Modeling and traveling is a tough job, but someone has to do it. We discovered Mark Ricketson, a Rhode Island-born Abercrombie & Fitch model, on our own rooftop in Santa Monica, California. This 26-year-old Leo is a former New York City resident and recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. But before you go thinking he’s just another pretty face seeking fame and fortune in Tinseltown, you should know that Ricketson’s desire to become a thespian is actually a test of inner strength and his own way of overcoming shyness. If all the world’s a stage, this player is one class act.
Three words Mark would use to describe himself: Random, fun, driven
Three words we would use to describe Mark: Sensitive, self-deprecating, goofy
Galavante: You were discovered in a rather unconventional way. Can you tell us more about how you became a model?
Mark: When I was 18, my sister sent my photo to Cosmopolitan magazine, and I became Rhode Island’s Hottest Bachelor. Don’t ask me how – the well must really have dried up that year. When the magazine was released, I went on a bunch of TV shows like Live with Regis and Kelly. From that experience I met a scout who snuck me into the grand opening of Abercrombie & Fitch on Fifth Avenue. So this shady scout ditches me when we get into the party, and I’m wandering around alone when [famous photographer] Bruce Weber spotted me and said he wanted to introduce me to a friend of his. That “friend” happened to be Ed Limato, a huge talent agent [Limato, of the William Morris Agency, died at the age of 73 in 2010]. Ed told me I had a great smile, asked if I was an actor. From there, everything was a blur; it happened so fast. That encounter led to a shoot for VMan and, eventually, a test shoot at Bruce’s house in Florida for A&F. God, I was so green back then.
Galavante: What is it like modeling for Abercrombie? Is there as much fraternizing as we suspect?
Mark: It’s really an experience like no other. Most jobs, you show up and you’re done that day or the day after. With Abercrombie, you show up for a week and it becomes like Survivor, where you get voted off the island. You have to keep your game up, because if they don’t like you, you go home. When it comes to fraternizing, Abercrombie actually promotes it. They want you to interact with each other and get comfortable with one another. It’s a big production. But yeah, a lot of the teens party. At 26, I’m now one of the “adults,” but I’ve always been a good boy. I’m the observer, not the troublemaker.
Galavante: Surely you’ve had some crazy experiences while traveling for work?
Mark: OK, that’s true. I was in St. Barth’s and ended up randomly partying with Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn. I was watching some new friends perform at La Plage, the restaurant at the Tom Beach Hotel, and saw Angie come in. Of course I knew who she was. I guess I was feeling bold because I walked over to the bar, ordered drinks, and then told her to wait for them, but not to pay for them, because I had to go to the bathroom. She thought I was funny, and we ended up hanging out together all night.
Galavante: Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn, huh? Sounds like you have a thing for other gorgeous people! Where have you seen the most beautiful people in the world?
Mark: New York City has a lot of imported pretty girls, but I think the women in Madrid are naturally beautiful. They don’t do much to make themselves look any better than they already are. Their beauty is fresh and organic.
Galavante: Speaking of beauty, what to you is the most beautiful place in the world?
Mark: Life doesn’t get much better than Lake Garda, Italy. If I could imagine heaven, that’s what it would look like. You can be there and forget that the whole world is happening around you. It’s virtually untouched by time. I stayed at the Lefay, and couldn’t have been happier.
Galavante: You’ve just recently moved to L.A. from NYC. Which do you prefer and why?
Mark: L.A. is new. The fact that you can go skiing and surfing in one day is pretty amazing. Everything is so different from New York City. I was in the city for five years and felt like I was living in a cage. Everything was too confining there. I’m much happier where I am, where I can be active in a wider space.
Galavante: Be honest: did you move to Hollywood to become an actor?
Mark: OK, OK, yes, I moved to become an actor – but not for the reasons you think. I have no interest in being a celebrity. The process of creating, of becoming someone else for awhile, is tremendously satisfying. I was shy growing up, and now I like testing myself and doing things I don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing. This is not something I ever imagined myself doing but something I can’t imagine not doing now. I know it’s going to be a ton of hard work – it already is – but it doesn’t feel like work because it’s something I really love.