Model Watch: Isaac McKinley

What does it take to make it in the fashion industry as a fashion model? It takes more than good looks or an appearance on “America’s Next Top Model.” Speak with almost any working fashion model and you will soon understand that launching a career as a fashion model is an arduous task. It takes good looks, the right body proportions, the right model management company, a sense of adventure, and a whole lot of good fortune.

Isaac McKinley appears to have all of that, and then some. Right at the top of all the prerequisites for a successful modeling career is having the right attitude. And no one has a better attitude and state of mind than Isaac. Fashion Reverie witnessed Isaac’s joie de vivre as he was photographed for the site’s “The Future Is Now” editorial.

With all these attributes, Isaac McKinley is primed for success. And Fashion Reverie has the evidence to prove it.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get your start in the fashion industry as a fashion model?

Isaac McKinley: I started modeling two years ago. What got me started was that I would make a video log of my workouts at the gym. A freelance videographer noticed me recording myself in the gym and recommended that I pursue fashion modeling. After doing a little bit of research, I decided to give fashion modeling a try.

The freelance photographer that scouted me spent about three months in Chicago, my hometown, shooting commercial and fashion editorial images. All this happened while I was a sophomore in college. It was a lot of test shoots. I probably took over a thousand images with this photographer that gave me the opportunity to develop my craft.

FR: Now you very muscular before you started modeling. Did you have to slim down?

Isaac McKinley: I had to slim down significantly. I couldn’t fit into any sample sizes. I had to alter my diet and my weight training to obtain the look of a fashion model and fit into the sample sizes. If you cannot fit into the sample sizes, you don’t get any work. It is just that simple.

FR: Which model management company were you with in Chicago?

Isaac McKinley: I was with BMG Chicago for about a year and then l went to Miami and I got signed to Wilhelmina Miami. My original plan was to work a lot in Miami and work the swimwear market. But I changed my plans and moved to New York City instead.

FR: Why New York City over Miami?

Isaac McKinley: At first I thought Miami would be a good market for me because of my athletic body type. My initial impression was that Miami had swimwear and undergarment work year round; however, I later found out this was not necessarily the case. New York City was a much larger market with more opportunities, so my choice was to go were there were more opportunities for career expansion.

FR: How long have you been in NYC?

Isaac McKinley: I have been here about ten months now.

FR: Which model management company are you signed with in New York City?

Isaac McKinley: I am with State Management New York. I chose them by getting a feel of the bookers who worked there. I noticed that they were not glued to their laptops. At the open call, they really took the time to meet and talk with each model. They liked me and signed me immediately and within a month, I moved to NYC.

FR: You arrived in NYC just before New York Fashion Week: The Shows. Did you book any shows for that season?

Isaac McKinley: I was only able to book one casting because I moved to NYC toward the end of casting for fashion week. I didn’t book the show from that casting. However, I learned something very important. I learned that I needed to be more confident and trust my unique walk and movement, and not try to emulate other models. I was trying to walk like the models I saw walking in big shows on youtube. Casting directors want you to be confident and authentic. Anything other than that is a turn off.

FR: What have you booked since you signed with State Management?

Isaac McKinley: I have booked a mix of commercial and editorial jobs. I have more of a commercial look so I have been booking more commercial than editorial work, and of course commercial work pays more money. That said; I have booked a jewelry campaign, which came from the same photographer that shot the editorial I booked with Fashion Reverie. I also booked jobs with Fila, J.S. Sloane, Heineken, Union Bay Pacific, and Bleu Magazine.

FR: Which designers/brands would you like to work with?

Isaac McKinley: I would love to work with Dsquared2, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, YSL men’s, you know most of the greats. I would also like to continue working with emerging designers and brands.

FR: Where would you like your career to go?

Isaac McKinley: I would like to be based out of NYC, but work in other international fashion markets. This well-rounded approach will be give me a better understanding of where my particular look will get the most amount of industry traction.

                              Images courtesy of State Management New York

FR: A male model once told Fashion Reverie that his main career goal was to be able to make most of his income from working as a male model and not have to work side jobs to support himself. Is that one of your goals? Isaac McKinley: I want to be active at all times and even if I am frequently booking modeling jobs, I don’t want to put all my eggs into modeling. Right now, modeling is my sole focus; each day I practice my facial expression and posing. However, I am looking to transition to theatre and acting later on.

I think it is important to focus intensely on one thing at a time and master that craft. And right now my concentration is developing my skill as a male fashion model.

FR: You have only been in NYC less than a year. How are you supporting yourself financially?

Isaac McKinley: Right now I have three different jobs while pursuing my modeling career. I work at a restaurant and bar as a host. I also cater high-end events. I keep myself busy, keeping myself on point with my vision and goals. I believe I will get there!!

—William S. Gooch

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