David James Gandy is a name synonymous with the modeling industry today. Yet Gandy’s first steps in the industry were not very certain. He’s had an unusual and interesting journey in his rise to the top of the modelling industry.
Gandy was born in Essex, England. He had a childhood dream of being a veterinary surgeon, but couldn’t follow through on account of his grades. While in university where he was studying multimedia computing and marketing, Gandy worked for Auto Express delivering the latest Porsches and Jaguars to the track for testing. Luckily for us it was around this time in 2001 that his friend and flatmate entered him into a modelling competition, ITV”S ‘This Morning’ which he won, locking him in a contract with Select Model Management.
David entered the modelling industry at a time when male models had an extremely set standard of physical appearance. Gandy did not fit into the frame of what a male model was meant to look like. His masculine physique stood in sharp contrast to the extremely skinny, almost feminine portraits of male models at the time.
It was Dolce & Gabbana, a brand that Gandy has stayed loyal to for over a decade that catapulted him into the modelling world with their ‘Light Blue’ fragrance campaign. The result was 11 million online hits and resulted in a 50-foot billboard of him being displayed in Times Square. After that, David Gandy became a name that you could not ignore.
Gandy addressed his role in changing the ‘look’ of male models in the industry in his interview with ABC’s Amy Robach, saying “I didn’t follow the trends, I bucked the trends.”
When talking about the Dolce & Gabbana picture of 2006 he said “I have a personal love of that picture, it changed my life. But as people said it changed the industry and that’s not an easy thing to do.”
He has since then worked with female supermodels such as Gemma Ward, Scarlett Johansson, Gisele Bündchen and Naomi Campbell as well as male models Noah Mills, Tony Ward, Adam Senn and others.
Mario Testino – a name heralded at the height of legends amongst the fashion photographers of our time was referring to Gandy when he said, “David has something of what the 1980’s supermodels have. He radiates health and positivity. I think he has what it takes to be very big. It’s exciting because it signifies a real shift in men’s fashion. The male model world is changing.”
In 2009 Gandy was selected for a BBC Four Special entitled, “Seven Photographs That Changed Fashion.” Fashion photographer Rankin used Gandy to recreate ‘Fred with Tires’, originally shot by Herb Ritts in 1984.
After breaking through the stereotypes early in his career, David Gandy hasn’t once slowed down. In 2010 he made male modelling history, twice. He became the first and only male model nominated for the BFC’s Model Of The Year award and the first male in his profession to appear on BBC1’s Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Gandy was the only male model to walk the Union Jack catwalk at the close of the 2012 London Olympics.
David isn’t ashamed of admitting that he has used his foothold in the fashion industry to walk through many different doors. He is a man who chases his passions. In the past five years he has launched a signature line, David Gandy for Autograph with Marks & Spencer, he writes columns for The Telegraph and GQ, on everything from suits to sports cars, and he has two apps, David Gandy Style Guide For Men and David Gandy Fitness and Training. The male supermodel owns his own protein-based ice cream business, Wheyhey and a sock subscription business called the London Sock Company. He also acquired footwear brand, David Preston.
He is equally active in his charitable work from participating in ‘Fashion for Relief’ fashion show to raise money for victims of the Haitian earthquake, to being named the first celebrity ambassador for UK’s Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Gandy participated in Marks & Spencer’s ‘Spark Something Good’ initiative in which hundreds of volunteers completed 24 projects over a 24-hour period throughout the UK.
The best news yet is that we still might see Gandy behind the silver screen. We have glimpsed a peek at his talent in the short film – Away We Stay. American audiences got a peek when he starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in her music video for her single ‘First Love’.
When asked about a possible acting career Gandy said, “I was offered Fifty Shades of Grey, 300: Rise of an Empire, Hercules, which a lot of people probably would have taken as actors but I’m in the fortunate position where I like what I’m doing. I don’t feel the need to act,”.
He later added that he hasn’t definitely closed the door on it either. So here’s keeping our fingers crossed.
Book coming soon, TOP MODELS Vol 66 “Male Legends”