Please give a warm welcome to Donny Lewis
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hello, my name is Donny Lewis. I have been a professional model since I was 18 years old some 25 years at the top of the fashion industry. My first big advertising campaign was for Guess jeans in 1996. Since that time I have worked all over the world for most all of the major brands. Levi’s, Valentino, Armani, Boss, YSL, Esprit, Zara, H&M, Dolce & Gabanna, Bulgari, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, and many many many others. I am probably known in the industry more for the number of men’s and women’s fragrances I have done. Don’t think there are many people that have done 18 different perfumes and had a perfume contract for 20 years straight with various brands! All of this is easy tot find with a quick google search if you want. I suppose you are asking for something a bit more personal.
So here you go;
I am from a town in what is known as the South Plains of Texas. Our big claims to fame in the area are, Buddy Holly (from Lubbock, TX), and Waylon Jennings (from Littlefield, TX). We also have oil, cattle, cotton, route 66, and sand storms. There is not much else there to speak of and in keeping with that theme, my home town had a total of 216 people in it. I graduated with a class of 12 in my high school. So it is safe to say that I am from small town USA. I was never a good student but I did have good grades. I have a very curious mind and love to learn, I just did not always care for what they were teaching.
We were a farming family. We raised cotton, sheep and boarder collies, mostly. I could drive a tractor at 8 years old. (Not at all uncommon). My first car was a 1990 white 5.0 mustang.
Have you always wanted to become a model?
No. lol I actually had no idea that it could be a job until a model scout saw me and explained a bit about the business.
How did you get started?
Showing sheep actually. 🙂
I still was not interested in being a model until there was no dreamed of Football career and the best academic scholarships I was offered were only 1/2 scholarships to Yale, Princeton, Emory, Rice and Austin College. They all offered based on my SAT and ACT scores (standardized test required for entrance into university), which I scored in the top 1%. That was quite a big deal but alas, for a farm boy from a modest family, 1/2 off of way too much is still way too much! LOL. So I did about 2 years worth of University over the 2 summer semesters at the local junior college (they gave me a full scholarship) and one fall semester (I had to pay for at West Texas A&M University), and tested out of every class I could. Finally, I decided that I would see if I could take up that model scout guy on his deal to fly me up to NYC and sign on with Next model management. They took care of my flight, my apartment, my first test shootings, and a little pocket money. All as a loan that would need to be paid back if I started working! But, no strings attached if it did not work out. The way I saw it I had nothing to loose. I would try it for an experience. IF, it worked out then I would do it for no more than 2 years so I could save up enough money to pay for the rest of my education. I had plans to get a law degree, and move into politics.
I actually really enjoyed my time in the business and making some pretty decent money while traveling around the world. So, I just kept doing it. Having been to 89 countries so far! I mean, I am a little farm boy from West Texas that gets to live on two continents!
Do you have any quirks while working?
I don’t think so. The only thing that might be a quirk is that I almost always have gum in my mouth in every picture. Can’t do it so much with the acting but for photo’s no one knows but me.
Do you have any advice for new models?
My standard answer for this question has always been find a good agent! Though, the business has changed drastically in the past 5 to 6 years and there is a great deal of self promotion that is now required that was frowned up for most of my career. I would still say though that having a great agent in your corner is the best way to advance in the modeling industry. If you have say 1 million followers, then you will be just fine as well.
What are your hopes for the future?
I have many plans in the works as I have always had. I write, I have always loved books and wrote my first full novel when I was 14. Also, short stories, poetry, and screen plays, I even created and wrote a TV series. I will continue on that path, thankful that I have other means to keep the lights on! Very hard to break into and become successful as a writer. I applaud all that have and do! Other than that I would say my hopes and plans for the future are much what they are for the present. Do my best to be a good person and to be happy.
Do you have anything to say to your followers?
Thanks for following along @donny7lewis instagram, FB, Twitter, pinterest and youtube as well as my donnylewis.com website. As I experiment with this new dialog, sharing more of myself than just what I look like, the comments, ideas, and encouragement has been very nice. In the same way I did not know what to think about modeling before I got started in the business, I really did not know if I was going to enjoy putting myself out there in other ways. It’s always nice to learn new things about yourself. I have all of followers to thank for that.