Antony Fitzgerald is a model, actor and dancer from London. After a successful career in marketing and teaching, Antony turned his hand to modelling just three years ago. With his distinct look and unique personality, it didn’t take him long to start booking jobs and he hasn’t looked back since!
How long have you been on StarNow and what prompted you to join? I have been on StarNow since November 2014 after a recommendation from a model. I was new to modelling and didn’t see many models with my look, so I wanted to see what opportunities existed for me.
You’ve had a wealth of experience in many different fields from teaching to marketing. Tell us a little bit about your career history so far. I spent a total of twenty years in marketing and teaching. Both were challenging and target driven but neither satisfied my creative instinct. Circumstances left me at a crossroads between continuing in my chosen professions or pursuing something new. I wanted to set my own objectives so I joined a model agency at 50 years old and have been modelling for three years. After a slow start, I now book model jobs regularly. Through StarNow I have danced in music videos, shot for magazines, been scouted by model agencies, been selected for major campaigns and feature films. I use it as a platform to demonstrate my uniqueness.
What made you decide to turn your hand to modelling? A friend of mine joined a model agency at 50 years old and my father and sister were models in the 60’s and 80’s respectively. I hadn’t realised that it was possible at my age, but thought it might be a new challenge. I wanted to change people’s perceptions about mature black male models and realised that sometimes an image can be more powerful than the written or spoken word.
Do you think your experience has helped your modelling career? Why? Yes. I’ve been good at promoting myself through images that I think stand out, tell a story, and reflect my personality. I’m a quick learner, objectives driven, and very adaptable which has enabled me to make the transition from employee to self-employed. My marketing experience has helped me utilise social media and StarNow to promote myself and connect with stakeholders in the industry – other models, model agencies, casting agencies, photographers, directors, film makers, writers etc.
What was your first modelling job and how did you land that position? I did an audition at a well-known model agency and a month later they told me that I was signed and selected to form part of the line up on the television programme “Never mind the Buzzcocks”.
After your first gig, how long did it take for you to make modelling your full-time job? It took about two and a half years not be reliant on other work. Although sometimes, I do extra work on films, there is a lot of model work to be had through the extra casting agencies. But from the start I have been self-employed.
For many, the idea of going full-time with modelling or acting is such an overwhelming idea. How did you make it feasible? What steps did you take to prepare and how did you know you were ready? For me I was turning a bad situation into something positive. I had been seriously ill and had been looking for flexible/part-time work. I had already sold my flat, which minimised my liabilities and moved into the family home. It helped that I was single. I knew that I was ready because there was nothing else that I wanted to do. No job is forever so I wanted to take control of my own destiny by becoming self-employed.
What challenges did you face in the transition and how did you work through them? I was often told by agencies and decision makers that they loved my look but didn’t know how to use me. Consequently, I worked on my portfolio making it as marketable and diverse as possible, whilst keeping it true to my personality. Now I am cast in a variety of roles from crazy nightclubber to magistrate, guru to vampire. I was often asked to shave my beard but I refused, realising that it is what makes me distinctive.
You’re currently signed with a modelling agency. What do you look for when finding an agent? I often look to see who is who else is signed with them. A good agent will attract the busiest or most interesting models. I check out reviews. Having a trusting and good relationship with your agent is vital. They should understand your look and how you might be right for certain jobs when it might not be immediately obvious. And you want an agent who is forward thinking and can see your potential.
What kind of projects are you working on currently? Tell us about the process of preparing for a shoot. I have a lifestyle shoot coming up, a possible campaign for a cruise, and I am appearing as a character in a video game, which is soon to be launched. I am also doing a catwalk show for a designer and have various other fashion shoots in the pipeline. I make sure that I eat healthily, drink lots of water and get lots of sleep. I try to understand beforehand what might be required of me so that I can do the best possible job - having an extensive wardrobe helps.
What is a typical day like for you? Doing a photo or film shoot, checking and responding to messages, attending castings. forwarding selfies to agents so that clients can see how I look currently, organising photo shoots with photographers who might show a different side of my personality, and researching agencies that might be a good fit for me.
Ideal way to spend a day off in London? Walking, which is my main form of exercise. I might see a performance – ballet, play or piano recital, meet friends, go clothes shopping, buy delicious food in the food hall. There are also some bars and cafes that I go to. Generally, there is no such thing as a whole day off and no such thing as a weekend. Weekends are work days.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you? I have a Bachelor of Divinity degree from St Andrews University.