BalanceSeptember2016 - 23

W We're in a studio in Fulham, a stone's throw from David Gandy's home, discovering more about the UK's most successful male model. His rippling abs are hidden beneath a dark denim shirt, the camera-pleasing pout has relaxed into a caught-off-guard smile and as for those famous white underpants? Not even a peep of elasticated waist band in sight. Step forward 'relaxed, Sunday morning David'. Or, as our photographer and his long-time friend, Nina, sums it up: 'Today we're capturing my mate, Dave.' 'Dave' is devilishly handsome and, it turns out, far more normal than you'd expect for an international male supermodel, a man who is worth more than £12million. Today, the 36-year-old from Billericay, Essex, is handling his own grooming and dressing without the aid of a stylist so arrives, all 6ft 3in of him, with a suit carrier crammed with clobber from his own wardrobe. There are no barrier-creating sunglasses hiding his ice-blue eyes and he launches into relaxed chatter about a recent trip with his father to The Oval, where they watched England lose the Test match against Pakistan. 'Whenever I watch cricket, they seem to lose,' he sighs, apologetically. 'I'm bad luck!' S MILE FOR TH E CAMERAS However, David's own good fortune has been abundant. Before he graduated from the University of Gloucestershire with a degree in multimedia computing and marketing, David's flatmate secretly entered him into a model competition on ITV's This Morning and he won, securing a contract with Select Model Management as a prize. In his words, it took five years of 'hard slog' before 'things changed dramatically' - thanks to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The designer duo hand-picked David to front their first Light Blue fragrance campaign and its 2007 advert, shot by Mario Testino OBE in a secluded cove off the coast of Capri, featured him reclining in a dinghy wearing only a pair of T H E B I G I N TERVIEW GA N DY MA N Born David James Gandy was born in 1980 and raised in Billericay, Essex. Petrol head At 17, David had a job transporting luxury cars to racetracks. In the limelight In 2001, while studying multimedia computing and marketing at the University of Gloucestershire, David won a modelling contest on ITV's This Morning. He signed with Select Model Management. Big break He was named the face of Dolce & Gabbana in 2006. The Light Blue fragrance campaign, shot by Mario Testino, had 11 million online hits and was displayed on a 50ft billboard in Times Square, New York. Beauty and brains David's collaborations have included being a columnist for GQ and in 2014, he released an M&S underwear range. Giving back He is an ambassador for Achievement For All, which supports vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. September BALANCE skimpy white pants, while passionately kissing a gorgeous female model. It was sexually charged, sensuous and catapulted David to global fame. He has since worked with every designer under the sun and chalked up a stack of industry awards, magazine covers and brand campaigns. GAME CHANGER D&G's choice of beefcake over bony also heralded a new beginning in men's fashion. 'Back then it was all about the Dior guy, so everyone was encouraged to be very skinny and androgynous,' explains David. 'Dolce and Gabbana and Mario wanted a Mediterranean, athletic, classic-looking guy, and... there I was. Ever since, the industry has been trying to almost replicate that.' EV E RYO N E SA I D T O M E , ' W HY A R E YO U D O IN G THAT ?' - OTHER THAN MY AG E N T, A LL I ' V E EV E R B E E N T O LD IS I CA N ' T D O A N Y THIN G During his pre-D&G jobs and catalogue model days, David was sent straight home from catwalk shows because he exceeded the sample sizes. However, he never felt dragooned into changing his body - or his dreams. 'I've always done everything my way,' he says. 'Everyone said to me, "Why are you doing that?", "You'll never get that campaign". I've never been given good advice by anyone. 'Other than Tandy Anderson, who owns Select Model Management and has backed me from day one, all I've ever been told is that I can't do anything, "You'll never achieve that".' It surely takes a strong mind not to listen. David nods. 'If you have a goal and believe in it, you'll get there.' But now men are increasingly popping performance and image-enhancing drugs to fast-track their way to body beautiful - and some argue that fashion icons such as David Gandy and David Beckham are fuelling the problem by parading their perfect physiques. 'They're saying there is a problem with men using supplements and illegal substances because of pressure and they're saying that what I've got is unachievable,' says David, his furrowed brow suggesting frustration with such negative association. 'Well, it's not. Everything is achievable. Guys come up and 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BalanceSeptember2016

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