Handsome Boy Modeling School

By Jack Spilberg

Photo- Terry Richardson

The Handsome Boy Modeling School is back in session with a brand spanking new album entitled White People. This is the Modeling School’s sophomore effort featuring collaborations with a wide assortment of musicians including Pharrell, Jack Johnson, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos. Other notable appearances on the album include reggae legend Barrington Levy, Hall and Oates front man John Oates, De La Soul, Linkin Park vocalists Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington, and RZA from Wu-Tang Clan.

For those who’ve never heard of the group, you must be thinking that it’d take some insanely talented producers to pull off an album featuring such a varied mix of musicians. You’d be thinking right– Handsome Boy Modeling School consists of two of the world’s best producers– Dan (“The Automator) Nakamura and Prince Paul. Paul and Dan are widely known for their brilliant work with artists ranging from De La Soul to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Gorrilaz.

For the Handsome Boy Modeling School project, the two acclaimed producers take on alter egos and become suave, cheese-ball, international men of music and modeling mystery– Chest Rockwell (Paul) and Nathaniel Merriweather (Dan). The following is a brief encounter with these two ultra stylish lady-killers.

Origins

TransWorld Surf: How did the Handsome Boy Modeling School begin, why did you guys get together and create the Handsome Boy Modeling School?

Chest: You’ve got to give a little respect to the fact that we’re both handsome young men and like-minded people tend to be around the same circles. I don’t know if you’ve been reading in the newspapers, but they have this new thing where you can pay money to get some of the first trips that they’re taking to Mars- so I went out to purchase those tickets and in the process of purchasing those tickets, this was like five to six years ago, amazingly enough, I see a very handsome young man– it was Nathaniel Merriweather, and he wanted to purchase the same ticket. So the problem we had at that given time was that there was only one ticket left. Have you heard about this in the news?

Uhhh, sure.

We were trying to figure out who was actually going to get this one ticket. In the process of us talking we realized that we knew the same people, we traveled the same areas, and almost had the same clothes, the same mustache– although I’m a little darker than him, of course. And so we got to talking about being handsome and whatnot, and we ended up deciding to purchase the ticket and give it to charity. And that’s how it all began.

Nathaniel: You know it was a very benevolent moment on Chest’s part because he was really looking forward to traveling. I just wanted to be the first one to scope out the territory.

So it sounds like you two met up and it just clicked, like you were on the same wavelength.

Yeah, it’s just like you work for a surf mag, and you know all the surfer guys hang out together– obviously you have something in common. I’m sure you’re all saying, ‘Let’s surf together.’ So it’s having the same heart, you know, like with the Mars trip ticket– we gave it up, we donated it.

Before you two met and formed the Modeling School, what were you involved with?

Well, we formed the Handsome Boy Modeling School while in the middle of being handsome, and it’s been a number of years where we’ve brought the handsome banner along separately and collectively. We were being handsome in our own way and in our own time, but at the same time handsomeness was always around.

It’s definitely always been around, we just bring it to one concentrated area in courses to the people at large. Myself, before I hooked up with Mr. Merriweather, I was working at a facility for incarcerated women. That was my thing, I was trying to help the world out in the best way I could while being confin to the constraints of this facility knowing that I was good looking, having the women attack me constantly.

I see. So who are your main influences?

The thing is, who is not influential? You might see someone walking down the street that’s not looking particularly handsome, but maybe the way they carry themselves is handsome. The main fallacy with most people is that they don’t bother to observe everybody and realize that there are handsome qualities all over the place.

White People

You guys bounce from all kinds of different music types on the new album, White People- reggae, hip-hop, rock, jazz. Do you guys get bored sticking to one type of music or are you just looking to push the envelope?

I think it’s more of a philosophy. People tend to be like, “I’m a rap producer or “I make rock and roll, but we love music, and why create artificial limitations for ourselves and why not just instead enjoy all the different varieties of music that we’re into?

What are you trying to get across in the new album?

Handsomeness. Every track is very handsome, and that’s probably the thing that unifies it because we did pick a lot of different people from a lot of different places.

The new album is packed with all kinds of guests– Jack Johnson Del the Funky Homosapien, Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand. Out of all these people involved with the album, who would you say is the most handsome?

That would either be Chest or myself.

Other than you guys?

Yes, that is stating the obvious right?

Well, they are all very handsome people.

How was it working with Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand? Does he have good style?

He’s very handsome, always in a suit or something like that. He has a good sense of Glaswegian fashion.

Pharrell is also on the album. Did you know he’s been named the number-one most stylish personality in the latest issue of Complex magazine?

Yes. Well, that’s because we won the last four years, so we were disqualified this year I believe. But yes, he’s a very handsome gentleman.

John Oates is on the album as well. That’s an interesting collaboration. What are your thoughts of the man after working with him?

He’s one of the forerunners of the mustache. He predates the Tom Selleck and the Village People. He’s been very handsome for a very long time.

He’s definitely that guy who’s the forefather of a lot of the trendy and handsome mustache styles. What’s amazing is when I used to play tambourine in the band Hall and Oates, I used to watch him and go “Wow, this moustache is really picking up the women!

Handsome Surfing

Is surfing a handsome activity?

Surfing is very handsome in its own way. Just like if you’re a chess champion– you’re handsome in your way. The Handsome Boy philosophy is handsomeness in every field and in every area. You have to be the most handsome for where you are.

Jack Johnson has deep roots in surfing- he’s currently on tour with a pro surfer/musician Donovan Frankenreiter. Do you guys think surfing is fashionable or in style nowadays?

It’s very handsome as it fits in its own field. You wouldn’t necessarily want to wear the flip-flops and Hawai’ian shorts to a formal dinner, but in its form it’s a very handsome activity.

It is all apropos. Myself, I’ve been a surfer for the last ten years. I’ll be surfing next week here in New York– you may want to check me out down at Coney Island Beach. I’m out there almost every day.

What kind of surfboard do you ride?It’s actually one I made myself. It’s pretty slick. I went to the woods in the back of my yard and found a nice tree and carved it out. It’s pretty old- fashioned it’s part fiberglass and part wood. And I made a shark fin on the back. You’ve got to see it, it’s hot. Come out and see me, we’ll take pictures for TransWorld SURF.

Style And Fashion

Other than you two, who are some of the most stylish personalities in the celebrity world?

Sir Elton John.

He is very fashionable, and once again that’s a question of where you are, because Elton John may be a fashion icon in some areas, but if you were rocking that style in Texas, you might get beat up.

Who’s a good example of a classically handsome individual?

Bea Arthur.

(Laughing) Now there’s a very handsome man.

You guys seem to rock the facial hair- what type of mustache do you recommend?

I think the Redford or the Tom Selleck are definitely “in this year.

I think the Yosemite Sam is going to make a comeback around the year 2006. Look out for that. Especially if you wear your hat real low like the kids are wearing the baseball caps now. It’ll have that same type of vibe to it.

In general, you want to avoid the soul patches and the Hitler.

Yeah, the Hitler isn’t too popular. I think Play from Kid ‘N Play rocked that in the early 90s, and egads, where’s he now?

What’s the most difficult about being handsome: always being the center of attention, fighting off the women, or people being jealous?

Can I mark “D, all of the above? It’s mostly all of the hating. People are fearful. That’s why we have the course, that’s why we do the lecture tours, that why we have the five-part VHS/DVD series that’s out, because we want to teach the world at large that, ‘hey, don’t hate us because we’re beautiful, understand us. If you’re lucky, you can become one of us by paying the 60 dollars and go to the lecture and purchasing the tapes. No assembly required, it’s very easy.’

Do you have any last words of wisdom for your surfer fans?

Don’t fall.

Even though with surfing you’re wearing the minimal amount of clothing so you rock the sunscreen and that’s probably good, because being sun burnt is not being handsome. Just also be aware of how you look and try to match wherever possible. e some of the most stylish personalities in the celebrity world?

Sir Elton John.

He is very fashionable, and once again that’s a question of where you are, because Elton John may be a fashion icon in some areas, but if you were rocking that style in Texas, you might get beat up.

Who’s a good example of a classically handsome individual?

Bea Arthur.

(Laughing) Now there’s a very handsome man.

You guys seem to rock the facial hair- what type of mustache do you recommend?

I think the Redford or the Tom Selleck are definitely “in this year.

I think the Yosemite Sam is going to make a comeback around the year 2006. Look out for that. Especially if you wear your hat real low like the kids are wearing the baseball caps now. It’ll have that same type of vibe to it.

In general, you want to avoid the soul patches and the Hitler.

Yeah, the Hitler isn’t too popular. I think Play from Kid ‘N Play rocked that in the early 90s, and egads, where’s he now?

What’s the most difficult about being handsome: always being the center of attention, fighting off the women, or people being jealous?

Can I mark “D, all of the above? It’s mostly all of the hating. People are fearful. That’s why we have the course, that’s why we do the lecture tours, that why we have the five-part VHS/DVD series that’s out, because we want to teach the world at large that, ‘hey, don’t hate us because we’re beautiful, understand us. If you’re lucky, you can become one of us by paying the 60 dollars and go to the lecture and purchasing the tapes. No assembly required, it’s very easy.’

Do you have any last words of wisdom for your surfer fans?

Don’t fall.

Even though with surfing you’re wearing the minimal amount of clothing so you rock the sunscreen and that’s probably good, because being sun burnt is not being handsome. Just also be aware of how you look and try to match wherever possible.