It’s not just female models who are turning heads with their beauty. The sexy gentlemen of the industry are also redefining what it means to be handsome.
Back in the day, models are beefcakes who personified the all-American stereotype. They were wholesome and incredibly handsome – the type of men you wish to marry. Then come the ‘70s, and the male model paradigm shifted from the wholesome to hypersexualized – the men you fantasize to, you know. Brands began to shock the world with stunning male nudes as their models.
When the ‘90s hit, brands changed the game and preferred thin teens along with the hot male models. In the past few years, we saw inked hipster hunks and barrel-chested hotties. They are setting the latest trends, influencing a lot of other gentlemen in the process.
If you’re looking for the top male models of the past decades, here they are:
Jeff Aquilon was one of the few pioneers to be considered a “male super model.” He was a captain of the water polo team at Pepperdine University when he met photographer Bruce Weber in 1977. Weber shot a scintillating photo of Jeff in his underwear in 1978, and this changed the game for male models. Back then, make models were only used as props with women models, but in this photo of Jeff, he was the focus. This set the trend for brands like Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. Since then, he rise to supermodel status during the early 1980s. He worked for years with GQ, Armani and nearly every designer brand.
A legendary fashion icon, Tony Spinelli was featured on the cover of Vogue Hommes in 1978 and is a silver fox who is still booking gigs today. He achieved international presence and has worked with the best and world-renowned photographers and makeup artists of the industry. He has collaborated with Mario Valentino, Halston, and Gianni Versace. He did catalog work for top retailers like Bergdorf Goodman. Besides Vogue Hommes, he also became cover for GQ, Esquire, UOMO Vogue and Vogue.
Paul Palmero is an international icon in the modeling industry. He was a Cuban refugee who had natural talent in front of the camera. His modeling career began at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, and when he was brought to Rome to work on a motion picture, a photographer discovered him. He then appeared in Harpers Bazaar magazine, and became a face for the Lanvin, Armani and Valentino campaign. Paul was also asked by famous artist Andy Warhol for Interview magazine. After years in the business, he later on transitioned to work behind the camera as a high fashion photographer and open his own modeling agency.
Renauld white was the first African-American man to appear on the cover of GQ magazine, which was released in 1979. He was one of the most sought-after black male model in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and the first black male model to walk in the runways of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Bill Blass. He quit modeling to pursue acting, as he appeared on the soap opera Guiding Light for several years.
A hot commodity during the ‘70s and ‘80s, Bob Menna was an iconic supermodel of the retro era. One famous appearance by Menna was when he posed for a 1979 summer issue of GQ magazine in a spandex swimsuit with a female model beside her, holding his torso. His jet-black hair, great smile and chiseled body was spectacular. Former model Janice Dickinson wrote about him in her book, Everything About Me Is Fake . . . And I’m Perfect. She said, “Bob was sweet, but going out with him was a pain in the ass. At restaurants, the waitresses could hardly write or speak, they were so busy drooling…Such was the power of Bob.”
Michael Flinn was named as “the most beautiful male model in the world” by People magazine in 1989. He traveled the world and became the top male model of his era. His most memorable stint is becoming the face of Hugo Boss from 1983 to 1994, giving a great impact on Boss sales. Before him, there was no other male model associated with the brand. He was also the most memorable face in GQ, also from 1983 to 1994.
A model, actor and artist, Tony Ward was known for his life on and off the catwalk. He began his modelling career in 1983 and rose to the supermodel status when he became an underwear model for Calvin Klein. Later on, he worked for fashion designers such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbanna, H & M, Hugo Boss, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi and Diesel. He became much more popular in the ‘90s when he started dating Madonna. You can see him in Madonna’s music videos such as “Cherish,” “Justify My Love” and “Erotica.” He also appeared in Madonna’s controversial Sex book in 1992.
In the 1980s, Bruce Hulse was the embodiment of the fact that “sex sells.” He was discovered by Bruce Weber and became one of the most sought-after models in the industry by designers, photographers and even his female counterparts. He was known as a Don Juan in the industry, mentioning his tireless bed-hopping with models like Elle Macpherson, Paulina Porizkova, Andie MacDowell and Tatjana Patitz. He was seen in hundreds of high-profile magazine covers and jetted around the globe to runways and photoshoots, often alongside with female supermodels.
Tomás Valdemar Hintnaus
Tomás Valdemar Hintnaus was a professional pole vaulter who broke records for Brazil in 1985. As a super model, he was credited for being the first model in Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign. Shot by Bruce Weber in 1982, the well-muscled young man in white briefs, leaning against a white-washed chimney became an iconic image in the 1980s. Later on, that photo became listed as one of the “10 Pictures that Changed America” by the American Photographer magazine.
Cameron Alborzian was attending a sports college when he was spotted by a modeling scout. He began his modeling career on the runway of Jean Paul Gaultier in 1986 and became one of the first male supermodels who worked with Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, John Galliano, Armani, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna, Madonna and Elton John. He was one of the most recognizable male faces in the 80s to 90s, gracing hundreds of fashion campaigns, billboards, TV commercials and covers of almost every popular fashion magazine in the world, but it was his three-year contract with Guess in the ‘80s that defined his career. He was also named as the model of the year in 1990 and 1994. Cameron left the modeling industry in 1988 to become a yoga and Ayurveda therapist.
Hoyt Richards became one of the biggest names in modeling in the late 1980s and 1990s. He appeared in hundreds of campaigns for brands like Valentino, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Donna Karan, Cartier and more; and was photographed by the bests in the industry such as Bruce Weber, Horst, Richard Avedon, Albert Watson, Helmut Newton and more. During the late 90s, he moved from New York to Los Angles to begin pursuing a career in acting. He has appeared in more than 15 independent films. Later on, he worked behind the camera as a screenwriter and began his own production company, Tortoise Entertainment.
At 15 years old, Walter Schupfer was discovered by Helmut Lang and became a male model eversince. His illustrious career spanned in the 80s and 90s, he became one of Vogue’s top 25 male models ever, and the elite top 50 male model icons. He was also remembered as Gentleman’s Quarterly Man of the Year for 1989. In 1995, he started his own international artist agency with an impressive client list that includes Adidas, Chanel, H & M and L’Oréal.
Deemed as the first male supermodel by The Sunday Times, John Pearson had a successful modelling career that spanned over 25 years. He was a well-known male model in the 90s and has been nicknamed as the male Cindy Crawford. He became the face of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Burberry, Donna Karan, Gap, Guy Laroche, GQ, L’Uomo Vogue and Vogue Hommes. He is the only man to appear editorially in GQ for over three decades. You probably most remember him in his iconic appearance in George Michael’s “Freedom” music video, along with Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz.
Jason Lewis is known for playing Samantha’s boyfriend Jerry “Smith” Jerod on Sex and the City, but before he became an actor, he was one of the hottest models in the 90s. After college, he started modeling, and landed campaigns for Guess, Ray-Ban, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger. He is also the epitome of GQ magazine.
Discovered by a photographer in San Francisco, Larry Scott’s greatest claim to fame was being the face of Giorgio Armani’s Acqua Di Gio fragrance ads from 1997 to 2007. This campaign is one of the longest running print ads of all time, helping him become part of the elite generation of supermodels. He remains one of the modeling industry’s most coveted faces as he worked with nearly every designer.
Enrique Palacios is a top model from Venezuela who posed for campaigns for Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, White Label, Ferre, Marshal and more. His most notable success is securing a spokes model role for Giorgio Armani for four years. He is also known for his high-profile relationship with British supermodel Naomi Campbell in 2001. He is now married to model and actress Veronica Schneider.
Tyson Beckford is a model-turned-actor is one of the most recognizable male models ever. His first big break was his work for a Polo Ralph Lauren campaign in the 90s. After 20 years, his appeal and popularity never waned. In 1995, he was named as VH1’s “Man of the Year.” He ventured on to work with television for ABC and Bravo, and he co-hosted Make Me a Supermodel with Niki Taylor in 2008.
Tyson Brett Ballou
Tyson Brett Ballou’s modeling portfolio included stints for Versace, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, among others. His big break happened when he posed for a Polo Ralph Lauren campaign in the 90s. He was also featured in campaigns for DKNY, Hugo Boss Sport, Moschino, Emporio Armani, Perry Ellis, Samsonite, Valentino Roma, Byblos, Moschino and others. He had a long list of accomplishment as a model, and was ranked as one of the Supers on Models.com Top Icons list.
With an impressive slew of campaigns and editorial work, Mark Vanderloo has taken the industry of male modeling by storm. He fronted campaigns for Valentina, Calvin Klein, Guess, Armani, Hugo Boss and more. In 1994, he was known as Calvin Klein’s Obsession model. He’s one of the male supermodels with a name that still stands until today, with his DKNY fragrance campaigns and ongoing editorials in GQ, V and Vogue Italia.
Noah Mills is a Canadian supermodel and actor who began his career in 2003. His big break began as a runway model for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. From then on, he started to become a fixture for Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Michael Kors. He fronted a lot of international magazines and billboards. He even ventured into acting, landing roles for Sex and the City and 2 Broke Girls. You have also seen him as Taylor Swift’s love interest in her music video “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite male model is Brad Koenig, a picture of an all-American masculinity and high fashion. He modeled for well-known brands such as Chanel, Gap, DKNY, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabanna, Abercrombie & Fitch and Adidas. He had a place in fashion history with cameos in Lagerfeld Confidential and has his very own multi-volume tome of portraits.
David Agbodji is one of the busiest male models in fashion today. He’s a frequent face on the catwalk and print campaigns for Calvin Klein and Bottega Veneta. He signed with Re: Quest Management in New York in 2008, and signed more contracts with modeling agencies in the following years. He appeared in 2 editorials for GQ magazine.
David Gandy won his first modeling contest in 2001, and had a breakout in his career in 2005. He was named as the third most successful model by Forbes.com in 2009, and one of the sexiest men in 2012 by Glamour magazine. David is the favorite male face of Dolce & Gabbana’s multiple lines, and was the only male model to front a solo Details cover. Besides modeling, David busied himself with designing a loungewear for Marks & Spencer, writing reviews for British GQ, and writing a blog for British Vogue.
Starting his career at age 23, Lars Burmeister has graced many magazine covers, including Vogue, Euroman and VMAN. He also became the face for campaigns from brands like Valentino, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Zara and more. His most visible work is his multi-year campaign contracts with Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss.