Male Model Underground "Walk Offs": A Video Interview

by Ross Kenneth Urken · February 16, 2011

Last night at the Mackage show, we spoke with three male models--George Paul, Will, and Simon--about the difficulties they face in their profession. In Eli Obus's video, the guys take us through the perils of underground walk off runway competitions, cheek exercises, and painful struts.

You may remember the competitive walk off competitions from the movie Zoolander that pit models against each other on the runway.  Will, a model from London, informed us of the gruesomeness of such subterranean versions of the contests.

"I hear they're pretty brutal actually. The loser usually just gets killed right there and then. Usually if a model hasn't been seen for a while, he's probably dead in the New York sewers, because his walk wasn't good enough."

The dangers don't stop there. We discussed with Will how to achieve the proper countenance on the runway and asked about exercises.

"Chin-ups with your cheeks?" he said bemusedly. "Cheek-ups."

German model George Paul, though, finds the Zoolander Blue Steel face (pouted lips and accentuated cheek bones) out of style:

"I think this stuff is out a little bit. Now it's more super coolness. Zoolander? Of course, the movie is a little bit older now, so the zoo-ing is out. "

Do you hear that, Fashion Week? The zoo-ing is out.

In closing, Will also elucidated the intricacies (and tribulations) of the gait.

"I'd say in between like a cantor and a gallop. But also I imagine a horse that's been injured in the knee and its owner wants to put it down, cause, you know, it's not going to be able to race anymore....But it's just trying to not show everyone it's hurt its leg. It's usually my inspiration when I'm walking."

It's beauty through pain.

"It's swagger, but inside you're crying."

Check out the final walk.