There’s always more than meets the eye, which is certainly the case for individuals that make a living out of modeling their faces and physique today.

Rudy Bundini, born May 28, 1987, knows better than anyone what it takes to be at the top of male modeling, as an New York-based star that has been featured in magazines, publications, runways, and dozens of product campaigns. You’ve seen him as the face of Nike, Versace, Philipp Plein, and Roger Dubuis, as well as in the Real Housewives of New York and Younger, Fast and Furious 7, and even a recent cameo in an Ariana Grande music video.

Like any success story, these kinds of features didn’t happen instantly for Bundini – he had to work for it. Growing up upper class, Bundini didn’t always dream of being a model. Instead, he studied diligently at school, and focused on his passions of swimming and boxing at the time. Winning the gold medal for both swimming and heavy-weight boxing in the international Azerbaijan boxing tournament, Bundini was a man of many hats – he earned his Masters of Science in Mechanical and Engineering-Solid Design simultaneously.

Everything came crashing down during a family financial fiasco that left Bundini, his parents, aunts, etc. with nothing. Spending days searching for answers, Bundini felt lost and confused. As he stood outside a department store, the manager beckoned him inside. Little did Bundini know – he was being scouted as a model.

With no money, but a passion in his heart, Bundini moved to Washington Heights in New York City and walked into midtown Manhattan every single day, just to save the $2.50 train fair. He lived on just 1.5 bananas daily, spent up to 4-hours walking home, and worked out with any object he could find as a gym membership was out of the question. It was hard times for Bundini, but he today owes his grit, determination, and drive to this point in his life when he gave everything to have a successful future.

Modeling Fueled by Passion

Bundini took modeling incredibly seriously as his sole source of income. He provided a unique look and intense gaze, rooted in his oppression, that companies begged for. He began to harness his ability to evoke emotions in a single pose, which after a few gigs, landed him notoriety as a male model in one of the most competitive markets in the entire world. Looking back, Bundini is grateful for the adversity he endured, as it taught him to be a fierce, focused, and determined competitor. Through these struggles, Bundini made his way to earning the title of Male Model of the Year, with an international reputation that precedes him. He wants every aspiring model to know they should never give up, no matter what the critics say. Positivity is key, and as Bundini puts it, “Every bad situation has something positive to it. Even a dead clock shows the correct time twice per day.”