• Dog Days


    If no one minds, this week I am going to dedicate my blog to just one subject.


    It isn't fashion, cars, lifestyle or an event, but cats and dogs. I'm going to talk to you entirely about Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.


    As some of you may know, a close friend sponsored a kennel for me at Battersea almost a year ago. I was so moved by their work that I wanted to help and make a bigger difference than simply the kennel sponsorship. So now, I am very proud to say that I am going to be the first ever ambassador for the world famous Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. (To be honest, I think the kind people there thought I may never leave unless they gave me a title!)


    I literally cannot leave Battersea until I have said hello and made a fuss of every single dog there. I'm there for hours...and don't ever put me in with the puppies!


    In 2010, Battersea celebrated its 150 year anniversary. Now, if your maths is as bad as mine, that means it opened in 1960 (see told you my maths was bad). I mean 1860 and in that time its aim has always been to never turn a dog or cat away. This means that they care for almost 10,000 animals a year at a daily running cost of about £36,000, all financed by voluntary donations and legacies.


    As you can imagine there are many areas of the home that I could talkabout and raise awareness of. However, there is one particular campaign and issue that really broke my heart from my first few visits to Battersea, so for now, I thought I'd share that with you.


    The dog pictured above is Cleo. She is one of three Staffordshire Bull Terriers who is facing their second Christmas at Battersea. They took in almost three thousand Staffies last year. I know what people think about Staffies - that they have a bad reputation - and believe me, I thought the same. However, from what I have seen on a first-hand basis and from what has been explained to me, that reputation is not reflective of the breed itself, but down to just a few individual cases (bit like us male models really hahaha!). Therefore, Battersea have launched a campaign called 'Staffies. They're softer than you think' helping us to see Staffies in their true light and to make us think again about the breed.


    The Kennel Club describes them as reliable, highly intelligent and affectionate, especially with children - and on my visits to Battersea I can say I was truly astounded by them. They seemed to be the only breed there that come up with ingenious ways of getting closer to the visitors in their kennels and the affection they show is astounding. I guess me, and many others perceive them as rough and tough and vicious when, in fact, they are such softies that the breed doesn't do well in kennels because they miss human affection so much. Ironic, hey? Before their current reputation, they have even been referred to as the 'Nanny Dog' because of their affection and protection of children.


    Take a look for yourself at this link to see Emma and Luke Griffith with Dolly the Staffie (pictured below).



    It really makes one think about why they have developed such a negative perception and reputation, and sadly, this is widely due to some bad owners training them as fighting dogs or using them as a substitute for a gun or a knife. The reality is that these same people often throw them onto the streets for not being tough enough and some Staffies have even been sold on the likes of Gumtree for £1 or swapped for a Playstation.


    Owning a dog is a serious responsibility and you don't need me to tell you how important it is to think carefully about the prospect of looking after an animal and the need to really consider if you are in a position to give it a loving home and the care it would need.


    If you are thinking of owning a dog then I guess what I am trying to say is please make Battersea your first port of call (you may even find me there being a general pain to all the staff). But more than anything, please consider a Staffie! Or, if you know someone who is considering getting a dog then please spread the word about Staffies, send them the link to this blog or to the videos from the 'Softer than you think' page.


    Cleo, and the many others at Battersea, can't explain for themselves how truly wonderful they all are so that's what Battersea are there for - and now me, too - in the hope that she and many other dogs will not have to live alone. I will keep you up to date on my work with Battersea and the exciting things I'm sure I will be taking part in with them.


    I've talked a lot this week so won't be answering any questions, but will try to answer as many as I can directly in the comments page.


    One more thing, I'll leave you with this final picture of Bradley, another Staffie from Battersea that needs a new home.



  • Question Time: Part 2


    So I answer all your questions...and then you go and ask me many, many more! What to do?


    Well, how about I do a little question and answer session at the end of this blog and then from time to time with some of your other questions asked in your comments from now on?


    Last week I was rather shocked as I was included in the Evening Standard's annual '1,000 Most Influential Londoners'. With the likes of Colin Firth, Sir Philip Green, David Cameron and Adele on the list, I was honoured to be among many famous and highly influential names. One question I wanted to ask ES was, "What number did I scrape in at? Was it 999?"


    The problem is, the responsibility to fulfill the accolade now seems to be rather large, no more so than what I
    write on VOGUE.COM!


    It's been a usual, busy week in London this week. Fittings for M&S for the next Collezione shoot in Sicily this weekend and a cover shoot and a profile piece for two magazines. The difference this week is that I have a film crew with me, filming a typical week in my life. It's very personal and something I'm in two minds about.


    My first thought is that is would be a great insight for people into the world of fashion, an industry that not many people have access to. This isn't a bad thing, as the myths and clichés about the fashion world, and the people who work within it (especially male models), are not generally always positive and I would like to dispel these. It is also great exposure for Battersea Dogs' Home (for which I am now an ambassador), and also for my future Blue Steel Appeal charity with Comic Relief.


    On the other hand, does this verge on reality television - something that I have no interest in taking part in?


    I would like to think that it is more a documentary, but what does everyone think? It would be interesting to know your thoughts.




    I'm wondering how your body clock keeps up with your ridiculous travel schedule?
    It does take it's toll, I must admit. I'm also a terrible sleeper at the best of times, 5 hours is about my limit. The worst jet lag is when I travel from LA to London. Because of the 8 hour time difference, you really find yourself awake during the night and wanting to sleep during the day. So I do end up going for runs or being at the gym at some very odd times! During the end of the year though, exhaustion does start to set in and it doesn't matter about where you've travelled or the time difference, I'm just very happy to sleep anywhere and at anytime.


    I'd like to know who is your favorite singer and music are you listening?
    The music I listen to is very diverse but my favourite stuff is still very old school - Nina Simone, Otis Reading, Donny Hathaway and Tony Bennett. However, I do love Janelle Monae at the moment, I think she is a huge talent. I also featured Aloe Blacc when I edited ES Magazine and he's highest up on my playlist at this very moment.


  • Question Time


    I've gone from Milan to London, London to NYC, NYC to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico to Miami, Miami to London and now - London to NYC again. Unfortunately, I think maybe the aeroplane radiation, jet lag and plane food (am I the only person that actually quite enjoys the food?) has finally got me and I can't for life of me think of anything that interesting to write about for this week of just work, work and more...errrr...work! So what's different I hear you ask? I am sworn to secrecy for a while about what I have been working on but will let you know as soon as I can.


    So, I've decided to dedicate this blog to answering the top 10 questions that people have asked within the comments section. Yes, I do read them!


    What social networks are you on - do you tweet?
    I do not have a Twitter or Myspace account.  However, I do have a Facebook profile that is now a public profile. If you would like to keep up to date with all my current projects, campaigns, covers, interviews etc, please send me a friendship request.


    Can you tell us about your daily grooming schedule?
    This is very simple - all I use is a moisturiser every morning and evening. I do love Kiehl's products though. From the staff, to the shops, to the products - they really do cater for men brilliantly and make us feel very comfortable.


    How many times a week do you work out?
    When I'm at home I will try to train 5 times a week. The workout will vary each day and concentrate on different muscles. Some days will incorporate more cardio than others and each week I try to shock the muscles by training with different equipment or maybe just body weight.


    What do you think of a Vogue or VOGUE.COM that dedicates half of itself to mens fashion?
    I actually think this is great idea. Obviously there is L'uomo Vogue and Vogue Homme, but a separate section for men on VOGUE.COM is a brilliant idea.


    Where can we buy your book. Are there any more planned signings?
    The book is available in Dolce and Gabbana shops.  It is also available on Amazon and at Waterstones.  We have had a signing in Milan and London and a couple more signings are planned for London.


    Are you thinking of acting?
    There are so many great young, British actors and the idea of competing with these guys is rather intimidating. However, the challenge is hugely appealing and I believe anyone given a chance to star in a film would jump at the opportunity and I am no different.  I have said no to a few projects that were not right, so I guess I have to be patient and if/when the right opportunity comes my way, make sure I am well prepared.


    You write and recite many quotations. But what ones do you live your life by?
    "Head for the moon. If you miss, you will still be among the stars."
    "A man without enemies is a man without character."
    "Knowledge dispels fear."


    How's the classic Mercedes coming along? And what cars are you driving and testing soon?
    The 1955 Mercedes is taking a long time and I don't believe it will be ready for quite a few months still. But I literally cannot wait for my first drive - it just may have to be in the midst of winter. The next cars I'm testing are the new Land Rover Evoque, Morgan 3 Wheeler and Nissan GT-R.


    Out of all the photographs you have been in, which one means the most to you?
    Predictably, I think the image that means the most is the original Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue campaign. It's reached an almost iconic status and if it wasn't for that one image I would not be in the position I am today.


    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    This is a difficult, almost impossible question to answer. I love the fact that my job is never the same from one day to the next and I can never predict other opportunities that will arise or what doors will open. I do really want to concentrate on working with and raising money for charity. Oxfam was a great start this year, but we are finalising plans with Battersea dogs home on how I can help more and of course with Comic Relief to become their fashion ambassador.


    Ok, so I lied a little. I did have time to write an earlier blog between my flights and I did have a day off, but Mazda invited me to Silverstone to Race MX-5s and I'm sure you can imagine what my answer was...




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