One alumnus is working hard and enjoying the perks of the modeling industry.
Jeff Thomas graduated from Texas State in 2010 and returned home to Dallas with hopes of finding a job in general business, marketing or sales, but was unable to find work. He attended a model search in September 2010 where he was one of the top 10 finalists and signed to an agency.
“My first job was December 2010 working for Gatorade,” Thomas said. “That was a fun experience. They had customized jerseys, and we actually had to drink the Gatorade, just as you see in the commercials.”
Six months later, Thomas was asked if he had interest in working internationally. He said he agreed without hesitation. His first stop was Sydney, Australia, where he booked campaigns, lucrative jobs and fashion editorials for “Men’s Health” and “Men’s Style.” Thomas said one of his favorite photo shoots took place in Sydney.
“We were on North Bonsai Beach,” Thomas said. “It was before sunrise, and I had to do a kissing scene with this girl for a Diet Coke advertisement. We basically watched the sun rise on the water. Those are my favorite kinds of shoots, where I can be outside and can enjoy the environment. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Australian-based photographer Pat Supsiri worked with Thomas to build a portfolio with a strong point of view. Supsiri said Thomas is a great model because he is a hard worker and has a great attitude.
“I think he has got to give himself some credit because he is really a natural in front of the camera,” Supsiri said. “I think because Jeff realized very early on that this industry isn’t necessarily about glamour. It’s a hard business. Starting out, there can be a lot of stress and long hours and rejections along the way, and you really need to have dedication and focus. You really need to love your job, and he does.”
After working in Sydney for about three months, he was sent to Milan, Italy. In Milan, Thomas met with clients such as Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, and he did some runway work.
“For one job, they took us on a train ride to Florence for the day to shoot something for a client,” Thomas said. “Then I stayed for a day to experience the city, take photos and learn about the history of the city before returning to Milan. Everything you read in books becomes very real.”
Thomas moved from Milan to London in 2012 for a little bit of work, and a lot more play. He experienced the Olympics and attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace, celebrating 60 years of her reign.
“I saw Elton John perform at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.” Thomas said. “Then, a month later I was invited to go to Elton John’s estate for an event, and I met him. It was really amazing. He was very nice, and he was kind of shy at first. I was surprised by that.”
Thomas returned to the United States after his vacation in London, calling New York City his home base.
“After traveling, I just want to settle down and not live out of a suitcase for a little bit,” Thomas said. “I want to establish my name and face in the New York market. If you’re going to make it, you have to go to New York. I think I’m ready to compete with the best of the best. I’m going to try it for about a year and see how it goes. So far, I’m working.”
Traveling days aren’t over for Thomas. He signed with agencies in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Miami. He travels to different cities for a day or two at a time depending on the job. He said traveling is a major perk of his profession and so is the fashion.
“I love fashion, the styling, the clothing.” Thomas said. “Everything is always new, innovative and fresh. There is no out-of-style moment and you learn about the up-and-coming styles.”
Thomas said a jacket was one of his favorite pieces of clothing he wore for a photo shoot.
“It was an amazing $65,000 Fendi jacket.” Thomas said. “It was dyed blue. It fit super well. As a joke, I told them it would be my pay for the job.”
Thomas said he knows modeling isn’t a career one can do forever. He hopes to eventually design his own label for women and possibly become a modeling agent.