When the very handsome Alex Mountain appeared in the infamous RED HOT calendar, his life was changed forever. Little did he know his stunning image would end up being seen around the world. As result, he was bombarded with messages from men and women from here to Timbucktoo who had fallen head over heels in love with him and his titian locks.
We caught up with the 26 year old from Surrey to talk about the highs and lows of the modelling world and what it was like to be part of such a phenomenon as photographer Thomas Knight’s RED HOT project.
You started out as a model. How did you get discovered?
I actually started by doing Prince Harry lookalike work! I worked in a pub and people used to say it to me a fair bit, so I got a friend to take some shots of me and I sent them off to an agency.
Did you ever think you had what it took to be a model?
In all honesty no, I always had the opinion that I wasn’t photogenic! I hated looking at myself in photos so I was kind of nervous about my friends ever seeing the shots.
Were you ever told that being a red head would hinder your chances or even make them better?
People always commented on my hair saying how unique it was so it was always a good thing in modelling. But having red hair gave people the opportunity to take the piss out of me growing up! But being ginger has been a massive bonus for modelling!!
When you first started, were you encouraged to beef up? Were you always so conscious about your physique?
I’ve always been conscious about how I look from an early age so I think I’ve always been in relatively good shape. But there is definitely a push from the industry to fall into certain categories of body shape so you do get pressure to look a certain way, be it self imposed or from a critique.
Is the life of a model a tough one? Did you have to deal with rejection a lot?
It’s definitely tough being a model as it’s purely based on looks, so it can put you in a very insecure place when you aren’t feeling your best! But I have been very lucky and got most of the castings I’ve gone for. But I have found that a lot of models are really insecure because their lively hood is based on something that is constantly changing so it can be really hard sometimes. I mean, I was once told that I had obviously enjoyed the mince pies over Christmas a bit too much, and that for me was like a smack in the face. Consequently I no longer eat mince pies….haha!
Are there many gay models on the circuit? Is ther any homophobia?
Most of my mates that are models are gay, although I have loads of straight mates that do it too. I’ve not come across any homophobia but that doesn’t mean when you are out the room it doesn’t happen.
Is the fashion, model lifestyle a debauched one?
Er, it can be a lot of fun….. Getting naked seems to be a common theme in my modelling so that leads to all sorts of ridiculous goings on! I once got dragged up on stage at a drag show contest and had to do a strip tease … Hilarious but seriously embarrassing. Also did a private celebrity party once and ended up getting up close and personal with a certain celebrity (who won’t be mentioned) Smiling face with smiling eyes.
Did you meet anyone along the way that used and abused you?
I’ve had a few people taking the piss over the years. I learnt ages ago not to take shit from people and lay down the law with such minded people. Age has helped because when I was younger I had all sorts of crazy stuff said to me that would help me progress. None of which would have helped. You should never compromise on what you feel is right.
You were one of the gorgeous models in Thomas Knight’s Red Hot. How did that change your life?
Someone once said to me that I looked like Greg Rutherford and was I in the Red Hot calendar. I had no idea what they were talking about so went online and saw what Thomas had been doing and thought I’d take a gamble and message him. I basically said ‘I hear you are missing a month in your calendar’ and sent him a shot of me. I got a reply back really quick just saying let’s book you in…. And it went from there! I love Thomas!
How did people react to you?
I got crazy reactions… It went out on social media and I got tons of messages from people all over the world which was so nice… A few of my mates rinsed me for it and took the piss but I’m really used that by now !
When they see you so naked do people take advantage?
You know what it is … Being naked gives people the opportunity to forget that you are also human and have feelings. If you bare all, people tend to think they have some sort of right or entitlement to judge you or comment on things that might actually be really self conscious about. It can also sometimes remove barriers that you would normally have between you and a room full of camera crew and complete strangers. Rather liberating actually… In all honesty I love being naked and as soon as I’m home my clothes come flying off so it really doesn’t bother me!
When you were modelling did you have a day job too?
Yes. I’m a personal trainer and Operations Manager for a barber shop franchise as well as a few other things in the pipeline !
Do the two careers ever clash?
Not really actually, my bosses are awesome and they are flexible with my work if there was ever cross over. It’s kinda hard sometimes to stay motivated doing long hours but I wouldn’t change it for anything…. Totally beats being in an office
You’re body is amazing – does it take a lot of work to maintain?
Thank you! I train about three to four times a week. I love callisthenics and sports so I’m always trying to nail better moves on the bars or progress in my abilities so it’s a constant struggle but a good struggle. I’ve been injured for most of this year so I’m finally back to my normal routine which is really motivating!
Whats your daily diet – how long do you spend in the gym?
My diet is gluten free which is a pain sometimes but actually helps me keep pretty healthy. I’m a massive believer of enjoy everything in life so I try not be too strict but I do eat clean meals. I don’t really eat fast food anymore, but I snack a lot so got to put that bag of toffee popcorn down more often! I miss so many things like kinde buenos, Jaffa cakes, katsu curry, the list goes on! But when I feel I’ve slacked off abit it’s easily turned around with being strict on certain things and making sure I’m hitting the gym hard !
Probably the core because it allows you to be stronger in everything you do. My other favourite body part would have to be my ……
Cheeky! What kind of guys do you go for?
The usual guy I would go for would be older than me… Age isn’t important to me but I tend to find that what I find attractive in men usually… Not always … But usually comes with abit of life experience! I like guys to be confident within themselves. Fit and healthy are a plus but my main attraction is always the person inside, integrity honesty and drive are more attractive than abs in my opinion. But initial physical attractions are, broad frame, big arms, captivating smile and a cheeky/naughty glint in their eye !
Do you like guys to be fit? Or do you get bored of muscles?
Having a healthy mindset is a massive turn on for me, being conscious of what a guy does with his life has always been a focus for me, so having a nice body often represents that. But it can change a guy from being humble to arrogant really quick so there’s a fine line.
Do you get a lot of guys trying it on just because youre good looking?
Umm…. Thank you …. It’s always nice to know other people find you attractive! I do sometimes feel that certain people have other motives when talking to me but I’m a bit of a flirt with everyone so I give it out too !
Were you a heartthrob at school?
I’m not sure really, I was a bit naughty at school so I probably got attention for the wrong things, but my hair colour I always felt made me stand out, plus being gay when everyone thinks your straight means you don’t go chasing girls which apparently draws them to you …. Who would have known?
When did you realise you were gay, was it an easy coming out process?
I knew when I was about 13 I reckon, but I didn’t come out until I was 18 and I had left school. I went traveling with a bunch of mates and felt it was the right time to tell them slowly. I only had one bad reaction ever so I’m seriously lucky. My family were incredibly normal about it and I wouldn’t even say that anyone even had to be ‘supportive’ of me as it wasn’t a big deal and was never an issue for me. They always said they would love me for who I am no matter what so I took that literally and they meant it literally! All my mates where super chilled about it and it was just a massive learning curve for me and them. Understanding that I’m not all of a sudden going to change into a different person and answering the ridiculous and hilarious questions that followed was in itself one of the best things I go through still to this day !
You’re what they would call pretty ‘straight acting’ – does that make it hard to meet guys?
It’s difficult to answer that because I don’t see myself as anything but a man and I am who I am. I’ve always been this way so I can’t imagine myself being any other way. I’m attracted to men that are men but just because you look a certain way doesn’t always mean you will act accordingly. It does sometimes mean that you end up being physically attracted to someone but not mentally and vice versa and in the gay world. If you don’t live in London, you life revolves around dating apps and we all know how disappointing and unfulfilling that can be at times!
Is there a shelf life for modelling?
Yes, most definitely, not because people get worse looking with age – I actually think that people get more attractive with age – but most male models don;t end up enough to earn a good living. I’m lucky as it’s more a hobby and I’m lucky with the work I do get as it’s taken me to some awesome places and I’ve met some incredible people along the way! But I like to think that people should only do something if it makes them happy so keep going until that goes!
Well I have big plans for the company Hair For Men. We are expanding our Training Academy, which won Barber academy of the year 2015, and opening more shops in London and throughout the UK ! We have just launched our premium hair product range in time for Christmas so that’s super exciting as I will be directly targeted on the success of it! I also have another project on the side that has been a massive passion of mine for years. I won’t be revealing it anytime soon but what I can say is that is going to be an accumulation of years of hard work and input from some of the brilliant minds and industry leaders that I’m reaching out to.
Check out hairformenbarbers.co.uk for more details about Hair For Men products
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