So it is my pleasure to bring to you the Dame himself, Damon Rhodes. Damon is rising to be one of the nations leading male models. Take a look at this hot exclusive interview from Damon Rhodes.
First off thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.Thank you for the opportunity (smiles).
Who is Damon Rhodes?Who is Damon Rhodes? (chuckles) Well that is a very interesting question because there are so many different facets to my personality. Well, I am a very complex person. I am a versatile model/photographer from Baltimore, MD who understands his potential; looking to explore all facets of entertainment. Embarking on a journey of triumph. Determined to inspire and overcome philistinism.
At what age did you begin modeling?
Well, technically I have been modeling since I was fourteen, but always loved taking photos since I was about seven years of age (using a disposable camera). I use to take my own photos using the self-timer on my camera and write concepts for my little mini-photoshoots lol even at a young age I was very creative. At that time I thought nothing of it...it was just fun being able to express myself creatively; photography became my outlet.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up for me was amazing! I was such a happy, free-
spirited child. I am an only child by my mother (Angel Askew) and I have an older sister (Keyaira Rhodes) and a younger brother (Zion Rhodes) from my father (Damon Rhodes Sr.). My mother and father were not together therefore my mother raised me as a single parent but she never missed a beat; I never had to want for anything, I was a very fortunate child. As a child I was always very inquisitive and mature for my age. I was into EVERYTHING, I learned how to cook, clean, and iron before age ten. I saw my mother doing something and I just wanted to learn. I also always had a love for photography and music. I went to school in the Baltimore City School System until I turned ten years old. Growing up I was always the center of attention, I guess it comes from me being an only child at home. I often received attention for my dare-devilish personality and being so talkative. I was very ostentacious lol that character trait has never left me. In school, I was always the "class-clown" but also very intelligent. I was never really a follower growing up, I kinda always just did my own thing. At that age I was too young to even realize that I was "different" from most children my age. However, I naturally got along with my classmates and was known for participating in class and just being an outspoken personality. My attitude often got me into trouble; when I was young, my maturity for my age also meant that I didn't always know what to say out of my mouth lol. I encountered many challenges growing up as well; my father was murdered when I was eleven years old and as I grew older I started to learn more about the unfortunate sides to life. But I take every experience that I have had as a lesson learned and the foundation that was built from that young age has helped to keep me grounded in my adult life. God places everything in our lives for a reason.
Whew lol, so what started you in modeling?
Well, as I mentioned before I always had a strong liking for photography and took photos but I never actually pursued it until June 2011. My close friend Dariel Pulliam (R.I.P.) always encouraged me to go into modeling and in his words "use what you got to get what you want", lol. I always knew that I wanted to study photojournalism and be in involved with the entertainment industry but I never knew how to get my foot in the door. It wasn't until April 5th (my birthday and the day Dariel passed away) that I had the courage to take a chance and pursue my dreams rather than continue to make excuses. It took my close friend dying for me to truly live. Dariel's passing really woke me up; I went through a period of just not knowing what to think or do but I believe that God has a plan for everyone and I tried to put Dariel's passing into perspective. Now I feel like I have a responsibility to do what Dariel set out for me to do and what I ultimately wanted to do myself with my career endeavors. I feel obligated to continue to carry on his legacy since he unfortunately never got that chance. I feel like i'm carrying the torch so to speak.
Ok, your chocolate photo shoot what inspired that (LOL)?Oh wow! lol I REMEMBER IT LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY! well first and foremost I was sixteen when I took that photo. It was actually really random, see, I was a photographer FIRST so I am always thinking of concepts. One day I remember just being in the house alone bored around like 6pm on a Wednesday night and I randomly thought "hmm, it'd be pretty dope to take photos covered in chocolate but in an artistic way". So, I walked to the supermarket (Food Lion) not far from my house and bought ALL TYPES OF CHOCOLATE! I bought chocolate chips, Hersheys chocolate syrup and giant Hersheys chocolate bars. Once I got home I threw a huge old white blanket on my bed, set my camera up on my computer desk infront of my bed and spread the chocolate chips all over the bed and covered myself in chocolate syrup. I don't know why it did not register in my mind that the chocolate would stick to the sheet and everytime that I got up to re-adjust the timer on the camera the chocolate would get on my carpet! It was just a mess! once I got over the fact that i'd be scrubbing chocolate off of my carpet for hours; I just let go and took tons of photo having fun all by myself! (I am such an only child lol) and the rest as they say is HISTORY! (chuckles) Ironically, that photo has become like my signature photo and one of my most popular even after all of these years. It also pays homage to Hip Hop Icon Lil' Kim's infamous "Hardcore" photo. People STILL ask me what inspired my chocolate photo and some have even said that they would like to re-create it. I say "go for it!".
Ok since you are a Baltimore Resident what do you think is the hardest part about being a model in the city?Well, honestly I don't even think about it. Once my mind is made up, its made up and I allow nothing and no one to get in my way. However, I will say that Baltimore can be a very ignorant and negative city; atleast in my experience. I am from West Baltimore, Maryland originally and grew up there until I was about ten when I moved to Baltimore County. Although, I have so many great memories from my childhood; growing up in an urban area was challenging at times. I experienced alot of negativity from my peers towards both myself and others. Its just a tough city but it definitely builds character and thick skin. Growing up in Baltimore makes me feel like i'm prepared for the not-so-positive side of life. I am use to negativity, therefore, I feel prepared for the negative energy that i'm likely to receive from others. It comes with the territory I guess, as long as I keep a strong faith there really are no challenges. The sky is the limit.
What is your favorite style of modeling?Hmm, I'm not sure. Because I would classify myself as a "versatile model", I would probably say that I don't have a "favorite" style of modeling. I can appreciate them all. I love how eclectic modeling is; now that I am pursuing it as a career I have grown to appreciate it alot more. Modeling is not as easy and simple as it seems to the naked eye, there is much work involved; TRUST ME.
Who is your biggest influence in the model world?As far as modeling goes, I do not have too many major influences. However, I am loving Andrej Pejic right now. He is an amazing androgynous Australian male model. He is doing what I urge to do and that is "kick the door in" so to speak. I also want to change the stereotypical stigma of what a "male model" really is. I believe that Tyson Beckford, Mark Vanderloo and Marcus Schenkenberg all did a great job at establishing male models as a force in the fashion industry. At the same time, I feel that change in male models and the way that they are viewed is LONG OVERDUE! Female models have experienced many changes but in my opinion not as much change has happened in the male modeling industry. I'd like to be apart of changing that (smiles).
Who is your favorite photographer?
My favorite photographer has always been David LaChappelle! I have always appreciated how he can juggle symbolism and yet still have a raw point of view. He evokes so much emotion through his imagery. He is pure genius!
What would you say is the hardest thing about being a male model?
Probably the stereotypes that you automatically walk into but thats with anything in life. Male modeling lacks versatility; there are slight changes that i've seen but the male modeling industry isn't changing fast enough. Its time for male models to be as highly paid and recognizable as their female counterparts. Thats what I would like to see.
What does modeling mean to you?Everything. It is the foundation that will surely lead me to a successful career in all of my future endeavors.
What do you do to keep yourself in shape?Well, I am naturally toned so I do not have to do much but recently I joined the gym in attempts to build muscle mass. I mainly workout my chest and tricep areas and I like to do cardio for about 45 minutes. On a good week I workout four times a week but lately I haven't worked out at all! lol
What do you usually do right before a photo shoot?I try not to eat anything HEAVY! (chuckles) and if I can, I try to workout. I usually eat nothing but fruit and drink water on the day of a shoot.
I like to have my personal time. I am known for being a boisterous people person but I also love my private time. I am just as much of a loner as I am a people person. I think thats one thing about me that would surprise people, only my close friends and family know that about me. I am always thinking of a concept for a shoot and how I can make it happen. I always have many different thoughts at a time so I am always thinking of something! thats probably what I like to do most. Just express my creativity. I also love to catch up with friends and sorta lose myself in their lives, if only for a minute lol my life can be so hectic and busy at times that I often lose track of what is going on around me.
Can you walk us through a day in the life of Damon Rhodes?Oh god! lol I wake up at 4:50a.m. every morning for work, brush my teeth, take a shower, go to work, get off at 3pm, go to school twice a week, possibly workout, respond to inquiries and emails, run my fansite/social networks, eat and go to sleep and do it all over again the next day.
Who has been your favorite photographer and companies to work with?Adrian Buckmaster, I have learned alot from him. He is such a demiurgic person.
You are most noted for your different styles of modeling and being very versitile, what influences your shoots?Anything and Everything. Music, Art...Life. I love to challenge myself.
I love to brainstorm concepts for upcoming shoots, talk on the phone to my friends, listen to music, travel and EAT! oh my god, food is so orgasmic for me, I love it!
Besides modeling what are some other things you enjoy doing?
Besides modeling what are some other things you enjoy doing?
Where do you see yourself 5 year from now?
In Five years...well, first of all, through the Grace of God I would like to be alive! I would like to be able to still provide for myself and be able to make a difference. Success comes with much responsibility and I understand that. I want to venture into acting, photography, and even dance. All facets of entertainment intrigue me. I am interested in so many things in life; why should I limit myself? i've never believed in that. Life is too short to plan your life accordingly, NOTHING goes as planned. All we can do is try to do right by God, learn from our experiences and try to live a happy life.
What are some words of advice you have for a young man trying to break into the Wonderful World of Male Modeling?Be Patient. Patience is something that I have had to learn. Because I am such a inquisitive person; I have always been so interested in the vast arts of life! I want so much for myself, I am really hard on myself because I am afraid of failure. I use to always say that "failure is not an option", when in all actuality, failure is necessary for success! So my advice to that young man would be to be patient! harness your destiny. Nothing in life is predestined so if you want something you really have to work hard to make it happen. Nothing in this world will be handed to you, seriously! Believe in your abilities, pray and allow yourself to make mistakes and experience life. Everything that is meant to be will be.
Do you have any last words for your fans and my viewers?