Why Paul and Tim won't ever be Kate and Naomi

Sorry boys, it's a woman's world on the catwalk. Hester Lacey on why male models don't make household names

Greg Spaulding, Tim Boyce and Larry Scott. Bruce Hulse, John Pearson and Scott Maslen. Heard of them but not quite heard of them? Could they be MPs fighting marginal constituencies in the next general election? The business heads behind the Tube privatisation? Backing singers with the Spice Girls? Nope. In fact, they have all been touted as "male supermodels" over the past few years. But while Linda, Naomi, Kate and Christy are known by their first names alone, this lot are hardly in the same league when it comes to the international-recognition stakes.

Latest recruit to their ranks is Paul Sculfor, described by his PR as a "sex-bomb Brit male supermodel". Mr Sculfor, 25, a veteran of Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Patrick Cox promotions, is currently starring in the latest Levi's ad campaign, which (again in PR-speak) is "set to make him a household name".

In the flesh, Paul Sculfor is indeed unfeasibly handsome; all cheekbones, eyes, tan and teeth, lounging on the sofa at his highly trendy agency, Select in Covent Garden. A flick through his portfolio shows that the expression photographers tend to favour for him is the standard male-model, blank-eyed, slack-jawed, kind-of-quizzical-but-dumb-as-an-ox; which is a shame, because he also has a wide and charming smile (and dimples). Four years ago, modelling had never crossed his mind. "I was working in construction, doing things like refurbishing banks. I'd been approached a couple of times by agencies when I was out shopping, but I had my own life, I was doing my own thing. I weren't interested, basically."

His career was kick-started by his mum, who entered his photo in a competition. He won, of course, and Select just kept hassling him. "Then they just booked me this job in San Diego for a couple of weeks and that's what basically changed my mind. I went there, done the job, it seemed really easy and the money was really good," he says.

Winning the Levi's ad, against global competition, is the zenith of a career that has taken him round the world. "A really nice one was in Mauritius," he recalls. "I think that one was Italian macs. Beautiful place." He says he has been through his stint of blowing loadsamoney on designer clothes, and that his parents in Upminster keep his feet firmly on the ground. But the life of an international model isn't all roses. "It's a free life, but you can't have commitments. For relationships, it's bad."

He would like to be as famous as the girl-pack of supermodels. "The press coverage is all in your own interest. I've got a clean past, so I'm all right. And I'd like to have their money. It's frustrating, sometimes, if you do the same job as a girl, work the same hours, and she gets a few grand more a day or whatever. If you do the same sort of job you should be paid the same." But he's realistic about the prospects of real superstardom. "It's a woman's business and it has been since the beginning."

Quite so. Hence, while images of Kate Moss take their place in the Victoria & Albert Museum's exhibition of Contemporary Fashion Photographs, which opens today, Paul Sculfor last week took his shirt off on the front page of the Mirror, and was then hosed down on the inside pages by a smirking female reporter.

But things are changing, according to Lonneke Broadribb, head of the men's division at Select. "In the past there was a huge discrepancy between the fees and profiles that male and female models could command. But in the past 10 years, men have become far more aware of how they are dressed, and the male model market has expanded. The gap is closing now, and the boys are commanding much higher rates - there are a number of guys who are filling the male supermodel role."

Aha. Who, exactly? "Werner Schreyer - he does the Hugo Boss ads. Jason Lewis. Ludovic, who does the Guess ads and the Gucci ads. Tony Bruce, who does Ralph Lauren. They all have character in their faces that really comes across, so they appeal to men and women. They are more like actors than just static models wearing the clothes." But will they ever really achieve the household-name status of their sisters-in-style? Up to now, only Swedish uber-hunk Marcus Schenkenberg has even come close. "I think a lot of them already have," insists Ms Broadribb. Hmm. Kate Moss can't eat out any more because of the stares of the crowds, but it's a fair bet that Jason Lewis can nibble his tuna carpaccio unhindered.

Annette Russell is the director of So Dam Tuff, which was founded as a male-model agency but now also deals with women. She believes the whole concept of the supermodel is outmoded. "The supermodels were a one-off - Linda, Naomi and Christy - created during the recession to give the public something glamorous to look at and ease the pain of what we had to live through. This continual creation of new 'supermodels' is media hype. I don't feel our industry is about 'supermodels'; it's about being able to work consistently and demand high fees. It's hard work, and it's professionalism that makes the money."

So, Paul Sculfor and his cohorts may make a mint, over time, but they are unlikely to achieve true star status. But should they care? They still have a couple of aces up their Armani sleeves. Male models with classic good looks can keep working almost indefinitely, unlike the girls who are old at 25. Annette Russell's stable ranges from 16-year-olds to 50- somethings. "A lot of men's attractions are to do with money and power," she explains. "They have to look as if they can afford the car or the clothes they are modelling."

And male models don't have to be unnaturally skinny. Russell says she does not take on men who are not "naturally the size and shape designers want" - in other words, husky and healthy, not etiolated and emaciated. Male models may not rise to the dizzy heights of the most pampered divas of the catwalk, or command the same astronomical fees. But a long shelf- life and the chance to eat chips now and again means they probably have the last laugh in the end.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine