PnV Interview / Michael Dean:
Mountain Man in The Big Apple
By Tom Peaks @MrPeaksNValleys
In East Tennessee, around every corner is natural beauty and wonders that can awaken your senses — on a distant hilltop, an eagle spreads its wings; honeysuckle vines clinging to fences and barns; crickets singing at the foot of a mountain; fireflies lighting up the summer night sky; cascading waterfalls massaging your soul as you picnic on a wooded trail; and then there is native son, Michael Dean, who has that gentle yet rugged look synonymous with the Appalachians. Michael has a body where the abs and shoulders may fight for your attention, but his baby face and lips give him the total male model package. Michael has left the hills of Tennessee for the Big Apple to embark upon a career in modeling and acting. PnV caught up with Michael Dean for an interview and exclusive photo shoot in New York with the talented lens master, Michael Hallenbeck:
So, first some basics, Michael. What is your age, weight, and height? Hair/eye color? Birthday? What agency (if any) represents you? What is your hometown & current residence?
20 years old
February 28th, 1996
Silver Model Management
From: Knoxville, TN
Live in: Rahway, NJ
Career-wise, Michael, what is your ultimate goal?
So fill in for readers about how you got into fitness competition, and what you have accomplished thus far.
I was a wrestler for 7 years. After high school, I needed to keep training so I got into weight lifting. I have a passion for training intensely and that comes from wrestling for so long. I competed for a year and a half in the NPC Men’s physique and won Mr. Knoxville men’s physique.
So, am I right that your fitness drive morphed into modeling? Michael, tell us why and how you decided to break into modeling.
Honestly I’ve always been told that I should go into modeling; yes my body is what got me into modeling but I now want to go into more fashion modeling rather than just fitness modeling.
What is it that you like so much about modeling?
With modeling I use the best of my talents, it’s like acting and I’m playing a role.
The shoot we are showcasing today was taken my Michael Hallenbeck. Tell us about the shoot – some behind the scenes stories and what it was like to work with him.
This was the first time I had shot with Michael Hallenbeck, and it was a lot of fun. We went around New York to several of his spots to shoot and then took a cab to Central Park. That was my first time being in Central Park and I loved it!
You also just did a shoot by Edwin Lebron for Aronik Swimwear in Puerto Rico. Tell us about that experience.
Edwin is such a good guy and I had so much fun shooting with him. The Aronik team took really good care of me when I was down on the island. I made friends with everyone and we still all stay in touch.
Tell us what kind of modeling work you envision yourself doing, Michael? You have the face of a commercial/fashion model, but the physique says fitness.
I would like to get into more of the fashion and cologne side of the industry.
In the fitness modeling world, you have a very clean, professional, wholesome look…not as rugged as some of your colleagues. Does that work to your advantage?
Yes! I don’t have any tattoos and I’m going to keep it that way! Although I have a muscular physique, I have a boyish face so I use that to go for the All-American boy look. I’d say I’m doing so well so far.
I’m elated that you will never ink that body, Michael! With you being from conservative East Tennessee, how have friends and family reacted to you modeling?
Everyone from back home is very supportive of me. Not many people from where I’m from leave and especially not to somewhere like NYC.
How have you adapted in moving from Tennessee to NYC? What do you miss most about beautiful Tennessee? Is this a permanent or temporary move?
I always felt like I’d fit in better in NYC and I was right. It took me about 45 seconds to adapt to the city and I LOVE it! I do miss the lakes in Tennessee and the outdoors. I used to hike a lot back home so I miss the scenery, but I am here to stay!
Who are some photographers you would dream to shoot with?
Bruce Weber and Brian Jamie are on my list for photographers that I want to work with.
How would you describe your personal fashion style, Michael?
A nice pair of boots, jeans, and a v-neck is my go-to-outfit. Very simple, not too edgy, and All-American.
So, besides modeling, are you also a fitness trainer? Do you also have sponsorships?
I used to be a personal trainer with clothing and supplement sponsorships. However I am transitioning away from that to go into more fashion.
I’m oversimplifying, but what is your approach to fitness? What are the biggest mistakes that obese people typically make besides the obvious?
CONSISTENCY is the biggest key to training. There are thousands of workout and diet plans out there, but everyone is different and you need to find what routine you like, that fits best for you and STICK to it. Being consistent to a diet and training plan will produce results no matter what.
With your own training, what are the one or two exercises that you find most beneficial to your success?
Pull-ups are the best exercise for upper body, and box jumps are the best for lower body. Each of these are very complex compound movements that work multiple muscle groups.
Tell people something off the beaten path that we would be surprised to know about Michael Dean.
Although I have a very ‘clean’ look now, but when I was a young teenager I used to get into a lot of trouble with the law and was a total bad boy!
Now the Flash Bulb Round…..quick, simple responses:
–Favorite all-time movie? Bourne Identity
–Favorite vacation site? Ventura, CA
–Favorite underwear brand & style? Calvin Klein Briefs
–Favorite sin food? Reese’s
–What do you wear to bed? Gym shorts and NO shirt ( I hate wearing a shirt ☺ )
–2 places a first time visitor to East Tennessee must see? Abrams Falls and the Ocoee river
–Your biggest vice? I’m a big prankster so if you’re around me watch out
–What 2 physical features do people compliment you on the most? My lips and my arms
— On the Model Nudity Scale, rank you level of nervousness (1=none, 10=very)? I’m not nervous about my body at all, in fact I’m very comfortable being naked but I just don’t do nudes for personal reasons. So… 1!
–Favorite 2 brands of workout clothes? Jordan and Nike
What is the best way on social media for people to reach out to you?
Direct message on Instagram
You can find model Michael Dean on social media at:
Photographer Michael Hallenbeck is an accomplished NYC photographer who shoots portraits of models, actors and musicians among others. He has a strong eye for detail. And he loves the challenge of shooting outdoors in natural light. He is a perfectionist who calls photography his first, second and last personal interest. Be sure to check out more of his work.
You can find photographer Michael Hallenbeck on social media at: