The Model Stereotype with Ricky Niyonz
August 5, 2016
Being a model is hard. Both sexes have their own stereotypes and difficulties in the industry, and I love shutting down such bullshit. I was a child model with the Ford Modeling agency, and growing up I was very successful and I had thought I would be able to continue down that rabbit hole. However, I stopped growing at age 13 and was told I was no longer sellable. Apparently, there is no such thing as a “short” model.
I got the chance to interview the up and coming model Ricardo “Niyonz” DeJesus. He is trying to bring awareness to people everywhere of what it means to be a male model. He is trying to break the stereotype i.e. masculine, tall… Just because you don’t fit the bill doesn’t mean it won’t work. Our world is made up of so many different types of people. To me that in itself is beauty. I want to see modeling campaigns where everyone is reflected, not just the tall and skinny.
Alex – How long have you been modeling?
Ricky – Two years, since early 2014.
Alex – Where are you from?
Ricky – I am from Puerto Rico but I live in Florida.
Alex – Favorite food?
Ricky – My mom’s food.
Alex – Favorite restaurant?
Ricky – “Bella On the River” San Antonio, Texas.
Alex – Do you feel your ethnicity plays a part in booking or not booking a job?
Ricky – Yes, big time. The person or company booking knows what crowd will be seeing the models. If you and the crowd don’t match you won’t be booked.
Alex – Have you ever been discriminated against because of your ethnic background?
Ricky – I have not.
Alex – How are male models stereotyped?
Ricky – Male models are portrayed as tall muscular men. When in reality there are different types of models and different types of bodies.
Alex – What are some of the challenges of being a male model?
Ricky – For me, there are two challenges. One is being stereotyped by others who are not models, they expect to see a muscular man with a big chin. The second is being asked if I’m gay, which is not exactly a challenge but I do get asked that quite a lot. I have always assumed it was a natural question since I don’t seem to meet the first stereotype.
Alex – What was your favorite job?
Ricky – My favorite job has to be the time I had a shoot on some metal bleachers. It was a sunny Florida morning and the lighting was perfect. Everything went so smoothly it felt like a five-minute shoot.
Alex – Your least favorite?
Ricky – I honestly don’t have a least favorite job, but not being told what hair cut to get for a shoot is always a bummer.
Alex – Any advice you’d like to pass on to someone wanting to become a model?
Ricky – Be fearless, keep your head up and if you don’t get booked in one event do your best to get booked on the next event.
Be sure and follow Ricky on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @Rickardoniyonz