This year has been all about looking back at 5 years of Man Crush Blog with follow-up interviews with some of the blog’s biggest features from the past. Today we’ve caught up with Chris Nogiec, model and PhD holder. Earlier this year Chris was working on a photo book and a bit of a return to the scene after taking some time off to get his dissertation done. You can check out our first interview with Chris from back in 2011 here.
Man Crush: It’s been a while since we last spoke, Chris! Where have you been? We haven’t seen pictures and shoots from you in a while outside of the occasional Facebook and Instagram posting.
Chris Nogiec: I was focusing on finishing my PhD and was only doing paid modeling work through my agent. School is expensive! [laughs] And, the stuff that gets posted online, hardly ever gets paid for. My dissertation was getting pretty intense at the end, and I needed to focus, so I took a break from the modeling that gets posted online. I’m happy to be done and now can do more fun stuff, like news shoots and gigs.
What was your PhD in?
I studied muscle metabolism. I really like exercise physiology and biology and wanted to be the best personal trainer and nutritionist that I can be. That’s my main job.
You didn’t completely take time off from modeling. You were working on a new project earlier this year. Tell us a little bit about it.
Well, I get bored doing the same thing all the time, like doing non-stop scientific research or taking shirtless pictures of me all the time. So, I thought, if I’m going to shirtless and or nude pics, I want there to be something more interesting behind it. So, I came up with the idea of reinterpreting myths from ancient Greece and Rome. I thought this would be a fun way to explore sexuality, masculinity, male form, and landscape photography. I also thought this would be a great way to showcase differences in photographers and work with some of my favorite ones who helped me get started.
How about you act like you’re on HSN and give us your best pitch for this book?
Ha, ok. Nogiec; or the Modern Narcissus includes four volumes combined into one anthology, which reinterprets four classical myths: Narcissus’s fantasy realized; the Venus and Mars sex affair; Apollo’s slaying of Python; and the life of Achilles, the greatest of warriors, and his paramour Patrcolus, portrayed by Adam Killian.
I went on my own odyssey to complete this epic book by recruiting four of my favorite photographers from cities across the U.S.: Wander Aguiar in San Diego, Joel Benjamin in Boston, Scott Hoover in Los Angeles, and Troy Phillips in New York. Their superb talent not only realized my vision, but each added their own style to provide the purchaser with four unique volumes. In addition to these phenomenal photographers, I enlisted Adam Killian to portray Achilles’s comrade and paramour, Patroclus. Lastly, I recruited Jason Salzenstein, a veteran editor for male-form coffee table art books, to oversee the production.
How did you come up with the title?
That’s my favorite part. The title works on many levels. First, it pays homage to my favorite novel: Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Percy Shelley. She reinterpreted the Prometheus myth and made a novel out of it. One of the myths I did was the narcissus myth, but with a twist. You’d have to get the book to see the twist. Also, I mean, who makes a coffee table book about themselves? A modern Narcissus–not to be confused with a narcissist, which is completely different! The title references literature and is a bit tongue-in-cheek.
How did you get one of my favorite porn actors, Adam Killian, to be involved in the book?
Adam and I are good friends. We met when we both lived in L.A. and he’s such a nice guy. He loved the concept and agreed to it right away. People may know Achilles from the Iliad or the movie Troy, played by Brad Pitt, but Patroclus is less well known. Patroclus’s dying in the Trojan war lead Achilles to fight after he mourned the loss of his best friend. The interesting part is that Achilles mourned Patroclus the way a man mourned his wife in ancient Greece. So, it’s believed they were paramours, so much so Alexander the Great and Hephaestion thought they were contemporary versions of Achilles and Patroclus.
Anyway, we thought, well, what would a typical day be like for the warriors and lovers. So, we did it all—well, the book is more artistic, so we portrayed it all “artistically.” [laughs]
You’ve got me sold on it. When does the book come out?
Well, unfortunately, I’m not sure if it will come out. Having just finished grad school, I don’t have the funds to print the book by myself. I started a Kickstarter campaign to cover the printing costs. There are a lot of rewards, some cheaper than the book and some exciting stuff that Adam Killian agreed to, as well. But, at the very least, you can get a signed copy of the book more cheaply than we will be selling it for once it’s officially released. You can check out the website www.nogiec.com/theModernNarcissus. Right now, it redirects to the Kickstarter program, but bookmark that link for all information about the book. If the Kickstarter is successful, we’re also going to have release parties in the 4 cities where the photographers live: Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Diego.