By Tom Peaks @MrPeaksNValleys
Every time an image of male model Patrick Clayton crossed my social media timeline, I always found myself having to stop and pause. It was quite simply too easy to fall prey to those Hollywood matinee idol good looks. He has such a handsome and earnest…almost wholesome… face that I often wondered what he’s like as a person. To be honest, I was cynical. I should have known better–as it turns out, he’s a sweet Georgia Peach. He bubbles over with personality and sincerity…and seamlessly captures your attention. There is a long, rich tradition in the Southern USA of witty, vibrant storytelling. A tradition of weaving together an oral story that captivates and entertains for hours. I think some of that tradition lies within Patrick…and I doubt he even knows it.
Recently, while visiting New York City, Patrick got to shoot with talented photographer Thomas Synnamon. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Synnamon is based in Union City, NJ and has worked for over a decade in the fashion industry between NY and NJ. Synnamon is known for shooting dramatic images of men with an emphasis on body and beauty. His editorial-fashioned style shoots are very popular with leading modeling agencies.
Enjoy our exclusive interview with Patrick Clayton accompanied by the amazing images from Thomas Synnamon. In a few photos, you will find Patrick posing with model Lucas Bloms.
Some basics — what is your age, weight and height? Hair & eye color? Birthday? Who represents you? What is your hometown and current residence?
I am 23 years of age; I weigh around 185 on an average week, though it was just Thanksgiving, so that estimate may be a bit low at the moment. My hair and eye color are both brown, and I stand at 6’2″ height wise. I am represented by Good Talent Management, among a smattering of other agencies across the states, including Front, Soul, Two, Directions, and a few others. My home was, is, and forever shall be Lawrenceville, Georgia; however, I currently reside in Macon Georgia, when I’m not out gallivanting across the country.
How did you get into modeling, Patrick?
The first thoughts of modeling started seeping into my mind when, as a lifeguard, I would have mothers coming up to me to ask if I would be willing to take pictures with their daughters with growing regularity. I decided, surely if I can have this effect on total strangers on a regular basis, someone out there would be willing to pay me for it. Little did I know that most people expect that sort of thing to be done for little to no compensation.
What are your modeling goals and why do you like modeling so much? How do you feel about the sexy shoots?
I suppose the most modest of my modeling goals would be to find some way of making the amount of work I put into my craft worth my while. I would consider myself lucky if I were to somehow get the word out that models, even those just starting out, have to eat just like everyone else. From the expectation of performing free test shoots, to the downright repugnant amount of time it takes to get paid when I am fortunate enough to book an actual paying job, most of my money is made through the back breaking, character building work I do with model catering.
“I’d say that I like modeling mostly for the opportunity to travel to exotic places. While I hate being away from home for such long stretches, the amount of scenery I’m able to take in certainly makes it more bearable. I also appreciate the amount of life lessons it has taught me. I’ve been able to learn so much about what’s truly important in life, and I definitely see that as a blessing.” —Patrick
How do I feel about the sexy shoots? By that I have to assume you mean the shoots in which I wear minimal clothing. Those, I find to be an unfortunate necessary evil. If I were being paid for all of the naked shoots I’ve done, I may be able to sleep a little better at night, but instead, I have to explain to my family and friends that I am tottering on the knife’s edge of my work being considered as pornographic, merely because that’s what it takes to get noticed and to be taken seriously in our backward society. I would personally consider my “sexiest” shots to be those that are capable of capturing my personality shining through the image. Unfortunately, instead of putting me in clothes that make me feel comfortable, and waiting for my inevitable charisma to come out while shooting, I am often asked to strip, and look at the camera as if I am angry at it. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of what I have accomplished in building my body, and I love sharing those accomplishments with the world, but tastefulness and class go a long way in my opinion. I’ve found that models don’t have much of a voice when it comes to the images that are taken of them though, because they are praying that the photographer likes them enough to hire them for the ever elusive paying gig, and they’re afraid that if they speak up about their dislike of the content, they’ll be labeled as a prude, and will consequently earn even less work.
Interesting perspective, Patrick. How do your family & friends feel about you modeling? I read where you come from a family of teachers.
I do indeed come from a family full of teachers, and they feel much the same way as I do. They are more than happy that I’m able to follow my dream, and while they support me every step of the way, they too wish I had more to show for the last year of flaunting my naked body in front of any pair of eyes capable of conducting a Google search. Recently, my eldest brother has begun to see a following pop up among his female high school students, and it quickly becomes an awkward situation for him. One in which he then has to explain to his colleagues. Teenage girls may not have the mental maturity to view my work in a reasonable manner, and I regret that my career choice has brought stress to my brother’s door step. When I came into the industry, I had aspirations of using my face and body to help sell products: clothing, transportation, food. You name it, and I’m confident that I could produce a look that could help it sell. What I did not foresee, however, was the expectation that I sell sex itself. I see that form of modeling as the dark shadow of the industry, and I regret that I have to wade through the shadows before being given a chance to shine in the light.
So, what are one or two highlights of your modeling career thus far? What photographers would you love to shoot with?
The most successful campaign I’ve done happened to be one of the most joyous as well. I shot with Bruce Weber for a weekend-long Land’s End campaign. The people I got to meet and the mise en scène of the pictures made for an unforgettable experience. It was a brief taste of everything I had hoped modeling would entail. They put us up in an incredible resort down in the Florida Keys, and had an insane spread of food on set at all times. I’m not sure how I kept from gaining twenty pounds that weekend. They even had a dance instructor there to give us fun lessons, while we were waiting to shoot. I must say, my improved skill on the dance floor that I earned that weekend was evident at my sister’s wedding about a month ago.
I have arguably shot with some of the greatest photographers this world has to offer, so when I look to the future, I honestly just hope for any photographer that treats me with respect and doesn’t just assume I’m some slow minded model who’s simply there to get naked. I have made quite a few genuine connections and even friendships with a handful of the photographers I’ve shot with, so when meeting new artists in this field, I simply hope that they are a chill person that I can easily get along with. The images always turn out better when there is a healthy amount of deference between the virtuoso and their muse.
I saw where you suffer with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). What is that like for you and how has it impacted you?
I was diagnosed with ADD at a young age. It has undoubtedly been a source of struggle with great frequency over the years, but I decided early on, that I would not allow myself to be defined by my disorder. There have been plenty of times in which I’ve been tempted to use it as an excuse as to why I wasn’t reaching my full potential, but at the end of the day, a lot of what makes you the person you are is who you aim to be despite your built-in obstacles. I believe in striving for greatness no matter what’s trying to keep me from the finish line. It is so easy to succumb to stultification when sitting around and mulling over the odds that are stacked against you. I say stack those odds on your shoulders and bring them along with you to the top of the mountain. I may get distracted at times, I may misplace my belongings far too often, and I may not be able to see some projects through to their full fruition, but as far as I’m concerned, if those are the greatest of my worries, then I’m a fortunate man indeed.
Patrick, what are some jobs you have had before? And what is this about being a knife maker?
I’ve held a plethora of different jobs ever since I was fifteen, and I am more than thankful for the life experience and the strong work ethic that I was able to glean from each one. I started as a neighborhood lifeguard, which I quickly upgraded to the position of a county pool lifeguard. I guarded for a total of probably six or seven years. It was by far my favorite job, and many of my lifelong friends were made while rotating from stand to stand. I’ve also found employment in the following: lawn care, waiting tables, bartending, catering, being a YoungLife leader, a shirtless store greeter, a high school referee, and yes, even a knife maker. Although, I would really consider the latter as more of a hobby. I became good friends with my manager at the pool I worked at, and after reading a chapter that revolved around the forging of a sword in one of the books from The Inheritance Cycle, I was hooked on the idea of someday forging my own sword. It was all I could think about for a while, which is common for me when it comes to new challenges, and after a fairly extensive amount of research, I decided it was a goal worth setting. It didn’t take much convincing for me to get my manager, Adam, to embark on a journey with me, in which I promised the pursuit of ancient knowledge and the ability to create functional art. We stoked a deep passion for the art of blade smithing, and we were able to turn out a decent amount of knives. We were able to stretch our creativity to incredible lengths, because we were making everything with found resources or the cheapest possible option. We fabricated a 2 X 72 inch belt sander (which typically cost around $1,000) out of nothing more than a severe sense of determination, scrap metal, and the repurposed motor of my mother’s treadmill. Our forge was created using some tubing, duct tape, a five dollar hair-dryer, and a hole dug into my back yard. We went from practicing on scrap metal until we were cranking out shivs that could almost pass as knives to making intricately ornate weapons that made one of a kind gifts for friends and family alike. We never earned a profit off of what we made, but I gained a familiarity with failure, perseverance, and pride. More importantly, I gained a brother in steel as we called it, and I will cherish Adam’s friendship for the rest of my life.
You sound like a MacGyver! Describe your personality.
While most people tend to assume I’m arrogant before getting to know me, it seems I am destined to have to prove to the world that there is a significant difference between arrogance and confidence. I have always found that I have a tendency to be naturally good at whatever I try, and the things I do struggle with typically turn out to be my favorite activities to practice. I take an incredible amount of pride when I can master something new, and my determination to do so is often feverish. I have a rather quick wit, and it is always my goal to make people laugh. I am loyal to a fault, and my circle of friends has never been given a reason to doubt that fact. I try to be the hardest worker in the room, and I abhor lying. My personality has really been able to blossom over the past couple of years, as I was fairly shy in my adolescence. I wouldn’t talk much around people I didn’t know, and I had trouble making eye contact. It finally hit me that this was a major flaw in my character, so I resolved to work on it. I would practice being better about it while working my jobs, and I am so relieved that I did, because now, I’ll meet someone, and by the end of the day, I’ll have them confiding in me personal details about their lives as if we’ve been friends for years. I’m always willing I to share advice, and I’m equally as good at knowing when a listening ear is all that is needed. I accept advice from any source with a humble outlook, and I treat everyone I meet with as much respect as I possibly can. I have never been known to have a temper that is beyond my control; unless it is on the volleyball court. Something about that sport gets me going, and I become unreasonably competitive when I play it. Knowing this, I try to make sure I warn everyone before playing with them that if I say something unkind while in the heat of the game, they should ignore it, because it’s totally just the adrenaline talking. Let’s see, what else? I love being active in any way possible, and I love reading books. Science fiction/fantasy is my favorite genre. It’s fair to say that I try very hard to be a good guy in all accounts.
Now, the Flash Bulb round…fast, short responses:
—Favorite All-time movies for these genres:
a) Comedy: Tommy Boy
b) Action/fantasy: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, specifically: The Dark Knight.
c) Tearjerker film: Tears? What are those? Just kidding! Interstellar made me cry harder than I have since I was a little girl.
–Favorite college and pro sports teams?
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been one to watch sports very much. I was always more concerned with getting out and playing them. I suppose I hold loyalty to Georgia teams: UGA, Georgia Southern, and the Atlanta Falcons. –What do you wear to bed?
The bare minimum.
–Favorite sin food?
It would be easier to ask me to describe my entire diet, but I suppose if I had to pick a food I wouldn’t want to live without, it would have to be Waffle House.
–What 2 physical features do people compliment you on the most?
I have memories of being asked to lift up my shirt and show off my abs from as early as elementary school. I also have many a memory of being referred to as chicken legs. Both served well as sources of motivation, and so, I consider them both to be compliments.
–What 2 exercises do you personally find most beneficial?
I’ve fallen in love with running lately. I’ve always been a runner to some extent, but recently, I’ve really become enthralled with it. The second exercise I find to be the most beneficial would be biceps. Gotta love when your sleeves are huggin’ the guns.
–Dream city to do a photo shoot?
Eagle Creek Oregon. I went hiking there in the last year and was blown away by the beauty of it.
–On the Modesty Nudity Scale, rank your level of nervousness (1=none, 10=very)?
In high school, I dove for two years, and learned to do death defying stunts in a speedo. After that, nakedness was just another day at the pool. So… 2?
–Most accurate & least accurate stereotype about male models?
Most accurate: models are desensitized to nudity.
Least accurate: every model is unintelligent and/or lazy.
–If you could adapt one political or social cause, what would it be?
I’ve seen how the top one percent live, and it makes me hurt all the greater for the incredible amount of homeless people we have in this nation. There has to be a solution, that at the very least can put a roof over their heads, and food in their stomachs.
To reach out to Patrick Clayton on social media, go to:
To learn more about Thomas Synnamon, go to: