Exclusive – Glass interviews leading model Sean O’Pry

A motivated man Leading model Sean O’Pry shares the secrets of his ongoing success with Glass

 

A 28-YEAR old runway veteran who has appeared in endless campaigns for the most prestigious designers such as Chanel, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Balmain and many more, and who became the face of Viktor & Rolf’s celebrated Spicebomb fragrance – no wonder Sean O’Pry has been named the “world’s most successful male model” by Forbes Magazine and is still is a top-earning model in the industry. Originally from Kennesaw, Georgia, O’Pry seems like he has it all. This hard-working and motivated model of Native American and Irish heritage talked to Glass and shared some insights into his busy life.

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

You were named the world’s most successful male model by Forbes Magazine. What does this title mean to you and what do you think were the key elements that helped you to become the most successful male model in the world?
It means that I was busy [laughs]. It has been an honour to be called that. And the key elements were to stay focused. I always showed up on time. You have to do your job and be nice. Be open to the ideas and the creative process of the individuals you work with. This is a super-collaborative industry.

 

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

You are currently at the top of your career. What does a typical day from your life look like these days?
There are completely different days. A normal day in my life is that I wake up at 7 am to feed my dog who is my little girl, take her on a walk and grab a coffee – I go to the same spot every day, which is my favourite. If it is work, then I wake up at 6 am and go to the gym, I train and then get ready for the day.

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

You seem quite interested in sports, such as baseball or basketball. Would that possibly be the career that you would have pursued if you had not become a model, or is there anything else you have always wanted to do?
If I would have had the ability to be a professional athlete, that would have been my dream. The cards did not line up that way. But there are obviously some people who fangirl over musicians or actors. I fangirl over athletes; I have been in love with sports. You know, there is like a three-month period in America when there is no football and no basketball and it is a very sad time for me.

 

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

You appeared in music videos for Madonna and Taylor Swift. What was this experience like?
It is completely different from my usual campaigns, mostly because it is moving imagery. You are working with incredibly iconic artists. I was a bit nervous but they were both so professional and so incredibly sweet that it went really, really smoothly. But it was nice to be able to do something outside of fashion. There is a bit of crossover between fashion and music, but on set it is a completely different environment, it is much larger in scale.

 

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

You have been featured in many campaigns; walked in many prestigious fashion shows for designers such as Chanel, Balmain, Giorgio Armani and many more. You are also the face of Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb fragrance. Considering all your career successes so far, what do you think is your biggest achievement?
It’s 11 years later and I am still doing it [laughs]. One of my favourite campaigns that I remember is my first, for Calvin Klein Collection. But the older I get, the more I realise how fortunate I was. But when you are still within the industry, I always want to stay productive, to stay active and keep my career going. I am fortunate to still be working and still to have the level of job enquiries that I do.

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

What challenges have you faced in your career?
So many [laughs]. Challenges wise, I can’t specify. I mean, I definitely had to grow up and be mature, you know, because it is a natural part of life. And when it comes to overcoming challenges, staying motivated is a huge part of it. I am a very motivated person. But doing the same thing for 11 years, it is nice to break it out. So now when I feel overwhelmed or I am just in a bad mood, I will go away for a week or two and then will come back refreshed. It really keeps me always excited to work.

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry Photograph: Ssam Kim

What advice would you give to young people who aspire to be the most successful models in the industry?
Be driven. It is a lot of work. What matters is how you handle yourself, how you control yourself on set. Ability to be open-minded, within very many situations, and simply be polite and genuine. Be yourself and be willing to make art, be willing to listen.

Sean O'Pry by Ssam KimSean O’Pry. Photograph: Ssam Kim

What are your plans for the future and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Ooh, it is a really serious question. My idea is to stay the same, hopefully move a step forward, whether that be in fashion, whether that be in film, whether that be in business. I tend to keep it one day at a time. You’re always planning the next job or the next step. I find it better for myself to go with my day. Always wake up, be motivated and be productive, within my own rights. It is such a fast-paced city.

by Karolina Zielinska

Photographer: SSAM KIM

Taken from the Glass Archive issue 31 – Patience

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Fashion Editor JULIE BROOKE WILLIAMS

Styling Assistant JERMAINE DALEY

Make-Up HIROSHI YONEMOTO

Hair BENJAMIN THIGPEN

Photography assistant CAMERON ROSE, FELIPE E. LUQUE

Styling assistants MIRRA WESNESKI, MAGALI FEDELE

Retouching by Doctor Raw

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All clothing SAINT LAURENT by ANTHONY VACCARELLO

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Shirt ALEXANDER WANG

Trousers, belt ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA

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Knit ALEXANDER WANG

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Glasses MOOOI x GENTLE MONSTER

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Jacket ALEXANDER WANG

Glasses MOOOI x GENTLE MONSTER

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T- Shirt T by ALEXANDER WANG

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Jacket DIOR HOMME

Knit ALEXANDER WANG

Glasses MOOOI x GENTLE MONSTER