Models inundate the neighborhoods of Manhattan every day for castings, photo shoots, fashion weeks, agency meetings. Not many of them are here for long, though, before jet setting back to Russia, Brazil, Australia, or wherever ever else mass-produces beautiful humans. I never thought of international models as real New Yorkers for this reason – just good looking, nomadic seasonal ornaments.
I covered the C-in2 underwear Grip campaign shot by Rick Day for The Underwear Expert; that’s where I met Daniel Garofali. We spoke briefly (as he stood in his underwear) about how he had just moved to New York from Australia—he was ecstatic about it. It was then I realized that all those models I considered tourists could very well love New York just as much we all do; that they, too, have dreams of living here and making New York their home.
It was this interaction that sparked an idea to strip Daniel down to his most beautiful human form, in his new home: New York. Visual artist and filmmaker Blake Martin and I met with Daniel on multiple occasions to discuss his passion for the city, his reasons for moving here, and its weaknesses, among other things. We then followed him around the city on a casual Friday snapping pictures and taking video of him in his favorite off-the-grid places. The following photos, videos and quotes are from that day, when Daniel Garofali showed us his New York -- not as model, but as human.
You know there’s this stigma that comes with people that move to New York and stay there that, you know, they've "made it." I haven't been kicked to the curb or moved back to Sydney, you know, and packed my bags and everything. I guess in that sense yeah, I'm alive in New York -- I'm making it.
You hear so many people talk about New York as a personified city. It’s a “she,” and they talk about “her,” you know? I really like that and I totally agree with that now that I’ve lived here, I guess a year and three months or so.
There are so many people here, and it's cut throat, it can knock you down. I guess it can be a lonely city as well.
You learn not to take rejection personally, but you're still hearing it and your mind still translates that. Even though you might not think that's affecting you, you can't help but let it. But people in the industry last because they can handle the rejection. You have to take the good with the bad. If you can't, you don't last.
I’ve never been one to worry too much about what I do or what I eat in terms of like, keeping the body or getting the body. I’ve been lucky like that, I guess. You know, I started as a dancer and I’ve always been active, so when people write to me and ask me, “What do I do at the gym and what do I and don’t I eat?” I kind of don’t really want to answer because it kind of comes genetically and naturally. I’m totally grateful.
Modeling: it's not as glamorous; it's definitely not what you think it's like. Whatever that means.
I find that the more I work in the industry the bigger an issue I have with meeting people in terms of the heavy expectation that an underwear model looks a certain way, acts a certain way. I have this thing where sometimes I feel like I don't live up to that and it kind of freaks me out.
I feel like I’m always on the go and I go to the Christopher Street Pier and everything just stops. It’s just me and the music and the grass.
My dad used to own a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He would describe it as a way to just forget about everything--all the stress and everything of work and what not. I relate to that in a sense. My skateboard is my Harley Davidson.
Do I think I'll be living here five years from now? I'll definitely be here. At the moment, I'm based here, I live here and it's my home. In five years I would expect to be more bi-coastal, but I don't want to leave the city. I'm not finished with New York.
She's definitely a tough city, but one you love to hate and hate to love.
Get up close and personal with Daniel in this romantic video series shot for The Underwear Expert by Blake Martin.
Daniel Garofali skates through the Lower East Side:
Daniel takes us to Chinatown, where he makes the most out of a tofu purchase:
Daniel hangs out at the Christopher Street Pier:
Photographer: Blake Martin
Assistant: Christopher Farber
Sound Design: Benjamin Jacobs
Grooming: Boswell Scot, Fox & Boy Salon
Producer: Danny Schmittler
Wardrobe: JF & Son, Ale et Lange, aussieBum,
C-in2, Calvin Klein Underwear
Daniel Garofali is an international model. You’ve seen him in numerous campaigns for brands and magazines including C-in2, Marcuse and LASH. He pens for Huffington Post and DNA magazine and has a 2013-2014 calendar available here now as well as self screen-printed t-shirts.