Monday, June 10, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Tony Ward

Generally speaking, Inoubliable Model Army's focus tends to be trained primarily on female models however when the opportunity arose to interview the iconic Tony Ward, I buckled. Ward, who celebrates his 50th birthday today, has been a modelling stalwart for over three decades. Discovered at age 18 by a model scout while attending West Valley College in Saratoga, Ward has traversed the worlds of high fashion, film, and popular art culture with the relative ease of a true showman. Ward's illustrious resumé includes lens time spent with Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Steven Klein, Greg Gorman, Terry Richardson, and Steven Meisel, landing him within the pages of Paris Vogue, GQ, Antidote, V, i-D, Russh, 10 Men, Vogue Hommes International, and Madonna's infamous Sex Book. As modelling trends throughout the new millennium veered towards a leaner, slighter male silhouette where male models almost outshone their female counterparts in the prettiness stakes, it was Ward's rugged masculine looks and his devil may care persona, along with his magnificent Roman nose which continued to command the industry's attention. Ward's face and body have graced numerous magazine covers and campaigns for Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, Chanel, Desigual, Diesel, and H&M. Speaking exclusively with Inoubliable Model Army, Ward candidly shares his personal experiences and unique insights into the modelling industry. 

Tony Ward
Faces Magazine - March 2011
Photographer - Steven Schacher
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Inoubliable Model Army (IMA): Hi Tony, thank you for being Inoubliable Model Army's first male model interviewee. Following more than 3 decades in the modelling biz, what motivates you to keep turning it on in front of the camera's lens?
TW: It's an honour, thank you very mucho. Aahh... phew... God knows because I surely don't... Fatalist self-absorption perhaps and the fact that I have to feed the children! Oh and I enjoy the travel, living in hotels in interesting places in different parts of the world. I also get to meet other lively minds. Having a record of my passing years is also a benefit of doing this. Also, I love helping to keep the old marble rolling along.

IMA: Your modelling career has included lens time with Herb Ritts for Calvin Klein, Steven Meisel for Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Steven Klein for L'Uomo Vogue, Mario Testino for D&G, Hans Feurer for GQ, Madonna for her infamous SEX book, David LaChapelle for Pierre et Gilles, and Terry Richardson for Paris Vogue! Looking back on your career trajectory, are there any particular achievements that have proven to be definitive personal highlights?
TW: All of the above, and all the rest!!! I am very fortunate that I've gotten to work with great talent and visionaries in their own right. I believe a photograph is a time stopping and saving miracle. I'm lucky that a few felt I was worthy of saving!

IMA: How were you initially discovered and was the road to modelling fame an easy one for you? At what point did you reach realise that you had made it?
TW: I was discovered by a pack of frothing wolves who raised me as their own (I'm still savage and still frothing by the way!). The road was easy because I had no idea that I was on a road just a techno-coloured acid trip full of hotties, grabbing hands, costumes, flashing lights all the while metallic snapping and clicking sounds reverberating in my ears. When I got me Ferrari... haha

Photographer - Nelson Somineau
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GQ Style Italia - F/W 2011
Photographer - Johan Sandberg
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Schon - S/S 2013
Photographer - Paul Scala
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IMA: Having posed with many of the world's most beautiful and famous women including Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Natasha Poly, Edita Vilkevicuite, Alessandra Ambrosio, Bambi Northwood-Blyth, and of course Madonna, if you had to name your top three favourite modelling muses, who would they be and why?
TW: Christy Turlington, she has the finest face of them all, Linda Evangelista I used to call her (to myself) the ultimate perfect fake actress. I believe she is hand on heart, the best model ever! And of course Madonna, brave little monster. I really love controlling women and she's the queen of control town!

IMA: The modelling industry is for the most part a woman's world, so for a male model to achieve long term success and iconic status is rare. What do you feel have been the contributing factors to your success, longevity, and enduring appeal?
TW: Because I'm great at what I do and if you didn't know before, you sure do now! It took me a while but I eventually realised that modelling was my full-time career; that was kind of shocking to me. In all honesty, I was quite embarrassed to tell anyone that I was a model. Unlike today it was not cool to be a model back when I started and actually to me it was very uncool. There was a lot of stigma attached to being a model... i.e. models being vacant, stupid pretty objects. I didn't want to be seen that way so I avoided ever mentioning it she I was away from that little world of fashion. I preferred to be away from it as much as possible. Longevity?!... I have no idea why the enduring appeal? I have a great attitude?!

IMA: Your body of work includes cover appearances for Russh Magazine, Schon, 10 Men, Faces, IO Donna, Slurp, Tetu, and Homme Style. Yet in an interview with the Contributing Editor, you are quoted as describing your face as "the ugliest thing in the world". What is your definition of beauty and have you reached a state of acceptance of your own degree of physical allure?
TW: Children are beautiful, before they learn all of the piss and vinegar of the world. I don't get the physical allure thing, the comprehension of it all kinda evades me, you know, I never get the signals when someone finds me attractive. And strangely, when I'm feeling I am kinda hot and sexy, no one os ever around or responds to how I am feeling about myself in my head!! But when I actually think about myself, I'm just a fat goofy oaf!

Tony Ward & Ieva Laguna
Russh Magazine - June 2010
Photographer - Will Davidson
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Fashionisto - Issue 4
Photographer - S/S 2012
Photographer - Paul Scala
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10 Men - Issue 23
Photographer - Richard Burbridge
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IMA: Many of your images are sexually charged with brazen displays of nudity, and hint perhaps at a certain degree of sexual ambiguity. What have been the motivating factors for this approach to your modelling repertoire, and have you always felt at ease with the human form in its natural state?
TW: When I was approached to become a model (actually I was promised to become a STAR... it was still that time) I was told to take my clothes off for pictures. I was shocked that anyone would want to photograph me at all and I worked very hard to build up my body so I guess I thought what the heck at least I'll have pictures of what I created if nothing else. I actually REALLY hated being photographed... there are very few pictures from my childhood because of this. And I never sent any message of sexual ambiguity; I was just a naked young man. The viewer always imbues his/her own feelings, thoughts, and wishes to images... that's the beauty of photography as art!

IMA: Body art on models nowadays is common with Julia Nobis, Freja Beha, Catherine McNeil, and Carolyn Murphy all being photographed with their tattoos as a key focal point. When did you acquire your first tattoo, do you have any personal favourites, and how many do you have currently on display?
TW: I was 24 and was consciously destroying the physical being I had created and that all took for granted and thought was great. There are tattoos dedicated to my kids. I have over thirty tattoos, I really value them all cuz they are recordings. I'm planning my next one right now.

Antidote - November 2012
Photographer - Txema Yeste
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Natasha Poly & Tony Ward
Paris Vogue - February 2013
Photographer - Terry Richardson
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Homme Style Magazine - Issue 5
Photographer - Petrovsky & Ramone
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"This Bullshit will hurt more or less"
Artists - Tony Ward & Daniel Louis Rivas
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IMA: You wear many hats as a keen artist, photographer, actors, and designer of you own fashion label called "Six in the Face." How did the name for your fashion brand come about and how involved are you in the overall creative process?
TW: Well... it is now a defunct label... it actually ended up being one of a kind works of clothing art... I needed a backer for the brand to get it really going the right way. It was all destroyed clothing that I "Frankensteined" back together. Artistically... the pieces are actually fantastic... I thought I was making viable clothing but really they were impossible to replicate... there was such a massive degree of layering and intricate work on the t-shirts and hoodies that all people denied me cuz it could not possibly have been mass produced in an affordable manner... soooo they sit in their storage until I someday show them as ART.

IMA: You also recently mounted an exhibition of artwork from a collaboration with fellow artist Daniel Louis Rivas held at Eva New York on the Bowery, with many of the limited edition pieces made available through your website Where does the inspiration for these collaborative works come from and are you currently working on any new art projects?
TW: Collaborating as an artist is wonderful and very challenging... the fire, confusion, and figuring it out is what makes it great for me. The actual working on the art is the best and the finish is like a great O-gasm then you're tired and spacey and on to the next O! Yes, I am in the beginning stage of working with another great artist... Gianluca Miniaci of Milano... this could become very exciting!!!

IMA: What have been the most valuable life lessons that you have gained as a result of your exposure to the modelling world?
TW: Don't ever think you're too cool to use the right skin products and never give up... oh and get paid!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?

Photographer - Herb Ritts
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Tony Ward & Bambi Northwood-Blyth
Photographer - Kristian Schuller
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Tony Ward & Edita Vilkevicuite
H&M Campaign - November 2011
Photographer - Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin
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Tyson Ballou, Eva Herzigova, Tony Ward, Claudia Schiffer,
Naomi Campbell & Noah Mills
D&G Fragrance - F/W 2010
Photographer - Mario Testino
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Noah Mills, Tony Ward & Sam Webb
Dolce & Gabbana - S/S 2011
Photographer - Steven Klein
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Special thanks to Alex Shah at Premier Model Management. For more information on Premier Models, please log onto

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING interview. I have loved and admired this mans work for many,many years.