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Dan Murphy is not your guy if you’re looking for a fairy tale story of the boy that was found by an agent and turned into a superstar. After a short-lived career playing hockey in Canada, Dan decided he wanted to go where the sun and the palm trees were. Palm Beach seemed to be the right choice to study business management. While in school his friends encouraged him to take a drive down to Miami and try his chances with the modeling agencies to make some extra money. After being turned down by nearly every agency, he found a ‘yes’ in the last call he made.
With a manager by his side, Dan started a career that led him to the four corners of the world. Working for the best magazines in the industry and designers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Armani, Dan has enough experiences to fill a book. From hanging out on a beach with Kate Moss while eating ice cream, to spending time at Bruce Weber’s home in Montauk, it all adds to the incredible journey that has taught Dan some of his most important life lessons.
With great support from his family, whether financial or emotional, Dan has successfully established himself in an industry that is fickle and looks to the future with excitement. At the moment this male model is working on combining some of his passions, which include hockey and flying airplanes, with the knowledge from business school to put together a charity yet to be named.
Why do you love this picture?
This was taken on a really emotional day for me not long ago - a pivotal moment in my life and career. Of course, the depth of the black and white that Tony (Duran) is known for is incredible. At the same time however, I look at this photo and I am immediately feeling what I felt that day.
Were you excited to work with this photographer?
I had been talking to Tony Duran for over two years while I was on the road; discussing everything from fashion to childhood memories of Minnesota winters. By the time I found myself in LA working with him on this shoot we were great friends, so I was extremely thrilled to be working with him.
What direction did Tony give you?
He kept making me do less: “Stop thinking, just be.”.
Was this a long shoot?
By the time we were done taking photos and discussing how to solve all of the world’s problems it was 7pm!
What do you think is the biggest challenge in the modeling career?
Becoming / staying relevant in such a high turnover industry.
Do you think modeling is perceived by society in a different way for men than it is for women?
For women, perhaps fashion is seen as an exclusive glamorous feminine profession and means to express their creativity and beauty. For men however it can be perceived as “un-manly”, for the lack of of physical labor or corporate structure, almost as if being a model required a zoolander-esque mental capacity. I think of what I do as an intricate part of the sales process, whether it is an advertising campaign for a fashion brand or a catalog for a department store. It has become essential to me to be conscious of the type of fabric or shape of the garment for example, and how I can show these attributes best to make the consumer understand what it is and want to purchase it.
Do you think that it is more difficult for men than it is for women in modeling?
One of the biggest differences between men and women in this industry is that there are less jobs overall for men and that we work for a much lower rate than our female colleagues. Sure, some would argue that there are more girls than boys in the industry, but proportionally, it’s hardly equal. That’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison though.
What have you learned from your experiences in the fashion industry?
I think it is clear that we all need to count our blessings and appreciate what we have in our own way, we need to give back in whatever way feels right. We weren’t doomed to go through life being stressed out.
What has made you the happiest in being a model?
You must be very clear on why you want to be a model. When I first started I thought I was going to make a ton of money immediately; it didn’t happen. Then I wanted to use modeling as a tool to travel, so I packed up and lived out of a suitcase around the world for a few years straight; but that gets mentally exhausting. So I moved back to New York, and just wanted to stay put for a while and enjoy being in my country. My reasons for why I model have changed a bunch of times, and each time I’ve been able to use modeling as vehicle to do something I really wanted and in turn bring me happiness. If my reason from day one never changed from “make money immediately”, I would have never been able to experience the world and make the friends that I have. Not to mention you kinda have to enjoy the creative process and being in front of the camera, which I love.
Follow Dan Murphy on twitter at @DanMurphy30