The young man lounging casually on the couch playing with a soccer ball looks like an average 17-year-old young man. Granted his looks are striking and his tall athletic frame makes it easy to understand why two modeling agencies think he has the perfect frame to showcase their fashions, but there is a quality about Chaise Mooty that goes beyond his undeniable physical charms. His personality radiates from the depths of his eyes and he has a warmth about him that puts people at ease.
Unlike some teens that would rather be doing anything other than talking with adults, he makes a person feel he is listening to every word they are saying and he's interested. Those are the very qualities that have propelled his modeling career forward at an unusual speed -- a modeling career that all began with a fluke. "I went to meet a friend for coffee, something we never did, and while I was waiting I bought a Dallas Morning News," Robyn Proctor, Chaise's mom, said. "But I didn't get a chance to read it then." Later when she returned home she was about to throw the unread newspaper away, and out of guilt for wasting money on a paper she didn't read, she decided to flip through it. That's when she saw the entry form to Dallas' annual modeling contest, the Dallas Model Search '04. The Dallas Morning News and The Kim Dawson Agency sponsor the contest.
When Chaise came home from school, she asked him if he was interested in entering the contest. "I said sure, why not," Chaise recalls, not really believing anything would come of it. As they were going over the entry form for requirements, they noticed the deadline was the day before, but they decided to send pictures anyway. A few weeks later they received a call that he was in the top 30 entries chosen out of over 2,000 entries. The caller told Robyn she would need to have Chaise in Dallas for an in-person interview, but the day they needed him to be there he had a football game. Little did they know how close Chaise's modeling career came to ending before it started. "I just recently found out that when I asked to reschedule his appointment, Lisa Dawson, director of the agency, was hesitant about making exceptions," Robyn said. "But when she looked at his picture again, she did, thankfully." Even after turning in his entry form late and missing his first interview, Chaise was chosen as the Model Search winner. The biggest part of the prize for winning was a one-year contract with the Kim Dawson Agency, Inc.
He recalls his first modeling call. He was to go to J.C. Penny for an interview. He waited outside, and when he was called in, he stood before a board of three people that looked at him for about 10 seconds and then said thank you. "That was it. No 'we'll call you,' nothing. I didn't know if I had the job or not," Chaise laughed. But he did get the job and you can see him in the J.C. Penny inserts found in newspapers.
DNA Modeling, a second modeling agency in New York, has signed Chaise without even meeting him. They saw his photos and decided they liked what they saw. He has also posed for Italian Vogue and Arene magazines. Both are due out in April. Unfortunately, if you are following his career, you will have to order these magazines because they are not in stock in Texarkana.
Already his newfound career has taken him to tropical locations. He was selected to be one of the models for an Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot located in the Caribbean. Where in the tropics, he was not able to disclose exactly because the fashion industry is so competitive and the actual clothing lines are very hush-hush. The shoot was supposed to last three days, but he was asked to stay for two additional days. It was during this booking that Chaise met Bruce Weber, world-renowned photographer from New York. Weber saw in Chaise what everyone else seemed to see and asked him to be in a shoot in Miami, Florida. "I got to work with Mr.Weber, and the people at the agency in Dallas have never met him," Chaise said.
You would think with all this attention to his looks he would be just a little conceded, but he's not. When he talks about what people have told him about his looks, he doesn't do it with self-assurance, but with tiny blushes that give his already handsome features an enduring appeal.
Chaise will admit his life has changed since all of this has come about, some for the better, some for the worse. "You learn who your real friends are when something like this happens to you," he said. "There are people at school who say things about me being stuck up or how I think I'm too good for them now, but they are also the same people who have never talked to me."
He can't complain about the opportunities he has had to meet people and learn about so many different cultures. "At the Abercrombie shoot there were models from all over the world, Australia, Brazil, Canada, London, Jamaica and Spain," Chaise said.
Unbelievably, modeling has improved this Texas High Senior's outlook on schoolwork. "I used to look at reading assignments as boring, but while at a shoot we have a lot of down time and you had to sit around in your clothes and not get messed up, a lot like when you were little getting ready for church," he laughs. "It was during some down time that I was reading the Great Gatsby for school thinking how boring when one of the other models came up and said, 'Hey, I remember that book, it was great.' I saw the book as reading for fun instead of an assignment for the first time."
Chaise, an admitted video fanatic, has realized how much of his time he had wasted in front of a television staring at a game when he heard all the other models discussing books or films they had read or seen. He could not join in on the conversation because he was limited to knowing the latest Xbox or Playstation 2 game. Not that he wasn't a top-notch student before, but he took what he was learning for granted. He never realized he would have a career where a geography lesson on the culture in different nations would come in handy.
Chaise is currently in the running for two major modeling jobs, Levi and Calvin Klein. He is also looking to return to the Caribbean over spring break or he's off to New York to meet and greet prospective clients for the agency in New York. Until he turns 18 in September, Robyn says she will accompany him on most trips, but after that she will have to pay her way to travel with him. But she laughs, "Hey, he's making the money now, he can pay."
The monetary appeal of this career hit Chaise when he deposited his first paycheck. When he could make more in one photo assignment than he did slaving in the hot sun for two summers mowing yards and doing odd jobs, there was no question in Chaise's mind - yeah, this will work for him. Chaise recently purchased his first car on his own, a Silver 2006 Nissan 350Z. Not bad for a 17-year-old kid.Chaise250 (78K)
Let's not forget the female models. It must be a hardship on a young teenage boy to have to hold beautiful young women in his arms during a photo shoot. "It is one of the perks of the job," Chaise laughs. It is also one of the reasons he doesn't have a girlfriend. The jealousy would be a complication he doesn't need or want at this point in his life.
Meeting Jacob Young was the highlight of his Caribbean trip for his mom. Young plays Adam Chandler's son on the soap opera All My Children. Chaise and Adam became friends during the shoot. Adam left instructions for Chaise to come to the studio while he is in New York and he will be introduced to the casting director, so this young up and coming star may get his first acting break on the very show he teases his mom for watching.
Will his modeling or acting prevent him from continuing his educational career? "Absolutely not," said his ex-school teaching mom. "His education is first and foremost on our priority list. It is not an option to be put on hold." "I am not banking on modeling being a lifetime career. I am just going to enjoy it while it lasts." Chaise said. He wants to pursue a career in the medical field and which college he attends will depend on what contract he is offered.
Although Robyn and Danny, his dad, have discussed home schooling for Chaise, Weber advises against it. The gifted photographer told Chaise it was his outside interests that make him who he is. His love for sports and school create the Chaise Mooty that the camera captures. The agencies tell him not to hurry his life, he has plenty of time for exposure, but they do joke with him about playing football - especially since one of his first photo shoots show him with a huge knot on his forehead caused by a football game the night before.
Former model and ex-football player Marty Cherry warned Chaise that this field is competitive and can be harsh at times, but he advised the young man not to take rejection personal. "It is not you they are rejecting. You are just not the look they are searching for to represent their campaign," Cherry advised.
The family gets a lot of calls now asking how to get started in modeling. Chaise just wants to issue a warning - be careful of anyone asking you for money up front. If they tell you that you have to pay "x" amount of money for pictures or workshops, run-run away - it is a scam. Keep your eyes open for open call ads from modeling agencies or contests that are legitimate. "Don't dedicate your whole life to being a model," Chaise said. "If you dedicate your life to modeling and that's all you do, you become a hollow shell and that is what is seen in your pictures. Who you are and what you do comes out in your pictures." "Don't be a hollow shell. Go out and live."
Source: Images Magazine, 2005, Tonya Domokos