Keeping fit and looking good are key aspects of being a male model. Not to mention the perks, like the parties, socialising and free clothes. But like all industries, modelling is not always as shiny and pretty as it looks. Model, Andreas Palade, was born in Estonia. He moved to New Zealand in 2014 and has since signed to Bintang Models.

We spoke to Andreas about what it takes to be a male model, and he offers advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry.

Did you always want to be a model?

No! I started modelling in 2013 when I was in Australia.

How and when were you discovered?

I was working in a bar and a photographer approached me, he told me I have a good body, a good “look” and asked me to do a photoshoot. I was open-minded at the time as I didn’t have any money and thought to myself, “If it goes well, it goes well”. So we did a topless shoot on the beach. I had a good body at the time — I worked hard for it.

Fashion modelling became a thing when I came to New Zealand. I put all my modelling photos on Tinder and met a girl from Brazil. She had connections at agencies and through her, I met photographers. I dated a model through Tinder, too; she started her own agency, and from there I started picking up fashion work.

How would you describe your personal style? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Growing up in Estonia, we always wanted to look good. There were guys who dressed differently and I tried to copy them. Girls liked how they looked, they were modern. I didn’t really have a particular style in Australia, I didn’t have style, as on the beach you’re just topless, in shorts — it’s practical.

When I came to NZ, through my jobs I got the chance to learn and see fashion. I always liked fashion but I think my eye came from working at Louis Vuitton in Auckland. I liked the brand and how the customers looked.

I like suits; they’re a good, manly, masculine look. I like to wear brands like Gucci and Giorgio Armani, but it depends where I go. Sometimes I like to wear something colourful to a party, I wear flower-print pants and a white shirt with a bow tie. Other times I wear a suit to be sophisticated. I like to have a serious, classy style that’s sexy.

Andreas Palade is a Muay Thai champion | Photo courtesy of Bintang Models & Management

What staple items should every man have in his wardrobe?

A suit, jeans, good boots, sneakers, a nice shirt and jumper.

Put these factors in order of importance for becoming a successful model: the right looks, hard work, luck.

Hard work, luck and the right look. The hard work means you have to keep going to the shoots; if you just sit at home nothing happens. Luck is who you meet, where you meet and how you meet the right people. The right look depends on the eyes of the casting agent.

Fitness and grooming play an important role in a model’s life. Tell us more about your workout routine.

I think it depends on your lifestyle. Sometimes you don’t have time to train because you’re exhausted from your job. When I came to New Zealand, I didn’t have a car so I walked everywhere — it’s a more active lifestyle.

If there’s a special occasion or an event coming up, I train every day for a month — at least I try to! You have to rest, it’s very important to rest. I eat basically anything. It depends on the shoot, too. I’ll shave or grow a beard, get a tan or use sunscreen, it really depends what I’m working towards for the job.

Do you have a beauty routine you stick to daily?

Make sure you use moisturiser and sunscreen! I like to try different face creams as every cream is different, I like my skin to feel shocked. Regular facials are also important to keep my skin in good condition.

What are your top three beauty tips?

  1. Be healthy, work out.
  2. Be clean, wear clean clothes.
  3. Smell good, use fragrance.

How important is nutrition when it comes to keeping up the perfect “model shape”? Do you have cheat days?

Food-wise, I’m not picky. The one thing I don’t eat is steak. It’s in your body for so long and it makes me lazy. Fat in your body makes you slow. But if your blood is pumping then you have more energy. I used to love steak, but now I don’t eat it.

When I have nothing on and I want to chill out, I like to eat anything: McDonald’s, KFC. From time to time I’ll drive to McDonald’s at 9 pm, get some cheeseburgers, nuggets and lemonade and I’ll feel amazing — especially if I have a hangover!

Photo courtesy of Bintang Models & Management

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a model?

There are closed doors and there are open doors. You’re not always the right fit for a job, there might be more competitive people in front of you, and you have to live with that. It makes you realise you’re not the prettiest or the greatest. It’s good, it makes me feel down to earth again. You just move on with your life and believe that the right door will open for you.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a model?

The best thing is you get to meet pretty people. You get to meet interesting and very unique people. I like meeting models and you might notice that they have features that aren’t traditionally considered to be right for modelling. Then, when the camera is on them you see them bring out an energy and see how they make it work, how they transform their body for the camera.

Also, being recognised is good! If you’re in magazines and colleagues see it, it’s a good feeling. You get to explain to people that anything is possible. You can tell younger people that anything is possible.

The worst… On shoots or castings, there can be uncomfortable times where you need to sacrifice something; like if you want to be somewhere in your career and the photographer or director is telling you to do an awkward pose, or take your clothes off, or be with someone you’re not comfortable to be with.

I feel uncomfortable sometimes. It’s not easy, you have to act. If you’re new to the job you just do it because you think you’ll get compliments and good feedback. The contacts might not go in the direction you thought. It might be more for the photographer. For me, being in this situation is sometimes scary, you don’t know where it’s going. In a situation where I feel unsafe, I make an excuse like I have to be somewhere and that I’ll be in touch to reschedule.

Do you have any advice for aspiring models?

If you are in an uncomfortable position, you have to speak up. Once, a photographer invited me to his apartment for a shoot. He was used to shooting guys in costumes, like Spartans. There was a minute when an angle he wanted from me left me too exposed. I didn’t feel comfortable with it.

If you are young and starting out, make sure you have someone with you on the shoot, like your parents or an experienced agent, people that care. Your body is important, don’t show it all off when you’re too young.

Where can we follow you?

I don’t have any social media accounts. During COVID-19 I realised social media was overwhelming for me, I decided to close them. Since lockdown, I decided to go out and meet people in real life. I believe we can lose our passion, our feelings, our language sometimes. If you see me, come and say hi!

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