John Stallings. He jumps from planes. He just returned from modeling for four months in China and previously shot campaigns for Pepsi, Ipod and has worked with Valentino. He was also on 14 episodes of the reality show The Janis Dickinson Modeling Agency and in the film Eating Out 3! He just recently started his own fashion line KOKO LIAR. He admits he eats way too much macaroni and cheese and cheeseburgers…and for this we love him! Because below all the muscles and amazing cheekbones…he’s a really amazing guy and quite frankly…the next BIG thing!
1. Tell us a bit about John C. Stallings… the model, the person, the friend?
To be honest, I’m a quiet person in the beginning, assessing situations and completely observant, but can let loose like no other. I care deeply about those that I love in my life and would love to have the power to take all the negative away from them if I could. I am a dancer, you know in my underwear, in the kitchen, on the streets, at the club and love music. I think living by my motto, “Keep On Keeping On – LIFE IS A RUNWAY” you have to have a daily theme song to keep you going – today it is “Make It Mine” by Jason Mraz. As a professional model I’m very comfortable in front of the camera. I treat this as a passion, so I show up on time with an positive attitude that wants others to keep booking me! I get the job done and then have a drink! I believe in rewarding yourself, everyone should reward themselves when you do a great job!
2. Where are you originally from? And how has your up bringing help you in the competitive world of fashion and modeling?
I am originally from North Carolina. Born in Raleigh and then lived in a small town until 6 years old when I moved out to Sandy, Utah. My parents have always taught respect and love towards yourself and others around you and that helps in this competitive world of fashion and modeling because there are so many times you can lose yourself in the business. The criticisms you get and the many rejections can really tear someone a part, but I stay strong and have hope and that’s what keeps me going. I cannot forget where I began and am constantly are thinking of those that have helped shaped me as a person and model and a lot of it comes from the way I was raised. Thanks Mom & Dad!
3. What is you’re favorite thing about living in Vegas/LA?
Vegas is a city that never sleeps – many exciting things always happen around every corner. It’s a city that is great for commercial work, plus $1.49 breakfast. I can get pretty much anything and everything I desire, but to me, it’s only fun for a weekend and if you do it “right” you can really create those long lasting memories here. LA is just 4 hours away, so I’m used to the drive alone, blasting music with my Starbucks and windows down. LA is the stereotypical “dream” people would love to pursue, and there are some that make it and some that don’t, but with beaches a half hour away, canyons to hike in and beautiful scenery whenever there isn’t smog, it can be a wonderful city to enjoy and make a home in. I’m still in the process of that move right now!
4. What’s the thing that you love the most about modeling? Is this what got you started or did you fall in love with this part once you were in modeling?
The traveling is the best part about modeling for me. I knew you had those opportunities before I got into modeling and I’ve been blessed with the ability to put everything down and take a flight somewhere I never thought I would go and be able to work at the same time. I never thought living out of your suitcase or being thrown in a model apartment with 10 other models (male/female) would ever be that exciting as I like to have my own space, but it’s taught me to relax and enjoy life. I’d like to think I’m fluent in reading Korean now, I speak a little Japanese, Italian, Chinese and Spanish too.
5. How old were you when you started modeling? Was it hard for you to get into it? And How long have you been in the industry for?
I was scouted in a High School event when I was 18 years old, but I also wanted to complete my college degree, so full-time modeling came after I graduated in NYC. It’s always very exciting, it’s a job that you have to stay on top of. Staying physically fit, learning more about each country’s way of running the business and testing with photographers as your look can constantly change. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in the industry for over 6 years, but I still feel that there are more years to put into this; male models can last much longer than our female counterparts.
6. This far in your modeling career, what is something you’ve done you wouldn’t want to do again? Or can not wait to do it again?
Jumping out of an airplane! If that opportunity came around again I would not be too keen to accept again. When you’re plummeting towards the Earth at 120mph and they tell your stomach will stop turning in 20 seconds, well they’re wrong! There are plenty of non-glamourous aspects that come along with this industry. The climates from freezing cold and wearing swimwear to Mongolian overcoats in the heat of Summer, but you stick to it and find fun in whatever you’re doing. You have to watch out for the dark-side of this industry, the casting couches that are present but never talked about (ways to get ahead that put you in awkward and uncomfortable positions) but those are your choices you make and deal with constantly. I love doing runway shows as “…Life Is A Runway” for me – it’s the best being able to step forward.
7. Give us a behind the scenes for a photo shoot? Runway show? Casting? And what goes on after the show/shoot/casting is over?
You arrive, introduce yourself to anyone and everyone (it’s important to recognize you’re all in it together!), typically there is a little wait time, jump into hair and make-up while watching the stylist steam the clothes out, the photographer is still tweaking the lighting while their assistant is running around with extra film in their hands, you’re chatting it up with the hair/make-up team on what they’ve been up to and what’s next for them, then more wait time. It all depends on the team. If they have all worked together before, it can run really smoothly and everyone is on the same page, otherwise you get a bit of chaos and try not to take it all to heart. The photographer may want you to move your own way, which is my favorite, or they’ll show you some kind of story board of what direction they are going for and you emulate the concept. The client (designer or advertising exec., etc.) is there usually positioned in the back so they can watch and put in their two cents in whenever possible to get exactly what they want.
# That’s a typical photoshoot and runway show together, but runway there is no photographer on “set” as there are many photographers waiting in the photography pit just outside at the edge of the runway and there’s much more wait time. Plus, at a runway show, more chaos. The designer(s) is/are running around being pre-interviewed or making sure first looks are perfect, whatever you’re intended to wear in the beginning can be changed two minutes prior to walking out, seams popping, and things being pinned. When those pins poke you in your skin, you’ll be surprised at how fast a model can walk…ouch! Shoes not fitting and amusing bitch fights from other models that feel competition towards each other, but I chose to stay focused. The casting director will tell you about the choreography (if there is any) and you’ll rehearse that before the press, celebrities and other guests arrive to sit in their seats. Then the music hits and you line up in the order they need you in and you WALK! It’s like 15 minutes of the best time of your life, like riding a roller coaster and once you’re done, you want to get right back on it and do it again!
# As for castings, well that’s the longest wait time of all. You’re usually in a building or room with a shitload of other models signing in and getting a number that corresponds to where you signed in. You wait, and wait, and wait and oh you wait. Then, depending on the job their booking for, let’s just say a typical NY modeling casting, you’ll walk in with a casting director sitting behind a table with their assistant(s) staring at you and you hand them your portfolio. MODELS, PLEASE TALK TO THESE PEOPLE, they are the ones that have the most influence on hiring you for the job. So, you make conversation while they flip oh-so-fast through your portfolio barely looking at it anyway and if they are interested, they’ll snap a polaroid of you standing next to a white wall. Gone are the days of the amazing polaroid camera, so they’ll take “digitals” of you. Sometimes that’s all they need. Other times they’ll ask you to take your shirt off and even down to your underwear. Some casting directors love to have that power to tell a model to strip, because we do it without hesitation, hmmm. If you don’t get a polaroid taken, more times than none you aren’t right for the job and they’ll tell you “Thank You” with a pseudo grin and have the next model come in as you leave. Time is money, so once you’re in the casting room, it goes quickly, so MAKE IT COUNT!
Once you’ve completed your job or runway show, there is usually a sigh of relief, some champagne is popped and everyone begins to pack up with big smiles on their faces. Sometimes you’re invited to any after-party or dinner party that the client may have, but if there is silence once your through, then just wave and get out of there…you did your job, so get out! ha
8. Who are some big names you’ve worked for and with?
My first big job in NYC while going to school was for Pepsi. It was a blast and I nailed it. More well-known clients I’ve had the pleasure of working for over the years are Valentino, Viktor & Rolf, Marc Jacobs, Puma, iPod, Evisu Jeans and many amazing fashion magazines, oh and Jason Scarlotti from 2(x)ist, I must mention him as he has a wonderful line.
9. You just recently got back from China… What is one of the things you learn while out there? In modeling, living, culture?
That when you are booked for a catalog job, they ask you to “open your ass and smell a little bitch” – oh shit, wait, what? Oh, they meant, “Open our eyes and smile a little bit” – the language barrier was difficult, but also hilarious as you can read. It’s a country where a lot of brands are manufactured and copied and has great shopping, but this culture has a consistent mindset that it’s hard for them to think outside the box. They work very hard for little money and survive the best way they know how. I’m a high fashion guy, very edgy and crazy and sometimes they just want the mature looking man for a suit, so I may not travel back anytime soon, but those are the risks you take and the experiences that shape you to gain more knowledge of being a better model for your future.
10. So tell us a bit about Guangzhou, China: What the town is like, the people, the food, the culture?
Well, Guangzhou is a city that promotes some of the best food options, but I didn’t get to experience much of that. To give them a little benefit they are preparing for the Asian Games this year in December, so there was constant construction, trash, dirt, noise, people squatting in the road and exposed baby butt cracks. In their culture they let their babies relieve themselves wherever and whenever possible and sometimes you just don’t want to see that. Also a piss and shit smell permeates the city most of the time you walk outside. ha The mosquitos must have felt that I was their personal bloodbank as well, jesus the mosquitos.
# I always befriend employees at a local Starbucks (my home away from home) and they were the ones that kept a smile on their face each and everyday which I appreciated, since they only receive like $1.47/hour. Just like any country you visit, there are great and not so great adventures you have. You have to make it happen as an individual and not let the hardships get to you so easily – stay positive and positive will find its way back to you.
11. As an openly gay person, how difficult was it to be in Guangzhou, China? Did people treat you differently?
I AM an openly gay person, but I also don’t wear it on my sleeve and make it an issue. Unless I’m sleeping with you, it’s none of your business. If you ask, I tell, but that doesn’t shape who someone is whatsoever. I asked some of the locals what their country’s views are on homosexuality and the response was that even though its ok to be gay, no one talks about it. I didn’t visit any gay establishments, because there were none that you knew of. I guess it’s still underground there. Time will tell of any further progression.
12. What’s one of the things you’ll miss the most about China?
The country itself has many beautiful places to visit – Shanghai has The Bund and beautiful architecture and Beijing has the Great Wall. I would say I miss being one of the tallest people as on average 5’8″ is the norm, but also the inexpensive shopping that you can do there. I don’t like to barter on prices, but that’s what they do out there, so I miss not being able to walk into a retail store here in America and not get a lower price- haha. “What about $10? NO? Ok, right, I’m not in China anymore.”
13. You’re friends with one of out dear friends, Brittany Mason, who you also go to share your china experience with and we hear you two have come up with a rap about the beautiful Guangzhou, China… Could you tell us how this came about and maybe give us a sneak peak on that :-D?!
That was such a great thing that happened to the both of us. Brittany is an amazing girl with so much talent and we both kept each other positive even out of the negative experiences throughout the China contract by constantly thinking of more and more things to rap about in the city of Guangzhou. The first verse starts off by us rapping, “We were walking down the street in the dirty Guangzhou, saw a China man and he said “Hello”,” which literally happened and for some reason (I’ll be the one to take credit for starting this song) we just started singing and thinking of lyrics. Anyone that has visited and modeled in Guangzhou, China could definitely relate to this song and laugh their asses off to a size 0. It’s a hit, but we still haven’t edited it together with a beat or music video to post on YouTube. lol 🙂 We have a whole choreographed dance move that goes along with the chorus too – by the way Brittany and I are still looking for back-up dancers, how do you two look in leotards. You can view the complete lyrics on my facebook page and perhaps one day a YouTube link as well.
14. Going to China and back, we’re sure you’ve seen lots of incredible places around the world! What do you think is the sexiest place to live in? sexiest club you’ve been to? And model you’ve worked with?
I think the sexiest place to live in is where there is self-confidence around, an intellect of sorts with many things to do, museums (nude bodies of art), amusements parks, bars, coffee shops, great shopping, but there are many cities that offer this and I really cannot pinpoint just one, but I had a hell of a time in Indiana. For a specific club to be sexy to me, there needs to be a vibe. One with a great DJ playing great music that gets everyone up and dancing, a great bar with great bartenders that make amazing drinks, and one where sexuality is all over the place – oh and taking jello shots off unmentionables. I think you two will have to share a club experience with me first and then we’ll see if it’s sexy or not! First round’s on me.
As for a sexy model I’ve worked with, to this date, I think Marissa Miller from Victoria’s Secret has been the one. She’s doing so well for herself now and when we did the photoshoot together, she was laying in my lap and I couldn’t touch her – photographer’s wishes, so you follow the rules. ha
15. Are you in a relationship? And has traveling for work make the relationship difficult?
I am, in fact, in a relationship now. And I love the fact that I have a private life. I’m brand new to these feelings and it is amazing because with traveling for work in so many different countries, it DOES make it very difficult to meet someone and have them understand what you’re involved in. I’ve been alone most of my life in regards to a boyfriend, but it takes someone really special to support you in your passion and following your dreams and also wanting to know all about them and their life. I truly have that special man now and it feels great. Don’t get me wrong, there are still struggles because there is still a distance we have together, but you make it work. You don’t throw in the cum towel and toss it away, you know what’s important and you do what you can with what you have until that one day you’re together again. You also have to keep the communication open, talk about everything. We are constantly on the phone or texting or using Skype (such a great service and my keys are still so sticky). We definitely make it work and we know we’re both very important to each other.
16. Is being gay and out beneficial for the modeling industry? Does it make it easier to get job or deal with jobs? Or does it make a difference at all?
No, it’s not beneficial – it comes down to the total look of the model and how well you photograph. I believe that whatever industry you’re in, it’s no ones business to know your personal business. Your sexuality doesn’t mean anything when completing a job.
17. Tell us about keeping your body in shape and in good health? What kind of work out you have, diet plan, skin care, and of course good ways to cheat on the diet?
Keeping your body in shape and in good health is crucial in this business because of the schedule you’re around. The traveling and the constant down-time you have on jobs can really take its toll on your body and mind. I like listening to music and creating a space for myself of staying calm. Destressing is key and whatever form you can find that is right for you needs to be in your daily regimen whether it be reading, meditation, working out, keeping in touch with your friends and family (too bad Facebook in China is forbidden). I like to follow the work out magazines plans of staying fit, so I’ll cut those articles out and take them with me wherever I go. When I’m at the gym I focus on a four-day split. Chest and triceps one day, shoulders and biceps another, back and triceps for the third day and legs on the last. Altogether working in abdominals each day. Then you take 3 days off. That works for me, because I don’t want to get too big. There are certain markets that don’t book guys with a chest larger than a 40R, luckily I’m a healthy 38R and I’ll keep it at that. To keep the weight on, I do enjoy protein shakes (you know, from the glass) and a daily multi-vitamin. Everyone knows to eat their daily doses of the correct proportions of fruits and vegetables, but don’t ask me what those are because honestly I’m really bad at that, but I’m learning more and more from others. I am surprised at how many different ways you can use a cucumber other than my mother’s recipes. I feel like I eat cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese way too many times a week, but hey, I do what I want! As for skin care, I enjoy having some color through a tan, so I’ll be out in the sun with my shirt off with some SPF30. I really enjoy H2O+ skin care products which is an all natural vitamin and mineral line, so I’ll use a nightly care cream. Other than that, I’m pretty basic. Each person’s body is different and reacts differently to certain products. I’m blessed without having any allergies towards products, but I think if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t use it on your skin. Ok, I’m hungry and now looking at my H2O+ bottle, hmmm should I drink it? Just kidding.
18. You’ve started your own line, KOKO LIAR, tell us about KOKO LIAR and what inspire you to start your own line? How did you come up its name? Were can people view and purchase your line?
I’ve always had in the back of my mind to have my own personal fragrance one day. I love smells, the sense of smell is so powerful to me as it conjures up many nostalgic memories, it can put you in a place. One day I’ll work on that but for now I started hand-knitting scarves and started a couple years ago when I was introduced to knitting by another model friend of mine when we would do 5 fashion shows a day in Las Vegas. There was a lot of downtime between shows, so I learned how to knit and it’s all uphill from there. I wanted to have a label to attach to the scarves so I began to think and that was around the time my Granddaddy had passed away. In each and every letter that he would write to me, at the end he would tell me “Keep on keeping on, john boy john.” He was a special person in my life and I wanted to carry something meaningful around with me about him, so I’ve had that phrase be the first part of “KOKO LIAR” (Keep On Keeping On) and then I added “Life Is A Runway” (LIAR) which to me, life IS a runway. Life is a show filled with music, lights, cameras, fashion and crazy chaotic moments that stir up adrenaline that keeps us wanting more. So, “KOKO LIAR” came about and that is also my motto in life. I can always be reminded when I see the acronym as it’s tattooed on my right and left wrists. Right now you can visit my website at www.johncstallings.com and purchase a hand-knit scarf from me. I use new materials now too, so it’s slightly different than what the pictures represent, but still personal and scented with my current favorite fragrance. Not my own yet, but again, one day!
19. What’s next for you? What are some projects you have in the works that you can talk about? Where should the boys of raannt and our readers expect you next?
Well…I’m gonna make the move to Los Angeles pretty soon as I’m in Las Vegas right now. I need to be more available for more opportunities and that’s what LA has to offer. I have been speaking to someone about another movie project after I did Eating Out: All You Can Eat, so be on the lookout for me on the big screen again in the near future. All I can really say about all this is “Keep On Keeping On – LIFE IS A RUNWAY”!
20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps, or nothing at all?
I never wear boxers, never did as a kid either, too bunchy. Yes, I have worn a jockstrap before, but seriously I’m not playing sports all day and they scratch my cheeks, so I’m definitely a brief wearer or NOTHING AT ALL of course. Especially in bed – the only thing that’s on is the sound machine. Interesting you didn’t mention a thong…but that’s the dominating side of me.
Eyes Open, We’re Watching!