Catching Up With Andrej Pejic
By William Van Meter
A conversation with Out100 honoree Andrej Pejic on his philosophy of modeling and why he won’t get a boner for a photoshoot.
Out: The press highlights you as an intersection of many things, including a man who can walk in women’s shows (and is super comfortable with it) and Croat/Serb or Australian. How do you define yourself? Is it even along this spectrum?
Pejic: Define, refine, constrict, package, and sell… No thank you. I would like to live in a world where your gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and, above all, financial status didn’t affect the opportunities you are given in life, the way you’re treated by others, and your overall freedom. In a world like that, I wouldn’t be given such a complex definition.
Most people would think that the world of male modeling would be populated by a huge number of gay guys, which in reality is not true. What is it like for you backstage working at a men’s show?
The male modeling industry is like the army, very straight but very gay. Most male models have girlfriends, but backstage, when no one is looking, they like to pinch me. Working with them is fun—I have a lot of male model friends.
Advertising is such a barometer of what the mass market deems acceptable, and you’ve made a major stab into the mainstream with advertisements for Marc by Marc Jacobs and Gaultier. Do you think it’s harder for you to book advertisements as opposed to other male models?
Well, the media has definitely jumped on the bandwagon. The people, it seems, are coming on fast, now we’re just waiting for the clients to catch up. The truth is I have to work twice as hard to be taken as seriously as the top girls. I understand that it will take time for me to prove that I’m actually a good model once you look past the media hype and the uniqueness of my looks. But hey, I’m not the first that has had to fight.
You seem pretty fearless in your career, easily doing men’s and women’s and—to be a bit crude—having the balls to wear a skirt or dress (and wear it well). Is there anything that has been demanded of you at a shoot that you’ve said no to?
My philosophy is “take it and work it!” No matter what! Although, I have been asked to get aroused for a shot. I declined. I like to serve beauty, not porn.
Everyone is going nuts about you meeting the queen and wearing a Versace skirt to do it. How’d you pick your outfit?
I was tempted to wear a suit, like a nice fitted tuxedo, but it didn’t work out in the end. So I went for a ’90s Sharon Stone-inspired look. And the hair added some youth to the situation. The palace was beautiful—I felt right at home. And let’s face it, we all love a good Queen.