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Tony Ward

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2011 AugustINTERVIEW FOR GOOD2B/ Spain


Tony Ward, returns for his fourth season as the face of Wrangler Blue Bell. Ward is one of the world's best-known male models, with a career dating back to 1981. California born and raised, Ward has worked with more international brands than you can shake a stick at, and photographers including David LaChapelle, Karl Lagerfeld and Mario Testino. Blue Bell shoots are typically physical, and Ward always delivers. No stand-ins are used to make Blue Bell's films or photographs. For real that's Tony Ward smacking into the concrete.

Blue Bell shoots are always action-packed, does that appeal to you?

Tony Ward Yeah, I love personal violence. I like beating myself to a pulp and the girls [photographer-directors Petrovsky & Ramone] and Wrangler come up with really fun things to aid me in beating the shit out of myself.

So you'd be doing it anyway?

Yeah, I'm always running into walls and crashing my car and stuff like that, for fun… stumbling down stairs – which they haven't had me do yet, but I'm just waiting for that one.

Your modelling is more like acting, especially for Blue Bell. Is that a conscious decision or just what the situations require?

At a certain point (in my career) I realized it was a little bit boring to be just, like, an inanimate object. I had to make it fun, modelling. It's interactive. If you get involved it's more fun for you.

So do you prepare a character or…?

I'm just more of a cartoon character, I like to go over the top a little bit. And I assume that's why I'm around after 30 years…

You live in LA now?

Yeah, I'm bouncing all over the world. But LA's been my home since 1987.

Where else do you like?

I like London a lot. But in this job you're bouncing all over the place. I worked a lot in Sweden. I really like Sweden. I like Berlin. And Paris is great. I like the old world, cos we don't have it at all [in the U.S.]. But the thought of living in Europe is a little much, cos it's not what I know. God drops you where you're supposed to be, where your home's supposed to be. But I like different cultures. My ex-wife is Japanese, and I've spent a lot of time in Japan, in the countryside, and it's amazing to do that, to explore different realities.

You're playing an artist – metal sculptor David Buckingham - in the FW11 Blue Bell shoot. Any experience in metal cutting or tearing up cars?

I am an artist, so it's more life. It's awesome. [blue Bell] always comes up with really interesting stuff to do. I actually have welded before as an artist. It was a while ago - I'm not any great welder. But I did it, and really loved it. And it's really dangerous (laughs). And I used to play in junkyards as a kid, so I smashed a few cars up in my youth. Not intentionally – not road rage!

Talk us through the FW11 shoot for Blue Bell.

Petra and Ramona are making me do crazy stuff again, like always. No diving on the pavement this time, thank god, but I've been chopping up cars with big heavy duty grinders, gasoline-operated power tools. I was plasma cutting sheets of metals, cutting out letters to honour Blue Bell. And the normal jumping around, acting like a crazy Blue Bell fanatic.

You're wearing a Blue Bell jacket today; did you have a feeling for the Wrangler brand before you started modelling for Blue Bell?

They have my initial [W] plastered all over the clothing!

What's the favourite thing you've done on a Blue Bell shoot?

I think diving off of the crane tower for FW10. When I was a kid, I was into gymnastics and we had stairs in our auditorium about the height of one floor. And I'd always pull the big mat over and be doing dives off of it and landing on my back and stuff. So that was like a flashback. The first thing I wanted to be, I didn't want to be an actor or anything like that; in high school I was obsessed with stuntmen. I wanted to be a stuntman. So it kind of worked out. Because I like diving onto concrete (laughs). When you've done that a few times it kind of hurts.

Do you enjoy this stuff because you're a big kid, or it is more animalistic?

I relate more to an animal. I'm like a big monkey. You know, rolling around with each other - it's awesome, just being animalistic.

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