Mr. Pro Player

A few weeks ago, I talked about my amazing experience with Pro Player. This week, the website launched – http://www.proplayer.com . Even though this isn’t my company, and most likely, my dealings with the company as a model will end sooner than later, I feel very invested in this brand. Pro Player believes you are a pro in real life – whether you’re a carpenter, a banker, or a chef. So you should dress like the pros when you go to workout or after work.

Thanks to Rita, and Jeff Staple, and all of the great people at Pro Player. Also, I’d like to thank We Are Not Pilgrims, and the good folks of the New York Mets and Citi Field.

Becoming a PRO

One of the goals I set in modeling a while back, was to work closely with a sports brand. As a former college football player (We Are P.S.U.), I thought it would be an easy fit, between an athletic brand and I. However, with my first few years of modeling, I’ve only worked sparingly with brands like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. I’ve done catalog pieces for Under Armour and Nike, but never really nothing extensive, like exclusive content.

That all changed earlier this year, once I started working with Pro Player.

Anyone who grew up as a sports fan during the 90’s remembers Pro Player. They are the company who brought you all of those cool team merchandise -thats actually regained popularity as “retro” gear. The Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins, also played in Pro Player Stadium for nine years.

The brand was recently purchased by Perry Ellis, and is currently being re-branded, re-packaged, and hitting shelves in 2017. And I’m apart of the team thats helping the comeback.

Since, January, I’ve shot with the brand three times. Each time, getting more in-depth, with better products, and more momentum. It’s been awesome to be apart of a brand from the beginning. Even though Pro Player has been around for 30 years, its new and improved with a new motto, “In order to be a Pro, You have to train like a Pro”. Working alongside, the amazing creatives Rita O’brien and the “God” himself, Jeff Staple (he’s known for the Pigeon collaborations with Nike, Fila, and Puma, among other things), we have been able to bring a new image to a classic brand.

20160627_143018

“G’s in the house!” Jeff Staple & I at S10 Gym in NYC

Showcasing slick designs, and fly patterns, Pro Player is looking to make its mark through athletic gear at affordable prices, making it easier for you to look good while you train, without going broke trying to do so.

The first shoot we did was in a studio, in Brooklyn.

The second shoot we did, we moved to it to the famous, S10 gym. The latest installment, soon to be released, we filmed at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.

I would’ve loved to get in on some of my favorite brands, like Nike or Under Armour, but I would’ve been another face, in a gear that everyone knows and will sell no matter what. It’s pretty epic to be apart of a brand new process, as the face of the brand! Besides, none of those companies would have 10 foot posters of me hanging around their headquarters.

Summer in Cali Pt. 3

For anyone who follows my page, or knows me, knows that ever since I started modeling I try to work in different markets whenever I can. Miami slows down in the summer, and I like to travel to experience other cities and possibly work with my other agencies. Hopefully, I can work a few jobs, I try to set up a few shoots to create in between time, and ideally, my family can come visit me. Last summer, I spent a little over 8 weeks in New York City through my agency, Fusion. This summer, I chose Los Angeles to work with my agency, Vision.

By the end of July, I had worked one job via my Miami agency, had one casting, rented a car, made the commute to LA a few times, but thats it – no bookings from Vision, no test shoots, nothing. At this point, if this was a basketball game, I’d be having a horrible shooting night heading into the 4th quarter, down by 15 points. But the only way to change a bad shooting night is to keep shooting, and thats what I planned to do.

I started reaching out via Instagram to several locally based photographers. I was sliding up in DM’s like I was Yo Gotti, hitting up whoever had dope pictures featured on their timeline. Only three replied – Mike Lerner, Storm Santos, and Maxwell Poth.

People always ask me, “Do you get to keep the clothes on your shoots?” Well, sort of. I book a lot of jobs, where Im paid well to do something I enjoy, but 90% of the time I’m not keeping the clothes.However, most of my portfolio consists of my own work. Shoots that I’ve paid for out of pocket, which include the styling, and honestly, I rarely return the clothes. Backtrack to my luggage dilemma on my journey out to LA, and know I was trying to pack as strategic as possible – which meant my clothing options mostly consisted of plain t-shirts, a few pair of jeans, and some sneakers. I definitely wasn’t prepared to style three collaborative shoots. So I went to South Coast Plaza in Coast Mesa, one of the highest grossing malls in America, and I got to pulling clothes for myself. After five hours, and spending way more than I wanted, I pulled some great pieces from John Varvatos, Zara, Scotch and Soda, and Adidas. And for the first time, I was going to try to do my own make-up, so I dropped some change in Sephora too. I only had two and half weeks left in Cali, so I was determined to make it count.

First up was Storm! Storm (@stormshoots) is an award winning musician, cinematographer, and producer. One of the dopest photographers I’ve ever worked with. We shot at his flat in downtown LA. I didn’t really have a clear inspiration, rather just a desire to create. We chatted for about 30 minutes about life. He took me on a tour of his eclectic collection of superheros and action figures, which included several of my son’s favorites like The Flash. We shot some in studio and on his rooftop, which I found out, is next door to the infamous Cecil Hotel.

 

Next up, was Mike Lerner. Mike is cool ass Republican, and history buff, who used to be Justin Bieber’s tour photographer.  Along with knocking out some great shots, we talked about why he’s a Trump supporter (he was actually pretty logical), talked about movies, and I was bombarding him with history questions. We shot around his place in Fullerton.

 

My last shoot, on my last week in Cali was with Maxwell Poth. Max was gracious enough to fit me in before he hit a surfing road trip down to Mexico. By this point, I was out of ideas, but once I saw his home, the place where we were going to shoot, I became inspired. We talked for about 25 minutes about our experiences, goals for the shoot, and went over wardrobe. I really wanted to knock out some solid body pictures since I was doing two-a-days (sometimes 3-a-days) and I was inspired by a few editorials from my contemporaries.

NYFW ’16: My First Time

This is my third season as a full-time model. However, I signed to Wilhelmina Miami as a model back in 2011- I was working retail full-time and modeling in my spare time. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember asking one of my agents back in 2012, something a long the lines of, “How can I get into runway jobs?”. Her response, was something like, “You’re too old. It’ll be hard for you to do that type of work.”. Mind you, I was only 25 years old, but I’m already considered “too old”. I initially took that as that, and I accepted that I was “too old”. However, not too long after, I started studying the industry. I saw that “older” guys were walking runways, but I was still hesitant because they were mostly guys who were already established, the likes of Noah Mills, Tyson Beckford, Garret Neff, and Tyson Ballou. So despite my agent’s (she’s moved on to another agency) assessment, I made walking in a major fashion week a goal of mine.

It started out pretty rough. In order to overcome that condemnation, I had to practice. The first thing I did was record myself walking; that didn’t go over too well. I had my lady record me on her phone as I used our living room as a runway. As she was recording me, I could hear her snickering, then she just busted out laughing. I was in my feelings at the time, because I’m a former collegiate athlete and I can’t even walk, right? But then I watched the video playback, and it was pretty hilarious. That discouraged me, and I never again had her record me, but I continued practicing. Whenever I would take the trash out, I would use the hallway in our apartment as an imaginary runway. I would suck my stomach in, push my shoulders back and strut from the trash room and back. I would even play a little house music in my head. “Do I swing my arms?” “Should I walk faster?” “Am I walking too manly?” I had no clue how to walk like a model. So I started watching YouTube videos of runway shows. Videos of Sean O’Pry, Garret Neff, Jason Morgan, Alex Lundquvist, Tyson Beckford and others during various fashion shows from London to Paris to NYC.

I eventually started to have castings for runway jobs. I would usually be one of the bigger guys, and also older than most. I wasn’t too confident in my walk, and it showed. I remember feeling so self-conscious at times. A lot of times I was walking in front of a panel of casting directors, so I would try to read their face. Feedback was good, but a lot of times they either knew before I even walked if I was their type and other times I was just too much in my head. But slowly, I started to book runway jobs. My first one was at a charity event inside of this fancy furniture store. The next few ones were actually jobs where I would wear an outfit and walk around the mall, like a moving mannequin. I hated it. At the time, I did it mostly because I needed the money, but I also used it as time to practice walking, and being comfortable in front of people. Looking back those jobs were very valuable.

My first big runway break came last year. I walked the opening leg of The Cotton 24-hour Fashion Show. It was my first major runway experience. My next job was back in July for

<> on July 15, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida.

From the first, Kyboe show in Miami

Miami Swim Week. This was my first runway job for a fashion week. I was elated. I was able to walk for the brand, Kyboe – an up and coming watch brand. I didn’t realize it, but 4 years after being told I was “too old”, I walked in a fashion show during a fashion week (and I got a free watch). I could’ve never imagined that opportunity would lead to what happened next. Kyboe asked me to be apart of their show they were putting on during New York Fashion Week.

This past Saturday, I walked in my very first show during New York Fashion Week. It was an exhilarating experience. As I sat there backstage chatting with everyone, taking pictures, and trying not eat all the snacks, I thought back to what that agent told me. I reflected on practicing in my living room, and in my hallway. I thought about walking around the mall and watching Youtube videos. It all led me to be where I was this past Saturday. Walking the runway was a breeze; it was just like taking out the trash.

 

Summer In Cali: Pt. 1

For anyone who follows my page, or knows me, knows that ever since I started modeling I try to work in different markets whenever I can. Miami slows down in the summer, and I like to travel to experience other cities and possibly work with my other agencies. Hopefully, I can work a few jobs, I try to set up a few shoots to create in between time, and ideally, my family can come visit me. Last summer, I spent a little over 8 weeks in New York City through my agency, Fusion. This summer, I chose Los Angeles to work with my agency, Vision.

My journey to get to LA was a story in itself. In order to prepare for this west coast stretch, I had to pack for a month – which isn’t that difficult, if only I had to pack for one destination. Before I could get into LAX, I would have to travel to DC and NYC. I had a couple days of work in upstate New York, and a wedding anniversary party in DC. If I was only going to LA, I would pack maybe two pair of sneakers, one pair of workout shoes, but now, I had to pack shoes for a party and my “NY-walking around-castings” shoes. And when you wear a size 12, extra shoes take up a lot of space. Throw in my workout clothes, and outfits to satisfy every area code, I had a full backpack, a full carry-on, and full luggage with my first stop being the Big Apple.

This is how my schedule was set up, I got into the city on a Saturday, my job was on that Sunday, then I had four days off, with my next job that Friday, then my flight to LA Saturday, and the anniversary party, in-between, on Wednesday. My plan was to just get my luggage to my mom’s place in DC. I knocked out my first gig, then hopped on the 10:30pm bus on Sunday to DC with all of my luggage (lied and said I was with a friend because MegaBus only allows two pieces including a carry-on). Arrived in DC, around  3:30 am. Went shopping, because the anniversary party was an all-white party (and I always could use an excuse to go to Zara). Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I met my father for lunch – for the first time ever. Just met him for the first time in my life!

20160629_164927

My father & I, meeting for the first time in the city that raised us -Washington, D.C.

Made it to Wednesday- great party. Then hopped back on MegaBus (this time with only my backpack), but not before missing the 4pm bus, that would’ve landed me in the city by 8:30pm. Instead, I had to wait standby for two hours. Finally, I catch the 6:45 and get in by 11. I make my 6am call time, ride an hour upstate. Finish up, get back to the city, catch the 7:30 back to DC, and got in close to midnight. The next day, chilled with my mom, texted and called everyone I missed on this trip back home, then hopped on a 3:30pm flight to LAX!

Arrived in LA by 6 pm, west coast time. Just in time to prepare to celebrate my son’s birthday, which was the next day…

Black Steel

jamesLORENZO-_MG_6836-bw-email-1

photo by @infamouslove

I’ve had a few people ask, why do I use #blacksteel on some of my pictures on instagram  – @mrjameslorenzo ? I came up with the moniker after a workout. I was looking in the mirror and I thought, “Damn I look like a superhero.” I started thinking, I won’t call myself Superman or Iron Man. So I started thinking, I’m black and I’m tough as steel. So I came up with BLACKSTEEL.

Then I took it a step further. In the comedy, Zoolander. Zoolander has a famous look, almost a superpower called “Blue Steel”. All the great models have their “Blue Steel” look, but I wanted to be different. So I have my Black Steel. So there you have it. #blacksteel

jamesLORENZO-_MG_7072-bw-crop-email-1

First NYC Shoot

Recently, I was blessed with my first photoshoot in New York City. It was an awesome experience, as I got to shoot for Perry Ellis’ Savane line. It was a drastic change of scenery for me, going from Miami to New York but I enjoyed it. Im an east coast native so cold weather isn’t an issue with me. I actually yearn for the winter and the fall at times.

IMG_20140108_123223

The shoot was sports inspired. The theme was everyday men, can do extraordinary things. I was able to play lacrosse, do some football drills and jump around all while wearing causal business attire. I look forward to many more shoots in NYC, but I will always remember my first.

IMG_20140109_032959