If you've flipped through a recent issue of Details or follow our style coverage online, Ryan Kennedy is a familiar face. The Buffalo, New York-native took the textbook route to his career—going to scouting events and hiring a manager—but ever since he landed a contract with IMG at 17, he's done things his own way, turning down gigs that involve some questionable outfits while still making room in his calendar for shoots that range from Playboy to Louis Vuitton (pictured above).
Height: 6' 2"
How were you discovered?
When I was 17 a high school teacher told me I should try modeling. At that point I didn't even realize guys modeled—it just wasn't anything I ever thought about. But I went to a local scouting event my sister heard about on the radio. That led to a national invitational where I got callbacks from 20 agencies and signed with a manager who helped me get a contract with IMG.
I signed without really knowing whether I wanted to commit to modeling, so I bought myself some time and enrolled at Niagra College. But I kept getting so many jobs in New York City that I quit school and moved here so I could do it full time, and I'm really glad I did.
Your first modeling gig: An editorial for Playboy. I wasn't naked or anything. They actually do have some spreads that aren't just naked women. It was for an author who had a book coming out. I just shot with them again this summer, actually. I was in a suit and there was a naked girl there the whole time, which was kind of awkward. I mean, when I met her she was completely naked. I was like, "Uh, nice to meet you."
Career highlight: There've been a lot of great jobs—like the Azzaro fragrance shoot in Cape Town—but the Louis Vuitton campaign I shot in my early twenties was what really put my career on another level.
Career lowlight: That first Playboy job . . .? No, there's not really a low, but the beginning of your career, of any career, really, is always going to be more of a struggle. You're doing a lot of jobs that don't pay anything and you have to go to every casting and every go-see. It's much easier now.
Print work or runway: Print. That's where you make your money.
Craziest thing you've ever been asked to wear: A see-through plastic suit for a runway show in Paris, which I didn't end up going through with. The other craziest outfit was a thong under a pair of booty shorts that you could basically see up since I was elevated on the runway. I turned that one down, too. I'm not trying to shake my ass for a dollar.
If you weren't a model, you would be: In real estate—as an investor, not a broker. I wouldn't want to take people around to houses and be like, 'Yo, buy this.' I like to buy, renovate, and sell, which I've already started doing.
Biggest splurge: My apartment in the city on the Upper East Side, plus four and a half acres of land upstate near Buffalo.
How do you stay in shape? I do cardio at the gym four or five times a week. You can't lift weights if you want to fit into those slim European suits.
If you could change one thing about your body it would be: I'd like to be bigger boned, specifically in my wrists. I think they're a little girly.
Best piece of advice you've ever been given: "Don't take anything personally and handle rejection with grace."
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