KENNY DEAN: A REBEL WITH A CAUSE
Fun Fact: Kenny’s last name “Dean” is actually a made-up name lifted from James Dean.
And like the iconic teenage Hollywood icon, Kenny is also a rebel.
PHOTOGRAPHY: IRVIN RIVERA
WHO IS KENNY GROWING UP?
I grew up as an only child.
I was obnoxious. I was a hellraiser. “Little shithead” is exactly how everyone in my family would describe it.
I had a lot of freedom. I don’t ask my mom for permission or something.
I will go and lay in the woods for hours if I want to.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES GROWING UP?
When I was a little kid I will just go and play outside. My playground was a tree in the woods split by lightning.
THAT’S PRETTY COOL
I was pretty nerdy. I was a big Nerd.
I was a huge gamer.
I used to play World of Warcraft and Diablo.
I had a girlfriend in 8th grade and I would not answer her phone calls so I can play Diablo and Warcraft.
I was a reclusive nerdy kid with only a few friends.
I was not picked at all for sports cause I suck.
HOW ABOUT SCIENCE?
I love Science, Astronomy.
I was advanced for science and math. I was also big in English.
“I believe that all conspiracy theories have a lil bit of truth but mostly bullshit. Just like stereotypes.”
TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOU GROWING UP
Kenny is a nerdy caterpillar for a really long time.
I was really chubby.
Dude I would eat full bags of popcorn.
I joined the swim team when I was 14 or 15.
HOW DID SWIMMING AND SPORTS CHANGE YOU?
So I started swimming and running on highschool. It made me social and athletic. I guess I developed looks
I started getting girlfriends. I realized there’s more to world of warcraft out there!
NOW TELL ME ABOUT COLLEGE
Went to a big party school. MSU. Haha.
Went to college still not knowing what I want in life
I started to meet people around me that influenced me towards the right direction.
I realized that what I wanted to do is to work with people and talk.
And I also wanna work in nature—
YEAH YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAVE THIS STRONG AFFINITY WITH NATURE. TELL ME MORE ABOUT IT
First I was into geology and I took a couple of majors
I became a nature guide. Did a trip to Switzerland. Hiked the Swiss Alps.
It was life changing. It was like a completely monumental moment of my life and I realized that I wanna spend my life outside and enjoy the beauty of the world around me.
It also made me realize how much I liked hiking; and how peaceful it is.
From there I started to be a guide.
Then I moved to Canada.
Every trip I did was during summer after school.
I was a river guide at Canada. I worked as a canoe guide.
I met a guy who I would like to refer to as “James Bond” who is an international man of mystery kind of guy.
He opened my eyes to the world on how you can do anything u want to, you can make anything you want, you can go anywhere, be anybody you want.
He’s also a model a decade ago.
WHAT?! THAT’S COOL!
Even at that time I haven’t even thought of modeling but it’s almost like one of those weird foreshadows.
He opened my eyes to the world of modeling.
To world of like… just being a badass.
Basically being a lion instead of being a pigeon.
SO FROM A CANOE GUIDE YOU BECAME A HIKING GUIDE. HOW WAS IT?
I took what I learned from Canada and I came back then went to Utah to be a hiking guide at a Health and Wellness resort.
I guess that was the first time in my life when I “beautified” myself.
Before that I was a hippie
HERE’S ME IMAGINING YOU WITH LONG BLONDE HAIR
I was in my 20s.
I had long long hair down to my shoulders.
Lived in a coop with 23 people, communal showers, all with long hair.
WHAT TRIGGERED THE CHANGE OF HEART FROM BEING A HIPPIE TO BEING SOMEONE DIFFERENT?
I realized that to be in a professional world, I realized that to really make an impact and to influence something in a positive way, I have to be a lil bit more presentable.
ONE OF MY MISSIONS IN LIFE is to influence something in a positive way, to influence someone in a positive way
I cut my hair and I got a job as a hiking guide.
THIS IS AT THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESORT RIGHT?
Yes. I entertained groups of travelling people. That was my first introduction to the real working world.
Then I went to the middle of Northern Canada when I was 22. I lived on the ranch with my “James Bond: friend.
Man Everyday I was scooping horse shit. It was amazing. It was one of the most freeing times of my life. I was an animal.
I found peace.
SEEMS LIKE CANADA IS YOUR SECOND HOME.
I was by myself in Toronto checking bands perform during Pedestrian Sundays and a girl came up to me and asked:
“Hey are u a model? Have you modeled before?”
And I thought it was a scam.
I thought it was one of those scams you hear about- just some girl who gives you her card and would ask you to pay a couple of hundreds of dollars to be in an agency.
I took her card.
Then I told my buddy who is a model and he said
Oh that’s NEXT Dude. You gotta go check them out.
NEXT Toronto scouted me.
I mean I was working in a ranch. I wasn’t in shape. I used to drink beer all day everyday. I also couldn’t legally work in Canada.
We took digitals but it didn’t work out.
THAT’S STILL COOL THOUGH. TO BE SCOUTED BY NEXT IN CANADA IS SOMETHING.
But I took it as a sign of something that could be something.
I did my research.
My sister lives in Los Angeles and asked me to come here.
SO YOU MOVED TO LA AND STAYED WITH YOUR SISTER TO MODEL?
I actually came here for fun
Photographer David Ramirez scouted me and as we’re taking photos, he said: you know a director of this agency have to see these, then 2 days later- I got my response.
It was Marq of Models Direct Management.
BEFORE YOU START MODELING, HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE MODELING WORLD AND IS THERE ANYTHING THAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO IT?
Travelling- Cause I love to travel. That’s a method to travel. I like to pursue jobs that I consider not a job. That kinda makes you feel that you’re always on vacation. That’s what I wanna do. I like to have jobs that people go like – “you can do that?”
I like to do things that are not typical.
Travelling drew me in.
It is also a way to build an audience.
I can influence an audience in some way.
I saw modeling as a good tool to influence people in a positive way
TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR VIEW RE: MODELS AND ABS- THE ABS INDUSTRY
I didn’t have abs in my entire life until I started to model.
Personally, I wasn’t lucky enough to be a skinny kid growing up. I literally never had abs in my entire life until I started working out for modeling which is a couple of months ago.
I do hate restricting my diet cause I love to eat. I love to drink good beer.
Yeah, I can eat.
EATING MAKES YOU MORE HUMAN
I don’t trust people who don’t really eat.
I think the ab game is tough for myself.
So the restrictive part of it is a challenge to me but I like the challenge because to me I’m in complete control of my own body and it’s like being a sculptor.
WELL ABOUT ABS IN GENERAL
Abs as a whole… I think it’s ridiculous that abs is so important to the modeling world and the world in general. Cause I’m a firm believer of the natural body. And the best way to look at the way a body is supposed to look is to look at a baby, a child, a lil kid.
Kids are generally ripped. But do they have a crazy six pack? No. They have a big round belly. Cause that’s what they’re used to breathe in to.
You need a big belly. So when you’re doing crunches and so focused on having a flat stomach, you’re not breathing properly. You don’t get enough oxygen. Your brain is affected. Your body is affected. Your energy is affected. I think abs are ridiculous.
But they also look good. Haha.
WHY DO YOU LIKE MODELING?
Why I like modeling? it reminds me of my days in the university.
When I am modeling and when I see the photo- I don’t see, me.
I see Joseph’s make-up, Vince’s styling, your photography- I mean, look at the product that we created as a group.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF YOUR JOB AS A MODEL SO FAR?
The way that people look at you as they talk you – I mean the industry people, the look in their eyes is judgmental in a way that I’ve never seen before. It’s like they’re studying you as they look to you. And I’ve never experienced that before.
CRAZIEST EXPERIENCE SO FAR?
One of the craziest was when Joseph was bronzing my body. Haha.
Actually, one was during LA Fashion Week. I was walking for a designer’s show and he wanted the guys to have contoured abs. So while the Make-up Artist is painting my abs, they had a camera filming us cause they are interviewing the make-up artist. I didn’t what to do or where to look. Haha.
Honestly every fuckin shoot is crazy.
WHAT ARE OUR EXPECTATIONS IN THE INDUSTRY?
Uhm, I wanna work for Calvin Klein. I wanna travel a lot and end up in Europe. I wanna make enough money to help out everyone who helped me a long the way. (that’s a big one) I expect to be a better photographer because of modeling.
I expect to make enough money that I can help out those around me.
I expect a lot of frustration (cause that’s the industry)
I expect to branch into something bigger other than modeling.
One big dream is that I want is to take all of the great people that I met along the way(with extra money) and bring them over to a company that I will create for adventure and travel so I can offer them vacations.
Now as for something long term, I dunno if you’ve heard about that number of times that you actually die. First is when your physical body expires. Second is when the very last person who knows your name doesn’t exist anymore. That’s when you ultimately die.
I think modeling can help me live forever
WHO IS KENNY AS MODEL?
A youngin. A Stoic. Sophisticated.
I think I go for more stoic sophisticated looks.
As a model I am always learning. I’m always trying to improve. I am always trying to be better. You keep going. You always strive to be better.
To be an expert in modeling, you just have to keep going.
I was very fortunate to interview a friend, a model, a nerd, a hippie, a canoe guide, an entrepreneur, and a photographer all rolled into one person.
Kenny will be immortalized not only because of his timeless looks but also through the art of his collaborators and his goals in life.
Like James Dean, Kenny will not only be remembered as a model but also as an icon.