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David Gandy: Highest Paid Male Model Opens Up About Insecurities & Imposter Syndrome | E102 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "David Gandy: Highest Paid Male Model Opens Up About Insecurities & Imposter Syndrome | E102".
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The Dirova CEO live, my live show, my live reincarnation of this podcast is coming on tour and it's coming to a city near you. There's a link in the description below, put your email address in and I will email you when tickets go on sale. Can't wait to see ya. - Everything that people say, "Well, you're lucky to work with Dolce & Varna." And I can say, I wasn't luck. It was strategy. - What's that imposter voice saying is gonna be found out? - Good question, I suppose. - Do you have inscuracies? - Yeah, of course I do. - Has that ever had an impact on you? - I never believed my own height. Very easy once you see yourself in articles and winning awards and everyone's telling you how amazing you are, but I suppose I never really did. I didn't fitting particularly well and I've seen the extremities of mental health. Me and myself going to dark periods where nothing would suffice, nothing would cheer you up. If you haven't got a thick skin, you shouldn't be in this game. - David Gandy, at one point he was one of the highest paid male models in the entire world, a beautiful, beautiful man. And so hearing that and seeing how beautiful he is would understandably make you assume a lot of things about him. But what you're gonna hear today is that those things are wrong and that you should never judge a book by its cover. How is it possible that someone that looks like David Gandy can describe themselves as having imposter syndrome, being low in confidence and waiting to be found out? He's now become an entrepreneur. He's focused on launching his brand new brand, David Gandy Wellware. And he's taking on a completely different industry. It's crazy 'cause when you open people's diaries, you never know what you'll find. And what I found in David's today was truly fascinating, unexpected, vulnerable, and extremely, surprisingly relatable. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Diaries CEO. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. There's a lot of very beautiful people in the world, right?
Personal Journey And Mental Health
What is it about you that made you rise to the top? (02:19)
But they don't manage to achieve what you've achieved across multiple disciplines, whether it's within your modeling career, which is an incredibly competitive space to play and one with shrouded with huge amounts of uncertainty, or whether it's now in business with what you're doing with your brands there and your investments. So my question is, what is it about you in your sort of self-diagnosis that has made you rise to the top in those pursuits? Good question. - And also where did it come from? - These is one to say is probably the modeling one to start off with and that was, I questioned why men weren't in the same position as the female supermodels. And you had the equivalent of the male supermodels at the time and you always have that, but they were never to that level of fame, of sort of financial rewards of as the female supermodels. And I questioned that that was all and thought, is there a possibility? Is there almost, I suppose, a gap in the market? The first five years, no one actually realizes that I really didn't do that much for the first five or six years. It was, you know, of course we didn't struggle when it was a lot of, you know, sort of, cattle of work earning really good money wasn't what I wanted to do. But they got to work with, you know, like Socrissi Tohnton and Naomi Campbell and those people. And I, she just observed them and asked them questions and sort of got the answers that I wanted and I all realized that it was a business for them. They had great teams, they had great agencies, they had PRs and PAs, it was run as a business. And then you had the guys, you know, they were the top of the fashion, at the time, it wasn't a business for them. It was a lovely way of making a living and they were very fortunate to be there some of the time, not even admitting that they were models, they were in advertising or marketing, there's a lot of people we used to say. And I just used the female platform and I went to head of my agency, Tandy Anderson and said, I don't want to do this commercial work anymore. But it doesn't satisfy me, it's not when she said, what do you want to do? I said, if I'm going to do this, I want to be the best at it. And she said, right, literally from tomorrow, I've stated this a million times, you have to stop all that commercial work 'cause you have to be perceived then as in a total different light to get to where you want to be. So every bit of that work, and I said, we're wearing very good money, I just quit everything, we just, we said no to all the campaign, no to all the catalogs. And she said to me, like, in a position, we would've got that's what most models are dreaming of, earning what, not dreaming of, but that's, you know, they see yours as an enviable position. I said, Dan, it's just not what I want to do or not happy doing it. So to me, I had nothing to lose because I wouldn't carry it on. So we then started building up this other perception of me within the fashion industry, not the catalog model, not the commercial model, but editorial, a bit more sort of fashion based. And that's when we instigated a meeting with Dolce and Gabbana. And that's when I did their campaign, the campaign led to light blue and, you know, light blue was to me a tick in the box for then to achieve what I wanted to achieve. Then it was phenomenal success. And it still is. But that was what I needed. That was the platform, pretty much from there. And then we could put the team together to say, where do we want to be in three years? Where's the next three years after that? Where do you want to achieve? And I'm big believer in having goals. Not always having to achieve them, things change. I'm big believing having goals so you know roughly where you want to end up at something. And then game is a, always says, life is like a game of chess and you're moving pieces to get to that checkmate to where you want to be. And often it diverts and you have to have different tactics. But you have to have that ambition to know the exact point to where you want to be. And of course, when you get there and being a maybe an entrepreneur or typical person, I am then I'm on to the next thing and not particularly satisfied. And you know, I've achieved that. So what's the next achievement? Where'd you go from there? - What role do you think luck has played?
What role has luck played in your success (06:40)
As you view your journey in hindsight, what role, and you know, everyone, you know, especially very successful people will always have a kind of different relationship with luck. But what role do you think luck has played in your journey? And however you would define luck? - And annoys me if someone says, you're very lucky. And I feel like I have to go on this statement and go, hang on, let me just tell you about that. Do you haven't seen the hard work that's gone in it? And I realize it sort of gets you nowhere. So listen, I was fortunate to be born like I am. Six foot two in the frame I have with the way I look. And people perceive that as the way they do. And it's, you can make money from that. Hugely fortunate. But as you said before, there are a lot of good looking people. There are a lot of beautiful people. I have admitted myself against my agency. There are 25 better looking guys on that board. There are 50 better models. I've just cast 10 of them for my brand. They're better models than me. They're better spokespeople than me. I was fortunate to be in that position, but then you say you make your own lucky, maybe you do. So everything that people say, well, you're lucky to work with Dolce & Yvonne. And I can say, well, let me tell you how the story of how we went to meet Dolce & Yvonne, how we instigated that. - Yeah, yeah. - That wasn't luck. - Yeah, yeah. - It was strategy. And it was not my, I think at the time, everyone's going, you are on money, you are a raffler and you are a raffler. And it was Tan the Anson who said, you are Dolce & Yvonne, you are Dolce & Yvonne. And don't listen to anyone else. You are Dolce and it was her genius that said, and then sort of instigated this meeting with them. And then through that, I'm working with Tan and working with Select, everything we've achieved is strategy. It's gone out. It's like, think what do you want to achieve? What do you want to, what's your goal? And it just, it doesn't just happen. Yes, there's certain opportunities that come around that people approach you. But we approach a lot of people with our ideas and we approach from people who would love to do this. - Yeah. - You know, M&S. It was us who wanted to do that collaboration. And I wanted to do it with one of the biggest British institutions that everyone knows and everyone has a great thing that I wanted to do with M&S. We had lots of different brands approach us. We didn't do that. We wanted to do it with M&S. And that, again, looked at, we didn't start off by adjusting our collaboration and, you know, a huge deal. It was, I had to model for two years with them, prove that, I could sell, prove that I could work with M&S. Then we talked about collaboration, then we would move on and, you know, then they trusted me. It's not a finger click, you know. - Yeah, it's because the way that luck, those moments, the amazing collaboration, that amazing email that comes out of nowhere in hindsight, because it appears to have come out of nowhere, it always appears in hindsight, like, "Look, and I've got my own examples from my story where, "when I was 18, 19 years old, "I went on LinkedIn and typed in investor. "The first person came up, I emailed him, "and he invested in my company." People think, you know, they say you got lucky, right? And I'm like, "Well, you know, again, "it's to what you said about the story. "Well, look at the email. "It was Senate 3 AM." And I show it on stage. I'm like, and I then remove the timestamp, and I'm like, "I was up at 3 AM thinking "about emailing people." So for me, action and what you describe there is, like, that smart strategic work is just increasing probability. That, you know, you might get what people call luck. And in that moment with Dolce and Cabana, and when you form that partnership with them, how pivotal was that for you and the trajectory of your career? In like real terms.
How did your world change after you blew up (10:19)
- Like blue is the reason I'm here. No, you know, the famous commercial. But again, you could look back to that, that when I came into modeling, the circle of the fashion world at that stage what was seen as fashionable was the small androgynous skinny guy. Now I'm over six foot two. I was quite skinny when I came in, but I built up and I just got bigger. And everyone else said, you need to get smaller, you need to fit in, you need to, you're too big, you're getting too big. But that's where I was happiest. I wasn't doing it for reading away. I was always playing sport. I want to continue. I couldn't play sporting once I was in the gym. And it was, you know, to have a good physique and be healthy was the way I was happiest in my head, in my wellbeing. So that's what I did. And in a way I just looked at the models and Tizen Beckwurst and Tizen Blue and Paul Scholfer and all these different people that were, you know, the Levi's guys, the famous Levi's ads that we used to look at and the Ralph Lauren guys, I was like, they're all big, muscular, classically handsome guys and they were the biggest in the industry. So I just thought, this has got to come around at one point. So when it actually came around to that creative for light blue, of course, there was a smaller pop because everyone had followed each other. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then there was me and we'd just done the campaign with the auctioning about and then we went to do and do light blue. But that, the day it came out, and it just changed everything. I mean, literally changed everything. And I hate when people say that. But it was, went from that campaign going out in the afternoon, phone not stopping. And I think I went to New York and my agent just caught up and just said, we've got the telegraph, the times, the mirror, they all want to speak to, they all want to have an interview with you. And we didn't have PRs at that point. This was, I was like, okay, how does this work? Very green about it all, but exciting. Yeah, so that changed. - So you're talking about lifestyle. How digital lifestyle change? And I want to know about like, how people treated you and friends and, you know, romantic potential partners. When that blows up for you, the phone doesn't stop ringing. How does your world shift from a like a very personal perspective? - Friends have never changed. - Great. - And we're still, you know, on all on WhatsApp groups and see each other. I don't see them as much. They all live closer together. And that's a shame really, but it's just never changed. I get the absolute. - Gross thing. - Gross thing all the time. I'm just an easy target. You can just Google my name. There are so many pictures that go putting on my entire camera. So much of that. So, but that's it, you know, it keeps you. And I love that. No one takes themselves too seriously. And I think hopefully that's what I didn't do too much as I always said to people if models ever come out to me now. And so what made you different or how did what did you learn? I said, I never believed my own height. It's very easy once you see yourself in articles and winning awards and everyone's telling you how amazing you are to believe that. But I suppose I never really did.
Impostor syndrome (13:31)
- Do you have imposter syndrome? - Yes. - Yeah, yeah, of course, absolutely. - And what does that mean in practical times in your mind and your thoughts? - You're always waiting to be found out. I think that as the end of the day, you're always waiting for, you know, sort of go, okay. You're like, come on. You've had a really good inning. - Even 15 years in. - Yeah. - You're still thinking. - Well, 2020 is in. - 2020. - You've had a good inning. And you know, I'm still thinking that today to be found out. You do that by putting yourself at risk at something. It's what like, I suppose there is the risk and reward. So everything I do, there has to be a slight risk. Otherwise it's not sort of worth, I suppose, me doing it. So there's always got to be that risk of failure in many ways. And I don't mind failure. I've learned more from failure than I have from success, to be honest. And that risk element of, you know, Vanity Fair asking me to write an article. I mean, I'm not a writer. To do that is scary. And I won't have anyone write it for me. I have to do it. We're going back to the integrity thing. I have to do it. And that goes for sort of the fashion game to collaborating with brands, to investing. You know, it's, you know, it's a risk. There was an element of risk I take into it. I suppose everything. And I suppose it makes life exciting. - What do you think, when you say be found out, what's going to be found out? What's that imposter voice saying is going to be found out? - Good question, I suppose. Have you blitted enough too much than you can chew? But no one can be as harsh a critic to me as I am myself. I will beat myself up in something fails. I will beat myself up if I don't do the best job. So no one can affect me like that. I was actually saying anything because I'm my worst critic. So yeah, that's actually a good point of what someone, you know, what that voice is going to say to me. - Just a whisper of doubt, I guess. That may be, well, the way that I typically think about imposter syndrome, or at least I've seen it in my business, there's a couple of like, top level of execs in my business that talk about imposter syndrome a lot and it sounds like, yeah, exactly what you described there, like biting off more than you can chew. And are you really capable and experienced enough to be at this level doing this thing? Do you really have the skills? There's other people that are smarter and better and that have, you know, one more awards or more, you know, experienced something like that. There's also the side that, and it's not about money, it's about success. There's a lot of people that actually don't particularly want other people to do well. And most people. They will try to bring you down in many ways and put doubts in your mind. You know, it's like the sort of the backhanded commentizer, as I always sort of call it, it's hard for someone. And I've learned, you know, sort of that from other people's comments and what they've said to me and I'd make sure I never ever do that. And I always just encourage people and if I can help, I will help them. And that's probably where my investments have come from. In many ways is I've had this opportunity and I haven't borrowed a penny in my life to get to where I was. You know, when I first went to New York for modelling, I used to go around and couldn't afford to eating nice places. So every time I'd go on, like casting as I was walking around all day and going to shoots, I would then go past a, like a diner and they would have a special deal on to it. I'd be like a burger fry and something else, a $5.95 and I would write it down and go, I've got to remember to come back here because it's $5.95 plus taxes, like, I suppose I can have a beer and it might be $10. That's where I used to have to think because I just didn't have anything. Then I've always wanted to then, I think I never really had any help but I would like to help people. - Talking about helping them, helping people and then other people tearing people down, with female models, I think we can all quite easily believe how nasty comments would affect them. But there's something in, I think, the public perception or within society where we think, oh, if you slag off a male model, if you criticize them, say nasty things about them, well, that'll be fine.
Criticism and internet trolling (17:16)
If you go on Twitter, for example, it's totally okay, just people will tweet at piss Morgan all day saying, you're a fat, blah, blah, blah, blah, but people would never do that to, well, they would but it would be considered much differently if they were saying that to a woman, I believe that to be true. So I guess my ultimate question here ultimately is like, have strangers criticizing saying nasty things on the internet about you, how you look or whatever, has that ever had an impact on you? - In this business anyway, if you haven't got a thick skin, you shouldn't be in this game, you've got to have a thick skin. And it's, what I understood, and I've probably only actually understood this from having to cast myself for people to represent my brand, is that you're not being horrible to someone, someone doesn't fit what you have perceived in your head, and that could be for any reason whatsoever. The attitude you bring into it, the charisma, you come into that day on that casting, the way you look, and it could be anything, that person's too skinny, that person's too tall, that person's not big enough, anything, and you have to realize that when you were casting is they weren't, it wasn't personal, it was almost business. No, you just don't fit the creator that we want at the moment. That changes when you have a name, that changes when you have a brand, because they're buying into your brand, they're buying into your engagement, your fans, that's different, but when they first look at you, a face of value, and there's different people, there's been castings where they're on the phone and they don't say anything to you, you put the book down, they go through two pages and they hand it back to you. Now, that is a bit demoralizing, but hey, you know, like I've always made sure, and I've already overcompensated that because I've been on the other side of casting, and the people was, I broke it there for the two long, and just chatted and everything else. So, - We're not internet trolls though. Like someone on Instagram or in the DMs just, you post something and they just, (imitates sound) no? - I'm very fortunate that my fanbase, which is a very organic fanbase actually, on social, are massively kind and positive, and that's the way of always post social, I'm not a big lover of social media. I've stated it before, I see the brilliance of it, obviously the negativity from it, especially for young children, I've spoken out about that. Yes, does that do things affect? Yeah, of course, you'll probably know this, is that you might see 100 comments, all positive, and then 101 comment, 102 comment is negative, and you'll remember it, you'll remember those two comments. So you can't remember the other 100 that are positive, and it's a really weird thing. So, it's like dealing with people, you deal with the nice ones, you don't deal with the negativity. And that's what we've tried to do really. And again, another sort of social, I guess, not maybe stereotype, but sort of misunderstanding would be that someone that is, you know, makes their career out of modeling, someone that's very, you know, attractive, like yourself, surely they can't have insecurities, surely they realize that they are, you know, surely they can't have self-doubts like us muggles who are you at to call.
Doesn't everyone have insecurities? I can't believe that. You tell me. There's not a person that doesn't have insecurities. Do you have insecurities? Yeah, of course I do. Absolutely. So what are you... Is it called insecurities? Of course I do. Had you said something about your nose and your nose... My nose, my eyes got any bigger, my nose, my ears got any bigger, which they do, they're anything's a camera, like I just look like the BFG, so... Also I think something that, going back to the sort of trolling and Instagram that is this thing about age now, age is used to the weapon. You are a so old, look at all your wrinkles. It actually sort of makes me laugh when people say, "My God, you like..." And most people have positive comments, but they can say, "Oh, you're getting older." Yeah. Everyone is... I've been in this game for 20 years, if you're comparing an image from 20 years ago, I'm not gonna look the same. But it's almost like it's a negative thing. You know, that's... I've noticed that increasingly over the last couple of years, is this age thing is used as a weapon, as if it's a bad thing. Does that bother you? No. I always thought I've always been quite an old man in a young man's body anyway. So, I'm sure I say mature, but... No, you grow old at the end of the day. You grow a little bit wiser. You grow a little bit, you calm down a little bit more, and you accept yourself for who you are a little bit more as well. 20s and 30s, 30s less, but 20s can be quite tricky for everyone. And quite know who you are, and you're trying to find out where you are in the world. You then, I think, you get a bit more confidence in your 30. And that's where my 30s sort of came from, to why you're trying to be something else, or trying to fit in. And I never fit in. I've never fitted in ever, anywhere really particularly well. Or felt I haven't particularly fitted in. You're in the fashion industry. I've never felt I fitted in. I was telling a model the other day, actually we were working with. And we always to go off to New York for this big casting, two weeks, try and get the jobs, be all the big agencies, and you would go in a group of probably about 10 guys, and you'd have a list. Back in those days, you would have a fact, believe it or not, we'd never mobile phones. It was a fact. So it got you facts in the morning, you had all your appointments, nine o'clock, 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, all the way through. Everyone used to go down to the subway, or walk and we'll go together. And there was this very pack mentality. And I was never into that pack mentality. It was quite a whizzer. I see a much more sort of individual sort of loner. So I used to look at the facts, and I used to let them go around the corner, and I would virtually tear upside down, and do the opposite way. So those nine guys would go to the nine o'clock, and I would go to the six o'clock, and I would just turn up at the office and go, "I know I'm supposed to be at nine o'clock, but is John someone in?" And we're like, "Yeah, he's here." "Can I see him?" You take the opportunity where you've got, imagine going through seeing nine guys, speaking to nine guys, looking at you, but by the third person, you're like, "They're gonna be bored." And you take the opportunity, so I did that all the way around. And that's why I did that all the time. It was thinking constantly of outside the box, of doing something different. - Yeah. - So amazing how these small things can create such a marginal thinking, create such a big gain, and most people, obviously, they don't even try and think outside of the script. And so they end up competing in a very saturated way for a limited amount of rewards, but one slight innovation in the process, I think, can deliver such an exponential return. - Do you know what I hate? I hate powder. I hate mixing powder with water. I hate protein powders that you have to mix with water up until now. And obviously, he'll sponsor this podcast, so I'm tremendously biased. But that's a true story. I've never been able to use the, like, my protein powders that you mix with water, 'cause I always think they taste absolutely awful. Up until he'll release their brand new protein flavor. The amazing thing about all of these proteins is there's 20 grams of protein, you get all of your vitamins and nutrients, 26 of those. And as he'll always is, it's nutritionally complete. And if you are someone that's trying to go a little bit lower on the calories, it's only 105 calories. So when I wake up in the morning, especially I've been working out a lot lately, come downstairs, quickly blend it together in my NutriBullet, drink it, it's 100 calories. And then my next sort of main meal, 'cause I'm a breakfast skipper, will be at lunchtime. Highly recommend it. And I shouldn't say this, 'cause I don't have any approval to say this, but there's some amazing, amazing flavors coming in the ready to drink range that I've been lucky enough to try. And one of those is my new favorite flavor, so. - Stay tuned.
Anxiety, not fitting in & being bullied (25:28)
- In the industry of modeling, one thing that I think is probably, I don't have any data to support this claim, but I think is probably rife because of the nature of the business and what I know about the subjective mental health and mental wellbeing is anxiety. And I've just seen amongst my friends, the women that I know that model, high levels of anxiety, for a variety of reasons. Have you ever suffered with anxiety yourself at any point in your career? - I'm naturally a shy person, but shyness is not anxiety. So I can't say, I mean, if I probably gave someone symptoms of stuff I've had or things that happened, they might say, well, that's anxiety. My anxiety, if I still think of, you know, there's a weird thing of, when I hear the music to the Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday night, I still have anxiety that I haven't done my homework and I have to go to school next day. That's how much I hated, didn't hate, I hated school at a certain point. The sixth one was great with my friends that I still have, but that was the point of, I still have that today. When I hear that music, I literally stop and I'm like, oh, you know, oh, I don't have to go to school to my own. - What was it about at school? - I mean, I didn't fit in at school. That was basically it. It wasn't all good friends from that school, but it was just a certain time before I kind of met those people. The group of guys, I called, and girls I used to, you know, sort of hang around with, and there was bullying and there was, I just didn't fit in, that was all it was. - But you saw your bullied in school, primary school, or secondary school, yeah, but no primary was quite fun. Enjoy primary school. Secondary school was just something different. They went to the wrong school. Maybe they made the wrong choices. And it was me, it was, I'm not blaming anyone. I'm blaming anything. It was just, and I was quite steadfast. I'm not fitting in. I didn't fit in particularly well, and I wasn't going to change my way of fitting into everyone else. - In what way didn't you fit in? - I just, I just, a bit like the same, I'm still like it. I'm still in the fashion. That example of not being in that group, not being that pack, not doing the same thing everyone does, exactly the same thing. I didn't want to be, but I saw things differently and wanted to do things my way. Maybe that's it. I mean, maybe it was doing something my way. And I've always looked at that. That goes on for, that can go into, if you go into styling, it's like, well, no one's wearing suits, or I'm going to wear suits. No one's, you know, why don't you do this? It's like, you know, people still take me out of me because I do not own a pair of sneakers or trainers. And the people, now everyone, that's all they're wearing. I have one pair and I go to the gym and I have a running pair, but, and everyone sort of looks at you as if, but I love that fact. You know, it's just me being a little bit different. But it can also lead to, you know, being a little bit stubborn that you take that to a little bit far, I've not ever relinquishing that. You want to be sort of different, like all the time. You want to, I don't know why you do it. - Was that physical, but was that bullying because of physical things? - They were, they were saying that you are physically different. - Or physically different, no. - You thought? - Maybe it was the way I thought if you think about that, no, yeah. It just because in, I do find this still now in the world that everyone likes to pigeonhole, everyone likes to, you are put in a certain category. And if you don't fit in, then you're strange, you're a strange person. Why don't you like the same stuff? Why don't you wear the same stuff as us? Why don't you think the same way that we think? Of course it's now got to, so it's very polarized. When we have different opinions as they attack each other now, it's like, you see, they're left or right. There's nowhere in the middle. And it was, I think that element that I've always just, I suppose I've been got an individual thinker in some ways where it kind of, and that might put me in good stead for the business we're in. But yeah, the anxiety thing, maybe it's a confidence, again, when I was confident into going something, I was absolutely fine. I just wanted an opportunity. That was always what I want to be able to, people would say, why have you not gone into acting? Why have you not, I am not confident? If there's anxiety, give me a script to learn, try and put me in front of a camera and you'll see that's where I'll probably be anxiety. Although I've done that and I achieved it and I quite loved it. So it was a scary side of it, but it's not something I'm naturally good at. - Isn't that, people would, again, talking about naivety, people would never guess that you would say you aren't confident. And it's almost like the conversation I have with Ben Fogel. You would just, it's just not what you would expect based on like stereotypes. One would expect you to be an extrovert, super confident, some kind of very loud, braggadocious, boisterous guy, but you appear to be the opposite of that. - And especially on the point of confidence. - Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say I've got a lack of confidence. There's lack of confidence. Well, I think I know my limitations maybe. And when I, but I also like pushing those limitations to see what I can get to and see what I can achieve and learn. But the confidence, I mean, GQ Awards, we went to two weeks ago and you set an up your... - I didn't get an invite by the way. - Got the red. - I'd sort of set with GQ. You're on the red carpet, done it a million times before. There's still dread, like I'm filled with dread to getting on that red carpet and having the pictures taken. But it's just not a natural environment for me. And I was thrilled that there was a, you know, a huge long queue because everyone wanted to be on the red carpet. Everyone wanted their pitch take and everyone wanted to be in the papers and put it on their Instagrams. And I went too long. I'm not, you know, I'm going to swerve that one. So I swerved it and we're upstairs and went into an environment where I was much happier where actually I needed to speak to a few certain people for a few certain reasons and went to go and hunt them down and go and speak to them. - What was it about, what was the sort of psychological discomfort you feel when you think about going on the red carpet and doing that? 'Cause you described going upstairs at the top place where you were happier. So what's the unhappiness of the red carpet for you? It's just an unnatural environment for me to be. When you're on set, when you're employed by a brand to create what is in, who is their vision, your plan or role, like blue, I'm a Mediterranean guy in Italy in small white speedos. It's not me, it is me, but it's, there's a role you're playing. I know there's actors as well, I spoke to them that they love being in character. After those characters, they don't want, the limelight, they don't want fame, they don't want to speak to anyone, they don't want to do press junkets, they hate the red carpet, exactly the same. So when you're on set, you're almost playing someone else. And there's an element as well of there is this David Gandy. And I talk about it in a third person because that's the brand sometimes I have to talk about, that's the name. So you, yes, you are walking onto a set almost being something else. Well, I'm acting in either different, but then there is, and the red carpet is just not that environment, I can probably hide behind a character, a hide behind a role or something. What I'm playing on that date, that's me. And it's just not something that is strangely weird. - Training. - Yeah. My other half, Steph, love to go out, love to go to events. She gets such a buzz, such gets an enthusiasm for it, actually, like, she, she, and she, honestly, probably thought that was me, but when we first met, I go to an event, I'm drained from people. I'm actually a naturally aloneer. I could, you know, we saw a joke with Steph when we first met, she would give me a silent treatment and I was just like, Steph, I'm gonna tell you now, I'll win at this game because I can go off, I can go on for days, not talking, I'm used to it. You know, I've, I've traveled, you know, I travel the world and don't speak to people for days. So it was always kind of a joke between us. So, yeah, I'm, I'm, and then when you're naturally, the complete opposite of being alone, you know, I love taking dogs to work, I love walking for hours and then if I ever, ever get sort of proper time to do it, with no one around me, the exact opposite of that is the red carpet to me. - And your life has put you there because of your success, right? And you must get asked to go to red carpets all the time and events like that all the time. - Yeah. And there's nothing, the actual event. I mean, again, like presenting, presenting an award, reading off an auto cue to present it. I mean, it's an honor to do it. I know it's an honor, I know I have to do it. But the whole night, whenever you're presenting, is me on that table, not enjoying that evening 'cause I know there was one point that I've got to go up there and be in front of everyone and I've done it a million times now and it still doesn't get any easier. It's very, very strange. But there you go, it's easy to accept an award, of course. - That's very interesting. Again, it's just a real, I think for most people, it would be a real surprise that someone who is very out there, visually, yeah. - No, absolutely, it makes no sense. - Does it sound like that? - I understand that myself. I tell people, it makes no sense. - Have you ever spoken to like a therapist about that or anybody about that? - Probably should do. But no, it'd probably be quite interesting to know why I was, and actually might help me overcome some fears when it comes to my anxiety. And it does sound very strange. Even when I say it makes no sense. And it's probably why maybe there's been sort of striving for not to be in front of the camera, especially with my own stuff, is to be being over behind it. I've been creative director to quite a few brands now and advisor and I've gone and helped to just been on so many shoots, so I just say, "Oh, come on, "the creative director, don't need to be paid, "I just wanna, I just love being that creative element to it." Gentlemen of the general asked me, and the RAF, and Braille asked me to direct an RAF film, loved it, absolutely loved not, I wasn't in front of that. And it was, they were like, "No, no, we want you to be "in front of us." I was like, "Actually not, I'm director, "or cast someone else for who I think is perfect for us." 'Cause I'm not perfect, I'm not good enough for that, not good enough, but I just don't suit that role. So I need someone else in it. Again, people look at me and go, "Why would you not wanna put yourself in that?" 'Cause I'm not the right part for it. - Why? - Just because the concept I've come up with in my head is not me for that role, I see someone else. It's casting, you know, it's, because you think of the greatest role in, if you think Top Gun, you think Tom Cruise, what if they had put someone else in that? Would that have been the success it would be? Probably argue no. - You got asked to do 50 Shades of Grey, right? - I got, it's a room, kind of a rumor. I met the author and she said, we would love to send you the script, 'cause we think, and I think in why I got sent. And I admit I'd never read the books. And yeah, I mean, they had, I mean, Jamie Dornon is an awesome actor. You know, he was a model. I mean, he was one of the biggest models, but he wanted to go into acting, and he's a great actor. You know, he's a very, very star. And I, there, you know, if I ever went to, you know, I won't go into acting, but looking at that, I was like, I couldn't beat Jamie. I couldn't be as good as that. He's very, very good. And then you look at the other levels of, sort of, of other actors, and he just thinks not something I was, I could, I could learn, I could, you know, sort of learn to be quite good at it. But I could never, you know, be the best at it. - Also I heard about Hercules 300. You were on the first course. I mean, you're always gonna be asked to do stuff. Like that, just from the physical element of the way I look, and you know, I'm gonna be a part in it. But it wasn't anything. I was, I've been, you know, I got my being bonnet about the industry, I mean, and what I wanted to achieve in this. So there's always, I always said, there's a couple of roles that I would play, and I would drop everything to go and play it. And there's just a couple of stories that I love, that I've even, - Which ones? - One of them is about Winston Churchill's bodyguard, Walter Thompson. I even found out who owns the rights to it all. And just the most incredible story. And he was originally from Epping in Essex. And yeah, Winston Churchill asked him to come back in the Second World War. He used to be his bodyguard, then he stopped and then he came back. And it's just the most incredible diary. You've mentioned the diaries of being Winston Churchill's bodyguard wasn't easy. - Yeah. - Of course. Fascinating because of course, Winston Churchill, that I can worry, they called his episodes, The Black, something rather, which we now probably know as Bipolar. - Yeah. - You know, and Walter Thompson was the person that protected everyone or protected him from everyone seeing that. - Wow. - So yeah, just kept everyone away from seeing, seeing those episodes and no one really realized. - Speaking of mental health disorders then, you're an ambassador of a men's mental health charity.
Mental health (39:08)
- We're working with, yeah, we're also working with Calm and others for the new brand. - Oh, amazing. And your new brand has a big sort of theme around men's wellness. And what does, what, I guess the question is why? Why did that matter to you? And this is also why I asked the question around anxiety because I was for you to make it a kind of mental well-being, let's say, a central part in mental wellness, a central part of your brand and your mission. One would assume that you've had an experience with it close to home because I think that's one way that people typically generate a ton of empathy towards the subject matter is feeling it, feeling the pain of it, whether within themselves, within loved ones. So what was it for you that made you care so much about that? - I've never suffered from depression as, and I'm very fortunate that as badly as other people have, and I've witnessed it because I have dated people that were then diagnosed with bipolar. And I've seen the extremities of mental health. Me and myself, and I admit it's not happened for a while, would go into dark periods, knowing I would snap out of it eventually, but they were dark, but nothing would, nothing to fight, nothing would cheer you up. Just quite in a dark place one, and to be on my own, just not around anyone. Wasn't triggered by anything, but just one day, I just knew I'd wake up and it was gone. Just a chemical reaction, a new brand, basically, what it is. And yeah, so I do understand, and I can spot it in other people as well. - What were the symptoms of it for you, those dark periods? - The symptoms, as I said, was just nothing would make you, you couldn't snap out of it, was nothing could make you happy or cheerful. You didn't like anyone, you didn't wanna be around anyone. It's hard to, the feelings are hard to explain. I mean, it never got to any point of seriousness, I mean, I've seen people with bipolar that were being a room for hours on end, for days on end, watching the same TV series, because their safety is watching that TV series, it makes them a little bit happy, because of just that safety for some reason. So I've seen the real dark side of it, and I've also, from me, dating someone like that of how hard it is to deal with it, because you always want to try and make that person better, and you can't, in many, many ways. You can talk, and it's about just being patient and listening to people, and trying to get them help, professional help. There is an element where you, I can only talk about certain to me at the point, and then it comes to an expert help, that they have to talk, and that's what calm does. It's allowing people to talk to people, and there are people that are far better, people need to listen to people, that's the point of it. I think there's a lot of people who, even if they are talking to people, they're not listening. Fortunately, it's never been that bad, but I do understand it. - Do you sleep well? - No. - I heard you hadn't slept well for almost two decades.
Are you at your happiest working? (42:47)
- No, never slept well. I didn't sleep well while I was a child. But I did with the other way around, went to bed early, got up, went to bed early, and then my parents just left me being the ender. I think they were just so sick of trying to get me to go to bed because I just didn't sleep. I know what you'd be doing, my home workout. Midnight, it's one o'clock in the morning, I still work now. I was up till two o'clock in the morning working last night. And that's another thing, when people go, it's a bit of grafting my hard work. Most people are sitting down at half past eight, nine o'clock, in front of a TV, reds goes bed, half past eight, I'm going to the gym, get back up, I'll do the shopping on the way home, cook myself some dinner, go. Doesn't stop in between, it's working on the phone. Carry on, you know, half past ten, open the laptop and get a more simple work. If you're always grafting as you call it, and you said it doesn't stop, how does one become happy if they're always striving, if they're always in the future or a... - It stopped doing pandemic. - So you did stop doing the pandemic? - Oh, you did? - You did a gym lockdown. - Yeah. - You couldn't, my half the businesses, my business in the morning is traveling pretty much at the end of the day, you have to be in locations. - And did that make you happier? - Yeah. - It made you happier when it all stopped. - To financial, you know, it affected me financially. And we'd already been affected quite heavily in this industry by, you know, say, the Brexit, as you know, the blame of Brexit now, it was the uncertainty of Brexit. So a lot of brands were not spending money, not marketing money, not having budgets, not working with the UK, well, you still do different things. Also on certain brands with social media now of article campaigns versus digital, which still hasn't quite fizzled out yet. They brands don't quite know where they are within the marketing world or how to market to be able to target people. So it's been affected by it. And, you know, that all kind of Brexit got signed in January, whole different world. It was sort of that December, January of, I don't know what, 2020. I was off to Milan, I was then going to Spain, I was then going to Greece, I was then going to New York, I was then back to, well, I had the schedule like it used to be. Going off after Russia and everything to Russia was really excited, I was going to Russia the first time in the pandemic, everything got canceled. - And you're saying you were happier during the pandemic? - Probably shouldn't have been. It's unfortunate, I'm very, very fortunate. As a factor, that yes, it affected me financially. - When it slowed you down. - I've invested well and I've, you know, there's reserves to, want this out. But, - Nice car collection. - Yeah. - Exactly, that's an expensive, I'm very, I'm very, very honest. There's a time, probably the only time I actually probably truly switched off and there's a week between Christmas and New Year. And that's when everyone, I mean everyone, virtually everyone is not doing anything during that week. And that's a week where I probably switched off the most. And we always sort of go away a week later after that, because it takes time for people to get back. And I suppose there is, it's not fear of missing out. It's fear of other people working and I'm not working. I should always be working. And during the pandemic, no one was working. - How can one be happy with their brain saying those things, that kind of constant nagging to be doing something or doing more or to be striving? How can, that sounds like the thief of happiness to me?
Are you happy? (46:12)
- The thief of happiness, that's a good answer. It should be a book. - Probably is. - Listen, I haven't got the answers to that. - Would you consider yourself to be a happy person? - A positive person. - Why did you avoid the bad happiness? - I don't know. I don't know, you don't understand. That's something you probably have to ask, yeah. Ask a psychology. I don't know, happy person, I'm a positive person. I suppose I am a happy person in many ways. Yes, that's right. But I tell you it's just a definition of what's positive, what's happy is it all the same thing. - You said in many ways. In what ways do you think you might not be a happy person? - Again, good question. I mean, I'm happy. I put myself, listen, when I'm in control of what I do, now, that's why I always wanted to name I'm a control freak, I don't know. The hard work that's, where we've got to, has allowed me now to be in complete control of what my destiny of what I want to do. I want to renovating interiors, huge passion. Love doing it. It looks like a nightmare hard work for other people, but I strive on it, renovating classic cars. The same thing, as I said to you earlier, you're halfway through, you think, why am I doing this? Why didn't I just buy a new car or a new building? And then you go over, but the accomplishment is worth it to me. That sense of achievement. That's what I'm striving for. - Does it ever feel as good when you get there? - Yeah, it does. Not for that long, but it does. I can take those. - Couple of minutes. - Couple of minutes. - Four seconds. - Yeah. It's the same feeling as, when we, if we're going to shoot light blue or something else, and it has to work hard in the gym to get, I'm always in a pretty decent shape, but that's hard work to get in that shape. And it's getting harder the hard way to go. And you dedicate a lot and you sacrifice a lot to look like that. And then there is that point of, we've shot it, we've seen it, but it looks incredible. You've achieved it. And there is this evening of enjoying that. It's the one to the next thing, you know. It's what are we working on? Not next, but one of the other projects that I'm working on at the time. - Do, have you found that in your career, dark episodes where you feel down sometimes follow high episodes? Because there's this really fascinating thing that I was reading about, about gold medal depression where up to 80% of Olympians, regardless of outcome, regardless of whether they win or they don't, come back from the Olympics after training, all of that excruciating effort. And they come back and 80% of them report sort of depressive symptoms. - I've read that. I don't know where I've read that. I've read the same thing. And I could actually resonate with that in many ways. You have sometimes actually achieving what you want is a bit, it's sometimes the journey is the exciting, but which is a weird thing to say. It's we're on this journey of well where David Ganny, the brand at the moment, and it is so much hard work. - Tell me about that.
Starting a brand (49:43)
About how inspiration, the journey, why? - Why the brand. - Yeah. - Because it was what I've wanted to achieve for so long is have that to me to have your own brand. And I didn't know what it was gonna be. I am a brand, you know, that's I say that and it makes me sound like a bit of a dick. - No, but you are. - It is a brand. And that's why people have to realize, you know, when I say that we only sometimes. And then I would probably say it's 10 years, I thought, yes, that's where one day I would like to, I'm not saying I'm always gonna achieve it, but yes. And the creative side to being in control of that brand, I was always in control from by other brands. Even if I'm collaborating with a brand, there is still an element of control that that brand has. And I always thought, yeah, to be in complete control, complete creative control. And that's a risk. I never wanted that people would think because I have a name, because I've been in the fashion industry for so long, I could start a brand. Now people do now, you know, it's social media, one of those elements is you can start something, you can sell it immediately, you've got fans, followers, buyers, it's made the marketplace a very different place. So I went back to really what I did for modelling, observation, putting myself in the situation where I could learn and that was MNS, the collaboration with MNS. I mean, so the David Gandhi lounge ware, no one was doing lounge ware. This was what we took about the concept. It was about six, seven, seven, a half years ago, seven years ago lounge, lounge ware wasn't a big concept, it wasn't something that people thought about. And of course we had sleep ware and T-shirts and everything else, but it was lounge ware that really took off and became third biggest lounge ware in the country and was successful. And it had, you know, 60% of me in that brand as in what I wanted to achieve on that brand. But of course you couldn't get that last 40% because that was MNS. And I knew I wanted to go, I knew what needed to be done, but I couldn't push it any further than I sort of could. So that ended. And then the pandemic hit and locked down. And one of my greatest friends, Charlie T, who has listened to me talk far too long about want to start my own thing. And he started his own branding agency to do exactly what I wanted. And he said, well, listen, I've started this now, you can be our first client, but we're not talking about this anymore. We've got the time. I've, you know, as my best friend, he knows I'm never really around. He said, I've got you here. I went together, I've got you in the country. We've got time, let's start it. - What's your long-term vision then for well ware? What's the long-term? What's it gonna become five, 10 years from now? - I never really tell people where I've got it in my head where something is going, hopefully going to be. There are small steps to where we haven't even, you know, properly launched. You know, the first shipping goes out on 22nd of October. But we wanted to do something different with well ware. We wanted to, to the essence of me, it was understanding and be calling it sort of well ware well being. Why clothing, why does some clothing make you feel positive and confident? Why does some not? We looked at, the studies done by Amsterdam University and I think it was a scientific element of if we put students in comfortable, confident clothing, they're confident that it's comfortable and soft, the results are better than other people who are in uncomfortable clothing and they don't feel as confident or that's going in the same with business. It was now why the banks, big banks are saying you don't have to wear suits anymore because actually a lot of people are more positive. They're a lot more open to work with, they're a lot calmer, it's oxytonin, it's the same thing as feeling the ridiculously, you know, soft pillow or puppy, that softness, that soft jumper, you know, that thing you hold onto is oxytonin, it's released into your brain, it's a positive positive mood and that's what we wanted to do with. And we looked into this and, you know, there was a side to me that was fascinated by the element of it. But I've always wondered, you know, why do I, why do I hold onto that pair of jeans until my ass is falling out the end of it and I would try and find that pair again, I can't find that pair and why am I wearing those sweatshirts because, well, it was one for comfort and that is an element of lots of things. The material was the breathability, the style, you still got to look stylish in it, it makes you feel confident, the fit, that's why at the end of the day, that's why it was never to me about being trendy, it was being confident. And so many guys said to me, "What do I wear here?" "What are you confident in?" And then we've thought about every element of the sweatshirts and the hoodies and the t-shirts of comfort level, of style, of fit, of quality, of well-wared breath, well-wared care, we've put these elements into the clothing and it's aloe vera, so pyjamas are moisturizing, you want to sleep, anti-inflammatory, we've got well-wared breath and antibacterial elements of it, which is another element of, we were looking at fast fashion. Fast fashion can be an addiction and people don't realise this addiction that you get a buzz from a shopping but actually you can be hugely affected knowing the impact of fast fashion on the environment and actually when that clothing lasts a week, two weeks, I'm going to exaggerate it. It lasts, but it can do, some people wear it once and check it away. It's actually, it's where it negatively impacts you. - Okay, so there's a new segment to this podcast we do.
Question From Previous Guest
Question from previous guest (55:40)
What we do is we ask our previous guest to leave a question for our next guest and I've not read to this question yet but I've just read it then as I said this. So I'm going to ask you this question asked by someone that was sat in the chair for you. - Okay. - They told me to ask you, "What do you promise to do "to make our world a better place?" - Okay, can I have an easier question? - It's a week before. - This is it, yeah. - Let's take this back to, I hopefully promise to do. There's a number of things I do for number of challenges but we're going to talk about that and they're not promises, I suppose the promise is from well-wared to make people smile. - Yeah. - To bring back the positivity that I think is needed somewhere. I think we're in this polarized world that we are in is just to say, fuck it, we're just going to make people smile and have a laugh at everything that we do and I think you can't put a monetary value on that and that's what I promise to try and do over the years of well-wared. - Perfect, amazing. - Thank you so much and you're going to have to write in the book now as well. - Okay. - I have a question for someone else. - Listen, David, thank you so much for your time. It's such an incredibly inspiring and twisting story of yours and to see where you are now and taking on this next adventure in business. I find incredibly exciting. The entrepreneur I'm a is fascinated by that and I understand the challenge of that. So yeah. - Well, thank you for having me. I wish I could have had, yeah, you brought out some good questions. I probably might need to. - No, I can answer. - That's what I think I want to do. I just want to pry, but I pry because I'm curious and because I'm fascinated by those topics myself, it's like there's nothing written down here that's telling me to speak on those terms, but yeah, it's so fascinating. And also your level of self awareness, I think is just really inspiring for a lot of people. - Yes, I think it's just, there's a therapeutic thing to talking of course. I mean, men don't do it, we're useless. That's mental health. One of the things you know is people asking, you're talking. That's what I'm saying. A lot of people don't actually listen. - Yeah. - A lot of talking about yourself, a lot of people talking about themselves at the moment. So there's a therapeutic side to this. - Yeah, exactly. - For me as well, you know. - That's what that's actually how it started. It was like therapy for me because I was doing it on my own, going through my diary and just, you know, but it's honestly amazing and thank you so much for giving us that story because it's such an inspiring one. - Thank you. - Thank you. Quick one. As you probably know by now, I'm trying to make my life a little bit more sustainable and I consider myself to be on a bit of a sustainability journey in the same way that I'm on a health journey and it's a privilege to be able to share that with all of you. And you all know, if you've listened to the last podcast that I traded in my Range Rover Sport in for an electric bicycle, which is now my only vehicle, and next year, hopefully, I'll have my electric car too if Tesla hurry up with a cyber truck. And that's where my energy comes into my life and my sort of sustainability journey. It makes your life, if you are on that sustainability journey, 10 times easier. This is one of their, if you can't see this, I'm holding it in my hand if you're all listening on Spotify or Apple. This is one of their renewable energy products. If you're watching on YouTube, you'll see this. This is called the Harvey. It's this very clever little device that allows the Zappi and the Eddy, which I've talked about before on this podcast, to be installed into your home without hard wiring or without batteries or without those god-awful transformers that a lot of people have in their house. It's basically a tiny device that's going to save you both time and money. And for someone like me who doesn't have loads of time on our hands, it's a real lifesaver. If you're looking to make a conscious switch and you need a quick fix that's gonna save you a load of time, then head over to myenergy.com to see this product and many, many more.