Monday, June 26, 2017

standing out in the crowd... meet Ben Desombre



At a time when most models are chosen for  their bodies, the good and bad of them, and what the gym has done for them rather than for their unique appearance, there comes along a man who has charisma and has attained his notoriety by being clothed and exuding an air of sophistication, wealth and unadulterated class. He has the looks of a film star and the sprezzatura that so few of any age can offer. He evokes the spirit where one would not find it difficult to imagine him cruising the Mediterranean on some mega yacht or skiing in Gstaad, sunning at the Hotel du Cap or just sipping an espresso at some sidewalk café in any fashion capital. He is the embodiment of what was once referred to as “continental
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Ben is the consummate example of a target customer than only brands abroad seem to understand and yet so many brands still assiduously ignore this fact. He is the epitome of an aspirational customer, think of the aura of a Gianni Agnelli or even a James Bond type of man... international, rich, tasteful, well-bred and so easy on the eyes. We in the USA seem to ignore the fact that there are generations of men who exemplify the beauty of a man at any age; yes you can classify him as a silver fox but to me he is so much more than just that general category and too much of a generic way of pigeon holing him.
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There is something to be said about not being stereotypical or fitting into a mold, think about the REAL trail blazers of the business who turned being a model into an art form … think  Tony Spinelli, Pat Cleveland, Lauren Hutton, Peter Keating, Gia, Pelito Galvez, Denis La Marsh  and  Tommy Garrett. These men and women brought more to the table than most of today’s assortments could ever aspire to since today they are mostly interchangeable and robotic at best. So in the tradition of the greats …. Here is Ben Desombre in his own words
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Can you give us a bit of background as to how you “arrived” at where you are professionally?


My background is quite standard for à French guy: grew up as a middle guy between 2 brothers, 1 had to be a "black sheep" I chose that. Meaning as a bourgeois, my destiny was supposedly to be  a good student to become a lawyer, real estate or something like that ...I was awful at school, ended at junior college to become a squash professional career, as the tennis and soccer player ended early, as lack of hard word, not talent... I became a decent player, doing the minimum, but still ended playing for France and was top 10 in my country for few years (6was my highest).

Then moved to the US to be close to my 1st daughter, as her mom was American. Picked up squash again as that was not a top sport at that time (93) but actually that was the step chosen by the IOC to change the American squash courts to European size. Therefore I have been able to teach this game to "the whole country", and became US National coach around those days for few years (juniors and women). Got recognized by the US Olympic committee "coach of the year 1999" for the sports of rackets among all the other sports coaches from all the Olympic disciplines.

In 2002  I moved to NY after a stint of Brasil for 3 years (got remarried there and raised my 3rd daughter) then after 4 years in the city, started some modeling as there was a demand for older classic men. I joined DNA in NYC and started some jobs such as MACYS, Martha Stewart show etc...I got my first contract in Japan in 2007, where I spent 3 months, then I came back to my appt in NY and decided NY was not for me anymore and moved back to Europe where I based myself in Paris. And since then, I worked for the modeling industry nonstop. I am today at 52 in the top 20 most working men in my age category, I have a great life, traveling extensively all over the world, and worked many great jobs and hope keeping at it next 10 years.
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If you could choose any collaborator or collaboration, who or what would it be and why?

As to find a collaboration, I would love doing a campaign for Ralph Lauren, Hermes, or any Italians, and doing a huge renowned perfume campaign.
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If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?

i would take 6 people for diner actually and they would be: my mom that I miss daily, Barack Obama that I look up to, Bjorn Borg that I admired so much as a kid, Paul Newman for his amazing career as a film actor and especially as a human being and Christy Turlington that I find the most gorgeous woman and the unbelievable Bill Murray that for me is the funniest actor existing.
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Do you have any mentors or style icons that you admire and why?

I admire Roger Federer as I like his resilience and hard work multiplied by a huge talent is the ultimate equation associated to an amazing level of humility; make the word "an icon" the perfect sense.

I liked Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford as actors etc....love old movies.

Otherwise Nelson Mandela is for me an amazing example.
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What has been your most exciting project so far and why?

My most exciting pro project is my squash career, the National coaching for the US for few years and the switch from being an athlete as a working model. Then personally my 3 daughters who are from 3 moms from 3 countries (American, Norwegian and Brazilian)