Calvin Martin: The Model, the Friend, and the First Kid I Ever Babysat

This was the first child I ever babysat (way back in the early 90’s, which is a cold reality check on how much time has passed…) I was really not much more than a kid myself – just finishing up my senior year in high school – and he was the five-year-old cousin of my girlfriend. Over the course of that summer, I watched him a couple of times, even going so far as to take him to Great Escape (as referenced in the previous post).

He was without a steady father-figure, and part of him clung to any man that happened his way – even if the man was not quite 18, and even if the man was on his way to befriending Dorothy. Calvin didn’t mind – in his world filled with women even a gay guy was a welcome relief.

Always, he was loved – by his mother and his entire family. It couldn’t have been easy, being bi-racial, being different – but if it bothered him, he didn’t show it – not in meanness or growing pains. Through the years I’ve had the sometimes surreptitious enjoyment of watching him grow into a young man ~ sometimes from afar, sometimes from across the Christmas Dinner table. It’s been a joy to see him find his way in this world, through the triumphs and tragedies, the highs and lows, the successes and the mistakes – and they all made him into a fine young man – someone I admire, and consider a friend.

Usually, when writing a profile on someone, I have to work to fill in the blanks they leave me, drawing forth what it is they seem to be trying to say. So many artists and models falter when it comes to the written word, or expressing themselves verbally. Calvin was one of those rare subjects who had so much to say and contribute, and did so in such an articulate manner, that I didn’t need to connect the dots, and so this time I get to be lazy and let him speak for himself. Introducing Calvin Martin:

Describe your upbringing and background:

I come from a family full of women! It sounds funny as my opening statement to the question but when you ask about my upbringing the first thing I think of is me as a child surrounded at the dinner table by my mother, grandmother, aunts, and cousins. I think that a father figure is always something a young man needs growing up and I lacked that but truthfully the women made up for it. I’ve learned an incredible amount from my mother and all the females in my family. I was born and raised in Amsterdam, NY. Played sports and attended school in this area. As much as I love to be around my family and friends, sometimes your hometown is a place you have to leave in order to become more successful, and that’s where I am at right now.

What were the events that shaped you the most in your childhood?

Overcoming the hardships of my late teens. As a child I was very grounded and regimented. I was involved with a number of sports so throughout my early grade school years everything was smooth sailing because there wasn’t time for anything else. Once I reached High School and attended my first semester of college, life starts to become rough on you and if I didn’t experience some of the things I did during that time, I’m not sure if I would be focused and on the right track currently. Big props to my mother for sticking by me.

What were the main events that shaped your adult life?

I can’t really name a specific event that helped me understand what it is to become a man and grow as an adult because being 22 years old I am still growing and I hope to grow and learn something every day. I think that God presented an unbelievable mentor in my life who has truly enhanced my knowledge on manhood. Without him and the constant prompts and lessons of my mother, I probably wouldn’t be able to grasp what life is and should be.

How did you get into modeling?

Like many other models I started off with a dollar and a dream posting some photos on the website Mode Mayhem. I had received a tag from a model who was pretty established at this point and I thought it was great how he reached out to me, so I reached back asking for advice. He had told me his Father was an extremely busy man but he may able to give me some advice. That man is the man I refer to as my mentor and without him there would not be a start to modeling. I was blessed to have him kick-start my career the way he did, now in return I need to finish just as strong to prove I am not wasted talent.


What are the best and worst aspects of modeling?

Best aspect of modeling for me is that you can play a character and get away with it. At the end of the day OF COURSE you are always supposed to be yourself and be accepted for you but don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to be someone else for a day! In modeling it’s great because no matter what the concept or marketing idea is, the image created is something not Calvin. I have to be someone else for that hour or two [of a] shoot, and it is amazing. I think it tests you mentally if you can step outside the box and be that character America wants to know more about. Worst aspect is the worst aspect in any job, you get the people who aren’t in it for business purposes and you have to be careful. Not everyone is Joe Nice.

What does art contribute to the world?

Art contributes a whole new vision. The thing about Art is that it doesn’t just necessarily have to be an Alexander McQueen exhibit just to be classified as Art. Art is what we the people view it as. Art plays a vital part in many people’s lives because our own interpretation of it is different from everyone else. I think the word Art can define a human being and that is a beautiful thing.


What part does beauty play in the world?

Beauty is similar to art but beauty usually gets mistaken for just a physical form. Beauty is not just a flawless human being, beauty to me is everything. There is beauty in a person, place, photo, sculpture. The odds are if you find someone or something breathtaking then there is beauty inside of it. Without beauty in the world then what can we look at to motivate us? Nothing. Beauty is major.

What is most beautiful to you?

The way someone treats another person. I am all for how you want to be treated which means how you will treat someone else. I love to see people with great personalities who [would] rather feel the enjoyment of making someone else feel good. My mother always told me I have an act of making people feel good. That’s beautiful if you ask me!

Beauty – physical beauty – cannot last forever in a person. What are the traits that will last, and how will you move past the point when you’re no longer considered young and beautiful?

Can’t be young forever obviously but physical beauty can last forever in ourselves. The 22 year old young man with a six pack, is not going to look in the mirror 50 years from now flexing saying “Yeah, I still got it!” but the internal beauty will represent the outside. Keeping the same personality, passion and care you have as a young adult will keep you the same as an older human being. There should be no reason people get stuck on “I am no longer beautiful” because that is us being weak-minded. Look around, we are all going to get old and one day sadly we all are going to die but there is nothing we can do about it so if we keep the morals our loved ones instilled in us and our free, giving spirit the beauty shall stay.

Anyone can work out and look good naked – what unique attributes do you bring to a modeling session, and what do you most hope your work conveys to the viewer?

A lot of my images are body shots because I am in the gym once, sometimes twice, a day but what I feel is most unique in my shots is my ability to play a different role in each. My body will remain the same but if I show different emotion and deliver my body differently in each shoot then I am unique. Anybody can work out, flex their abs and have a picture taken of them but it is how you deliver and sell yourself. My former manager used to make sure body shots were artistic and not over the edge and with me pursuing a TV career on the back end of this, I will always try to be protective of myself.

If your work thus far has one message or over-riding theme, what would it be?

This kid is motivated. It keeps coming, the work never stops. I am motivated.

What are you currently working on and what do you envision for the next year or so?

For 2k12 I envision steps forward. At this time I am unsigned, and my former manager felt that at this time it was best for me but maybe the new year has a possibility of me getting signed. Fashion week is approaching so I would love to have a chance walking in some more shows. 2k12 is all about growth and getting closer. I think that will happen this year!

{All photos courtesy of Mr. Martin.}

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