Dawn Collinson talks to the rugby hunk who is giving modelling a try
RUGBY players are no strangers to looking good in front of the camera. Just ask Charlotte Church. But if Welshman Gavin Henson is more the perma-tanned pretty boy, England and GB winger Stuart Reardon is clearly at the manlier end of the modelling market.
Although, he jokes, there was a little less-than-macho behaviour required for his first professional photoshoot.
“I had to wear make-up for the first time, which was a bit of a culture shock,” he laughs. “Although I had to admit it did look better. Nobody’s perfect are they? But it was only a bit of foundation to even out my skin and make it look a bit browner – there was definitely no mascara!”
The 29-year-old, whose sporting CV includes stints at Warrington, Bradford and Salford, is now playing in Wrexham for Crusaders, although he lives in Warrington.
But with the prospect of retirement not a million miles away, and with casual offers to model coming his way, he’s decided to try his hand at a second career.
“There aren’t many rugby players who play until they’re 35 or 36, so once you’re knocking 30 you have to start looking around,” he explains. “I think when I stop playing I’ll probably become a personal trainer, but people asked me to do some modelling so I thought I’d give it a try.
“I’m pretty open-minded and I’ll try things and hope for the best, so I thought I might as well see how far modelling could take me.”
Stuart’s first task was to get a portfolio of photos to present to agencies.
For that he turned to Liverpool-based photographer Rory Lewis, who specialises in fashion and beauty work.
Rory was immediately impressed with Stuart’s look and his ease in front of the camera.
“I get a lot of people who come and say to me ‘I want to be a model, do you think I can make it?’ Nine times out of 10 the answer is no and you have to tell them straight.
“But with Stuart, as soon as I saw him I thought he could definitely make it. He’s a really good looking guy and he has the basic criteria – the bone structure and height – that you look for.”
When Stuart walked in to Rory’s Renshaw Street studio, he was a little nervous at first, says the photographer.
“But he got on with it and he did a very good job,” he adds. “I gave him some direction, too, which helps to get a reaction and break the ice.”
Stuart agrees that his first session went smoothly, with Rory’s guidance.
“I felt fine in front of the camera and Rory made me feel really comfortable,” says Stuart. “I didn’t really know how to do a model pose, so he obviously had to give me a few directions about that, but I’m just starting out. I’m happy to be shown.”
Now signed to Impact agency in Liverpool, both photographer and model agree that commercial work is the most likely route for Stuart to take.
“I’ve got an athletic body because of what I do so I’m not embarrassed about taking my top off and showing it,” he smiles. “Obviously I’m training and playing, but you have to be really fit to play rugby so working out with weights and eating healthily becomes a part of your daily routine.
“I’m not so big that I couldn’t model clothes, though. I’m an outside back so I look athletic but I’m only 14 stone and a 42inch chest so I can wear off-the-peg, whereas some of the lads who play with me are 18 stone at least.”
Rory believes Stuart has quite a versatile look which would work well in several markets.
“He’s not really catwalk, but I think he’s the sort of person you’d see in an ad campaign for sportswear or outdoor clothes,” he says. “He could work for cosmetic brands, too, because a lot of those companies use built men to advertise their products. They like the whole concept of tough guys using beauty products.”
Stuart’s girlfriend Emma is a former model so, he says, she’s been supporting his ambition. But what about his teammates?
“Because I haven’t really done any professional jobs yet, not all of them know, but I don’t think they’ll be that bothered,” he smiles. “A couple of them know, but they’ve not given me a hard time … not yet, anyway.”
I’m incredibly honoured to see my work published this month in Live Preston Magazine. This months wedding bumper issue was shot in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery. Its amazing to see my work on the front cover of the magazine and I will be mounting this issue on my office wall.
“This week I was commissioned to photograph Emma Rigby, the award winning actress who played Hollyoakes troubled Hannah Ashworth. Emma recently decided to leave the teen soap after 4 years to pursue other dramatic roles. The purpose of our shoot was to update Emma’s acting portfolio and the images show her in a new light.”
We shot in both the Classical Abode Hotel and the cheek Lowry Hotel both in central Manchester. Emma was such a breeze to work with. Having been in front of the camera from a very young age everything came natural to her. The results from the shoot are stunning. My team did a great job as always and we look forward to working with Emma again soon.
Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries found fame on Hollyoaks with long-term roles as Max Cunningham and Sam ‘OB’ O’Brien. After a decade on the Channel 4 soap, they started presenting work, including their own radio show on Preston-based Rock FM and TV shows on 4Music. Their new series Rivals, which sees them competing in minority sports, is on Saturdays on Channel 4.I was commissioned to shoot some new material for the guys this week. They where a pleasure to work with, and I love the poses and quirky looks of the first retouched images. I hope to work with them again in the future, actors do seem to make great subjects as they are trained to pose on camera. Stacey Smith did a wonderful job with the guys makeup, also thank you too Charlie McDonald for assisting me on the shoot.
Anouska Bolton Leeis a wonderful model and actress I met her on a fashion shoot in London a few weeks ago and was very impressed with her. I decided to arrange a test in Manchester. Nik Lloyd stylist did a great job fashion styling Anouska and Cheryl Brierley Duff Makeup artist did a fine job. We shot at the Circle Club in Manchester a venue only comparable to a classical French Night Spot from the 1940′s.
Everytime I walk into WH Smith or Magma my wallet takes a pounding. I ruffle through all the latest fashion magazines, Vogue, Pop, Dazed and confused and quite recently Noise magazine. Nine times out of Ten I end up purchasing them.
My shelves are filled and my wallet is empty, it is the curse of Vogue. Noise magazine on the other hand featured some amazing beauty photography this month and the images inspired me to shoot a test.
Working with a model agencies new faces is exciting, you never know if your going to work with the next Agyness Deyn. I arranged to shoot Kristie one of Boss Models newest additions and called upon Debbie Lezemore an extremely talented makeup artist to put her skills to work. Kristie even though one of Boss’s new faces was very natural in front of the camera.
Sifting through the results I picked out this image and had it retouched. Already the shot has received some excellent feedback from the agency and has made a wonderful addition to my book. Considering the pounding my wallet has taken I am banning myself from WH Smiths for the next month!