CULTURE: JORDAN SIMMONS by Michael D’Antoni

“GROWING UP POOR, BLACK & HANDSOME IN THE MIDWEST: A YOUNG MANS QUEST TO BECOME A FASHION MODEL AGAINST ALL ODDS.”

IMG_0635 - CopyIt’s a career that can drive one crazy because it’s so precarious and pretentious. The career I am speaking of is the one in the Fashion model industry.

Male models are small segment compared to female models when it comes to earning power. The girls simply make more money. Yet male fashion is growing faster than womens wear as the menswear industry is predicted to be worth around $32 billion by 2020.

Female models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid are constantly in the public eye, but who can name any male model with a similar high profile? Go ahead, name any male model without googling them! When you finally do, what you will find is the top earners in the industry but no name recognition and nothing near the public exposure the girls get.

Hence, there are more opportunities in the industry for girls than for guys. My research tells me that the “Male” agencies look for overall quality not quantity for all their international work.

IMG_1062 - Copy.JPGKnowing all that there are, nonetheless still opportunities in the industry.  And one big and up and coming success story will most certainly be 21year old JORDAN SIMMONS from Dayton Ohio, whose smouldering good looks, boyish charm, high cheekbones, roman nose and perfect physique, will propel him into stardom. And once there, he will without question last quite a long time for he will most certainly be the preferred look for many international campaigns and magazines all over the world.

Jordan‘s journey has not been the easiest one. What is most admirable however, is that his focus has never wavered. He was born to a single mom and as he tells it “The first glimpse of the world I got was of my beautiful mother and my breath taking grandmother.” Two single mothers bringing another fatherless baby into this world. You see, Jordan‘s dad died a couple weeks before he was born and to this day he has never even seen a picture of his dad nor heard his voice. Moreover, he has never even been to the gravesite.

This self proclaimed strong willed guy has fought racial, social and economic elements in order to survive daily. And survive he did!  Positive focus and the dream for a better life has gotten him through the worse of times.  This, all compounded by the fact that he was being raised by a single Christian mother with absolutely no male influence in my life. “It would have been nice to have a father to go to for guidance”, Jordan admits. “There were definitely times where I wish I could go to a my dad with a problem. And since I never had that, at times, I don’t really know what to expect or how to proceed. Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother really did her very best.” Jordan continues,  “But there will always be a big void in my heart not knowing my dad.”

IMG_1415.JPGHis childhood memories were for the most part good as his mother always put his needs, and the needs of his siblings first. There was a time right before his younger brothers were born that Jordans mom, while trying to balance every day life of school, work, and a 3 year old (Jordan) when she met with the most unfortunate of situations, the bottom completely fell out financially, ultimately leaving them homeless for a time. But Her faith and love of her family never faltered.  Always the eternal optimist combined with the deep rooted love for her son, Jordan‘s mom never made him feel homeless. His mom dressed up the facade as though it was an adventure and Jordan wore that lie with pride.

After they regained their financial footings and finally found security in a place they could call home, Jordan‘s mom gave birth to  twin boys. One of the Jordan‘s younger brothers was born severely autistic and as he got older, developed outbursts of violent tendencies. Having twins in the family is consuming enough but when one of them has developmentally challenged,  it’s well “absolutely nuts” as Jordan puts it. But through it all, he was always stood by his mom and was there for her and his brothers.

He related a story to me whereby he almost got kicked out of high school because he spent so much time at home or at the doctors helping his mom with his younger brothers obstacles that it affected his school work harshly. “I remember once failing a big test and the teachers gave me the nastiest looks and they would even say smart remarks to me! They just had no clue what I was going through personally. I just went home and cried! I was so torn! I didn’t know what to do! I couldn’t decide whether to go to school or stay home and help my mom with my brother.” JORDAN recalls

But, like every other time things for tough in his life, Jordan picked himself up by the seat of his pants, regained focus about his aspirations and dreams and did what he needed to do to get back on track in school. And he did! He graduated high school on time and is presently enrolled in college as a junior. He still helps with the care of his brother to this day!

Ardently pursuing a career in modeling and acting is not easy but then again, nothing in Jordan‘s life has been easy so why should his dreams be any different. “My goal is to get my feet wet in the industry and land a big magazine spread, that would be a great start”, he says. “Being handsome on the inside, as well as, the outside is very important in the industry, as ones heart and personality matters just as much as looks.”

JORDAN takes his chosen path very seriously. He eats right and exercises regularly which is very important. “It makes you feel better when you are in shape and clothes fit better plus clients are happier.” But, hot Cheetos are still his favorite snack, something he will never give up, he modestly admits.

What he loves most about modeling is the full day’s shoot. “Because you get to know the photographers and stylists and if you are at ease, photographs are better because you are confident.” And the clothes! My attitude toward clothes has changed for the better as well. “I was not focused on that when I was a kid, but I definitely have style now!  When I am not modeling I am a jeans and T shirt type of guy.”

In closing, let me tell you what I learned most about JORDAN SIMMONS. Here is a very handsome and humble guy who against all odds has weathered racial and economic diversity and is not at all bitter about it for one single minute. Conversely he uses that adversity as fuel for his inert fire. No matter what Jordan does, he does it at no less than at warp speed! The word “No” apparently does not exist in his vocabulary as he is always operating at 100% velocity.

As for now he plans to go forward with modeling full-time and will see where it takes him. “I was brought up with good Midwestern values, so I always need to work, as not to disappoint my family. But if you think about it, its good to have something else going on because modeling is a career that doesn’t last forever and can drive you crazy because it is so uncertain! At the end of the every day you have little control of the jobs you land, because there are so many good looking qualified male models, it is very competitive industry. So I am always giving it my all. More than the next guy. I just have to work that much harder. But that’s OK, that never frightened me before and no matter what, I still consider myself a very lucky guy.” Smiles Jordan.

 

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