|Photographer - Saint Werewolf|
Hi Gary. Thank you for taking a little time to answer some questions for me. How is it you found yourself in the modelling world?
'Hello! No worries, and thank you for having me as part of the project. I actually found myself modelling completely accidentally, as I'm sure many people have. My story at the start isn't so unique, I had a friend who asked me to take photos several years ago as part of his college project. The funny part is why he asked me. He had asked me for two reasons, the first was just because he liked my dress sense (This was back when I dressed in Ben Sherman shirt, braces and Dr Martens boots) and the other was because I had previously worked in a little kiosk in the middle of Glasgow Central Station called "Tie Rack"and, unbeknownst to me, someone had made a Facebook group up about me, called The Hot Guy Who Works In Tie Rack, that ended up getting over 500 likes! Pretty funny, really, and
quite a big compliment! Something my friends all took the mick out of me for, but it's worked out pretty well! Haha.
After that first shoot, which I'll get back to later, things just cascaded and I had a few people asking me to do some shoots for them. I had also previously run my own little independent clothing label, so I had a load of contacts through that who asked me to model for them upon seeing some photos too, which obviously helped get my name out there as well!'
|Photographer - Jeni Stevenson, shot for Decembeard|
I believe you're a brand ambassador for Decembeard. How did that come about? Also, for people who might be unaware, what is Decembeard?
'I am indeed. A few years ago, I had quite a big beard. I didn't have it for that first shoot but having realised I liked having a little bit of facial hair, I decided to just grow it out. I ended up being an ambassador for a Scottish beard oil brand called Braw Beard Oils and shooting for them a few times, and being shared on social media sites of "beard" websites, some with quite comical names like Bearded Pantie Droppers, haha. Either way, it was nice to see my photos getting a load of likes and it all helped grow my following, which in turn put me in front of more cameras! Decembeard must have seen my work on one of these pages and they approached myself and a handful of others to be ambassadors, so I shot in one of their t-shirts and this ended up on their main promotional campaign on the ticker of their website and that of their affiliates.
Decembeard, for people who haven't heard of it, is very similar to Movember as a concept. It's all about growing facial hair as means of raising awareness and funds for charity. The reason Decembeard appealed personally to me is that they do this in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer. I used to run gigs in aid of cancer charities, but had never heard of Beating Bowel Cancer. I unfortunately never got to meet one of my grandmothers as she passed away before I was born due to bowel cancer, so it was something I really wanted to help out with in any way I could, and it's something I enjoyed being a part of too! I believe modelling for charity appeals is the least I can do to help, so I've also been part of projects to help out with mental health charity SAMH, and for a brand started up by disadvantaged children - both of which were incredible to be a part of and I'm really grateful that I got to help.'
|Photographer - Istvan Jancso|
Whilst prepping for this interview, perusing your Instagram, I was admiring your tattoos, of which you have a few. How many do you currently have?
'Indeed I do! I've actually lost count, but I've started to get them linked up so that may be why. Funnily enough, my parents used to hate tattoos and have none themselves, but I've always loved them. Thankfully they've realised I'm quite sensible...ish, and they know it wasn't just a phase, so they don't mind now!'
|Photographer - CJ Monk|
What was your first tattoo and how long ago was it that you got it?
'My first tattoo, funnily enough was a Superman logo on my leg. very cliche, I know, haha. As a kid, I was a MASSIVE superhero nerd. Not to say I'm not now, but not nearly as much as I was when I was a kid. From the age of 14, I was certain that would be my first tattoo. I waited until I was a bit over 18 to go to a professional studio and I got it done on my leg in case I grew out of either Superman or tattoos. I also did this with my first...at least ten tattoos, getting them on my torso or my legs - then I got a tiny one on my arm and the rest is history!'
|Photographer - Istvan Jancso|
In a segway that relies on people having seen your tattoos for it to work fully... Do you like scary movies?
'Haha, I do indeed! Nice reference too. It's a bit of a funny story, as horror is not my favourite genre at all.
I'm actually a huge kid at heart - so I have a load of Disney tattoos and Simpsons tattoos - they're just masked my the dark, trash polka style that I've fallen in love with so I look like I love dark stuff from a distance, but I really love a bit of everything.
I actually didn't really get into horror movies until I was in university studying media and I did a side course on analysing the narrative of slasher movies, Scream is the ultimate scary movie for me, so I wanted a tiny tattoo on my leg to signify this. A quick discussion with my tattoo artist ended up with this idea morphing into me getting a full "horror" backpiece - so I now have a Scream piece on one side, Jafar from Aladdin on the other, and Gene Simmons from KISS in the centre, with more to come soon...
My favourite movie, though, is actually a movie called Memento in which the lead character is involved in an incident that stops him from creating new memories, so he tattoos everything on himself to remember - maybe that's where my obsession has come from.'
I'm a huge horror nut so the back piece sounds awesome. Have you got it planned? Partially planned? If you have, who and what are you including?
'Ah, excellent! It's kind of half planned. Most of the ideas are there and I'll let the artist do the rest. Like I said, it's not completely horror based, there will be some dark stuff that isn't stereotypical horror - but I am planning on getting some pieces based on movies like Switchblade Romance, Memento, Saw, Halloween - and definitely Twisty from American Horror Story. I'm also sneaking in more disney stuff. I currently have Jafar hiding in there from Aladdin, and I'll be getting the Phantom Manor house in there too! I'm also a big WWE fan, but I'm going to try and be subtle with that, so I'll maybe get Kane's mask chucked in there and hope no-one notices what it is, unless they're also WWE fans of course, haha.'
|Photographer - Nigel Low|
I understand your day job is a subtitler. I have to admit, until writing this interview it was just one of those things that I took for granted. The option was there, but I didn't consider how it got there. How does it work?
'I am! And don't worry, I was exactly the same until I applied for the job! I've been a subtitler for almost three years now and it's the dream job I never knew I wanted. My nice answer is that I get paid to watch television. In reality, it's a bit more tricky.
I am a multiskill subtitler, so my day consists of subtitling both live and pre-recorded programmes. The latter is the easy part. I can subtitle anything from sports highlights, to gameshows, soap operas and feature films - and you have all the time in the world to ensure that all research, spelling, punctuation, grammar and text colours are accurate. For live stuff, not so much. Everyone thinks being a subtitler means you are quick at typing, and I am...but not that quick. It's physically impossible to type at the rate of speech, particularly on things like BBC Parliament. You can type for pre-recorded work, but not for live.
So, for live work, you must be able to clearly re-speak what is happening onscreen into a microphone and pray that the software understands you. For example, if someone asked me "Hi, Gary, how are you?" I would have to say, "Hi comma Gary comma how are you quiz mac" for it to appear on screen correctly. I also have a broad Glaswegian accent, so I have to morph this into a Southern English accent to help the software along.
It's a challenging job where embarrassing errors are part and parcel of it, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have always watched television with subtitles on and I obviously have no hearing impairment - but it's incredible to get paid to watch television AND make it accessible for people who may otherwise not be able to understand it too.'
This is a guest question from my wife whom is sat chuckling away... Have you had to subtitle any adult material in your time as a subtitler?
'Haha, I have! It's still something that makes me blush sometimes. Thankfully about 80% of the time, I'm in a soundproof booth so it's not such a big deal, however sometimes we share a large room, and I've had to respeak SEVERAL documentaries about sex, from old age pensioners who make a living as sex workers, to one of the Nymphomaniac movies.
My favourite sound label I've ever wrote was "Penis sniffs" - which was while I was doing a documentary on the theatre show Joys of Sex, and they recreated some sad movies with genitalia, so I had a cartoon penis crying off camera. "Penis pants" when he (I guess that should be the pronoun to use) ran after someone off camera and got...out of breath. But yeah, several times! Every time you watch something like Naked Attraction, someone has been subtitling that, speaking every word and adding in the punctuation. It isn't a dull job at all!'
|Photographer - Hurricanejinx|
In your time modelling you've shot for various brands. Is there any brands, be they big, small, f*****g massive, independent etc who you'd like the opportunity to model for?
'I have and I'm very lucky to do so! As I said before, I used to run my own clothing brand - so I absolutely LOVE working with smaller brands and seeing what ideas people have. One brand I've been working with recently is a vintage clothing brand on the ASOS Marketplace, which is cool seeing all the retro clothing.
My dream would be to be on the full ASOS website. I have a varied style, whether it be suiting up, wearing baseball caps and jeans, or wearing the t-shirt of my favourite metal bands - so that kind of caters to all of the above! I've worked with Walker Slater before who specialise in tweed suits, so more shoots for formal menswear brands would be cool.
Aside from that, a main ambition of mine has always been to model the merchandise for some of my favourite bands, whether it be directly for them or for a site like EMP, Impericon or Backstreet Merch.
I am open to absolutely everything though, so I welcome everything that comes my way!'
|Photographer - Kenzie Photography|
Speaking of brands, and revisiting your Instagram, I saw your image of your work hanging in the Oxford Street Dr. Martens store. Whilst it's awesome anytime somebody wants to use your work, to me, it's always felt more special special when it's an actual print. They've gone to the trouble of printing, mounting and hanging your image after all. Anyway, to my point... Was the shoot for Dr. Martens or was it a complete surprise when you saw yourself?
'Yeah, that was awesome! I did say I'd revisit my first ever shoot and this is where it comes in! The photo on the wall of the Dr Martens store is from the first shoot I ever done. I was wearing my big cherry coloured boots in it and sent it to Dr Martens as I thought it was a great image. What happened after that was a huge surprise!
They posted it online, which I saw, and they gave me a £200 voucher to buy a pair of boots from them, and that was that. Or so I thought.
One day, I was tagged in a tweet on Twitter from a member of the band Milk Teeth to Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance of his setlist printed on the wall of the store, and someone had spotted my face in the corner of the photo! Needless to say, next time I went to London, I had to go to the shop to check it out for myself. It's probably one of my proudest moments to date, seeing my face on the wall of the store of a brand I love alongside loads of band members and very iconic photos. It's a memory that I'll definitely treasure forever.'
|Photographer - Hurricanejinx|
As I've mentioned in some of my previous interviews with male models, whilst much of it is transferable, a lot of the available advice is geared towards female models. Have you received and/or do you have any advice that specifically pertains to male models?
'Yeah, it's something I'd never really contemplated! I think I strip out the advice that I need and take the important stuff. Like, I always try to work the angles and lighting that make my jaw and cheekbones look sharp (which I have a slight advantage in the form of a beard), or do things like "squinching"- but I think because a lot of what I've done has been learning from looking at other male models, it's always just come from that. I love the work of people like David Gandy, but I also watch a LOAD of America's Next Top Model, bit of a guilty pleasure, and they had a couple of seasons with male models. I've also been lucky to have met and spoken to people like Chris Millington, Carlos Costa and Ricki Hall, who's work seemed to really bridge the gap between rough, tattooed dudes with facial hair and both commercial and high-end fashion work.
I think the main challenge is being on something like PurplePort, it is predominantly female orientated. A lot of castings don't specify gender, nor do a lot of group posts. I do think this is changing and there is a bit of a surge in the popularity of male models. I hope I can be a part of this too, but if not, I'll make sure I can at least play my part and do what I can to enjoy standing in front of cameras - as I believe that's the main thing, just enjoying the experience!'
A few people have mentioned to me about trying to interview more male models, but like you say, there's still quite a gender divide. How do you think this divide could be addressed? How could more males be encouraged to model? How could more photographers be encouraged to shoot male models?
'I do think it's a tricky one! I think part of it is due to there being an abundance of ladies modelling and a lot less men.
Perceptions are changing, but male models used to have a similar stereotype to male dancers - they're all gay. This is something that severely annoys me because, one, it's pretty obvious that there is no correlation between sexuality and occupation, and two, why the hell does sexuality matter anyway? I think a lot of men are scared of being seen as metrosexual or getting slagged from their mates. One of the first shoots I did was wearing a full face of makeup and bright red lipstick. I identify as heterosexual. Standing in front of cameras doesn't change that. If I was homosexual, so what? I despise the fact that "gay" is still used as a derogatory term. Going back to tattoos, I have a few equality symbols on my fingers. This is something I'll always stand for, equality for all.
I do think things are changing in parallel, both in terms of equal rights and more guys being happy to be in front of the cameras - and more unconventional models, like Winnie Harlow (who suffers from vitiligo) and Ashley Graham (probably the most famous plus size model on the planet). One thing I have enjoyed seeing recently is the inclusion of plus size male models on sites like ASOS. I follow a couple of models on Instagram who suffer from disabilities, mental and physical, and I think it's fantastic that modelling now seems to be open to anyone who wants to do it and can learn how to do it well. And I can say personally that it's been a big confidence booster for myself seeing nice photos, so I'm sure it does wonders for others too, particularly if you have something which makes you feel insecure - and I'm sure that covers almost everyone on the planet!
I mean, if we were all the same, life would be boring.
In terms of encouraging photographers, I've been very fortunate and it's never really been a problem for me. Although I do find that a lot of castings are not gender specific when the photographer or brand is looking for a female model, but again, I do thing this is changing. I think just having more castings for males could be cool. I also think there's this idea that guys can only do fully clothed fashion, fitness, or art nude. A big chunk of the female modelling you see about is lingerie or implied. One thing I'd like to see more guys try is a term I learned recently... Dudoir. It's boudoir photography featuring guys. I also think more candid stuff could be cool. I'm a sucker for photos of people just doing normal stuff - like sitting in a shirt and boxers eating a bowl of cereal. Something you'd see photos of girls doing on Tumblr all the time, but not so much guys - so maybe the answer is to not shoot males in a different way, but in the same way as females. I think all art is subjective though, so who knows! I could be completely wrong. It'll be cool to see how much more the male model scene progresses in the future though!'
|Photographer - Hurricanejinx|
If people want to see more of your work, or book a shoot with you, where should they go?
'Well, I used to always direct people to my Instagram or Twitter (I'm consciousgary on both, so feel free to follow me there) but PurplePort has been a great place for me recently too and obviously has more of my modelling work minus the photos of my cat and my travels, so http://purpleport.com/portfolio/consciousgary is probably the best place!
I also have a Facebook page at /garycassidymodel - but I tend to just use my "personal" page that's not that personal for work now, so you can follow me at /garycassidy1802 on Facebook if you wish.'
Nothing wrong with cat pictures. What's your cat called?
'Well, that's good because my Instagram is FULL of them, haha. My cat is named Elsa. Partly after the Frozen princess, partly Elsa Mars from American Horror Story, and partly after the cub from Born Free. She's a little ragdoll cross kitten and she's either running about crazy or snoring very loudly on my lap, but I wouldn't change her for the world.'
|Photographer - Hurricanejinx|
Last question for you. What's your favourite joke?
'This may be the single worst question you could ever ask me. I am a sucker for awful puns! My current favourite one is...
"My mate got taken to hospital recently for eating his son's plastic toy horses.
I think he'll be fine though, his condition has been described as 'stable'."'
I'd like to thank Gary again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of his work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.