Brad Cozza has come a long way from his teeny, frequently chilly hometown of West Warwick, Rhode Island.
The 33-year-old former model has turned his passion for posing into a full-fledged career.
The photogenic Florida Gulf Coast University alum was scouted soon after graduation and went on to do shoots for Tommy Hilfiger Jeans, Perry Ellis, and Macy’s.
“It was during this period, that I took an interest in the business side of the industry and learned the pitfalls and successes of it,” said Cozza, who now owns Evolution Model Management.
What pitfalls, exactly?
“It’s the only industry that tardiness and flakiness is embraced and accepted as the norm,” he said with an exasperated laugh. “So-called Miami time is to show up two hours after call time, and it won’t be out of the ordinary if someone would say, ‘Why are you here early?’ ”
But Cozza wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, though he does a little more than dabble in real estate. He’s also a partner in HaVen Lounge on Lincoln Road.
“The best aspect of this business is the beauty that the finished product creates. The collaborative effort between the model, photographer, stylist, hair and makeup artist all working in concert with one another is definitely a sight to see.”
Age brings wisdom, and Cozza wants to share what he has learned all the way to wannabe supermodels.
“Treat it like a business,” he advises. “As elementary as that sounds, the glitz and glamour provide a lot of distractions and can derail a person’s focus. Only a small portion make it to the top.”
In other words, not everyone can be a Tyson Beckford or Gisele Bundchen, who yet again topped Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid models for the eighth year in a row by earning an estimated $47 million.
No wonder the business is more competitive than ever.
“With social media only increasing with popularity, the glorification and the sensationalizing of fashion, celebrities, and stardom has caused more people to come out of the woodwork,” Cozza explains. “This coupled with a weaker economy after the crash, has caused fewer jobs with more models competing for them.”
That said, there’s room out there for the driven. And once you make it, you’re pretty golden. Just take Nina Agdal as an example.
“I’m very impressed with the huge success that she’s achieved from landing the cover of Sports Illustrated to Bebe and even a commercial for Carl’s Jr. burgers,” said Cozza, who is also a fan of Brazilian Victoria’s Secret beauty Isabeli Fontana, a mother of two. “She can do no wrong.”
So is superthin not so in anymore?
“Skinny. ... That is one constant in this industry. Bookers are mandating that models stay as skinny as possible. It might discount you from runway work, but I personally believe a strong face is the most important thing.”