The glamorous whirlwind that is Men’s Fashion Week has just wrapped up in Paris. Although less talked about than its sister counter-part, its importance continues to grow. This winter it showcased 51 runway shows from the most influential fashion houses, including Valentino and Saint Laurent, and over 2000 journalists, photographers, and editors chronicling the event. Most importantly at the forefront, the carefully selected models, who represent the muses and faces of these designers. One model walking in the Cifonelli show this past Sunday is Spencer Adams, a 22-year-old recent college graduate now living in Paris. For someone with a degree in linguistics and claims Noam Chomsky as one of his heroes it seems an unlikely scene to find him, walking in a packed house at Club de la Chasse et de la Nature. Yet, this is exactly what he’s been working towards since being scouted at Charles de Gaulle airport last summer.
When I meet with Spencer it’s in an entirely different atmosphere than he was in a week ago. He greets me at the door of his modest apartment that he shares with two roommates. Sipping a cup of tea, he is wearing his uniform which he refers to as his « model outfit ». It consists of slim-fitting black jeans, a white t-shirt, leather jacket, and boots. “Sometimes I throw in a little color and go with a gray tee, » he jokes. It is an outfit that he sports, day in and day out with castings occurring last minute and at all hours of the day, he adds that “it’s better just to always be prepared”.
It served especially as a second skin during the countless castings Spencer attended last week. This was the first time in his life he had walked for a famous label. « It was surreal to wear a coat that costs 7,000 euros and to be doted on for hours before the show” he recounts. And while one may think a room of models is brimming with ego he reassures me that everyone he has met has been helpful and surprisingly unassuming.
That is not to say that this industry cannot be cutthroat and blunt. The process of finding an agency to represent him included a few modeling representatives that were not timid in asking him to slim down or calling his look too commercial. Keeping a nice physique it seems, is essential in modeling no matter the gender. There are also jobs taken on that are far from the glamorous high-end editorial work seen in magazines. Because most of the initial shoots serve to build up their portfolio, models take on almost any job they book, most being unpaid.
In a few days Spencer will be traveling to work with his agency in London and attend more castings. He is planning on staying with a friend and Couchsurfing to save money on lodging. Although jobs can pay well, they come sporadically and are unpredictable making many models supplement their income by working other jobs.
For the future Spencer does not plan to pursue modeling into a long-term career. He wants to go back to school and get his masters. At the moment, however, he is content to let his modeling career take its course and live abroad for a year. « It’s a fun experience for now and at the end of my stay in Paris to say I had an experience like this. »