I didn't make it all the way through this years Oscar's, but I watched long enough to catch Michael B. Jordan. For me, Michael was the hottest tux wearer of the evening in his velvet midnight blue Tom Ford jacket. It only made him hotter that he brought his mom along as his date.
Of course Michael looks good wearing, or un-wearing any color, or any jacket.
Brad Renfro was just 10 years old when he was first discovered by a casting director. Brad was living in a trailer park outside of Knoxville Tennessee with his grandmother. Brad had been living with his grandmother Joanne since his parents divorced five years earlier. The casting director worked for director Joel Shulmacher, and the movie they were casting was The Client, the 1994 film adaptation of John Grisham best selling book.
Although they had looked at thousands of young kids all over the country, they saw the qualities they wanted in Renfro. Renfro was not only a good looking kid, he had a certain quality, an edge and a toughness they wanted for the character of Mark Sway. After co-starring in The Client with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, Renfro went on to star in close to thirty films until his death in 2008. Although Tom & Hunk, Sleepers, Apt Pupil and Bully had varying degree's of success, many of Renfro's thirty film credits were easily forgettable.
I started to put together a piece to remember Brad and his work in late January around the date of the actor's death. I had recently re-watched Bully and was again moved by Brad's performance and the tone. The films set and maintained what I felt was an unrelenting bleak stream of absolute sadness.
I ended up shelving the piece as I felt it, and some of the images I had included, were a bit gratuitous. Brad was a good looking kid, but also in some ways prematurely sexual for his age. That quality, along with his toughness, may have helped gained him fame, but it also most likely played a role in the overdose that ended his life.
Although Brad's looks were clearly exploited, especially in the countless shirtless and promotional images, it was also in many ways, such a central part of him, and something he couldn't hide even if he wanted to. Brad's charm and allure came from the same place as his edge. It was evident in his attitude in front of the camera, both on film, and in photographs. It was simply just there. On his face, his lips and especially his eyes. Just like his toughness, his appearance was a big part of his appeal, and what drew audiences in. It was the reason he was the perfect choice to play a young Brad Pitt in the 1996 film 'Sleepers'.
I decided to to go back to the post after reading The Atlantic's powerful story about director Bryan Singer and the accounts of some of Singer's alleged abuse victims. I had heard some of the rumors around Singer, but none ever seemed to get that loud. It sadly may in part be due to the directors huge success, most recently with The X-Men series. The Atlantic article detailed various accounts about Singer's behavior, some from the set of 1988's Apt Pupil. There were numerous stories, and a lawsuit, about Singer using underage actors for the film's infamous shower scene. I say infamous as the law suit involved underage actors. The actor report that although they knew implied nudity was required, ( abathing suit or g-string) they described being pressured to appear fully nude in the scene. The films production company claimed it was a mistake when some minors were wrongly grouped in with adult actors during the filming process. They say that it was an oversight, and not done deliberately...
There are also allegations of Singer approaching underage students at the middle school where they were shooting. This was also followed by allegations of abuse by one in a locke room on the set. Although I haven't read anything directly or specific about Renfro, he was also in the shower scene and would have been about 15 during the filming. Although not shown fully nude on screen, it is filmed in way that causes you to wonder whether he, like the extras, was fully nude during filming.
The Atlantic story was a difficult read, but also a compelling one. It was also a fascinating look at how money and success in Hollywood can lead to the cover-up of any and all sins. Although this isn't exactly breaking news, the article was so realistic, it painted a vivid picture, one so often glossed over. It also had me thinking about Renfro and the talent that we lost so early. I have to go back and watch Apt Pupil one of these days.Despite the film's controversy's, Renfro gave a great performance.
Even before his 20th birthday, Renfro's face and body were already showing the ravages of pain and addiction, especially in his eyes. Having an edge when you're a cute 10 year old may be appealing to casting directors, but Renfo's edge became so jagged, and so hazardous that not even Renfro himself could safely handle it for too long.
'I love telling stories in every medium.. I’m a fashion designer, singer, performer, I love all of it. Modeling is just one more way to express myself. I love capturing a moment. I also consider my body as part of my artistic process.. I’m constantly sculpting it and molding it, so I enjoy showing off and making art with my human form.'
Cassidy Haley's words above parallel so many of the reasons I am so passionate about imagery of the male form. FH readers are keenly aware one of my primary goals is to tell stories. The stories of image and art creation, stories on process on experience and change. I loved that even in the time between my first contacting Cassidy, and you reading this post, there were noticeable changes in the sculpting of his body.
'And so I wondered..in a sea of naked Instagram asses am I celebrating a culture of queer sexual empowerment with my 🍑📷 or simply giving in to the vanity and self-obsession heralding the downfall of modern civilization?? neither actually, just proud of my body sculpting endeavors! Added 15 pounds of mASS in the past two months! Woohoo!'
FH readers know I love a great butt shot, I think the lines and curves create some of the most beautiful visuals, and it was that ass of Cassidy's that first grabbed my attention. Once you've scrolled down, you'll come across and image of Cassidy from MarsPhotos, standing in front of a bathroom mirror. It is the first shot Cassidy on his MM Portfolio, and that first image, the mirror, the pose, the lighting, and that first impression, had me craving to learn, and to see more.
Cassidy graciously told me to pick my favorite shots to use, and it quickly became evident, Cassidy wants every one of his images to be a stand out, to pack that same punch and produce that same first impression I felt when seeing the mirror shot. Narrowing down images became a fun, but challenging task. Finding out a bit more about the model in focus was much simpler thanks to Cassidy's answers to my many questions.
What got you started with modeling? I got started doing photo shoots as a part of my pursuit of a musical and performance career. I need images of myself as an artist. many of my early photo shoots were for this purpose.
Favorite experience thus far? At one point in my music career I was doing a magazine, and I gathered some of my favorite artists to do a photo shoot with me. It had a rainbow theme and each of my friends wore a different color. It was awesome to see so many amazing artists in one place.
Any odd or strange stories from any shoots? I did some tickle videos for bit that were super strange. No nudity, but getting tied up and tickled mercilessly was the strangest thing. Then they made us talk about how much we loved getting tickled and I just couldn’t keep a straight face. Needless to say they did not hire me back haha
Any odd or strange offers or requests? The line between art and porn is often grey for lots of people. I love being naked and making fine art, but not really interested in porn. More irritating than strange, but when someone sets up a shoot and confirms it and then at the last minute wants you to get hard and basically do a porn shoot and cancels if you don’t agree, (when that was never discussed prior) is annoying. it’s like, just be clear about what you want and find people on the same page. otherwise you are just wasting peoples time or being deceptive.
Had you ever been naked in public before modeling? I was a little hippie after high school, so ya I was naked allot. Hot springs, beaches, burning man, everywhere basically.
What factors did you weigh before deciding to take it all off? There was a point early on when I was worried about it coming back to haunt me...or causing me to lose future opportunities..but at some point our culture shifted so much around sexuality and nudity that I realized I should just be myself and do what I want. And I love shooting nude.
On a scale from 1-10 how nervous were before your first nude shoot? 2 haha
Can you share any details on that first nude shoot? Well it actually was pretty traumatic... I was super young, new to LA..and it was supposed to be an underwear shoot. the photographer “inspired me” to get naked, which was fine, I was into it. And I thought we had fun. but I did have to refuse his sexual advances. After the shoot he wrote saying I had “led him on” and he decided not to send me any of the pics because I had “used him” and he wanted me to pay him. It was so awful because it was a test shoot. We had a clear TFP agreement. no matter how many times I wrote him or tried to convince him to do the right thing, he never sent them. Now I rarely leave a photo shoot without getting the raw shots on a drive. I am an expert re-toucher and most photographers are happy to have me do my magic on the shots.
What are your boundaries for a shoot? Have you ever said no to a concept or shot idea? All the time. Haha..my boundaries are constantly evolving though. I've done a few shoots with other models that have..evolved beyond the original concept..and were super fun. I actually did make a porn once with a boyfriend, but we painted our faces like superheroes with body paint and it was a really high-art concept. It was actually super fun.
What part of your body are you most happy with? What part gets the most attention from others? Lately I’ve been on a big ass pursuit...and I’m very proud of the results! gained almost 15 pounds almost all in the rear haha..but what gets the most attention when I’m naked is something I can only thank God and my genes for lol.
What inspires you to make changes in your life, and in your appearance? Constantly evolving and becoming and learning. if you aren’t growing you are dying is my philosophy.
Is there a photographer you would really love to be shot by? Nick Knight! Love his work. It’s so epic and sex and high fashion..my favorite. Do you have a dream scenario for a shoot? I’m really dreaming about video and film..Id love to do more videos for my music. and capture my fashion and performance on film. I have big budget dreams for the stories I want to tell...I want to fly on film more than anything haha..
You create great moments of movement, do you have dance in your background? I’m a performer. But I should have been a professional dancer. as a little boy I was so insecure and ashamed of wanting to do “girl” things like dancing that I didn’t pursue it as much as I wanted. It’s a big regret. But I’m making up for it now by getting back into it with regular dance classes!
I go to the gym almost every day. It’s not just a physical practice, it’s a spiritual and emotional one. I use my physical practice to process emotions, I meditate in the sauna at the gym, and basically use it as a daily practice of maintaining my life.