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  • Backstage at Rick Owens S/S15. Photo by Ash Kingston  
  • Walking the Rick Owens Spring-Summer 2015 show in Paris. Photo from Style.com  
  • Part of "Superkitsch" series. Photo by Regine David.  
  • Photo by DashaDare NYC    

07/14/14 Ryan James Smith on Walking for Rick Owens S/S 2015

What better a breakthrough for a model and budding designer than to walk into the world of Rick Owens? Recently, NOUSmaker Regine David told us that her friend from the Savannah College of Art & Design, Ryan James Smith, had booked the Spring-Summer ’15 show for the visionary designer.

As an intern for young designer Karolyn Pho and one of ADAM Models’s unique faces, Smith has enjoyed a bifocal perspective on fashion.

Returning from Paris after walking for the collection entitled “Faun,” what Owens named after a scandalous Nijinsky ballet depicting a faun masturbating on the scarf of the nymph he longs for, Smith talked to NOUS about growing up an oddity in Florida to stomping gloriously down the runway in the City of Lights.

Hey, Ryan. Can you tell us how you wound up landing the Owens show? 

I was at my internship and got a call from my agency to come in on my lunch break. They took a video of me walking, it was sent out, I was direct booked for the SS15 show and I flew to Paris the next day! It all happened really quickly. It was my first show and my first time in Paris, it’s definitely an experience I won’t forget. It was hard to keep my cool when I met Rick Owens and walked for him during my fitting.

I’m still so new so at this point, every job is a highlight. Each shoot or job helps me build my confidence in front of the camera. So far, New York has been good to me, so no complaints.

Where are you from originally and what do you miss about it? 

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. I miss my family and friends there, but they’re all supportive of my adventures elsewhere.

Hold down any odd jobs? 

I worked two years, seasonally, for Universal Orlando as an actor for their annual event, Halloween Horror Nights, so my job was to scare the shit out of people! I’ve always loved Halloween.

What got you to pursue modeling? Any models instrumental in pushing you to own your look? 

I grew up hearing from people that there was something wrong with the way that I looked. Hearing things like ‘You’re too skinny, are you sick?’ or “Boys aren’t supposed to look like that” aren’t the biggest confidence boosters. I was bullied throughout grade school, and it wasn’t until I started making art that I found my group of solid friends. Since I’ve started modeling, I have learned to embrace myself and my physical appearance. I think models like Shaun Ross, Andrej Pejic, or anyone that breaks the conventional standard of beauty have opened up people’s minds a little.

Juggling modeling jobs and interning at Karolyn Pho, what’s the big picture in regards to your career? 

I wish I had the answer to this question. I’ve been enjoying taking opportunities as they present themselves. I think with one year left in school, new opportunities will shape my path. Working with Karolyn Pho has been awesome. We get along so well and she treats me as an integral part of her team.