There is much more to Rob Evans than what meets the eye, but when he walked into our studio in New York for the first time five years ago, what caught the eye was pure natural beauty. He had just begun his modeling career and following that meeting we knew he was destined for success, as beneath the striking good looks was a humble, honest, and compassionate young man from the U.K. His physique, however, was not exactly that of a traditional male high-fashion model, yet he remained determined to shatter that norm. Now 27, he’s found a nontraditional path to follow that’s led him to be the face of campaigns with brands like Calvin Klein, walk shows with labels such as Givenchy, and even appear as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. We have always rooted for Rob, and as he currently develops a career in the fitness industry, seeking to launch his own brand of fitness clothing and products, we continue to applaud his achievements. We recently caught up with Rob over Skype to discuss how a boy born in Belfast has become an international success.
Written by The BASTARD Child
Before you started modeling you were a competitive boxer, but what were you doing before you got into boxing?
Before boxing I was literally doing nothing other than running around the streets getting involved in things I shouldn’t be doing. It’s that classic story of being involved with the wrong crowd. I was 17 years old, lost in life, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do.
“When I woke up the next day I just remember sitting for hours looking at what I had: a small ass room with a bed, a sink, a mirror, no job, and from what had just happened, no real friends.”
Why did you start boxing?
It all began one night when a group of guys I was living with and I went to a house party. I got really drunk there, but we decided to take a cab to another party. Once we got into the cab the boys were like, “You’re not coming with us, you are too drunk.” They pushed me out of the cab and because I was drunk, like an ass, I fell back and banged my head on the pavement. They drove off and left me there. The police escorted me home in the early hours of the morning; I don’t even know how long I laid there. When I woke up the next day I just remember sitting for hours looking at what I had: a small ass room with a bed, a sink, a mirror, no job, and from what had just happened, no real friends. I remember telling myself, “You can’t keep living like this, it has to change. What happened to that kid who had all the dreams of becoming an athlete and being successful? If this is all you have to show for yourself then everyone who told you that you would never amount to anything will be proven right.” From that day my plan was to get my life back on track and to become fit and healthy again. I enrolled back into college and then went looking for gyms. The reason I ended up at the boxing gym was because it was the only gym I could afford. Since that first day I stepped into the boxing gym, my life became college then gym every single day. A year later I passed my college course and also become an undefeated British champion. In that same year, three of the boys I was with that night got sent to prison for five years. One of them is still in there now. I’m not saying I would have ended up in prison but that gym, Spit’n’Sawdust, was definitely a blessing. It changed my life.
So how did you go from being a boxer to becoming a model?
A photographer who was location hunting spotted me in my gym. He came up to me a said, “You should be a model,” which I found hilarious at the time. I was like, “Get the fuck outta here man, I’m a fighter.” He kept in touch with me via Facebook for, like, a year and a half, and I kept telling him, “No I don’t have any interest in it.” Then my trainer at the time passed away suddenly, which was hard on me because we were a team. Having a trainer is like having an agent; he helped mold my career, so without him everything slowed down. I eventually agreed to shoot with this photographer only if it was a boxing shoot. I basically went there to show off my medals and boxing outfits, not to do a modeling shoot. A week later he called me saying that Givenchy wanted me to walk for them in Paris tomorrow. I didn’t know what the fuck Givenchy was at the time, but since I had never traveled before, all I heard was a holiday in Paris. I got there the day of the show and nothing would fit me. They really wanted to put me in the show so they just put me in shorts and a necklace. After the show I couldn’t believe how I could get paid for something as easy as walking from one end of the room to the other. After that show an American agency, Major Models, asked if I wanted to come to New York City. I agreed. Soon after that I signed with Storm in London and it all started from there.
That was around the time we met you for the first time. Two years later, you became a judge on America’s Next Top Model. How did that come about and what was the experience like?
I was in Brazil at the time and my agency emailed me saying that ANTM was interested in having me as a judge. I replied back something like, “Cool let me know what happens.” Then they emailed me back saying they wanna Skype you, now. So I had a Skype interview with the whole ANTM team. My agency rang me like an hour later saying I got the job. I had to go to L.A. that next week to begin shooting. It all happened really quickly. Being on ANTM was the best experience I’ve ever had. It gave me the opportunity to let people know more about who I am because on TV you have a voice. One thing that used to frustrate me in the modeling industry was when people would stereotype me and make up their own perception based on a photograph. ANTM turned me into a brand.
“One thing that motivated me is the fact that I like helping people.”
Now, life has come full circle for you. You’re back in the gym personally training others to reach their body conscious goals. What motivated you to start this?
One thing that motivated me is the fact that I like helping people. When someone comes to me shy and with no confidence because they don’t feel good about themselves I help them change. I help them reach that body goal they are after and they become confident. When they are confident they are no longer shy because they feel good about themselves. (laughs) It’s a win-win for me because I get to help people by doing what I love—being active and being in a gym.
What else are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my own sports and fitness brand, and also acting. I just have to be patient with acting, because people still want to give me the stereotypical pretty-boy role because of modeling. I would rather do nothing than play that part.
One last question, what is one thing you wish more people knew about you?
How humble I am. I hate being treated differently than anyone else. I’ve seen the way some people who are in the same position as me act, sometimes like they are better then everyone else. I never want people to think that of me. I see it all as a blessing. The only time I would ever look down on someone is if I was helping him or her up.
Rob Evans is Being Accomplished at Selfless Tasks And Righteous Deeds by donating the proceeds raised from the sale of his fanzine to Greenhouse Sports, a London-based charity committed to using athletics to help young people living in the inner city realize their full potential. “I feel it’s important to give disadvantaged young kids with a lot of talent a start in life,” Rob says. “Sport is an outlet to put all that in energy into something productive that will help them in so many ways. The health benefits also improve their emotional well-being. The benefits you can achieve through sport are amazing. Look what it did for me.”