Stylebook snapshot: Male models on the rise have roots in Pittsburgh
July 19, 2015 12:00 AM
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Matthew Noska of Scott during his appearance earlier this year on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Devin Goda walks the runway at the 2015 amfAR Inspiration Gala New York at Spring Studios on June 16.
By Sara Bauknecht / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
NEW YORK — Modeling is no easy industry to make a mark in. And for guys, it can be even tougher.
Opportunities — and wages — for female top models tend to outnumber those for men. Nevertheless, male models are having their moment. Social media has become an invaluable networking tool, and juggling different kinds of modeling (fitness jobs with high fashion work, for example) can help an aspiring model build a well-rounded portfolio plus make ends meet. Most recently, the introduction of New York Fashion Week: Men’s to the calendar twice each year brings hundreds of modeling gigs for guys.
Among these male models are a couple from Pittsburgh who are making their dreams come true here — and beyond — while keeping their hometown roots close at heart.
Meet Matthew Noszka, 22, of Scott
It’s been said that in show business, some people just have a certain spark that sets them apart. Matthew Noszka possesses some of that stardust (honey-blond hair, an infectious smile and a sculpted physique, in his case) that caught the eye of a Wilhelmina modeling agent who saw a photo of him on Instagram. The agent contacted him via the social media platform to gauge his interest in trying out modeling.
“I was in some ripped up blue jean shorts and old boots and I didn’t have a shirt on” in the photo, Mr. Noszka says. “I kind of just brushed it off and didn’t really pay attention to it. I had no idea about Wilhelmina.”
But the agent was persistent (he kept asking to see more shirtless photos, Mr. Noszka says), and with a little advice from a friend with some modeling knowledge and from Mr. Noszka’s mom (who was well versed on the agency from hearing about it on supermodel Tyra Banks’ longtime reality TV show “America’s Next Top Model”), he followed up with the requests. Right away, Mr. Noszka booked a job with Nike and was needed in New York City.
That was about a year ago. Since then, Mr. Noszka’s life has transformed from being a Point Park University student who waited tables on the South Side and did construction jobs with his dad to an up-and-coming model who splits most of his time between New York City and Los Angeles while also jet setting across the world for work. His story has landed him an appearance on TV’s “Ellen,” and has made him a celebrity of sorts on social media. (On Instagram alone he has more than 263,000 followers to date, and there are even Matthew Noszka social media fan pages.)
“I don’t really get caught up in too much of that,” he says. “Everyone you meet you’re just kind and polite to people.”
He’s worked with Hugo Boss, Moncler and Calvin Klein, as well as Pittsburgh-based retailer American Eagle (which features photos of him in a campaign prominently displayed on signs in and around the brand’s store in Times Square). At fashion week in Milan, he was tapped to walk for Moschino, which recruited him exclusively for its runway show. Lately he’s been keeping busy with castings for New York City’s first men’s fashion week.
Because of his almost instant success, he’s taken a break from school and is focused on honing his modeling skills and trying to tap into acting. Using his good fortune to help others also is a goal. He recently started a foundation to support those with breast cancer, a disease that’s impacted his mom, grandmother and an aunt. He plans to hold its first fundraiser in Pittsburgh this fall. He also uses social media to let others know that they, too, have the ability to make a difference.
“When you have a following like that you really just try to spread positive information that people can feed off of rather than just the way that you look,” he says.
Meet Devin Goda, 26, of Elizabeth Township
Devin Goda knows what it takes to have a successful career. In fact, he’s already had two of them.
The Slippery Rock University grad had a stint in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. Thanks to his athletic build, he was able to transition into modeling, first mainly doing fitness shoots with brands like Under Armour before branching out into the fashion side.
The career switch came about 1½ years ago after Mr. Goda submitted some photos to agencies for their consideration. After meeting with them, he chose to work with Wilhelmina and moved to Manhattan, where he resides in midtown’s Murray Hill neighborhood.
“It was a big change for me,” he says. “Where I grew up we lived on a farm and you had to drive 15 to 20 minutes to get pretty much anywhere.”
Adjusting to life as a model, though, has come easily.
“I’d been on camera before with the Ravens. That’s so natural to me,” he says.
He credits discipline and good organization to balancing the busy schedule of a working model, which often starts at 6 a.m. with exercise (he’s working on slimming down his muscular build to make him more marketable, he says) followed by a shoot or castings. Some of his clients include Calvin Klein, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Amazon and Target. He also walked in the star-studded AmfAR Foundation for AIDS Research benefit runway show last month.
He’s thankful for the steady work he’s enjoyed so far, he says, and thinks that more men’s-focused fashion events, such as this month’s New York Fashion Week: Men’s, can only help start to even out opportunities for male and female models.
“That’s a huge step,” he says. “I think it’s really going to change the industry.”
Regardless of what happens around him, he’s determined to keep improving himself, including building a career in acting.
“My goal is to just keep getting as many new clients as I can,” he says. “I love what I do now, and couldn’t think about doing anything else at this point.”
For more from Post-Gazette style editor Sara Bauknecht, visit the PG’s fashion blog Stylebook at www.post-gazette.com/stylebook. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.
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