When Bravos Manhunt premiered back in October, there were three openly gay contestants vying for a $100,000 modeling contract with IMG, a leading agency. Within a few weeks, however, the number was reduced to two. But week after week, out model-in-training Rob Williams held on, ending up one of the final two in the heated (and sometimes steamy) competition. In the shows finale, it was jungle boy Jon (who earned the nickname because of his Tarzan-like look) who took first prize, but it was the outgoing, intelligent, and (of course) sexy Rob that won out hearts.
Sorry you didnt win.
I knew that Jon was going to win. I just had a feeling. But I was excited to be second.
When Jon said he was leaving because he didnt want to do the nude photo shoot, I wish you had just pushed him out the door. Any regrets?
Not at all. I didnt want to win because he didnt do something. People would always say, Jon was robbed of winning just because he didnt want to do the nude shoot. I wanted it to be a fair game, and I think it was. Im fine with how it turned out. The show has been really great for me. Being second is better than being last.
You seemed very comfortable being naked. Whats that about?
I knew they were going to think the nude photo shoot wasnt going to be my strongest competition, but I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted the confidence to show through in the pictures. I knew it wasnt going to be full-frontal nude. If it was, I would have been very uncomfortable. But it was going to be on televisionhow much could they show?
Good point. So you dont always run around naked?
I do run around naked sometimes. It doesnt bother me to be naked.
Our readers will be happy to know that. You did have the best line of the series last night when, after the naked photo shoot, you collapsed and said to Jon, Nudity really makes me tired.
[Laughs] Thank you.
OK, were you really surprised that Kevin was the mole?
I was surprised. Its weird when someone tells you something like that. You think of all the things you said to that person and all the things you have done together that you could have gotten into trouble for. You wonder when he was looking at you as a friend and when he was looking at you as a judge. But thankfully he was always really nice about me!
Have people from your past been coming out of the woodwork since the show started?
Not really. Maybe they will now that youve asked the question. The thing thats been great about the show is all the friends that I have who I dont speak to regularly, they have called and given me their support. And especially those people who didnt know I was gay before they saw me on the showpeople I havent spoken to in a few years. They called and said they love me and support me. The show was great in that regardit was an easy way to make sure everyone knows!
You mentioned in your bio that you didnt know how well your frat brothers from Texas A&M would deal with your being gay. Did they know before the show aired?
Some of them knew before. My good friends knew. But a lot of them didnt. I was home over the Thanksgiving holidays and got nothing but support. Yeah, we watch the show! I think the people who would think something negative would just not talk to me at all.
How have gay people reacted to the show?
Im so grateful for all the positive support Ive gotten from the gay community. When I started, people told me the reaction was going to be very negative or very positive. Everything has been positive. Im really thankful for that.
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
One of the stewardesses on the airline that I flew back to Dallas on was obsessed with the show and was freaking out. People in L.A. dont care about seeing someone from a reality show. Theyre pumping gas or waiting tables at your restaurant. The stewardess made such a big deal about it, it made me a little uncomfortable, but she was really sweet. She had a magazine I was in and asked me to sign it for her daughter. That was kind of surreal.
And you have some other things going on too, right?
I have a suit line I designed coming out late spring called Grandpa Goes to London. My business partner, Peter Max-Muller, was the stylist for ManhuntI met him on the show and we hit it off. Its similar to Dries Van Noten, but its going to be affordable so people dont have to spend $2,000 to get a nice suit.
Have you done any shoots yet?
I shot with Bruce Weber for the new Abercrombie magazine thats coming out in a few weeks. Hopefully, I dont get cut outthats always a possibility. I was so excited to shoot with Bruce Weberhes such a gentleman. I got to know him a little bit. Hes such a legend. We did the shoot in Santa Barbara. It was five of the guys from the show. It was amazing to see how he works. He notices every little thing.
Are you still attending Pepperdine?
I am a student at Pepperdine, but I am not enrolled this semester. IMG has offered me a contract, so Im going to New York this weekend, and Ill probably be there for six months or so this spring. Ill give it a shot. If it doesnt work out, I will have tried.