called Jungle. They're from England and have an amazing sound. And I love Trentemoller, who's a Danish DJ.
Best piece of advice you've ever been given: My uncle once told me to never be afraid to ask for what you believe you deserve in any aspect of life. That was good advice.
—Todd Plummer, follow him @toddkingston