Tyler Scevers has got "the look."
Since entering the modeling industry two years ago, the Roseburg teenager flew to Hawaii to model the spring line for Abercrombie & Fitch. He appeared in GQ magazine, and he's now leaving for Miami -- where he will be in a photo shoot with supermodel Kate Moss for the French edition of Vogue.
What can only be described as a whirlwind experience has opened doors Scevers never knew were there. Now, the 16-year-old is embracing his new career and is ready to tackle new challenges -- be it attending fashion shows in Paris or trying his hand at acting.
"I'm always told I'm too young, and that can be frustrating," Scevers said about receiving rejections. "That just tells me I'll be there someday."
GOING WITH THE FLOW
Scevers didn't set out to be a model. But through encouragement from his friends and family, who touted modeling's earning potential, Scevers agreed to give it a shot. He had a friend who worked with Image & Modeling Development in Medford, so he and his parents decided to check out that place first.
His agent, Teresa Pollman of IMD, said she looked at Scevers and immediately knew he had something special. Scevers, she said, is destined to go big.
"He was very shy when he came to us," she said. "He is one of those people who would never say they want to be a model. It took a little bit of convincing."
After an in-depth discussion with his parents, Joe and Pam Scevers of Roseburg, Scevers signed with IMD and embarked on a new and unfamiliar journey.
His first big step was winning a scholarship from his agency to attend the International Models & Talent Association's competition in New York City last summer. At the Hilton hotel, Scevers was one of 20,000 aspiring models who strode the runway and auditioned for commercials -- all in the hopes of being discovered.
"It was insane," Scevers said about the weeklong experience. "I was pretty nervous, but more excited. It was the first time I got up onstage. My heart was beating pretty fast."
For the competition, Scevers auditioned for two commercials -- for Schick Quattro razors and Hostess Cakes. He also modeled jeans and swimwear, an act he describes as being different between men and women.
"It's a lot harder for girls," said Scevers, who is also studying for his GED at Phoenix School in Roseburg. "The guys just sit there and look cool, I guess."
Men, he said, have to match their stride to the beat of the music. They must look cool and collected, and they can't smile -- as that would detract attention from the clothes. Women must abide by these same rules, but they also have to worry about holding their shoulders back and kicking their legs forward to effectively "trot" down the runway.
Although he didn't land any commercials, Scevers did obtain a New York agent -- Major Model Management. Through prompting from this agent, he recently returned to New York for a three-month stay. He lived in a house with 10 roommates, and he was on his own to maneuver New York's subway system and meet people in the industry.
The time spent in New York, Scevers said, was devoted to work. He attended an average of four casting calls a day, an activity that entailed a brief interview and showing potential employers his book of photos. It was a simple process, and he learned how it worked rather quickly.
His parents, meanwhile, stayed behind while their son tried to make a name for himself. Scevers' father, Joe, works for Roseburg Forest Products, and his mother, Pam, is a waitress at Casey's Restaurant in Roseburg. Scevers also has an older brother who lives in Portland.
Both Pam and Joe admit to having serious reservations about their son's adventure, but they agreed it was something he needed to experience.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking," Joe said. "You have your kid at 16 in New York City. Most parents wouldn't let their kids do that. ... I had a lot of faith in him. It's scary. You just have to trust in God and let him go."
Pam agrees. When IMD signed him, she knew their lives would drastically change. She did not like the idea of Scevers riding the subway at night or wandering the streets alone. But he has proven himself to be a responsible and mature individual, and she knew this was something he needed to try.
"Everything I didn't want, he ended up doing," she said about his exploration of New York City. "He really took it in and became a man. He's handled it really well."
In New York, Scevers said he learned a lot of the basics -- how to do his own laundry, how to organize his time, how to budget money. He even went so far as to set a $1 limit for hot dogs, and he went to numerous stands until he found ones where the price was right.
A bit intimidated at first, Scevers soon adjusted to big city life and succeeded in landing jobs. Later this spring, his image will be seen in advertisements for United Colors of Benetton, and it will appear in such magazines as British GQ, Vogue and L'uomo Vogue.
Each shoot, Scevers said, has a memory. He rode in a BMW and hung out with a bunch of girls in swimwear for one spread, and for another, he wore three pairs of shoes around his neck.
Scevers said he's learned to take direction, and he tries to improvise as well -- trusting his intuition in what will make an appealing photo.
"The hardest part is probably getting in the (right) frame of mind," Scevers said. "It's like acting."
Because Scevers is new in the business, he makes anywhere from $150 an hour to $1,000 a day. The price is dictated on who wants the photo and how the photo will be used. If he were an exclusive model for a campaign, for example, he could net as much as $100,000.
Scevers is not at that level yet, but he'd like to be. To that end, he's working on getting his name out there. If people want to hire him, great. If not, that's fine too. That's the nature of the business.
"I just try to be myself," Scevers said. "You can't give anything except yourself. ... You never know what they are looking for. If you fit it, you fit it."
Scevers' childhood friend, Melanie McManus, has no doubt that Scevers will succeed at his goals. In fact, she takes credit for "discovering" him in middle school.
"In the seventh grade, I saw a picture of him and knew he would be a model," the 17-year-old Roseburg High School junior said. "When he told me about Medford, I knew he would go somewhere. ... He just has that unique look to him, and he has really captivating eyes. His eyes are really stunning."
Describing Scevers as the next Calvin Klein model, McManus said modeling has transformed Scevers into a more outgoing and confident person.
"Before, he used to be really shy, and he stuck to himself," she said. "(Modeling) has made him a lot more confident. ... He doesn't let this get to his head. He's still really down to earth."
His parents agree that they've seen changes in their son. Not only is he much more patient and responsible, he's grown in maturity. Still, they added, he's a "normal" teenager who hangs out with his friends, goes fishing with his dad and plays the guitar.
They don't believe Scevers is giving up anything by pursuing his career at such a young age, and Scevers doesn't either.
"My parents raised me to be pretty humble," Scevers said, adding that he's glad he can jump-start his career at such a young age. "I'm kind of tired of this place. I like traveling a lot."
Proud of all their son has accomplished, Joe and Pam said they know Scevers will stay true to himself as his career blossoms.
"When he's (modeling) he seems more alive," Pam said. "It gives him a lot more of a purpose. ... There is something about him. I don't know what it is, but everybody likes it. I have no doubt he'll make it."
Scevers, who returned from New York before Christmas, is now juggling his time between modeling assignments and studying for the GED exam. He later wants to take drama and speech classes at Umpqua Community College. He also hopes to branch out into acting in the next five years.
Modeling, Scevers learned, is not what he expected it to be. Luckily, he took the time -- and the chance -- to discover how it could enrich his life.
"I thought it was girly, that it was for people who were full of themselves," Scevers said about his initial thoughts of the modeling industry. "Now I know differently. You get to travel and meet people all over the world. It's crazy." ----
WHO: Tyler Scevers, a 16-year-old Roseburg resident. He’s being represented by IMD Modeling in Medford and Major Model Management in New York City.
WHAT: Scevers has modeled for numerous publications, including V magazine, British GQ, L’uomo Vogue and GQ. He also modeled for United Colors of Benetton and Abercrombie and Fitch. Most of his ads will appear this spring, although a spread featuring Scevers was recently released in GQ.
GOALS: Scevers wants to earn his GED later this year. He also hopes to branch out to acting within the next five years.
QUOTE: “The shape is most important,” Scevers said about what potential employers want. “I try to eat well and swim and run for tone, nothing too big.”