By Tom Peaks @MrPeaksNValleys
Phil Fusco has been a longtime favorite with fans and photographers. Now 30, Phil has been modeling since he was 17. Known for handing out lots of free fitness advice and appearing in countless sexy underwear shoots with a multitude of brands through the years, Phil sits down with PnV to look ahead and look back at his career in our Fashionably Male interview.
Accompanying this interview, Phil is featured in new photos from a 2017 shoot in California with legendary photographer Scott Hoover. Throughout both of their careers, Scott has found Phil to be a frequent subject to photograph as they have had numerous collaborations….and the great chemistry between the two has always been obvious.
Enjoy Phil Fusco by Scott Hoover:
Phil, you and I have a long history together, almost a decade…hard to believe! Many people may not be aware that my PnV twitter account @MrPeaksNValleys started out as a Fusco Shrine in Jan, 2013. Those were fun times. So, let’s catch up. You went a bit quiet during the last year…so, what’s new in your personal life?
I went quiet for a little because of school and some other things like my personal training business that I have been focusing on.. but, now I am back .. in my personal life nothing too much has changed except for the fact that I am looking more towards careers now. But I have started to really focus a lot on my social media and my other website www.philipfusco.tv
You designed your own underwear line a few years back called Phil City. How involved were you in the design?
Yes, I have. I was involved many ways. I assisted in selecting the materials as well as the making of the design. I was working with some wonderful friends from Canada to achieve the design. The line went well, but there are just a couple of pieces left on philcity.
You grew up in a large Italian family in New York. How big was your family? How would you describe your family life? What values can you specifically point to as coming from your roots?
My family is huge. I have tons of cousins. I love my family and am very big into families. When it comes to judging people, I think the one of the top judgements would be how they feel about family life. The values from my roots are always respect people, especially your elders.
Italian family….hmmm, I’m betting there were a lot of carbs in the Fusco household!
Pasta on top of pasta!
You have had great longevity in modeling, Phil. You were even discovered on Myspace (google it, youngsters). What’s the secret to sustaining a career in modeling for nearly a decade?
Haha yeah Myspace. I even tried to get back into my myspace account, but found it was hacked and nothing much was left over. I don’t really know what the secret is. Just respect people, build bridges, and know your boundaries.
How did your family initially react to all those sexy images and videos? In regards to your career, were they enthusiastic or did they tell you to find a real job?
Those videos and images… They were all supportive about everything I did.
Tell us about your varying physique size throughout your career. What was your smallest and largest size? What do you think is your optimal size?
I have varied a lot probably because I’ve been doing this for so long. I have gone from a 28 waist to a 32 waist.
As a model, you were way ahead of the curve in utilizing social media to engage fans. Today, almost all models use it, even if they think it an evil necessity. Why have you always liked engaging fans? Some models make money on social media now and push hard for followers. From a business perspective, is it a challenge to optimize such a large, loyal fan base?
Social media is pretty much what the world revolves around as of now. Social media makes things possible and connects people from all around the world. Some people hate it and some love it. I love it because it allows me to listen and get ideas from my fans and sometimes if I have a chance respond back to them when I can. I love engaging fans because that is proof that I am not screwing up and doing something right. If they weren’t engaging with me then I probably should re-evaluate what I am doing and take a different approach. I think making money on social media is fair game and some people do that, it’s a good business idea but I don’t do that. I use my media just to engage. And yes it can be difficult to get a loyal fan base, but I am thankful every day for my fans.
I know you once pursued an acting career. What was the most challenging aspect of that?
The most challenging aspect of my acting career was all of the castings followed by all of the work that I had to invest in fine tuning my acting persona.
Several years ago, you toured Germany and Spain for a gay travel company campaign. It looked like a lot of fun. Tell us about that. How was Europe? How did fans receive you?
First of all, Europe was amazing, I love that continent. Germany especially stands out too me because of all the sights to see and I LOVE the accent. The fans received me very warmly and I honestly had the time of my life working for Spartacus. Because of that I was hired to do a club appearance in Rome, so shortly after the Germany trip I found myself in glorious Italy touring, eating and making appearances.
In 2013, you appeared in DNA Magazine with some brilliant images by Simon Le. Tell us about that shoot. Any plans to return to Australia and work with Simon again? He adores you!
Simon lee was amazing to shoot with, I arrived after an acridly long journey and was greeted with open arms from DNA and Simon. After that shoot we reconvened in NYC for a follow up shoot which went fantastic. I would love to shoot with Simon again, so hopefully in the future it’ll happen.
I loved the Gregg Homme underwear campaign you did. Looking back, reflect on that whole experience a bit. You posed for tons of images and the videos were funny and sexy.
The Gregg Homme shoot was super long consisting of photos, interviews for E TV (e talk in Canada) and a long commercial which felt like the filming never ended. The drink in my glass was actually scotch (which I hate) so I did get a little buzz by the time we re did the 50th take LOL.
One of the things I’ve always noticed is that fans admire your decency, honesty, and integrity. In an era of questionable social media facades, you have always seemed like a genuine article. On the one hand, you have never shied away from your faith, but you have also been an advocate for gay rights and you were even a straight male face for the marriage equality movement with NOH8. Explain to fans how a young Phil Fusco evolved into a man who has spent much of his career tightly embraced and engaged with the gay community.
Throughout my modeling career I felt like being engaging and fighting for what I thought was right was imperative. Gay men and women are just people and should not be prejudiced against for any reason. So pretty much the evolution in my career has started from absolute muscle and some part time gigs, to a full time career with one thing in mind which kept me relevant in this industry. That one thing is keeping my morality factor high and staying on the good side of the camera.
You have always been willing to push the envelope with bold images that sometimes included sexuality or nudity. Now, at 30, do you look back on those images with pride or regret? Would you do it all over again or would you opt to be more conservative?
I always wanted to push the envelope to keep people interested in the next endeavor, but with my shoot that included nudity was with a photographer that photographed for an artistic coffee table book. Remember sex sells, but pornography can end a career quickly.
Now, the Flash Bulb Round – quick, short responses to random questions.
- The TWO exercises that you find most beneficial? Bench press and bicep curls.
- Deserted island.You can bring TWO creature comforts from home. What are they? Apple crisp pie, and my favorite reclining chair.
- What body part do you get the most compliments on? Arms.
- Favorite foreign city? Barcelona.
- Since you’re a DJ, what was the best prior decade for great music? Always liked EDM. So this current decade Is my most enjoyable.
- Best male beauty tip to reverse aging? A good diet and omega fatty oils paired with face products.
- What do you wear to bed? Pajamas.
- If you could be an MD, which specialty would you choose to practice? Something in the internal medicine field.
- Favorite actor? Actress? Arnold Schwarzenegger and Melissa McCarthy.
- Give us one quick, random healthy living tip. HIGH PH and fluoride-free water.
Scott Hoover @scotthoover1