Jacob Burton: Industry Insider, male model
How were you discovered?
I had a major accident in college that left me debilitated for a while actually. I broke my spine and more of my body, so I had plenty of time to lay and think. I was bored and unhappy in college. The injury changed my perspective on life and I always enjoyed acting so I was looking at ways I could seriously get into the industry from Knoxville (where I went to school in Tennessee) and still finish up my bachelors. My mom had always supported it and I had seen a lot of big name actors/actresses got their start in modeling because it really helps get comfortable in front of the camera and to perform. I submitted digitals to an agency in Atlanta called Chosen Model Management because it was a close enough drive from school for quick trips and a decent enough market to begin in a field I knew nothing about! From there I got scouted by D’management in Milan and voila!
What does it feel like to be on the runway?
I get the same nervous energy, adrenaline pump I would get from stepping on the mat to wrestle people. All eyes on you…it can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time because I don’t think there’s anything particularly great about my walk!
What do you prefer commercial or runway work and why?
Commercial. The atmosphere around fashion week can be exciting but its pretty basic, commercials or editorials allow you to move more freely and be expressive.
Who have you worked for, do you have a favorite client, why?
I’ve done Maxim Italia, GQ, Esquire, Paper Magazine, Suit Supply, Nautica, Gant, Espirit, Gildan, Hugo Boss, a couple department stores etc. to name a few. The magazines are always so fun to shoot for…GQ shot in the World Trade Center which was an amazing experience…But Kohl’s always treats me so well and it’s like a reunion to team back up with all their stylists and creatives.
What is the most interesting shoot you have done?
I did an editorial in upstate NY after that “blizzard” last year and with the wind chill it was -11 that day. We were out in a barn for several hours that was not insulated and I was shooting outside with this incredibly beautiful horse. I remember hopping off him at one point and thinking my ankles were going to snap, the cold was unreal but we got some incredibly beautiful shots! Or, in Miami I was shooting for a German client during the season and we had a 6 am call time. The whole crew got together and rode early to the Everglades where we switched to airboats and took a long tour to an old cabin on a little island where we shot hiking gear for the first half of the day. Cruising along and seeing the alligators was really cool and that was my first airboat experience! Or one of my clients is a designer from Nicaragua, Jorge Vega Umana. He asked me to walk in his show in his country and flew me out to Menagua where I opened and closed in front of a massive audience, and was interviewed on TV. But after that we had 3 days to see his home country. We explored Grenada, hiked a volcano, swam in a lagoon in the mountains, and met some incredible incredible people. It was one of the best weeks of my life!
Right now I’m on a denim kick, I love 3×1. John Varvatos makes some of my favorite shirts though.