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Chris Mason

Chris Mason

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What first predicated your decision to pursue a modeling career?

I sort of fell into modeling haphazardly. I was working at Abercrombie in college to come up with the beer money and was cast for a campaign during the one of the regular in-house castings.

Tell me about your upcoming acting projects, when can we expect to see you on the screen?

Modeling is still my main focus. I take acting opportunities as they come. My most recent project was a short film I shot in New Orleans with Phillip Lopez as director, and Amanda Booth and Rob Healey as my co-stars.

What made you want to segue to acting?

Living in LA as a model, acting is about as difficult to avoid as venereal disease.

When you’re acting, do you tend to have a blueprint to start, a certain recipe, or do you just act in the moment?

My strategy is pretty standard. I focus on rote memorization, do a lot of work on my own developing a sense of the character in my mind, then focusing on my costar in the moment and just cultivating an organic exchange with the work I did prior as a foundation and context.

What kind of things motivate you most as an artist?

Creating something totally unique and genuine: a one of a kind experience.

Do you find being in front of the camera cathartic or challenging or something else all together?

After over a decade in the industry, the camera can either be completely invisible to me or as familiar of a tool as a mit to a ball player, or a brush to a painter. Interacting with it or ignoring it completely feels as natural at this point as walking.

The fashion industry is quite cut throat--how do you navigate those shark-infested waters without getting chewed up?

I’ve never found it to be that way personally. I went to school for business, and I don’t see modeling to be any more machiavellian than any other business.

What particularly crazy thing did you do when you were a young model?

I did a tour of several cities with a big cosmetics company. The job entailed els showing up in the morning and stripping completely nude so that a team of make up artists could turn us into living art over the course of several hours with tiny brushes. The most interesting part was in the end when it came time to take the paint of in a plastic covered room that could have been decorated by a serial killer, with big tubs of olive oil and rock sugar so help melt the paint away.

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What was one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as a model?

The most challenging part of being a model is staying engaged over the years and finding new ways to express yourself through such a limited medium: your face.

Nowadays there’s pressure on models to have a big social media following, you strike me as someone who doesn’t prescribe to those kind of expectations--how do you feel social media has changed the fashion industry?

I think the impact of social media is more broad: it has changed the way the entire marketing industry operates, and honestly, for the better. I do respect the level of meritocracy it introduced by giving people the opportunity to be compensated for the hard work involved in becoming an influencer versus simply winning a genetic lottery.

What’s next for you in terms of modeling?

I have been doing more international campaigns and entering a stage in my career where older demographics are the target, and both come with a level of professional respect and consideration that I am really appreciative of. Looking forward to this next phase being a little more peaceful and stable and giving my the opportunity to focus on family.

What’s one of your accomplishments that you’re most proud of?

When I shot my first major campaign that was really widely published, it felt really good to give my parents something tangible to be proud of and show off: pick up a magazine in a barber shop or something, open the first page and show anyone who would listen saying, “That’s my son.”

How did you first meet your lovely wife Olivia?

We met shooting the Abercrombie and Fitch holiday campaign last year. I realized I wanted to marry her after our first real date when we had the opportunity to share a meal and talk at length about life, love, family, etc very early on. She’s my soulmate and recognizing that was the easiest thing I have ever done.

She’s also a model, do you find that it’s easier to date someone in the same industry?

It is really nice to have a partner who shares the same erratic schedule with unscheduled blocks of free time that you can take advantage of together. Lifestyle aspects too, like fitness, creativity and other factors create a generous overlap in compatibility, but if neither of you have passions and aspirations outside the industry, it can get really dull. Luckily that’s not a problem for us.

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How did becoming a father change you? How do you feel about your daughter seeing the more racy photos of you?

I would say I am more patient and better as sussing out the things that really matter. When you see things through a child’s eyes, you realize that people or the universe aren’t as malicious as it seems like sometimes, we all just have our own perspectives on things that are either fixed or flexible, and the more you can embody the latter the easier life will be.

You’ve worked with some of top photographers, which ones are a big inspiration for you? What actors and musicians are an inspiration for you?

More veteran photographers, such as Bruce Weber who I have had the opportunity to work with on several occasions, are better at distilling the essence of a moment without having to fabricate it with props and acting, and I really respect that clarity of vision. Alternately I work with young photographers all of the time who’s passion to create something really fresh and unique is equally inspiring. Actors and musicians that can channel the same qualities inspire me the same way, from old schoolers like Harrison Ford or Paul Simon, to my own generation such as Adam Driver or Young Fathers.

Do you think it’s vital for models to adapt their look to stop from having a limited shelf life, especially because the trends change so much in fashion?

Yeah, being dynamic in your cultural and professional climate is a crucial part to longevity. You have your icons like Kate Moss or David Gandy who will always be these superhuman lightning rods, but for the rest of us, the ability to evolve is as important as it is for any other artist in the fight to remain relevant.

Being a successful model, do you feel extra pressure to prove yourself as an actor?

While being attractive physically gives you a step up in so many parts of life, expectations are stacked against your merit in other parts and acting is no exception.

What are your style essentials in daily life?

Just wear clothes that fit you, first and foremost: keep your silhouette in mind. Beyond that I would say you should dress yourself with purpose and efficiency. I’m a utilitarian. A stroke of color or texture can breathe life into an outfit, but restraint is the name of the game. If you can’t actually put anything behind those extra zippers on that jacket, don’t buy it. Style essentials for me would be some great fitting trousers and some subtle, masculine pieces of jewelry that are part of your uniform, not your thirteenth piece of flair.

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What’s one of the biggest things you aim to achieve in life?

My biggest goal is for myself and my family to have what we need to be happy and enjoy the freedom to explore whatever parts of life satisfy us most.

You have one day to live: what would do with your last day?

I would spend it making lasting memories with my family for them to enjoy after I’m gone.

What’s the most important thing being in the fashion world has taught you?

Don’t be an asshole.

Photographer: Storm Shoots
Writer: Heather Seidler


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