With model good looks and a successful career in model management (not to mention celebrity pals like Lindsay Lohan and Seann William Scott), Derek Saathoff is definitely “A List”! With the sounds of the bustling city in the background, we had a chance to chat with Derek about how he got to where he is today, the can’t miss sights of the Big Apple and why, for him, spray tanning is a way of life!
Socialite Life: Hi Derek! I just saw the show and I want to congratulate you in advance, because it looks like a big hit!
Derek Saathoff: Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Socialite Life: How did you get involved with the show?
Derek: I actually got a call from someone who said, “We’re looking to do a reality television show and would you be interested in being a part of it?” And I said, “Of course! If you could send me more details, I’d be open to coming in for casting.” I actually went in for an open call casting and then from there, it just spiraled on and on. They changed the concept of the show a few times and then the next thing you know, I was in Gawker for being a part of it. It turned out really well.
SL: Can you tell me a little more about yourself? I know you’re an agent now, but you started out as a model.
Derek: I’m from Louisville, Kentucky and I moved here when I was 18 years old. I went into an open call at an agency and they signed me and I modeled for about a year and a half. I was looking to do something more steady because, as you know, models don’t have consistent paychecks. So, I wanted to stick it out in New York, so they asked me if I would be interested in an assistant position at the agency and I said “Sure” and the next thing you know, here I am 8 years later and I’m an agent and things are going really well.
Read more with Derek after the jump!
SL: What’s the best thing about living in New York City? Derek: I think the best thing about New York is the energy. I step off the plane from Kentucky and I already feel that there’s plans to be made and I want to go out and I want to be seen and see people and it’s definitely one of those places where if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere – and for me that rings true and I definitely am appreciative of everything that’s come my way. I think that it’s great to have the opportunity to even live in New York and I definitely feel that every day waking up knowing that I live in the greatest city in America.SL: What do you feel is something everyone who visits New York has to see?Derek: It sounds silly, but whenever I have guests coming in from out of town, they always want to do the stupid tourist things, and I’m always down for it, being a good sport. The one thing I recommend is going to the Empire State Building at night and you can jump right in, I think it’s open until two. You can go at 10 at night, have a few drinks before, and get right up to the top of the Empire State Building and that is a sight to see – and that’s what I always recommend to family and friends who are coming into town. It’s pretty great. SL: Any good restaurant recommendations?Derek: I live in Chelsea, and I love Grey Dog, Westville, Cookshop and of course, there’s the standard La Esquina is one of my favorite hot spots to hit and now the Kenmare is big – I love eating there, it’s see and be seen. Those are a few of my recommendations. SL: What was it like having the cameras following you around for the show?Derek: You know, you always think you’re prepared – and everyone says they want to be on a reality television show, and then you actually have the cameras there at 6am and you finally realize how harsh it really is. You take the good and the bad – it’s an opportunity and I’ll never complain about it – the editing or how I look or anything like that because how I’m portrayed is who I am and it’s an opportunity to have an experience most people in their lives will never get and I feel really grateful. Of course, there’s times where I have to shoot all day as well as have a job and the fashion shows and, at times it became really stressful and at times, you break down, but it’s real life and that’s something I will always stress to anyone who watches. If they ask, “Oh, is it real?” it’s as real as the day is, it’s exactly how everything plays out. So I enjoyed it.SL: As someone who’s influential in the fashion industry, did you feel any additional pressure to always look your best? Derek: Of course! I have beautiful female models who answer to me everyday and I hold them to these standards and now they’re going to hold me to their standards. So, yeah, of course I would wake up and think, “Oh gosh, I have to perform” and I have to be the fashion guru guy, looking great – and it weighs on you a little bit. I don’t want to wear the same outfit twice. So yeah, those small things where you think about how you’re going to come off looking – that stuff definitely is stressful, as stupid as it sounds. SL: From one addict to another – let’s talk about the spray tanning. First off, I have to give you kudos for getting tanned the healthy way, but are you a year-round tanner?Derek: It’s horrible – I’m from the South and they really breed you to go to the tanning bed, and once I moved to New York, I realized that’s not what everyone does here. So, I had to go with the next best option, which was spray tanning and I’ve found it to be an even better option. I mean, who wants to age prematurely and who wants to die of cancer? Spray tanning for me is my number one, everyday – it’s what I do. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone and now, actually there’s some cast mates on the show who are now calling in the spray tanner that I use and we’ve been using him for events and stuff like that. It’s fun. I never want to look pale, I always want to be tan and beautiful. SL: Well, you are probably the best looking cast on TV.Derek: Well thank you very much! I appreciate that and I think that everyone on the show ids beautiful in their own way inside and out and I really enjoyed working with everyone. It was a great experience.SL: Who was more difficult to deal with – models or your A List co-stars?Derek: Oh, my co-stars for sure! I can control those models – they’re receiving their paycheck because of what I do and then these guys are completely uncontrollable. There were definitely times when I reached my breaking point with a lot of them and you’ll definitely see that in this season. Everyone’s pretty much unpredictable and you’re working with people and you’re going to events with people you weren’t friends with before; and now you’re forced to be around each other and you’ll see that sometimes it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. You want to see the best in people but at times we find ourselves at each others throats – but that’s how gay guys are and that’s real life.SL: In a cage match between the A List-ers and the Real Housewives of Atlanta, who would win?Derek: I would say with our cast that the guys would win. There are definitely some women in that cast that I would not want to go up against and that would probably be NeNe and Kim. But I definitely think that we would win. We’ve got Mike Ruiz, who is the biggest man I’ve ever seen! He could pick me up and throw me across the room. He is a huge man. And even in pictures, you’re like “Wow” and then you see him in person and you’re like “Holy s**t!” He’s like four times my size.SL: Was it a fun experience overall working on the show?Derek: Yeah. It was kind of bittersweet when we wrapped filming because, of course, you get to know these people and you hope that some of these people stay in your life and some of these people you hope to never see again but it was definitely a great experience and I can’t say enough how appreciative I am of having this experience. It’s been life-changing. Regardless of it’s a hit or not I’m going to walk away with a lot more knowledge and knowing myself a lot more than I thought I did.SL: Would you be on board for a second season?Derek: Ummm…that we’ll have to see. Of course I want to say yes, but you deal with things as they come up. And should we have a second season I’ll definitely think about it greatly – and I couldn’t say for sure yes or no at the moment. SL: Is there any way for fans to stay in touch with you. I saw that you had a web site… Derek: (Laughs) It’s in the works! You think you’re prepared for something like this, and you realize that you’re not. I’m on Twitter and I’m on Facebook. SL: What’s in the future professionally for you?Derek: You’ll see…I look to Bethanny (Frankel) as a mentor for the things that she’s done and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. She was a chef before (Real Housewives) started and now she’s branched out and made the best of the opportunity and I hope to do the same and I’m working on some things that you’ll see on season one. I’m trying to branch out and market myself and there might be some beauty products down the line and we’ll see. I think if I can perfect and make a spray tan line, that’s where I’d go first. SL: Well, definitely keep me posted on that – I’ll be your first customer!Derek: Anyone who spray tans is a friend of mine! Lindsay Lohan is a close friend and she actually got me addicted to the spray tan and now I know why. It just makes me feel a little bit prettier.SL: I know what you mean! I live in Florida and I’m Irish…Derek: Oh I hear you! You’re a friend of mine – you’re a ginger, I guess. If I come out with a line, I’ll create one for you called “Ginger Glow”. (Laughs)You heard it here! I’m getting my own spray tan! Thanks so much to Derek for taking the time to chat with us! And don’t forget to catch the series premiere of The A List on Monday, October 4th at 10pm on Logo!