The 5 Questions We Ask Everyone: Nigel Barker
If it’s one thing we’ve learned here at CC, it’s that all people are fascinating (Yes, even your econ professor). Let’s face it – people love to glimpse into the lives of other people. Disagree? Then please explain why you’re currently looking at your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s photos on Facebook. Or reading about the latest John Mayer Twitter dramz in this week’s tabloids. Yeah we thought so.
Fact is we connect to others by learning about them. And everyone has something to share (even if it’s a secret love for The Food Network). So to give you yet another reason to procrastinate, we started ‘The Five Questions We Ask Everyone’ (and five just for that one person) because we know whether we’re schmoozing with an A- list celeb or your local bartender, you’ll be equally entertained.
We watch America’s Next Top Model (and all subsequent marathons) for 3 reasons:
1. The crazy chicks.
2. The crazy judges.
3. Nigel Barker.
He’s hot, talented and has the sexiest accent on earth. And he agreed to talk to us! We tried to sit down with Nigel in person (sans shirt), but the guy is just too busy taking pictures of models in exotic locations (we spoke to him from Canada) and doing good deeds around the world (he works for tons of awesome organizations). So we just imagined him sans shirt while we picked his brain on the phone. Nigel told us a bit about himself, gave us some much needed photo advice and lured us in to ANTM’s 13th season, which is airing now. We didn’t think it was possible, but after getting to know the guy we love him even more.
1. What is one of your craziest, most ridiculous college memories?
It’s one of those things that was quite a long time ago (laughs). I can tell you one thing that I remember that has haunted me ever since. I went to an English boarding school and we put on the musical Grease and I played Danny, who’s the lead. The reason why it was particularly funny is because it was an all male cast and my Olivia Newton Jon was played by another guy. It was sort of the amorous scenario where I was holding my love interest in my hands but it’s actually some sort of bearded rugby head trying to sing back to me in this sort of soft falsetto. When you look at how serious people were, that’s one of my most excruciating and more ridiculous college moments.
2. What are the 5 things you can’t live without?
Without sounding extremely cheesy, straight off the bat I’d say my wife, my son and my daughter. But obviously, other than them, I could never live without good wine, Guinness, cheese and almonds.
3. What’s your motto or life advice that you life by?
“If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievement as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” It’s weird considering what I do, that I’m a judge in a talent show. It’s important to realize what you do and even if you’re cleaning bathrooms, it’s still important.
4. You said you like to sing, so what is one of your favorite songs?
The stuff I used to sing would make you laugh if you knew. I actually was a backup singer and went on tour with Barry Manilow. But I’m afraid I’m a rocker at heart and I’d have to say Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven. That’s almost as cheesy as Barry Manilow these days when they play it so much on the radio but I still love it.
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I try to live day by day and see what’s happening and obviously as a photographer and someone in the creative industry you’re constantly changing and moving. I’m moving more into film work and I would love to be directing motion pictures by that point.
5 Questions Just for Nigel:
1. How did you get involved with America’s Next Top Model?
I knew Tyra Banks and I had worked with her before. It wasn’t like other shows where they are put together by production companies or networks that are looking for celebrities and stars to fill roles. The difference with Top Model is everyone that went on the show knew each other, we were all in the industry, we all worked together, and we were friends. I was asked to do a photo shoot initially as one of the photographers and I got a callback right before I was going to do my shoot saying “Listen, we saw your footage and we like you, would you be interested in having a more permanent role?”
2. What do you think is the hardest part about being in the beauty and fashion industry.
I don’t think there is anything really difficult, I think we are very, very lucky. It isn’t a hard industry; I find my job extremely easy. I definitely work hard and get tired but who doesn’t? If I’m going to look around at people and say, “Oh goodness, I have a hard life” who am I trying to kid? I take my hat off to people who really save lives and do difficult things. I think for us, we really have an easy job and for me it’s a means to an end – it’s something that helps me with the things that are more important.
3. You say “more important things.” What do you mean?
I’m a spokesperson for the Humane Society in the United States, the Protect Seals campaign spokesperson. I also work on the Protect Sharks Campaign and I’m a spokesperson and Wish Granter for the Make a Wish Foundation. I shoot the national ad campaign as well as grant wishes. I think I’m up to 24 wishes I’ve granted now. I also just got back from Africa because I’m a spokesperson for the Elizabeth Glacier Pediatric AIDS foundation. We shot a documentary and a series of photographs for an exhibition in Tanzania reporting on the state of the country’s pediatric AIDS programs and how they’re advancing.
4: ANTM has been around for a long time. What can we expect this season - anything different, anything new?
It’s always something different and there’s always something new. That being said, it’s the old classic recipe. We don’t change that up too much. It’s like your favorite food; you don’t want it to change too much. But what we do have is fresh ingredients and those are the girls. This season happens to have a particularly rowdy bunch of girls, which is always fun. That being said, some things happen during judging and photo shoots that have either never happened before or when they have happened have been so scandalous we questioned whether to put them on TV or not. This season was full of those moments. I don’t know what it was, if there was something in the water or if it was something with this group of girls. It was one of those great seasons that only comes along every three or four seasons for us.
5. Do you have any advice as to how to ensure good pictures every time?
There isn’t a golden bullet for these things. There’s all kinds of boring advice as well as fun advice; The boring advice is if you know you are going to have a photo shoot, for example it’s picture day at school or it’s Christmas and you know you are going to be taking pictures, try not to drink beforehand. Try to drink plenty of water, try and get a good night’s sleep.
People have a tendency to model in candid pictures and a candid picture should be just that. If you are the model try and forget the camera as much as possible, even if it means looking at your friends and squeezing and tickling each other so that you actually get off the subject for that moment and you’re going to get a much more natural and memorable shot.