Nigel Barker

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After seventeen seasons on the judging panel of global TV phenomenon America’s Next Top Model, Nigel Barker has made the move to host Oxygen Network’s The Face, alongside modeling legend Naomi Campbell. Barker’s entry into fashion was originally in front of the camera; while he was studying biology, chemistry and physics in the late ‘80s, Barker’s mother, a former Miss Sri Lanka, entered him into a televised model search on the British TV program The Clothes Show. After being selected as a finalist, he embarked on a career as a fashion model.

For his first trip to New York City, his agency booked him into the Chelsea Hotel. Barker was initially horrified to find the lobby full of the dregs of society, and immediately checked out, assuming an error on his representative’s side. “No, it’s The Chelsea,” his agent explained, so Barker sheepishly returned to check back in—and promptly fell in love with both the hotel and New York City itself. With that, Barker began a very successful number of years as a model; however by the early ‘90s the fashion industry began to change, and Barker found his 6’4” physique out of step with the ‘heroin chic’ of the time. He sought to re-invent himself by picking up a camera and transitioned into a career as a fashion photographer. Since the mid ‘90s Barker has built an international reputation in all areas of the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries. His clients include GQ, Interview, Lucky, Seventeen, Nicole Miller, Ted Baker, Nine West, Lexus, Jordache, Beefeater and of course, SOMA.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Barker has also worked on a number of creative projects outside of the fashion realm, including a 2013 collaboration with New York skateboard company SHUT, who have been making decks and gear since 1986. The NB x SHUT skateboard range features Barker’s photography and is available from the iconic SHUT flagship store in New York City’s Lower East Side as well as online at SHUTnyc.com. Barker has also directed and produced a number of films highlighting some of our world’s most pressing issues, including the documentary Dreams Are Not Forgotten, which earned the Film Heals award at the Manhattan Film Festival. Altruism is at the top of the Barker agenda, and includes his ambassadorship for the UN Foundation’s Girl Up initiative as well as his work as spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the ASPCA, and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Barker published his first and much anticipated book, Nigel Barker’s Beauty Equation in 2010 and coming up on the horizon in 2014 is a new book project focusing on some of the most recognizable names in the fashion world. Nigel Barker is certainly a busy man, but he managed to take time out with SOMA to share some of the secrets he holds in his palm.

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By: Keanan Duffty

THE OBSESSION ISSUE

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