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A Discussion with Top Model Scott Barnhill

Making a name for yourself as a model in the fashion industry can be hard, and if you're a male model, that can make it even more challenging. There is a male model who has managed to stay relevant for nearly thirty years, and that is Scott Barnhill. When I look back at some of my favorite fashion shows, I find him walking in almost all of them. He has walked for the likes of Versace, Helmut Lang, Alexander McQueen, and Gucci. One of the world's greatest photographers, Steven Meisel, has taken photographs of him, some of which have landed on the cover of Vogue Italia. I had the pleasure of talking with Barnhill about his modeling career, being a musician, and starting his own creative brand. 


Scott Barnhill for Versace FW23 and Luis de Javier FW23, courtesy of Tagwalk.


Hey Scott, thanks for allowing me to interview you. It is such an honor. How are you doing?


I am well. Thank you for asking.


I read somewhere that you have been modeling since you were seventeen. Can you tell me how you got your start in the fashion industry?


I was scouted out by Cindy Cooper at Pleasure Island (Walt Disney World). Once I decided to give it a try, I moved to Miami and signed with Page Parkes Modeling Agency. I worked a few jobs with great photographers like Anne Menke, but got my first big break with Ellen von Unwerth for Diesel Jeans, doing their underwear line.


You have walked in some of the most legendary fashion shows, such as Alexander McQueen's spring 1998 "Golden Shower" show. What was it like working with McQueen?


Working with Alexander McQueen was legendary; I was put on as an option for that show, but it was not confirmed until they knew I could walk. I remember arriving at the design studio space where the fitting was taking place, and everyone looked concerned. I quickly realized that they were not worried about me being able to actually walk, but if I was able to walk in an open-toe 3-inch-high heeled shoe. I put the shoes on and walked effortlessly, and I was confirmed on the spot. The show went off, and it was absolutely beautiful. I loved the way that it made me feel, walking in the rain with this armor of a beast but in the solitude of beauty. I felt strong and innocent, and I felt that there was something special about him and his work. It was bold, but I felt safe. Working with him was emotional, even for me, at a young age. 


Scott Barnhill for Alexander McQueen SS98, courtesy of Vogue Runway


Recently, you walked for Versace and Helmut Lang, both of whom you walked for in 1998. What is the biggest difference between walking for fashion designers today compared to back then?


The biggest difference between walking now and back then is that before, there were fewer models but the same amount of clothes. You would have many outfit changes; I've had up to six for one show. Now it seems like there is less changing of looks and more models, each wearing one or two looks.


One of my favorite photos is of you and Kate Moss for Yves Saint Laurent by Mario Sorrenti, and in the photo, Kate is pinching your nipple. Are you and Kate still in touch?


No, I am not in touch with Kate. I do follow her on social media as well as some others because they were a big part of my life as I was growing up in the industry. I was able to catch up a little with Karen [Elson] and Amber [Valletta] through recent shows and work, and that was a real pleasure.


Right: Kate Moss and Scott Barnhill for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche by Mario Sorrenti


Another photographer you worked with throughout your career was Steven Meisel. Last September, you and Steven worked together again. What is it like to be photographed by him?


Working and being shot by Steven is an amazing experience. If you understand how energy moves through your body, then you can understand how he captures you. The slightest movements become an exaggerated phenomenon, like seeing movement in water that is filled with bioluminescence. It's beautiful, and that's how I feel working with him.


On your Instagram, you have posted videos of your music. I think you have an amazing voice. Is there an album in the near future?


Yes, I am currently working with a French producer, Dom Lepine, and we are mixing and mastering some tracks. I am also working on putting video/art films together for that music, so when we release it, it will be a full experience of sight, sound, and motion. I am working on the first single release date, hopefully before the end of the year.


You also have a creative brand called Scott and the 1015; can you tell me more about that?


Yes, the brand will work in conjunction with my modeling career and music. Bringing concepts that I have had over the years together in launching creative products. We launched our first campaign to build a community called 'Picture in the Park' during National Parks Week 2024. We went out to different local parks and took free pictures of people, capturing moments for them in the parks that they love. Next year, we will work on this again at the same time, hopefully expanding into other states and eventually countries. By the end of the year, we should have our first product line launched, which is going to be a series of limited-run custom art shirts. 


Scott and the 1015 can be found on Instagram @scottandthe1015


My last question is, what advice would you give someone who is trying to break into the fashion industry?


There are many different aspects of the fashion industry; find what you love the most and live it. Do not ever give up, but always be open to change. It is clothes; they change, keep an open mind and enjoy the journey, because it is from that journey that your story will be made.

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