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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 267 > Out In The Industry

Out In The Industry

There has always been a disconnect with sexuality and fashion. There are plenty of out gay men at the top of the fashion tree, and there are plenty of homoerotic references in fashion shoots, ad campaigns and catwalk collections. Despite this, a few designers have recently been outspoken with their very conservative thoughts, regarding everything from what a man should be, to what a family ought to look like. Very few male models are out, but a couple have started to buck that trend. We spoke to three male models who are publically out in the fashion industry...

JEFF THOMAS

Instagram: @itsjeffthomas

Facebook: mrjeffreyrthomas

Twitter: @jeffthomasmodel

Website: jeffthomasmodel.com

How long have you been modelling for?

In my head, since I was about four standing in the windows with the mannequins in the malls. Professionally, since I graduated college when I was 23.

Where were you discovered?

At the Kim Dawson Model Search in Dallas.

When did you come out in the industry?

It’s only recently that I have been open about my sexuality. It was always something I tried to keep as mysterious as possible.

Did you get any advice either encouraging or dissuading you on coming out?

There were mixed opinions about me being myself and also whether or not to be verbal about my sexuality when working on a job. I always heard it was a good idea to keep quiet if you were gay as a male model because it could hurt your chances of booking jobs.

Have you ever received any prejudice for disclosing your sexuality?

None that was legitimately thrown at my face. However, I have felt held back a few different times due to casting directors, bookers, and designers not liking the fact that I am gay.

There are high proportions of gay men working in the fashion industry. Does it shock you that things are still so backwards?

This is what seems to baffle me and others but it somehow makes sense to me as well. The people designing the clothes and styling the models tend to be gay, for the most part, and I understand the attraction toward straight guys, models or otherwise. As gay men we tend to like the things that are intangible or fantasy, and that in turn relates to the fashion that the boys are put into. I think it allows people to buy the clothes thinking that somehow they are that guy or could have him. Sex sells and that is how some of these companies make their money. There's nothing wrong with that.

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About Attitude

The new issue of Attitude features Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy on the cover, with an exclusive interview in which he discusses life since coming out. Inside we have a Valentine’s special where we look at the broad spectrum of gay relationships, plus columns and advice on dating as transgender, HIV positive, masc, femme, and everything in between. There are also interviews with British actor Douglas Booth and Australian singer songwriter Josef Salvat. Our writer Matt Cain goes home to Bolton for the city’s first Pride, and we chat to our new columnist Juno Dawson about her transition. We also have a feature on the forgotten gay language, polari.
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