In an industry where age is more than just a number, and people really do judge a book by its cover, 48 year old Dutch model Mark Vanderloo defies, and embodies what it means to be a supermodel. Born in 1968 in Waddinxveen, a small town in the west of the Netherlands, Vanderloo fell into the modelling industry quite by accident. Accompanying his then girlfriend to a photo shoot for a Dutch milk company, he was simply there by happenstance while dropping her off. At the shoot, one of the photographers requested to take a few of his pictures. A few short weeks later, the images of Vanderloo and his girlfriend were actually published, and they became the picture of health in the campaign for the Dutch milk company.
When asked if he would have imagined himself as a top model he was he said,“Least of anything I would figure I would be a model. It totally came as a surprise to me. I didn’t intend to do this at all as a matter of fact when I was a child my stepfather was an amateur photographer, and I never wanted him to take any pics of me cause I just didn’t like it.”
If the man had to be described in one word, it would be charming, with Versace, Valentino and Calvin Klein as of the designers who have surrendered to that charm. The Dutch model has often been called the Cary Grant of the modelling world. Although he’s worked on his first international campaign with Banana Republic, Vanderloo is still best known for his Hugo Boss black and white prints, who he has been working with since 2005.
The Dutch implant moved to New York in 1994 to be Calvin Klein’s Obsession model, and it was shortly after when he first appeared in Hugo Boss’ couture and ready-to-wear shows. His talent was almost immediately recognized, and VH1 awarded him Male Model of the Year in 1995. Another notable accomplishment? Mark was one of the first men to appear on the cover of marie claire magazine in 1996, and he was the number one model in the world at the age of twenty two. The 90’s were an exciting time for Mark — often, he would walk in as many as fifty shows during fashion week!
Despite having never delved into the acting world, Vanderloo managed to make an impression in the field. Derek Zoolander, the fictional character who brought the profession of male modelling to the big screen, was named through inspiration from the model himself. Cleverly combining both his and fellow model Johnny Zander names, Vanderloo is inarguably a legend if not from that alone.
The profession brought Vanderloo face to face with his first wife, Esther Cañadas. The two fell in love during a four day campaign shoot with Donna Karan New York, and were married in 1999 but sadly divorced a year later. In more recent times, Vanderloo has been named the face of Bugatti’s Ettore Bugatti Lifestyle Collection. He even appears in the Ettore Bugatti Fall-Winter 2015/2016 advertising campaign and lookbook. He is also the brand ambassador of Andorra Sotheby’s International Realty.
Vanderloo stands as an oddity amongst most of his colleagues; in an industry where people are willing to trample over each other to reach new heights, Vanderloo has been known to have and maintain some great friendships within the industry. Vanderloo, along with his model friends Jason Lewis, Alex Lundqvist and Keith Mallos, were often called fashion’s fab four.
Vanderloo has taken tentative steps away from modelling, though at times appearing in pieces like Celebrity in 1998, Derek Zoolander University in 1997, and The Tale of a Fairy in 2011. Mark also made a surprising appearance in the cinematic ending of Mass Effect 3 a science fiction action role-playing third person shooter video game developed by BioWare.
The good news is he’s not even close to slowing down. When asked in a recent interview about retirement, he said, “I attempted to retire in 1996, but that was a long time ago. I missed my stop. I am happy doing what I do, and, as long as I keep enjoying it, I intend to stick to it.”
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