The modelling world is a female dominated industry, and nobody knows that better than male model and athlete Chris Noffke. Despite this, Noffke has starred in numerous international campaigns, TV commercials, and manages to light up every set with his offbeat humour and charismatic quality.
We caught up with the Queensland born model to discuss what it’s like working as a man in a female dominated industry, squashing male model misconceptions, and bringing to question the rumours of a female-leaning gender pay gap within the modelling world.
The Chic Edit: How do you make yourself stand out in an industry where male models are often used as accessories/props in female-centric photo shoots? (Example: Candice Swanepoel’s Givenchy Jeans ad.)
Chris Noffke: Lots of bench press, an obscene amount of sit-ups, and a big silly grin.
CE: Have you personally noticed a pay gap between you and your female model counterparts?
CN: I’d say there’s more potential for female models to be working more often than men. The monetary hourly rates that I earn are usually similar or the same as my female co-workers. It seems to me that because there are vastly more women’s fashion labels, female models usually can work more days than men.
And the girls get more sweet free stuff, like bikinis, which I think is unfair because last I looked I was babin’ in a two piece.
CE: On the upside, men seem to have more longevity in their modelling careers than females, with less value put on youth. Do you plan on pursuing modelling long term?
CN: Most certainly, it’s a really fun job and hopefully my growing number of grey hairs won’t scare the children.
CE: Did you actively pursue modelling as a career or did it find you?
CN: A friend of mine at a party suggested I go into the agency she was signed with to see if they would also sign me.
CE: Do your friends/family outside of the fashion industry support your career?
CN: They love to remind me to play safe when filling my tank at the petrol station. (Zoolander, anyone?)
CE: Does the stereotypical “mean girl” dynamic exist amongst male models?
CN: I find most of the people I work with are actually very kind and funny. Some of my best friends, I met at work.
CE: Do any other negative stereotypes/phenomena spill into your side of the industry? Eating disorders, sexual exploitation, etc.
CN: Sometimes I get treated like my IQ is very low, which maybe it is, but they shouldn’t assume. Finding ways to stay busy is important. Waiting by the phone for work that may take weeks or even months to come can be enough to drive anyone to re-watch Gossip Girl episodes.
CE: How has the industry affected your self esteem as a male, and what do you do to maintain it?
CN: I’m prone to taking myself too seriously, but failing at a couple of castings for roles that require even a small amount of acting skill is usually enough to bring me back to earth. I combat the blues by eating an obscene amount of dark chocolate…it’s like I’m on a full time male moon cycle.
CE: Who are your biggest inspirations, both male and female?
CN: Russell Brand, for his amazing ability to make fun of himself, and any woman that has given birth.
CE: What are your career goals for the future?
CN: I’d love to book that coveted “fragrance campaign” all we models dream about and I’d love to start my own landscaping business one day.
Photographer: Mr. Scott Lowe