Manila falls in love with America’s top male model
Sean O’Pry was once the world’s highest paid male model according to a 2013 list published by Forbes magazine. He has walked the runways of such luxury brands as Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton, as well as graced the ad campaigns of a number of internationally renowned fashion houses like Salvatorre Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo and H&M, among many others.
Besides his successful modeling career, O’Pry also recently starred in pop star Taylor Swift’s music video for “Blank Space,” immediately doubling his legions of fans around the world.
But when O’Pry visited the Philippines last week for his endorsement with homegrown fashion brand Penshoppe, he surprisingly showed no trace of celebrity despite his global mega-status and undeniable good looks.
In his weeklong visit, O’Pry made the rounds of press events, meet-and-greet with fans and a runway show, as well as wisely vacationed in the beautiful island of Palawan since he is already in this side of the world.
To The Manila Times, O’Pry proved he is worthy to be called an international supermodel, while refreshingly showing the upbringing of a man with values at an interview on April 10 at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.
In the following question and answer, get to know 25-year-old Sean O’Pry, a humble boy from Kennesaw, Georgia, whose entire life changed when his prom photos at 17 went viral on MySpace.
Q: How do you feel to be chosen as the newest endorser of Philippine fashion brand Penshoppe?
Sean O’Pry: Let me just say I am so nervous right now . . . I can only thank Penshoppe for having me. I’m in awe right now and this is one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Q: What are your favorite pieces from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection?
SOP: The whole collection was incredible but there is this one sweater that I’m gonna get. It was yellow, and blue, and gray. (With) the whole collection, you can go from just chilling at the house or partying out at night. They have such a wide array of selections.
Q: What is your personal style?
SOP: My style is more relaxed. I like a good pair of slacks or jeans, and a white t-shirt.
Q: Did you know about the Philippines before Penshoppe’s offer?
SOP: You learn (about it) from school but you never can see the actual culture, or know the taste of the food, and get to know the people. But right from the moment I rode the plane, I met the nicest people. This is one of the most hospitable cultures in the world.
To actually experience the hospitality of the people here, it’s a completely different story—to feel the warmth of the people and to see the beauty in their smiles. I don’t know how I’m gonna leave.
Q: Do you plan on coming back?
SOP: I do. I hope!
Q: What advice would you give for those who want to go into modeling?
SOP: I think the key to being successful is just being yourself. If other people don’t like that then, screw them. Because if you’re not true to yourself, it doesn’t matter. And I think if you’re true to yourself, then you’ll be happy with what the outcome is.
Q: You said in an interview you want to go into acting because you just don’t want to be a “prop?” Can you elaborate on that?
SOP: Have you ever been a prop? It sucks.
I am actually taking (acting) classes right now. I don’t know if it’s the end game, but right now it’s a good start. I can go to this acting class and find out so much more about myself. I’m just excited about the next step. I’m still going to continue modeling. It’s nice to have other things within my repertoire.
Q: How do you bring out your inner sexy? Can you give tips to people who don’t always feel that way?
SOP: I think the first step is you have to love yourself. At the end of the day, if you don’t love yourself, you’re not going to portray that sexiness you want to. At some point, I’m not there as well. I’m 25 and I’m still figuring myself out.
Q: How do you psyche yourself up when you don’t feel confident?
SOP: I fall back to my family and friends. I surround myself with love. And I feel that love does make me confident, and without that (too) I don’t think I could have ever gotten here or ever met the incredible people that I have met. So I am very fortunate to have that grounding and that love.
Q: How do you stay fit?
SOP: I just try to be active in things that I care about. I really like swimming so I swim. I also like to lift like every male model. And I like sports. I grew up in the woods and so I just like to do things.
Q: Are you seeing someone right now?
SOP: Next question.
Q: You said once that your appeal to people still escapes you. Do you still feel that way now?
SOP: Completely! This is crazy to me—all you great people here, all of you asking questions. I have no idea what to say. After I get out of here, I’m going to take a deep breath.
Question: How was your visit to Palawan?
SOP: I spent a couple of days in Lagen Island. It was incredible. I hope all of you have been there because it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. I kayaked very badly (and) I went fishing. I hiked, swam a lot and I did avoid the jellyfish successfully.