Look Test feat. Garrett Zebley

“I never really thought this would be a path I would take. I am quiet and slightly introverted. That’s why most of my closest friends, especially my family never imagined I would be in such an ‘exposed’ field,” 25-year-old Mexican-American male model Garrett Armando Zebley shares when asked about his life under the klieg lights and photographers’ lens.

“I used to live here from 2012 to 2015. I lived here because I had friends here and I came back to visit them. I found a way to stay here. Then eventually, I found a girl and she got me into modeling. And that’s basically a way I found to sustain myself here,” Zebley notes on his move to the Philippines.

Trench coat, Avel Bacudio. Inner shirt, Bershka. Pants, Bench.

Before it all, Zebley has been working at the American embassy in Mexico City prior to transitioning into a life in the spotlight. But he was largely inclined in fitness and weight training that pushed him to have some expertise in the field—not to mention gave him the form and the chiseled physique that opened doors for him in modeling.

Heavily influenced by his fitness inspiration, Henry Cavill, Zebley spent countless of hours in the gym to perfect his physique. But when he stepped into the world of modeling, he knew some sacrifices have to be made. “I had to trim my body to a much smaller size than I want to be. I’m really into fitness and I want to be at a certain size. I used to be 20-30 pounds heavier than what I am now. But I knew that for me to land on jobs as a model, I have to look the part—I have to fit in the clothes.”

Denim jacket, Bench. Neoprene jogger pants, Avel Bacudio.

What was your very first modeling job and how do you think you fared?

My first go-see was for Bench Universe. A go-see for that felt like a lot to take in. You go in this huge ballroom, you’re in your underwear being judged by the top names in the industry, it was extremely nerve-wracking. But then, somehow, you get comfortable in it knowing that everyone else is going through the same thing. It turns into something fun. A cool experience.

Underwear, Bench Body.

Would you say this is your most memorable modeling experience?

It was definitely my favorite show and one of the most surreal experiences I have eve had. It was in a big venue of I think 5000 people. The energy is amazing. We were told to keep a straight face but everybody is cheering you on. So, the tendency is that you’ll smile and laugh at times. It was a different kind of high.

From a life in obscurity to modeling for a living, what has changed in your perspective as a professional?

To be honest, I thought of modeling as a pretentious industry. It felt very materialistic. I still think it has those qualities but now that I have grown in this field and I have matured in many ways, it’s to a lesser extent. It definitely is not pretentious. I can say now that my opinion of modeling has obviously changed.

You’ve mentioned there was a time you’ve went into a hiatus of sorts. Tell us more about that.

When I was first entered the industry, I never really taken it seriously. I just did it for the money—to sustain me—but it never felt like something that I would do for a long time. And so, I wanted to take a break and I traveled with my girlfriend to show her my side of the world. I also worked for a little bit then gained my trainer’s certification.

But now, I went back here and I felt like I have a renewed sense of respect to modeling. When I look back at all opportunities I let pass and neglected I felt like there are so many things that I could have done. I never maximized my opportunities.

Overcoat, Avel Bacudio. Leather pants, Don Sevilla III.

What for you is the best part of being a model?

Best part of being a model is the ability to travel. And some of the jobs you get are really weird but if you think about it, they’re really cool. Most importantly, you get to meet a lot of people.

The worst?

There are ugly sides to modeling that have been perpetuated and it is sad to say that those are true. There’s a lot of perversion in the modeling industry. A lot of situations that I felt uncomfortable. And a lot of it happens outside of jobs. But you learn though. You definitely catch on. You somehow develop the ability to know who to trust. You get perspective that a lot of people have ulterior motives so, the sooner you go about knowing that, makes things a lot easier.

Jacket, Folded & Hung. Underwear, Bench Body.

What’s your dream job as a model?

To be on the cover of Men’s Fitness or Men’s Health magazine.

Underwear, Bench Body

Produced and styled by Leo Balante

Photography by Jan Mayo

Grooming by Elle Lubigan

Video by John Cydric Rufino at The One Raw