By: Shannon Moody, NYC Editor
Photography by: Jess Minassian
Location: Seaport — NYC, NY
Brandon Cole Bailey has hit the fashion industry with full force and he is just getting started. With his own book, magazine covers, and campaigns he has already become a major force in the industry, a very hot commodity. I have had the distinct and sincere pleasure of chatting with Brandon on multiple occasions and have to say, not only is he a delight to be around, but you can tell he is an all-around, great guy with a strong, hard work ethic.
I am more than pleased to introduce Brandon to the Bellus community! Throughout this article are some stunning shots of Brandon from our recent photoshoot at Seaport, NYC, NY, with Brandon wearing looks from Haupt, Alberto Pants, and Codice. Check out my interview with Brandon below!
Bellus: Did you always have a passion for modeling?
Brandon: Yes, I have, ever since I was a child. It all began for me because I wanted to be an actor and a celebrity. When I was 15 I did my first campaign, and then I was scouted by my mother agent (Kira Alexander) when I was 16. She decided that I needed to be everywhere, and from there I graduated early from high school, at 16, and started college. I went to school for Musical Theater. I graduated with my AA at 17. After that I did a JC Penny campaign and went to NYC.
When I went to New York it was crazy..it blew up and all the photographers and designers wanted to work with me. The biggest turning point was when I got asked to walk in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and I’m only 5’10.5. For me, that was the biggest deal!
Bellus: What was your inspiration for pursuing a career in the industry?
Brandon: I used to watch TV, and when I watched TV I wanted to be those characters. The coolest thing is you can be anyone you want to be, but at the end of the day you are still you. People can have so many ideas about you — they can think that you are a bitch, sweet, sex object and so many things. I always knew who I was and as long as I stay genuine, polite and nice to people that is going to get me further in the industry.
Bellus: How was the transition from Florida to New York?
Brandon: Surprisingly enough it wasn’t that bad. The places I’ve lived and with my education, it wasn’t like coming from a small town in Idaho or Ohio, and all of the sudden becoming something. I had worked in Miami before I went to New York. I must say it’s definitely a different world and it changed my ideas about the world.
Bellus: How has the feedback been, any negative feedback or was it mostly positive?
Brandon: I was brought out to LA by Google and DaveyWavey to start my own Youtube channel and struggled with the idea of what to do with it. We decided to call it “Diary of a Misfit Model” because in modeling it’s always been, he’s too short, he’s too feminine, it’s always something. I had a very good support system from my mother. Because she has, it’s always been a huge help!
Bellus: Did she have any initial concerns for you working in this industry?
Brandon: She was worried about the dirty side of the business. Of course that happens and there have been a lot of things that were offered that weren’t necessarily good things. I think the biggest thing is that I wanted to be a neurosurgeon as well, but I wanted to be that acting neurosurgeon. I started this world where it’s all about image. She has seen how much I’ve accomplished and is beyond supportive now.
Bellus: How did you come up with @itsreallyken?
Brandon: Its funny because I never wanted to start an Instagram, but a friend of mine encouraged me to. It was just starting out, and no one really had it, and it was just to take photos and edit them. I started to notice that people had @itsreallyjohn or @itsreallybrandon. My friends use to call me a Ken Doll, and every compliment was “you look like a doll.” But it wasn’t like you look like your plastic. It was like I looked perfect through their eyes. Which is not everybody’s eyes and I don’t mind that and I like that more. From there it developed into so much more. @itsreallyken doesn’t really mean what everybody thinks it means. It’s not a Ken Doll! It’s more like we are shaped and formed from peoples ideas of what we are suppose to be every single day, and were shaped and formed by society, and that’s not always the right thing. I think that’s what we all are, Ken’s and Barbies.
Bellus: Do you put a lot of thought into what you post on social media because of that?
Brandon: I used to and I would have agents telling me to take down certain photos down, and I realized I am just going to be me on there and share my experiences and my life, even though it’s not the worst parts of my life. I like to share the best parts on there, and I think I struggled with it, but now, I do it how I want to.
Bellus: Speaking of Social Media, what affects do you think its had either positive or negative on your career?
Brandon: I don’t think it has. At the end of the day people just want the image and whatever you give off. And if you are a hard worker and a nice person and you have what they are looking for, then that’s all it’s going to be.
Bellus: What is your fave Instagram filter?
Brandon: You know what’s funny about that is, I don’t even use filters . If it’s not to where I want it to be, I’ll adjust the brightness or contrast.
Bellus: Where has been your favorite place to model so far?
Brandon: New York has been an experience for me. We have a love/hate relationship, whether it be the weather or the people. I do love New York, and I think its the best place I’ve shot.
Bellus: Have you gone anywhere overseas?
Brandon: I’ve been to Australia. I really enjoyed that. It was a really cool shoot in Sydney. It was a very fun shoot for me!
Bellus: What do you think the biggest drawback has been?
Brandon: As fun as it looks on Instagram or social media, it truly is a lot of work. It’s something that will eat away at your soul and emotions. You can become this emotionless person, and I think I struggled with that for a little while, until I realized this isn’t me. So I went back to being me.
Bellus: If someone asked you, “how do I become a model”, what would your answer be?
Brandon: My fans ask me this a lot. My answer is that modeling has to be something you really want and love to do. Hard work and dedication is the key to anything and you should always have a good support system (family, mother agent, etc.). But most importantly is to have education. You need to have a good, strong head on your shoulders, as well as thick skin to be in this business.
Bellus: How did the book come about?
Brandon: I had a shoot with about 20 pretty well known photographers. At that point in my career, an Investor came up with this idea to do a book based off of an Instagram and sell it to your fans on Instagram. So at that point I had about 65,000 people on Instagram and you think that’s how many people will buy a book for $65.00. But really in reality you only get about 1% of those fans who can afford it or are old enough. It’s been a really great experience. It’s been really cool that Ive gotten to do it and I’ve received much more respect for doing it because I’m not just a pretty face. I have a book. I have a brand.
Bellus: What upcoming projects do you have?
Brandon: My biggest project that I have coming up is my YouTube channel. Google and DaveyWavey thought it would be a good way to transfer my fans from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter over to YouTube, where its more personal
Bellus: What does your workout routine consist of?
Brandon: I usually do full body and people say you shouldn’t do that.but if you do the full body, you are keeping a lean toned body while building muscle.
Bellus: What food is your weakness?
Brandon: (laughs) Everything besides seafood.
Bellus: Favorite way to stay active?
Brandon: I love surfing.
Bellus: What advice would you have for aspiring talent?
Brandon: If it’s something you want to do, look it up. Ask people that are in the business questions and make sure its something you want to do. It is definitely a long road and you can do it. You just have to work hard at it and make sure that you are being safe and careful. Do not let anyone tell you that you have to do something, because you don’t.
The photographer for this photoshoot session was Jessica Minassian. She is a recent graduate of Northeastern University. Jess has always had a passion for photography. She has had travel abroad, and in doing so, she’s always enjoyed taking pictures of the various and different cultures, food, people, and landscapes.
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