On Fire in the Heartland;
Meet Actor/Model Jordan Woods Part I
Eyes full of stars! A heart full of dreams! Jordan Woods comes struttin’ down the boulevard –the walkway of the stars– with a vision of his name in lights reflectin’ off the cars! and positive energy, Jordan has made huge career leaps in a matter of months. A down-to-earth perfectionist with small town friendliness and ambitious dreams, Jordan has been working regularly as an extra on popular TV programs. Currently, he has a role on the hit show, “Empire”, as a dancer. With various American projects already in development, he is taking time off from Hollywood to go Bollywood. That’s right! Jordan is heading to Mumbai, India to work on several projects this Spring and Summer. At the same time, he is turning a lot of heads in the states with his stunning modeling portfolio.
Today, as I present PART ONE of my Jordan interview as we bring you some images shot especially for PnV/Fashionably Male by talented and dedicated Chicago photographer, Joem Bayawa. In many images, Jordan is wearing underwear from Marcuse Australia. Let’s meet Jordan through words and visuals. Enjoy!
So, first some basics. What is your age, weight, and height? Hair/eye color? What agency represents you? What is your hometown & current residence?
I am 21 years old. I stand at exactly 6’ and weigh in at 175 lbs. My hair and eyes are both very dark brown. They get lighter in the summer time because of the sun, but in the winter time my eyes and hair almost look black. My home town is a very small town in Indiana called Brookston. It is about 15 miles North of Purdue University. I still currently reside in my hometown, but I spend most of my time in Chicago. I have considered getting my own place, but it would be pointless at this time in my career because I’ll be traveling abroad very frequently. I am currently, and have always been, represented by Evolution Talent in London. I just recently got signed to Urban Model Management in India, so I’ll be over there for 3-6 months in the spring/summer of 2016.
At what point did you decide you wanted to act and model?
I made my decision to chase my dreams of being a model and an actor full time in the summer of 2015. This is the first year in my whole entire life that I haven’t attended school. It felt weird at first, but I am definitely not complaining!! I was attending Purdue University for pre-chiropractic. I thought being a chiropractor was my dream job, but we are constantly growing as people. We never really develop our true personality until our late 20’s, so we often tend to change our minds in our early stages of development. I am certain now that this is what I’m passionate about, and the only thing I regret is not taking action sooner.
How did you go about breaking into acting? Modeling?
I always had a dream of being a model, so I decided I would give it a shot because I was always told I have the looks for it. Well, I did my first photo shoot with the amazing fitness photographer, Pat Lee. When I received those pictures back from Pat, I put them on a popular model-listing website. From there, I was discovered by Leon Burton, who is my agent/manager at Evolution Talent. He took me under his wing and has put many hours into building me up to the professional model/actor I am today. He is always looking at my long term career and not just the now. Many agents today just look at models as money, and not how they can make their career successful in the long term. That’s why i will always value and respect Leon’s way of managing my career because I know he has my best interest at heart. He is actually the only reason I got into acting, and I am so thankful that he pushed me so hard to do so. If you’re in the industry, then you know that it is extremely hard to live off the earnings of a model. Plus, a model’s career is very short, where as you can be any age to act. That is why he convinced me to take up acting. I have worked on various TV shows filmed in Chicago. I have many things that are in the works, but I’ll update all of you on them when things are confirmed.
I know you love being the center of attention, Jordan. Does your passion for playing to the camera go deeper than that?
I don’t have a problem admitting the fact that I do love being the center of attention, but I am honestly the sweetest and most humble person you will ever meet. I’m not a model/actor because I want the fame or money, it goes way beyond that. I chose this career because it is truly what I am passionate about. This is truly an art and not everyone can do this. The thing that I try to achieve when I shoot is capturing the shots or moments that I believe express who I am as a person. My look is very innocent and boyish, so I always keep my work classy and tasteful. It is always a challenge when you have to express different emotions because it’s impossible to fake them. You have to have every part of your body believing that the emotions are real, and that is why I think this is truly an art. You have to take yourself to a place that you actually felt those emotions, and that in itself will get you into character. This is one of the reasons that all models should try acting because it makes modeling so much easier!
You have made numerous appearances as an extra on popular TV shows like Empire, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Shameless. Tell us what it’s like being an extra.
Being an extra does have its pros and cons. It is an amazing experience to see what all goes into filming a major TV show. It gives you a real appreciation for actors because it takes very long hours to get everything perfect. When I was doing an episode for Empire, we were on set for about 22 hours, and that’s not rare. After being an extra, I have a lot of respect for them because it really is hard work. Obviously having a major role is a lot more fun, but I am glad I was able to experience what it’s like being an extra because I have a deeper appreciation for their work. Without extras, the TV show or movie wouldn’t be possible because there would be so much empty space. So, pay attention to that next time.
What was your favorite appearance where you got the most camera time on an episode of a TV program?
My favorite role was when I did my principal role for “Empire.” I was a dancer on the show, but unfortunately I can’t explain it in full detail because it hasn’t aired yet. You’ll have to wait until my episode comes out :). It is always fun working on the big name TV shows because you know everything that is going to happen, so watching previous episodes lets you think about how your scene will fall into place. Also, the role that I am most excited about is the one for the TV show “MIA” which will be filming this August in North Carolina. I’ll be playing a cop named Officer Scott. That will be a very fun role because I think it suits me well.
In what genre of acting, do you think you would be an ideal fit?
I can see myself in action, adventure, and drama movies. I’m a very sarcastic and funny guy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I was in a comedy as well. I have this vision in my head and it looks amazing, so hopefully I can make it happen sometime soon. I could see myself perfectly in a war movie as a young soldier just joining the military. I think I could kill that role! You’ll just have to keep your eyes open because I’ll be on the big screen in the near future for sure! There are things in the works right now, but I’ll be sure to update all of you when the time gets closer.
Jordan, one of your first big shoots in modeling was with Pat Lee. You were so green. Tell us about that experience.
I did indeed have the privilege of having my first ever photo shoot with Pat Lee. He is just as amazing as his work is! Obviously, it was new to me and I needed a lot of instruction, and he was great at telling me what I needed to do. He is definitely an A+ photographer who knows a thing or two about photography :). The pictures Pat and I did together are actually the reason me and my agent met. So, if I would not have done the shoot with Pat, then I may not have ever chosen to pursue my dreams. That is just a prime example of the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” I have come a long way since that shoot, and every photographer that I have worked with thus far has contributed to my success.
More recently, you shot with Joem Bayawa who is known for mentoring young models. What is it like to work with Joem?
Joem is such an amazing photographer. He puts so much work into his art, and that’s why he is able to create such magical work. I would consider Joem way more than just a photographer to me. He is a great mentor, photographer, networker, and best friend. He has introduced me to many people within the industry and even promotes my work all over social media. He even helped grow my social media by introducing me to the networkers that solely deal with models. That in itself has offered me great exposure and allowed me to meet some incredible people. In fact, I wouldn’t even be doing this incredible interview right now if I hadn’t worked with Joem. As far as doing photo shoots with him, he makes it so easy and enjoyable. He coaches you through, demonstrates posing ideas, sets the mood, and I don’t think I have to mention how great the after product always is. We just let the work speak for itself. Joem will always be a part of my success because he has helped me so much along the way. I appreciate everything he has done for me, and I love the fact that he wants me to succeed just as badly as I do! I always say that Joem and I are the dream team because every time we are together, we always create so much amazing work! I honestly get so motivated before a shoot with him because I already know that it’ll be a success before the first shutter sound. No matter what states or countries I go to, I’ll always come back to shoot with him. I would recommend him to absolutely everyone and anyone.
You do fashion and fitness modeling? Do you have a preference? Is one easier to do?
When I first stepped into the modeling world, I had my mind set on being just a fitness model because I love the fitness lifestyle. It didn’t take me long to realize that fitness models are very limited on what kind of work they can get. The fashion industry is so much bigger and in more demand than the fitness industry. It is great to do both though because having a nice body makes you look more appealing, and obviously opens you up for more opportunities. You just have to make sure you’re not too muscular for fashion modeling because you have to fit in the clothes. Measurements are SO important, and you will get turned down by people if you’re not the right size. I will have to say that I prefer fashion modeling because you can do so much with clothes, and it can change your look so much. It just fascinates me that you can change one element of an outfit and create a brand new look. It’s so much easier to pose for fashion opposed to fitness because you can play with the clothing and be creative with it. Fashion modeling also gives you a chance to show the world your own style. Clients love to see models that are versatile and able to achieve different looks. I will have to say that I have a lot of respect for fashion designers because I still struggle sometimes when I shop for clothes. So, if anyone wants to help me shop for clothes, hit me up!! 🙂
Who are some photographers whom you dream to shoot with some day?
I can’t really say that I dream of shooting with any photographers because I’m sure I’ll be shooting with the top photographers very soon. There are a few photographers whom I admire for their work and hope to shoot with in the near future. One of them is Brian Jamie. I really love his work, and he is a very sweet guy. Sometimes I’ll scroll through his instagram and say to myself, “yep, I want to do that, that, that, oooh and that!” He’s just very creative and tasteful. So, that is a win win in my book. Aside from Jamie, I’d also love to shoot with Scott Hoover, Mario Testino, Steven Klein, Alice Hawkins, Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca, and Joseph Sinclair. Obviously as my modeling career keeps moving up to new levels, it’s important that I always continue working with photographers that are going to help me learn and progress forward. That is the reason why I really want to shoot with these photographers in the near future because they’re very established. I know I don’t have to mention how great all of their works are because all of these photographers are icons.
Jordan, you’re so enthusiastic and ambitious in pursuing your dream. Tell us how hard you’re willing to work and the lengths you will go to in order to succeed.
A very common thing people say is, “I’ll do anything to make it.” I used to say that, but over time I have discovered my self-worth. I really value who I am, and I would never sell myself for money or fame. If you’re familiar with the modeling world, then you know the dirty behind it all. I have received offers from many people for things that were tempting when I first started, but I turned them down because I really value myself. The mistake many people make when they first start out is jumping at the opportunities to make money because they have a desirable look and body that people will pay large sums for. What they don’t realize is this type of action will stay with you forever. Regardless of what you do and where you do it, someone will know, and then everyone will know. If you want to make it big, then you can’t have any mishaps ruining your reputation or your career. There isn’t a shortcut to anything. Hard work is the only real proven way to get anything you want. I do everything in my power to be the best version of myself. I don’t care if I’m not as good as someone else; if I’m better than who I was yesterday, then that’s a success to me. I travel to Chicago on a daily basis to work on various TV shows and doing multiple photo shoots weekly. Sometimes I won’t get done filming a show until 3 in the morning, but I still drive 2 hours home because I am determined and dedicated. If you want something bad enough, then you’ll do what you have to do to make it happen. Just make sure you’re doing the right things. So, I’m constantly putting in the time and the work, and it’s the best feeling in the world to finally see all of your hard work pay off. Also, I’ll be venturing out and going to India for 6 months to chase my dreams even further. So, I will do anything I have to do to make it, just as long as it doesn’t over step my morals and values. If you can lay your head down at night or look yourself in the mirror every day and be proud of who you are, then you’re doing the right thing. Always make sure you stay honest with yourself and true to your real dreams. You’re the only person that controls your happiness, so whatever you choose to do in life, make sure it’s something you want to do forever.
COMING SOON: Part TWO of our interview with Jordan Woods, so stay tuned.
You can find Jordan Woods on Social Media at:
Talented freelance photographer Joem Bayawa is a man beloved by his models, who found his true passion in taking photos of people. Currently based in the Chicago; his expertise is in portraiture, fashion, glamour, fitness and male physique. He is adept at helping young models prepare for the industry and produces striking images.
You can find photographer Joem Bayawa on Social Media at:
Underwear by Marcuse Australia: