BLISS:. Asian male models are not well represented in terms of advertisments and marketing, even though many of the top photographers recognize their beauty and feature them in their portfolios. What is your theory regarding why the industry as a whole has not embraced what the artists who take these photos are able to see?
JEREMY TANG: The industry mainly focuses on the typical Caucasian look. They go for what sells. Asian male models haven’t really stood out in the modeling industry yet. In fact, I haven’t really seen or met any full time Asian male models. Since I live in the States, I don’t really know much about Asian male models in Asia, though I am sure there are a lot successful ones there. I do hope one day I will have opportunity to see their work.
B: There are so many stereotypes that are attributed to minorities. Guy Tang reffered to the lack of masculine images as the reason why Asian males do not get the same respect as other males. What would you say is the biggest misconception about Asian men?
JT: I agree most Asian men don’t appear to be as masculine as other races. Let’s say their facial features are softer, no facial hair, smaller build and shorter in stature. But in the modeling industry, it is all about height, body, and look. In order to be a male runway model, he has to be at least 6’ and over. We don’t find that many Asian men who are 6’ or over with a nice build and the right look. If we measure masculinity based on ones' look, then Asian men certainly have a disadvantage.
B: What attracted you to modeling and how did it come about?
JT: I have been modeling on and off for many years. What keeps me coming back is I believe I, as an Asian Model, can contribute my image to the Asian man’s image. I have the chance to do so.
B: Do you have a favorite photographer that you either have worked with, or would someday like to work with? If so, what is it about their work that interests you?
JT: I am very lucky that I have had opportunities with many great photographers all over the world. In general, I always have a good time working with them because modeling is my passion. I believe if I am happy with what I am doing, everything I do is joy. There are still a lot more amazing photographers I would love to work it. However, I am into concept and style nowadays. I don’t just want to stand and pose. I want my image to be different in every single shoot, from style, lighting, make up, location, etc.
B: Has there ever been a time, or a particular incident that made you think that your ethnicity might limit the amount of work you would get?
JT: Oh yeah, many times and very often. The casting call says it all. They are very specific of what type of models they are looking for. It comes out from hair color, eye color, height, build, etc. But I don’t take it personally at all.
B: I mentioned that I considered you, Guy, Eric Rensburg, Steve Chen, Jeffierce and Peter Le to be a few of the ultimate Asians. I meant that you guys seem to occupy the top spots when photographers think of shooting Asian males. What do you think sets you guys apart from other models?
JT: I think we have done more photo shoots than other models? And our images are very provocative. We are not afraid to use our bodies to make a statement. If you look at my brother, Ricky Tang, he has quite a nice set of photo as well. Rob Trinh has some great images too.
B: A few of my favorite images are of you and your brother, Ricky. What's it like shooting with him?
JT: I had a great time work with my brother, Ricky. He is very creative and not camera shy at all. Since he is my brother, it was very easy for us to work with each other and with the photographer. I would definitely like to work with him again.
JT: I don’t work out as often as most people think I do. It depends on my traveling schedule. It could be anything between once and five times a week.
B: Do you stick to a specific diet to maintain your body, or can you eat pretty much anything that you want?
JT: A ha ha, no way, I love food so much. I’d rather do extra sets at the gym than keeping to a strict diet. Well, the thing is I am not a drinker, smoker, or drug user. I don’t like burgers or fries. I don’t drink soda. So, that cuts out a lot of the carbs.
B: Nudity is a staple in male images. Peter, Eric, Steve and Guy shoot full frontal nudity, while you do not. Is there a reason why you made this decision?
JT: I believe each of us has a choice as to how we present ourselves. I believe doing frontal nudity would project a negative image over my modeling career. Since I am working with different commercial agencies, it would not be good if I have frontal nudity images going around on the net. So I target my modeling work at a different audience. I don’t want to be rejected from a shoot because of that reason. It is not worth it for me. Plus, I believe masculine and sexy have nothing to do with doing frontal nude. Frontal is the only fastest tool to please those hungry eyes on the net.
B: Have you ever missed out on work opportunities by refusing to pose nude?
JT: YES, YES, YES and a lot. But I have no regret at all.
©2010 - Sean Dibble
Cover: David Vance
(Get David's book EROTIC DREAMS @ http://www.amazon.com/)
Photos: Tony Pham