Nigel Barker Talks Tyra vs. Naomi, His New Photo Exhibition, and Loving Miami
It's nearly impossible to hear the name Nigel Barker without having the resounding voice of Tyra Banks saying "noted fashion photographer" come to mind.
But aside from his lengthy gig as a judge on America's Next Top Model, Barker is a jack-of-all-trades. He's host of The Face on the Oxygen Network, an author, humanitarian, filmmaker, and professional nice guy. He also has a cookbook in collaboration with his mother in the works, which means he's both a man who can cook and a guy who loves his mom. To top it all off, the tan Sri Lankan-Irish-Portuguese hunk has a suave British accent. Sorry, ladies. He's taken. He's been married to his beautiful model wife Cristen for nearly fifteen years.
Just because he's taken doesn't mean you can't admire him from afar, or even from near distance. Fans of Nigel Barker will have the chance to meet him this weekend.
He'll be in town May 3 and May 4 to debut In The Now, The Village of Merrick Park's new signature fashion event. The two-day event will feature runway shows by Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom and trunk shows, among other in-store events. Barker will also be on hand for a meet-and-greet and a Q&A session to discuss the latest beauty and fashion trends.
Barker will also be unveiling his latest photo exhibition, "RAW: Presented by Rock Paper Photo," with 10 percent of all sales of the photos going to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. We caught up with Barker to talk Tyra versus Naomi, his connection with Miami, and why St. Jude holds a special place in his heart.
New Times: The Face is coming back for second season. Congrats!
Nigel Barker: Thank you very much. We got the news about a week ago and we're all very excited. It's very big news.
So how has working on The Face been different for you compared to America's Next Top Model?
I was on America's Next Top Model from season 2 to season 18, which is the better part of a decade on one show. You get very comfortable with what you're doing, the format, and obviously you're starting off with a new TV show, with a whole new crew, and whole bunch of new people. It's a very different thing to do. It's somewhat unnerving. It's somewhat of a whole new territory. They're just two very different shows to produce and direct and be a part of. Obviously, I'm now a host, not a judge. The whole content of The Face, if you've seen it, you know that it's not a show that has judges per se, but the actual judge is the client. Every week the models have a job, like actual real models and you get insight into what these models are doing and it's much more like the real business.
Be honest: Tyra or Naomi?
Well, I have worked with both, that's the thing. I don't need to choose [laughs]. I worked with Tyra for a decade and we worked very well together, we had an incredible run, but, you know, ultimately she fired me from the job [laughs]. Now, I'm working with Naomi, which can be hard, but ultimately, I would be very lucky if I have a decade run with her.
You've photographed so many people throughout your career. What are your ultimate do's and don'ts for models?
Well, you know, I don't necessarily have things a model should and shouldn't do. In the business as a whole, when models are hired for a job, they should already know what to do. Hiring professionals hire models that are successful, which is truly how it is--you hire somebody who's already done the job before. Being willing is a big part of it, though. When it comes to hiring, one of the things we do on The Face is train these models from the inside on how the business works. I think that's the biggest surprise you'll always find with one of these models is the ability to be very, very hard working. People like Naomi and Tyra are at the top of they're business because they are enormously ambitious and incredibly hardworking and they're very good at what they do. I think it's always shocking to people when they see that they don't just roll out of bed, show up late, have a glass of Champagne and it's actually far from the truth. Models work very hard at what they do. Whether there is a worse thing you could do, I try to imagine one of our models and I would say it's not showing up at all.