With the premiere of Logo Television’s new reality series The A List just a week away, we want to introduce you to the men who make up the cast of the show guaranteed to give the Real Housewives a run for their money!
Before facing the cameras on The A List, model Austin Armacost made tabloid headlines while dating famed fashion designer Marc Jacobs. After taking some time off in the lush English countryside, Austin returns to the Big Apple to try and resume his modeling career. Cute – and candid – Austin took some time to chat with us about the show, why he thinks he could be a great role model for teens and shares some of his workout tips. Get to know one of NYC’s “model citizens”!
Socialite Life: I just saw the series premiere, and I just wanted to say I thought it was great!
Austin Armacost: I’m glad you liked it!
SL: Are you looking forward to the premiere?
Austin: Yes, very much so! You know, a lot of people have misconceptions that aren’t in the business and don’t realize that we actually see (the episode) the same time it’s released on national television. So, I’m a bit anxious, but I know we made a really good TV show so I’m excited for it to get started and for the season to kick off.
There’s lots more after the jump!
SL: How did you get involved with the show?
Austin: I read online about a year ago that they were casting for this
series called “Kept”. I didn’t really like the concept right off the bat
but I felt like I was the kind of person who would really be a great
asset to the world of reality television – so I decided to send in my
bio and a few pictures and I talked about my history with Marc and the
fabulous life that I lead (laughs). I got an email about 6 months later
from the casting director and he asked me to come out to New York for a
meeting and he told me that they were changing the whole concept of the
show. And when he told me about The A List and compared it to The Real
Housewives of Atlanta – it was the same production company. I love the
Real Housewives and I love the concept and the premise of the show and,
when I heard that, I did everything I could to get on board.
Especially where gay rights are right now in this country, I think it’s
very important to have a show that looks into our lives and shows that
we’re not freaks and child molesters and perverts – because I think
that’s a heavy misconception right now in the world. I think it’s a
really, really good time to have a program like this because so much is
happening with the gay rights movement. Obviously, there’s going to be
some cattiness and bitchiness and stereotypes will be proved - and
broken – but it’s six gay men, that’s who we are, we’re not anything but
that. Some of us are feminine, some of us are masculine – we show every
aspect of the homosexual male. We’re not necessarily putting our best
foot forward – you know we can’t always put the “good gays” at the front
of the line and say “Accept them. Accept them.” We have arrived and we
should have equal rights and we’re showing that every aspect of a gay
man needs to be accepted, whether they’re feminine and they do makeup
and do their hair, you have to accept us as a whole.SL: You’re aware that there’s probably going to be a lot of females tuning in to the show – and you are quite handsome – how do you feel about being a sex symbol to straight women? Austin: You know, it’s interesting because I’ve dabbled with women in the past and I would love for a high school girl in Kansas to have my picture hanging up in her locker. I think it would be really cool. I always promote safe sex and always have. I’m very responsible when I’m in a relationship. I’m monogamous and I have have very good morals and values when it comes to sex. I think what you’ll see throughout the show is that I’m the first one at the party – I’m drinking and getting naked in the pool and I’m dancing around and having a great time – but it’s interesting because I always go home alone. I don’t promote random sex, I don’t promote hooking up. It’s not something I feel is very appropriate. I’m very old school – my mother and father have been together 30 years, happily married. And I think I could be a good influence on that 15 year old girl in the Midwest who is coming into liking boys and I’ve always said that safe sex is the way to go and birth control as well. It’s so bizarre to me, especially in the heterosexual community, that people think that they can hook up and not use protection and they’ll be fine. I read a statistic the other day that almost 3 out of 5 heterosexuals between 15 to 25 has an STD now and it’s definitely time for a wake up call. At this point, the gay community practices more safe sex than the straight community as bizarre as that is, I think it’s a good thing – and I’d love to be considered a sex symbol (laughs.) SL: Tell me a little about your background in modeling.Austin: I started modeling when I was 16. I lived about an hour south of Indianapolis and Chicago’s only a four and a half hour drive. So I went up there when I was 16, started modeling, and the day after I graduated high school, I packed my whole life into my mini-van and drove up to Chicago, found an apartment and that’s kind of when my professional career took off. I was there for a year and I was actually fired from my agency – it’s a very long story – but my agency let me go and I got a call from an agent in New York City who was trying to get me out there for 6 months, but my agent in Chicago wouldn’t allow it because he didn’t think I was ready. So, I flew to New York and within five days, I was on the set of three different photo shoots, I had shot two commercials and my career just kind of took off. I started doing a few things that weren’t very healthy to keep the weight off. I was exercising five hours a day…and most of the guys who work in New York in the fashion industry today, the high fashion models are naturally thinner guys – they have swimmers’ builds and they’re 6’2″ and they’re just naturally thin guys. My Dad is 5’10″ and was a professional bodybuilder. So my body type is very stocky, very big-boned. So for me to get these high fashion jobs, I had to go above and beyond five times more than what these other, naturally thin guys were doing. I was very unhealthy to my body and I woke up one day and I started pissing blood and I said “This has got to be a wake up call.” I moved back home to Indiana for a few weeks…and I’m a very spontaneous person and a friend of mine had just moved out to Los Angeles and I said “What the heck?” I’d never been out there and – even though I was getting clean off of drugs – the things I was doing in New York, partying and to keep my weight off I feel like it’s not a geographical situation. If I’m partying in New York City and I move to Los Angeles if I quit in between that time it doesn’t matter where I am, if I want to get drugs, I’ll get drugs. So a lot of people were like “It’s not a good decision. You just started getting sober. It’s not a good decision for you to move out to Hollywood because it’s all about drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. And I said, “You know what? That doesn’t matter to me because I’m very strong-willed. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I wanted to get them, I could get them. So I moved to Los Angeles, I kind of took a sabbatical. I had made quite a lot of money from modeling, so I didn’t need to get a job at a retail store to pay my rent. And I really just kind of bounced around for a year…and I’ve more recently been traveling back and forth between England and New York City. SL: Which do you prefer – England or New York?Austin: I absolutely hate New York City! It’s a great place to come and make money, but, being from the country, from Indiana and staying in the English countryside. I’m 50 miles from Scotland, 25-30 miles from Manchester, I love my home in England. If I could live out the rest of my days anywhere, I would definitely choose Northern England for sure. It’s beautiful, it’s like living in a painting – the rolling hills, the greenery – it’s so beautiful. I’m a very aesthetic person, I want to get into artistic direction for a designer and I actually have a meeting set up with Dean and Dan (Caten) of Dsquared2, an Italian fashion house – they actually live in London. So I have a meeting set up in a few weeks with them…and that’s what really gets me going, beautiful things. I don’t really think I can go anywhere in New York City and say “Wow, it’s so beautiful here.” You just cannot escape the noise and the crowds anywhere in Manhattan. When you go out to the Hamptons, of course it’s beautiful out there – it’s fantastic – but New York City and Manhattan, I don’t feel like there’s anywhere you can go to escape and kind of be on your own a bit.SL: What have you been doing to get back into model shape?Austin: I decided that I wanted to do it (lose weight) the healthy way so I’ve been working with a nutritionist and I’ve been working with a trainer. SL: I saw (on the first episode) you were training with some bouncy shoes – what the heck were those?Austin: They’re called Kangoo Jumps and a friend of mine based in New York City is the US spokesmodel for them. They’re very low impact and double the intensity of running because you’re bouncing up and gravity’s forced against you. When I go running through the streets of Manhattan in those things, every head turns. So not only is it fun and it’s healthy to do, it’s also like “Hey! Look at me! Look how cool I am!” (laughs). We’ll go running through Times Square on a Friday night, at one in the morning, a big group of us and it’s a very bizarre sight, but it’s one of the best new exercise trends that I’ve come across and I completely love them. SL: On the first episode, you were smelling everybody…Austin: All I was trying to do was find out who was wearing the cologne! I smelled some very wonderful cologne, and I didn’t know who it was, and nobody was admitting to it, so I decided to do some investigation myself – and figure out who was wearing it! SL: What’s your favorite cologne?Austin: Oh, John Varvatos, hands down, every time. I will also have to say, going back to the old school days, I still love Curve. It’s very high school, it’s what I wore to my high school prom. And, when you get older, you start buying Burberrry and Gucci and Marc Jacobs cologne – your taste changes. Curve is kind of like a step up from Adidas, it’s very inexpensive but it’s wonderful. But, again, I have to say now, John Varvatos, hands down.SL: As a model, I know you’re no stranger to having a camera in your face, but what was it like for you to have a camera crew following your every move for the show?Austin: You’re always aware that they are there, but once…I mean, they couldn’t have put together a better group of six guys – at the same time we’re so cohesive but yet going against the grain with one another. I mean, everything you see is real – nothing’s set up, the emotions are real. You’ll see the whole gamut – we laugh together, we cry together, we fight – it’s a whole range of emotions. The first couple of minutes we sit down to shoot a scene, you’re aware of it, but after you get into it…we’re all friends – kind of at this point – and once you get into a normal conversation, and you’re so involved in the conversation that the cameras kind of fade away. Now, the first five, six, seven days we were shooting, I was so on edge, I was sweating like a whore in church because I thought “Oh, what if I say something wrong? What if I do this and it’s embarrassing?” But the crew was fantastic, from the producers to the assistant producers to the sound girls and camera guys – it was so comfortable. And everybody was on their game. We knew we were out to make a television show – and we did it – and it ran so smoothly. I’ve never worked in this aspect of television – I’ve done some commercials in the past – but never a reality-type setting, so I have no basis for comparison. But I think they did a fantastic job from start to finish. It ran so smoothly, there were very few hiccups I think the fact that we had a great crew and a great cast. It was very natural, everything was real and, yeah, after first few seconds the cameras just fade away and you’re having a cocktail with your buddies, talking about whatever we’re talking about. SL: One last question, what does being “A list” mean to you?Austin: Oh, I hate this question (laughs). You know, I don’t think being A List has anything to do with having tons of money and living in the best house and having designer clothes. I think it’s kind of an attitude. When I was 200 pounds, and I was fat, and had no shape to my body, and I was living in Los Angeles and going to a pool party, I still had my Speedo on! It’s a confidence, it’s something you carry that says, “I’m the s**t. You know it, I know it. Let’s keep it real” (laughs). Obviously, it’s not a physical look, it’s a lifestyle. I mean if you’re going to fabulous parties and rubbing elbows with celebrities and drinking champagne, it’s a lifestyle, it’s not necessarily a manifestation of who you are, it’s a lot of different aspects – how you live your life, how you interact with people. I think being A List you’ve got to be a good person. I’ve met very, very successful people who were, for lack of a better word, cocky bastards – and that doesn’t fit in the A List at all. We’re very charitable people – a lot of us are involved with different charities and different foundations, and we’re giving back and it’s a whole wide range of things to be A List. I mean, if someone asks me “Are you ‘A List’?” I don’t think I would ever say “yes”. I’m on this television show and it’s titled The A List, but it’s a lifestyle and very few people have been fortunate enough to have the life that I lead and the lives my five fellow cast members lead, but you know, we’re very lucky people and I’ve been very blessed. When I wake up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, I don’t take that day for granted. I think, “What can I do today to make me a better person? Make my life better? Make my relationships progress?” I have tattooed on my back “No Day But Today” and I make the best of every 24 hours I’m given.Check out Austin and all of the A Listers on the series premiere of The A List – Monday, October 4th at 10pm on Logo!