The ubiquitous British model David Gandy is also a blogger (for Vogue.co.uk), a style expert (look for the David Gandy Style Guide for Men in the iTunes app store), and now the subject of a book. With the release of David Gandy, a compilation of his work for Dolce & Gabbana, he opens up about the industry, how he stays in shape, and yes, those Zoolander comments.
Congratulations on the book (See below for an extensive preview). How'd the project come about?
I've worked with Dolce & Gabbana since my first year of modeling 10 years ago—that's how long we go back. And by now we've done so many projects together: the Light Blue campaigns, the commercials. It's just kind of swelled. I was obviously honored to have a book named after me.
Their work with you really changed the way we think about male beauty. With Light Blue, it wasn't that Hedi Slimane skinny-boy look anymore.
There are definitely trends. Sometimes skinny guys are in, and so you have the androgynous guys and the Dior guys. And then the male form comes back in, and at the end of the day, that sells.
Even your own look has changed from when you started a decade ago.
Oh God, there's an absolute divide from where I started. I came into the fashion industry straight out of university at 21, but I looked 15. It was just embarrassing. And why wasn't I working much? Well, I look back at it now and I understand why. I looked like a bunny in headlights on film, I was so fresh-faced and young. But the thing with male models is that they usually get better with age.
So you feel like you've grown into your looks?
Thankfully, yes. Or grown into my nose, should I say. [Laughs]
Is that something you're not totally comfortable with?
I think everybody has hang-ups about their bodies. I have quite a big nose, a prominent nose. Some people love it, some people hate it. I have scars in my eyebrows. I have a scar in my eye from sport. Some people will say, "Oh, it makes you look aged. Your scar tells a story. We'll keep it, we love that." For others, it's just not going to work.
What do you do to maintain your looks? Any special diet?
I love my food, but I do have to be careful. Everything in moderation. Drink, fatty foods, trans fats, everything. A lot of the American guys have such a strict diet of fish and vegetables, and there are things they just will not touch, like a latte. If they're having a coffee, they will not touch milk. And of course, they won't have any sort of chocolates, sweets, or bread. That, to me, isn't living. I'm careful, but I'm not pedantic about it.
How about before a big shoot?
If I have a big underwear shot, like when I had the Light Blue campaign shoot, maybe a month and a half before that I'm extremely careful. I come off the drink, and I come off a lot of carbohydrates and salts. I won't eat carbohydrates after 5 p.m. when I have something coming up.
What's your biggest indulgence?
I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, and I can give up alcohol very, very easily. But I'm a bit of a caffeine addict. I get out of bed and I'm not quite right until I've had a coffee. I have a machine at home, but there's a Colombian coffee shop down the road from my London home as well. I think I've paid their mortgage over the last few years.
What's your exercise routine like?
If I'm at home, I train four or five times a week: a lot of cardio and a lot of weights. I also really believe in changing it up and shocking your body, because your muscles and metabolism adjust to these exercises. I actually ran a marathon recently, and I had to lose weight because I'm 203 pounds, and that's a lot of weight to pound down on the concrete streets of Old London for 26.3 miles. So I went down to 190. I came off heavy weights and did a lot of lighter weights with more repetitions to lose the bulk.
You've spoken out against the stigma associated with male modeling. Do you think the profession's image has improved any?
It's slowly changing. It seems everyone wants to be a model. Guys are coming in now at 16, 17, and are proud to say, "Yeah, I'm a male model." We never used to say we were male models when we first started. None of the top guys said it.
So the world of male models isn't really all Blue Steel and gasoline fights?
The only access people have had to male modeling is really Zoolander—which is an amazing film and I hope No. 2 gets made. But it's an exaggerated version of what happens. That really is the major question I get asked about male modeling: "Is it like Zoolander?" Well, Zoolander is a comedy. It's not a documentary.
What is the craziest thing that's happened to you in your job?
Well, it's kind of embarrassing that I was on a 50-foot poster in Times Square in a very small pair of pants. That's not a normal thing. But you get kind of immune to it because you've got to be very comfortable with your own body.