With the new autumn winter collections launched, we speak to Gerry Rhodes who is enjoying success in the modelling industry. Photography: Tom Pope. Styling: Kate Simpson
With his Scandi-style good looks and blond hair, Gerry Rhodes has found himself much in demand in the modelling world.
Gerry, who is Ribble Valley born and bred, has been modelling for Manchester-based Boss since he was in his early twenties: “When I first approached Boss they told me to go away and come back in a couple of years’ time as I looked so young and fresh-faced!
“When I did go back they took me on straight away – I did a lot of test shots and started to develop my portfolio. I treated it as something that I would grow into and I have. I really enjoy it.”
Now 30, Gerry, who lives in Newton, has worked throughout the UK and Europe and understands how the modelling business can fluctuate: “Since I was at school I worked with my dad in the building trade. I think working in the modelling industry you have to have something that you can fall back on – especially if you have a couple of quiet months.”
Having worked for the likes of Adidas, North Face and Patagonia, much of Gerry’s work is for premium sports and outdoor clothing brands: “We recently did a live presentation for Adidas, modelling all the new gear for the forthcoming season, as well as new football kit.
“They get the buyers in to see the new collections, it’s very exclusive – everyone has their mobile phones taken off them. We do a live show and a meet and greet so the buyers can see and feel the textiles and styling. They will ask us how the clothing fits and feels – fashion is huge here in the UK, it’s big business.”
Gerry was recently selected to model a new collection of suits for Slater Menswear in Glasgow: “I am coming to the age where I can also do more formal suits and because I am blond haired, it makes me stand out more as agencies struggle to find blond male models.
“The shoot for Slaters was amazing! It was a photographic shoot for the website and brochure. It was hard work though – very full on. It was shot over two days – the previous two or three days I had done shoots for JD and N Brown and then I had to drive up to Scotland for the Slater shoot.”
“There were three of us and 60 suits. When you are shooting formal-wear everything has to be perfect – it’s double checked so it’s all spot on.”
“One of the models was a 37-year-old who had worked for Slaters before – he ended up on a 90ft billboard in the centre of Glasgow! He travelled all the way up to see it he was that thrilled!”
“How amazing would that be. Apparently, after the recent shoot, it could happen to one of us!”
With a cheeky sense of humour and relaxed style, Gerry had made himself a popular face on photographic shoots: “I think you have to take the work very seriously but you have to have a bit of fun too as you need to be pretty relaxed, so the shoot flows well.
“Some of the younger ones coming in are often a bit nervous and uptight, so it’s always good to have some banter with them to help them relax. If you aren’t relaxed while you are working, it shows in the photographs.”
While the industry is ultra-competitive Gerry continues to enjoy his work as a model: “Castings can be very competitive. You can turn up and there be 20 or 30 people and they may just want one or two.
“The selection process is a big deal, they have to get it right. You go in with your name on a card and have your photograph taken. It’s always a great feeling when you’ve been chosen, especially out of so many.”
Having been recently chosen to work on a one-day boxer shoot for Ben Sherman, Gerry says he was keen to get in the best physical shape: “Cross-fit has always been my thing – I tend to work out more in winter than summer and I have to confess I do love sugar – I like all the bad stuff! But I rely on exercise to keep in shape.”
Also working with agencies in Leeds and Birmingham, Gerry’s ultimate aim is to do more work in Germany and Scandinavia: “It is a massive commercial market out there. Adidas recently flew a group of us out to Hamburg, inviting us to go and meet them.”
With the intention of expanding his portfolio, Gerry recently set up a shoot in Gisburn Forest using friend and photographer Tom Pope from Tosside and stylist Kate Simpson, who like Gerry, also does work for JD.
Describing himself as a country boy through and through, Gerry enjoys all the usual country pursuits including shooting, so he wanted the latest portfolio shots to reflect this.
“I have gone on shoots with my dad in the UK and abroad. I also go clay shooting too.”
Working with a 29-year-old Harris hawk and a 19-year-old eagle owl, courtesy of Lancashire Hawks and Owls, Gerry was in his element enjoying every minute of the countryside shoot for his portfolio: “Tom who often works photographing supercars, had never done anything like it before. He scoped out the forest to find the best locations and then the hawk and owl arrived. The owl was pretty heavy – it was massive with a two-metre wing span.”
“But I really enjoyed working with them and I think the results are amazing. They’re pretty cool!”