A week later and I am in the ranks of people #GM fans who are not able to process the loss of George Michael at such an young age. Everyone has that one album that not only speaks to them but also defines a large spectrum of their lifetime. For me that album was Listen Without Prejudice. That album had it all, a coming out theme, the song that you cry to and the song that defines so many moments in your life. The album ushered in a new era of music and even a new era of music videos. I was obsessed with the Freedom 90 video from the first day it aired.
At the tender age of 16 I was obsessed with fashion and all of the female and male models who inhabited it. The Freedom video as the media has portrayed the catalyst for change in the world of music videos. With Georges’ passing, the world is reminiscing and of course the Freedom video is top topic of discussion or remembrance. The one thing that I noticed missing from one article to the next was the lack of info from men who appeared in the video. The 5 men seen in the video were all male models of the time and just over half of them were really at the top of the industry in 1990. So where are the gents today?
John Pearson - The sultry young man bundled up in his coat and long johns, sitting in a chair with his feet propped up on a door jam. Pearson actually came up the video scene idea himself, taken from a photo he saw the night before of Paul Newman back in the 50’s at the Actor Studio. Pearson was beyond a rookie when it came time to book the #GM video, he was a familiar face to many when he came across the scene. Originally from England, his career sky-rocketed in the late 80’s. That career continues even today, while his name recognition is not mainstream, in the fashion world he’s become a respected and dependable brand.
On Pearson’s first day of shooting he watching Evangelista & Turlington both shoot and at 3am the director came over to say he had to come back the next day to shoot. He agreed but the director followed with the statement, “For free of course”. Pearson says he stood his ground because he was well aware that all 5 female models were making $20K each day they shot. Pearson still models today, some 30 years after his first photoshoot in the 80’s. He also has family and still looks amazing.
Pearson recently did a short bio movie with the Today I’m Brave Project. Check it Out.
Mario Sorrenti - Mario has come a long ways from his squatting in fireplaces days. For many it’s a bit of shock to learn that Mario was once a fashion model. Today, Sorrenti is one of the most celebrated and respected fashion photographers working in the industry. His work has become legendary, so it’s a pure delight to know that before all of that work came this really passionate and sultry model who light up photo shoots. Sorrenti was one of the younger chaps of the bunch being 18 years old when he shot the video.
Todo Segalla: Was the pesky lad who just wouldn’t stop playing with that damn light. Todo along with Peter Formby were had less fruitful modeling careers in fashion. Although Segalla left the modeling world in the mid-90s to start an acting career. He’s amassed a long list of roles but no major staring roles. In 2012 he took to youtube to vlog but only put together 4 videos.
Scott Benoit: He was handsome! He was sultry and more importantly he was hysterical when the cameras were shooting. 25+ years later, #GM fans are still asking, where was Scottin the Freedom Video? Full disclosure, Benoit along with Cameron Alborzian were my childhood male model crushes. I got to meet Benoit once in NYC at an event and even got to ask him the long unanswered question, “Where were you in the Freedom 90 video?” Scott smiled and asked me “Where do you think?”. I replied, “I’ve always thought that was your ass in those boxer shorts.” He smiled and said “You thought right, most of his scene was cut.”Benoit was the male model who was honest and he was real about it.
Back in 2014, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Benoit’s sale of the first apartment he purchased in NYC.
Today Benoit goes by his legal name William Scott Benoit and you can actually find him on Facebook along with his gorgeous family. Twenty some years later have treated Benoit well. He also has a family and has shifted careers and moved to west coast with his family.
Peter Formby: He is probably one of the most memorable aspects of the video, that poor male model who spent almost the whole video hanging upside down. But when you map out his modeling career it’s virtually or inherently wiped from the internet. I was able to find his Facebook profile but sadly he has no shots from his modeling days up on his profile.