BLISS: You are a dancer that just recently transitioned into modeling. What drew you in this new direction?
JEFF RIEBER: I actually never really intended to make the transition. A friend of mine models and I loved looking at his photos, so when the opportunity arose I thought it would be fun. Since my first shoot, things have kind of snowballed since.
B: Your photo shoot with KJ Heath is sexy and revealing. Were you comfortable showing this side of yourself on camera?
JR: Thank you! Being a dancer, I've always viewed my body as more of a canvas than anything else. With that being said, it was fun to try something new and out of my element- and a little "dangerous."
B: Our readers are very familiar with KJ Heath who shot the cover of David Davila for the September issue. You are in the same shower as David. Tell me about that shoot and what it was like to work with KJ.
JR: KJ is absolutely amazing! We started off with movement shots, which helped me to be more comfortable in front of the camera. He's very easy going and gives great direction, which helps a lot, and was very open to any ideas that I had, looks I wanted to shoot, etc. Since it was my first shoot, I felt a little awkward at first, but then just decided to have fun, which made all the difference in the world. The shoot probably lasted two hours, but was so much fun it felt like 15 minutes. I highly recommend working with KJ, and can't wait to work with him again!
B: How does modeling differ from dancing, and how are they similar?
JR: That’s a very good question. I think in essence they are achieving something very similar - using the body to convey an idea or emotion, but with photography, there is obviously significantly more stillness versus expression through movement. I also think that in front of the camera, I consciously have to be more pedestrian and less dancer- which is my natural tendency but doesn't always come across right.
B: What type of dancer are you and where have you performed?
JR: I'd consider myself a commercial contemporary dancer. If you've seen So You Think You Can Dance, you know what I mean J and I've done all kinds of stuff, from Broadway workshops, to industrials in LA, TV Shows, the Nutcracker and a lot of more concert work recently in Chicago.
B: Did you study dance when you were young?
JR: I started dance when I was about 6 years old.
B: My sister studied ballet for years, including in France, and I noticed a level of passion in performers that is undeniable. What is it about dancing that appeals to you?
JR: Dancing is the most natural way of expression for me. There's just something about both being in class and on a stage and having the ability to give my own interpretation of someone else's vocabulary that speaks to me. Dancing quiets my head and makes me smile.
B: Chicago is a great place for artists and has so much to offer. What do you like most about this amazing city?
JR: I love how community driven it is. It's a huge city; but whichever smaller circle you run in, everyone supports each other and helps to make the community thrive.
B: Chicago is also known for its blistering winter season, which probably scares off quite a few people. What do you find least appealing about living there?
JR: Exactly that…the winter.
B: You are originally from Iowa. What was it like living there, and why did you decide to move to the windy city?
JR: I am from a tiny town in Iowa of about 5,000 people. Needless to say growing up wasn't the easiest experience. However it made me who I am and I wouldn't trade any of it. With that being said, Chicago has given me a plethora of opportunities, but is still close enough that I can get home for the holidays.
B: Were you artistic in your youth?
JR: Most definitely. If I wasn't dancing I was on stage somehow, acting or singing, from as young as I can remember.
B: It is often said that many performers, be it actors, singers, dancers or models were basically shy or outcasts who used the arts as a means of expression. My sister was the complete opposite – totally outgoing in all aspects of her life. What were you like growing up?
JR: It’s funny - everyone considers me incredibly outgoing and always has, but I actually consider myself to be very shy. I think I have always kind of put myself out there merely as a compensation for that fact.
B: Do you have any other artistic interests besides dance?
JR: I love the arts in all aspects, but dance has always been and will always be my prime focus artistically.
B: What do you do when you’re not dancing or planning your next move in the modeling world?
JR: I'm constantly doing something. I teach Pilates and do post physical therapy rehabilitation, so I'm always reading about that. I read a lot, go to the gym, cook, etc. As I'm typing this I realize how boring I am ha-ha, but it keeps me occupied.
B: Male modeling, with the exception of fashion, seems to revolve around the axis of sex appeal. What do you consider sexy?
JR: Physicality aside, I think someone who can make me laugh is sexy. Confidence and a vulnerable side as well. And I'm a sucker for a beautiful smile, lips, eyes and abs J
B: It is difficult to critique ourselves with the same level of comfort that we do others, but what would you say is your best feature?
JR: it's not exactly a 'feature,' but I think my best trait is my fearlessness.
B: Youth carries its own special beauty, but maturity can be just as, if not more so attractive. What defines beauty to you?
JR: I think beauty is realty;the tender moments when we are real…scared, excited, happy, sad. Moments when we care for each other above ourselves. That, I think, defines beauty. When we aren't scared to show who we really are, even if it means being vulnerable.
B: Drag is finally reaching a larger audience, thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and there’s a snapshot of you with season two favorite Jujubee in your Facebook photos. Are you a fan of the show?
JR: I am! I am actually rooting for one of the Chicago contestants on the upcoming season!
B: Do you watch much television? If so, what are your favorite programs?
JR: I don't get to watch a lot of TV, but I'm a huge fan of Modern Family, and Once Upon a Time. And of course I'll always watch a repeat of Sex and the City.
B: Now that you have moved into the modeling arena, are there any photographers that you’d like to work with?
JR: To be honest with you, since I started I have just been so blessed to work with amazing photographers. I just hope that my luck continues and I have the opportunity to work with even more!
B: Can you list 5 things about yourself that even those who know you would be surprised to learn?
1. I am incredibly self conscious all the time
2. I still sleep with a Teddy bear. His name is Dilly Bob
3. I am emphatically opposed to being late
4. I have absolutely no game when it comes to guys. At all!
5. When I was little I wanted to grow up to be a dog.
B: What can we look forward to in 2012 from you?
JR: Hopefully lots! I have two more shoots lined up for January and February so hopefully you won't forget my face too soon J
©2011 – Sean Dibble