Gorgeous Blond Trevor Van Uden in an exclusive Interview for PnV Network (Part I)
By Tom Peaks @MrPeaksNValleys
Trevor Van Uden is more than meets the eye. A sexy blonde collegiate volleyball star in Malibu, Trevor is not your typical beach stereotype….no dudes or brahs from his mouth during our chats! The only thing he has in common with Hansel from Zoolander might be their hair style on occasion. Trevor is well-educated, compassionate, and humble. Everyone I have talked to, who knows Trevor, mentions his kind demeanor. He has two degrees, has posed with the Jenner sisters (Kendall and Kylie) in magazine cover shoots, and he’s even zip lined off the Great Wall of China. Sit back, and get to know the engaging Trevor Van Uden in part one of our two-part interview.
Let’s start with the basics, Trevor, what is your height? Hair/eye color? Ancestry? What is your hometown and current city of residence? What agencies represent you?
Height: 6’2”, Hair: Blonde, Eyes: Brown.
Ancestry: My ancestry for the most part comes from a Dutch background. My father was born in New Zealand and his parents from Holland. On my mother’s side I believe we are pretty mixed with some Irish, German, Spanish, and even Native American.
Hometown/Residence: I was born in Thousand Oaks, CA. I am currently living and spending the majority of my time in New York, NY with occasional trips back to California for work or to go home to see family for holidays.
Representation: New York – Soul Artist Management , Los Angeles – LA Models , Miami – Wilhelmina.
So you stayed close to home for college, attending Pepperdine University in Malibu, where you played 4 years of Division 1 volleyball. Was this in-door or beach volleyball? How did you get into volleyball and why do you like it so much?
I did – it is a beautiful campus and school and I was very fortunate to go there. It’s a smaller private university right across the beach on the Pacific Coast Highway with about 3,000 undergrads. Everyone seems to know everyone, and so you become part of a pretty strong community. I went to Pepperdine to play in-door volleyball, but definitely picked up playing beach volleyball since we were so close. I was fortunate to be able to play for such a great program and to be taught by our coach who was also one of the coaches for the US National Teams.
My passion for volleyball started through my mom. She had played in college and started my siblings and me at a pretty young age. She was always involved in everything that we did, and she lead the youth program in our community and that’s when it really started. I think I continued because I loved the game and loved to compete, but also because of the people who came into my life as a result of playing. I had some really great and influential friends, coaches and mentors — like my club coaches and high school coach who really took me under their wing. They gave me the tools and opportunities I would not have otherwise had, as well as gave me the belief that I could play at a higher level, which lead to the opportunity to play at the University.
So the first person to shoot you was also the person who ‘discovered’ you, photographer Kelley Sane. This was when you were 18 and a freshman in college. What did he say to you? What was your reaction? What did you think of that first shoot now when you look back upon it?
Yes, Kelley Sane. Funny story for sure. I was running down to the gym and on my way I had to cross the tennis courts. As I am crossing the courts, a man catches my eye because I can tell he is making his way towards me. I don’t know him. He catches me as I am running by and we get into conversation. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about them, so I was interested to learn why he had stopped me. He explained he had played tennis at the University when he went there and was now back supporting the team as he had helped train one of the new recruits. At the end of our conversation he asked if I had ever considered modeling. I said that I had not. Actually, I think I laughed! And said, “Who? Me?” I had not really thought about it, other than maybe in middle school when Zoolander came out and a few of my friends gave me the nickname, Hansel, since we had similar hair. To be honest, I definitely did not think you would get started in a career of modeling by some chance encounter with a photographer. He gave me his card and we went on our ways. That day, I must admit that I had no intention of following up with that.
It wasn’t until about 6 months later, over the summer, that I called him up from his card that had miraculously survived pinned up on my whiteboard at home. And it started from there, and he has become one of my closest friends and mentors ever since.
Looking back on the first shoot, I am happy that Kelley had reached out to me and that I was bold enough to go on the adventure, having had no experience or encounter with the industry before that. I think I still have some of those images…
You stayed in school and got your degree in Sports Medicine. Did you model part time during those years? How did you work modeling into your schedule before graduating and moving to NYC?
After the first shoot with Kelley, we made a trip to New York, and got appointments with some of the major agencies in town. We got great feedback; however, shortly after returning home, I learned that I could not actually sign with any of these agencies, because of rules in place by the NCAA. This was unfortunate, because I actually got offered a great job too, but there was nothing I could do… well unless I was willing to give up volleyball all together which would be a difficult thing to do, considering I had worked my life to play in college. I stayed with my passion for volleyball with hopes of starting modeling after I finished up. During that waiting period, however, it was then, that I got started in acting classes outside of the university, which I will admit, at the time was also out of my comfort zone, but had started developing a real passion for it. I ended up taking a fifth year in college, to finish up two degrees in Sports Medicine (B.S. & B.A) and during that fifth year is when I really got started modeling. I made a trip that summer to NY, and that is when I started with Jason Kanner at Soul. He was someone, along with Kelley, who believed in me from early on, and started working from there, doing mostly work in California, while I finished up school.
How did your family respond to the news that you were going to seriously model?
In the beginning, it was something I really kept to myself. No one at home or at school really knew what I was getting into. I didn’t even know what I was getting into, but I was sure in for the ride.
My mom though, when I really started working, she was funny, all she really said was, “as long as you don’t do any underwear things I am OK” – That still makes me laugh.
I know you are close to your family. In fact, you are building a nutritional business together. Tell us about the business and your aspirations for it.
Yes, we do. At the moment because I am in NY acting and modeling, it has taken a bit of a back seat. Helping others get in shape, break down mental barriers, and achieve their health and fitness goals will always be a passion of mine. I still work on a one-on-one basis with a few people, however, I am very focused on building my modeling and ultimately an acting career. We still have locations in our hometown where we hold fitness groups and offer nutritional counseling. At one point my sisters, my dad, our team and I were leading 100 person fitness groups in the park, something we put on for the community as part of a movement towards a healthy and active lifestyle. I believe that health, nutrition, and fitness are very important. I think my love for it stems back to my early volleyball mentors, who taught me a lot about the body, training, and how it can adapt – and at the same time it comes from seeing my family at one point really struggle with their health. Thankfully, as a result of coming together with my dad, and my siblings, and starting a nutrition business, my family has been able to change their health and habits considerably and go on to inspire a big change in our community. It has been really amazing.
Tell us in a broad overview about your fitness and nutrition routine.
I could probably go on and on here but I will keep it brief. I’ve had to switch it up a lot since college but overall, I would say my routine is experimental and I am not afraid to try new things. I love to exercise outdoors, especially when I am home in California. I train 6-7 days a week, with a mix of calisthenics and weight lifting and activities like cycling, running, yoga, and dance.
Nutrition is where I put the majority of my focus and where I believe everyone can get the most benefit.
You have worn many different brands. How does it feel to know a company wants your body and face to sell its styles? Do you just show up at a shoot or do you research ahead to understand the company, the fashion and the image they want conveyed?
First off, I am very grateful for the opportunity to shoot with any of these brands because i know that there are thousands of other guys who would love to be in the same position. So I do not take it for granted.
Early on I don’t think I knew what I was doing, because I definitely just showed up. I remember one of my first shoots through my agency, Soul, was a Ralph Lauren job in Santa Barbara, shooting with photographer Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca and with some very experienced guys. I had shown up with really shaggy hair and just some really comfortable clothes, not really looking the part, I guess you would say. The great part is, whenever you show up on set it’s a learning experience and for the most part all the people, photographers, stylists, other models are all great and real people, so they made me feel comfortable and we had a great shoot.
Now, I would say I do a bit more preparation just to make sure I understand the tone and the theme of the shoot and the brand, showing up looking correct- like I am showing up to work, and understanding who I am working with.
So you have done editorial, fashion, catalog, underwear…the list goes on and on. What do you enjoy the most, Trevor?
They all have different benefits and pros. I love editorials because you get to tell a story with the photographer and stylist, and often times you are wearing some really nice clothes. Catalogue is great because you really get to know who you are working with and have a lot of fun together. Campaigns are fun because often you are on location maybe somewhere you have never been, and you create these scenes with the team and other models on set.
You have also done some videos and I know acting is on your radar. Tell us what you have done to make the acting dream a reality (career choices, training, etc).
Yes, acting. It is a real passion. At the moment, I am really focused on the training, and taking that seriously. Lots of reading, lots of classes, learning from good teachers. I am still in the starting blocks of what I hope to be great and lifelong adventure.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 of our exclusive interview with Trevor Van Uden. Hear about his experiences with the industry’s top photographers, working with the Jenner sisters, his take on nudity, and more.