Modeling is not nearly as glamorous or lucrative for men as for women. The boys make less money, so they often don't have the luxury of, say, a black car to ferry them between shows and fittings. Also, male models can be filthy, filthy creatures. Russian-born Matvey Lykov ranks in the top 25 male models working today (he recently landed the spring Jil Sander campaign). He tells the L.A. Times he prefers not to live in agency male-model housing:
"Before my first show in Milan, we were staying in this apartment that belonged to a male model," Lykov recalls. "I was staying with these Canadians; they were like animals. They destroyed all the furniture, they were throwing chairs and beer bottles out of the window from the fourth floor onto cars — one guy [relieved himself] in the oven." He said he took his suitcase and checked into a hotel that night ... "Male models are messy — it's not sexy at all."
The financial compensation hardly makes up for the pain and suffering. Lykov walked 34 shows in Milan, Paris, and New York. The eleven shows he walked in New York this season paid him in clothing rather than cash — something that's called a "trade" and not allowed in Europe. So if he makes around $1,000 a show, he netted about $16,400 this show season, after a 20 percent agency fee and couple grand for travel expenses. In a year, doubling that figure and adding in a few one-off shows and an exclusive job, he makes around $40,000. Before taxes. Including human excrement in the kitchen. (It is, however, considerably better than a starting salary at Condé Nast.) Lykov is hoping for some fall campaign bookings, where the real money is. In the meantime you might find him in the Williamsburg apartment he shares with four roommates, none of them models.