UNB Model Profile featuring Topher La Fleur
The Underwear News Briefs model profiles continue as Topher La Fleur sits down with us and shares some of his portfolio and personality.
UNBKyle: What was your first modeling gig and how did you come to get it?
Topher: The first show I ever walked in was Mona Lucero F/W 2010. It was a very fun experience, partly because Mona is such an original and creative designer. Working for someone with a vision is always satisfying, and Mona is full of creative vision. Truthfully I can’t remember how I landed that show. I’m sure the friend of a friend told someone to tell me to meet Mona, but all of that is history now.
Kyle: What made you want to pursue modeling?
Topher: I’m a very naturally outgoing person. I’ve always had a flair for excitement and high drama. In adulthood, that tendency sort of evolved with my body. I’ve always pursued a physically strong body, and modeling became an excellent venue for me. I get to share my passions with enthusiasts all over the world now.
Kyle: Which shoot do you consider your breakthrough in your career?
Topher: Ironically, it wasn’t actually a “shoot” but rather, “The selfie heard ’round the world.” I entered a selfie contest hosted by XVII Underwear in Houston and won that competition. The timing was nearly perfect, as I had recently achieved one of my fitness goals (weighing in at more than 200lbs). My friends and I still laugh about that particular selfie, but it helped me make my name and I don’t make a habit of regretting anything.
Topher: I am very grateful to Out Front Magazine in Denver, who I actually work for now. They covered a lot of my progress with the competition in 2014, and that summer I was invited to be their August cover model. It was quite exciting. Jay Diers (the photographer) and I went up to a very popular tourist attraction in Denver called Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It’s a really striking natural environment–very dramatic red rocks and scrub oak against an expansive blue sky. Of course, there are lots of people in the park as well. In that setting, I stripped down to my tiny briefs and we got to work. The entire time people were passing by in cars. Mothers were admonishing their children. It was a riot.
Kyle: Sounds like it! Which shoot has been your most challenging? Why?
Topher: I spent a week filming with some very lovely drag queens from Los Angeles, but it was a very rigorous environment. The only things to eat on set were M&M’s, pizza, and energy drinks, which isn’t my normal on-season diet (by any measure). It was also unseasonably wet and cold that week, and we had spent hours and hours in these very, very small jockstraps. There were four of us models on set, all running amuck in our jockstraps, and I think by the end of the week we were all sick and very tired. That said, it was worth it to work with such an excellent calibre of people, and to experience the film world. It’s a very rigorous world–you’ll film for five or ten minutes and then everyone has to change their outfits and set the scene for two hours. I found new respect for actors and actresses. There also isn’t much to do on set. I think the next time I film I’ll bring a good novel to read.
You can watch the antics here.
Kyle: Yes, that does not sound like the typical diet. Are there any brands or photographers you would like to work with that you have not worked with yet?
Topher: I’ve had the good fortune of working for brands large and small, but in 2015 I’m hoping to travel much more and make many more connections than last year. Alick Alexander in the UK has caught my eye, as well as Good Men Wear in Tokyo. Both brands are very fun and playful, kind of naughty in an innocent sort of way. I’m also quite into the aggressive sports imagery of Papi and Timoteo. To work for their outfits would be a dream. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into fitness this year and I think that the imagery we’ll get back in 2015 will reflect that. I’m still beefing up for the upcoming season and I’ve surprised myself a lot along the way.
Kyle: What is something that your fans don’t know about you outside of modeling that you want them to know?
Topher: I think everyone should know that models and bodybuilders are highly intelligent people. The science of fitness and dieting is very difficult. Many people are also quite surprised by my approachability, but I think the perception of the media is that models and athletes, entertainers of any kind really, are unapproachable. That’s simply not true. Some of the nicest people I’ve met are other models and entertainers.
I think it’s also very important to realize that my ambition has taken me this far in the world, but I could never have undertaken this journey alone. An army of people assist me day-to-day, more so on-season than off. I have a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a sports masseuse, cosmetic dentist, dermatologist, several stylists and brand sponsors who keep me looking on-point, and dozens of small-business owners who sponsor my adventures. Of course, my partner is also my personal trainer, and whenever I have a question about the science of a move or a meal, we dig in and do the research together. From start to finish it literally takes a village of people to get this show on the road.
Kyle: It’s good to give thanks to those who have helped you brand yourself. What kind of diet and exercise do you do to prepare for shoots?
Topher: There’s a lot to know about fitness and nutrition, and how to harness both to look your best. For the sake of brevity, I don’t think I can go into very much detail. That said, I’m highly interested in the science of again. I eat to look good, but I’m also equally interested in living forever and ever. I’d say my nutrition supports that goal. We supplement quite religiously in my house, both for performance and physique. On-season, I rarely eat before a photoshoot. The night before you’ll see me scarfing carb-heavy meals, but the day of, I’m very conservative. It’s usually lemon water or nothing, which is one reason I almost always book in the morning or early afternoon. By the end of a long day all I want is a pizza and a cocktail. Which reminds me, I don’t usually drink on season. I’m very restrictive with any sugar on-season, but especially liquor. Off-season, I’m on the see-food diet. If I have spotted it, and it is smaller than a washing machine, it’s likely going in my mouth. Finally, I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for nearly 13 years. That aspect confounds a lot of people, but I don’t get hung up on it very often. People ask me (with ridiculous frequency), “Where does your protein come from?” I usually have to explain to them that I enjoy more protein in a day than many people enjoy in a week.
Check out more of Topher La Fleur below.
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