You've seen the poster. You've watched the ad. You've probably eyed him with lust/envy. You're thinking: who is that model? If the name Adam Senn doesn't ring any bells, it soon will: he is the face of Dolce & Gabbana's new men's perfume, The One Sport.
In 2007, Dolce & Gabbana took a chance on a nobody called David Gandy and cast him as the face of their Light Blue fragrance. Not since Daniel Craig wafted out of the azures in his La Perlas has a pair of shorts (Gandy wore very snug white trunks) had such star-making power. In The One Sport campaign, Senn is wearing nothing but grey flannel shorts. Things look promising.
Then again, Senn, who was born in Paris and raised in Texas, isn't a nobody: he's a veteran of the business at the ripe old age of 27, having started out when he was 18. He starred in Gucci's controversial campaign which featured a model sporting a pre- TOWIE vajazzle of sorts: a "G" shaved into pubic hair. He has walked for Versace, Valentino, and Dolce & Gabbana, for whom he has been modelling for five years. "They're one of the hardest working designers I've seen," he says of the duo. "They complement each other, and they are really hands on. I knew that if I had to represent their brand, I'd have to really try and take it to the next level."
Translated: as the headline act of a sports fragrance, he had to do time and punishment in the gym. Zoolander parodied male models as a bunch of preening Himbos - and any film which advocates orange mocha frappuccino as medicine for the blues, I'm inclined to believe - but Senn insists he's the anti-Derek Zoolander. "I'm very low maintenance, I don't blow-dry, I don't use a comb," he says, although his hair is slicked in the neatest side-parting this side of George Clooney when we meet.
Attempting the Raised Eyebrow with Adam Senn
He concedes, though, there is that side of the industry. "I remember going to a Coca Cola casting and these guys were getting their push-ups in, as much as they could off the picnic table. It was a little off-putting and embarrassing. I left the casting just because it was so awkward.
"I've turned down someone asking me to get nude and get a helmet in front of me. I'm sorry, but I have morals, just like anyone else." Saying that, he did get his bum out for a Gucci underwear ad in 2003, so he can't be that shy.
Thankfully for him, he didn't have to drop kecks for The One Sport, where he's portrayed, shorts on, as a "modern-day gladiator" (a pompous way of saying "sportsman"). Shot in a swords-and-sandals amphitheatre in Tarragona, Spain - "I referred to Russell Crowe in Gladiator [for inspiration]; how could you not in a place like that?" - the campaign chimes with Senn's sporty background. "I was raised on a golf course (he has a handicap of two) , and have been playing sports my whole life. I played soccer for nine years, I've played [American] football, baseball…you name it, I've played it."
He shot the campaign with photographer Mariano Vivanco, a long-time Dolce & Gabbana collaborator, and has worked with Steven Klein - "He's a great friend of mine. I go to his farm, we ride horses, my dogs play with his dogs" - Steven Meisel, and Mario Testino. "Testino was one of the first photographers I met, and I didn't quite understand him. I was 18, and didn't have a strong understanding of what I was doing - but he did. He knew what was there and how to get it out of me, just in facial expressions."
How many facial expressions does he have now, I ask. "A lot!" he laughs. "I'm a big fan of Ernest (film character from the Eighties played by Jim Varney). He's a man of a hundred different facial expressions. I remember having a sheet of paper of hundreds of different facial expressions from Ernest Goes To Hawaii . I've got a lot of expressions in my bag." What's his signature? "It's probably the Raised Eyebrow," he says, and proceeds to demonstrate. So there is a little bit of Zoolander in him, after all.
'The One Sport', by Dolce & Gabbana, from £32 for 30ml, available nationwide
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