Interview with Jake Davies-Model and Designer
TRC:Hi Jake and welcome to The Reading Cafe.
Jake: Hey. Thanks for this opportunity. First of all I want to apologize for my poor English. I’ve studied it at school and it was long long ago.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Jake: Well. My name Jake Davies. I was born in Kyiv, Ukraine 26 years ago. When I was 14 years old I was dying to get my first tattoo. My parents didn’t like that idea. Two years after I left home and school for my first job as a designer and started my life on my own. It took me two more years to earn the money and I decided to open my own design studio. We called ourselves The MDMA. I designed the logo and it was perfect for me so I went to good friend of mine and asked him to tattoo the logo on my left wrist. I was 18 and I fell in love with tattoos. I realized how many blank space I have on my body to cover with lots of tattoos. Next few years I’ve spent having tattooed something important to me. My first engagement with my ex-girlfriend Kate. It was beautiful typography Jake & Kate on my right hand. Then my favorite city Amsterdam, I’ve tattooed the logo «Iamsterdam». And the last one was J and D letters. And then something inside of me whispers that it’s not even close to that image that I desired when was a kid.
I started my research more deeply on different styles. Nothing comes close to that vision I had. Until one day I found popular tattoo artist Roxx from 2Spirit Tattoo. And I was inspired. I realized that the problem was in me. I didn’t want lots of small tattoos. I wanted one bold tattoo that will be mine. Mine. I mean it should complement the lines of my body. It’s a feeling that tattoo designed to fit perfectly to me not like I’m wearing on top of my body, you know. And than I’ve decided to start my 4 year journey.
As a result I’ve got one bold tattoo that covers more than half of my body made from different styles, black work and sacred geometry that fits perfectly my body. Funny thing is when I see people that copied this tattoo and it misses that feeling like that part of tattoo fits perfectly to the body, you know.
TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?
Jake: I’ve grown up without a father. He left us when I was 2-years old kid. That made me feel like I didn’t deserve to be loved. So when I started my own path, found my dream job and decided to be a designer I was looking for someone who could be mentor for me and replaces that hole in my heart. After a almost 5 years of searching I found the guy called Simon Sinek and his speech «Starts with Why». It was so close to me that I felt something special about this guy. He spoke everything I believe in and he was doing it perfectly. It was that moment when I stopped thinking I was a freak and realized that I was pretty smart. That made me work even harder and consciously made choices in my life. One of those choices was this tattoo 🙂 I a clear vision why I’m getting up from bed every single day and it’s just a simple thought but so meaningful to me. I believe that design is a communication. And communication should be simple, ‘cause miscommunications made people suffer and feel bad’. When things are clear everybody knows exactly what to do to be happy. So for me it sounds like «Design is giving people something to believe in» this is why I love my job. I feel great when I see how the fire burns in the eyes of people when they know exactly what are they doing and why they are doing it. The whole process began to make sense. It’s not about money or fame. It’s about doing what I love, what you love and what other people love. That makes me happy, inspired and motivated.
I have series of lectures. And I love to share that experience with others.
TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?
Jake: Well. Honestly speaking I didn’t know this tattoo will be something special. For me it was just my tattoo and that’s all. But one day I received a letter from photographer who offered me a free photo shoot just for fun. And that was that moment when the first photos went online and people were nuts about it. This is that session:
Next two years I’ve received lots of offer for a photo shoot but I was still thinking it’s just a hobby. Even when Seafret’s director came to me and I’ve got featured in their music video that was viewed more than 13 million times for now. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8INOzcCGBzY
Frankly speaking I’m still didn’t see myself as a model, I mean I’m not sure I could earn money using my tattoo but just a few months ago I decided to give it a try. 25 September 2017 is my 10 year anniversary as a designer, why not to try add new timeline… First year as a model 🙂
TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?
Jake: Well, I think 🤔 not yet but I’m sure there will be f*ckups in future 🙂 Everything was so easy and natural for me so I didn’t expect that it will work out each time I get to the studio.
TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?
Jake: Hahaha. That’s the funny one. Well, I can’t be nude 🙂 I mean even without clothes I’m still covered with tattoo-suit. If seriously, than I don’t like nude photography especially for women for the reason that I believe if that girl is in relationship with somebody that means some things should be visible only for one person, not as a trophy on internet for the sake of a like in Instagram, you know. But it’s just me. I know many people who have different points of view from mine.
TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?
Jake: For me it’s not stressful. It’s full of fun. Really. I’ve been teaching people and have lots of lectures and that experience made all my photo shoots feel like it’s a party. I didn’t take it too serious. Most of my photos are retouched by me personally so if something went wrong, or I just blinked it’s not a problem 😉
Answering your question, if there will be stressful situation I just put on my headphones and listen to a few favorite songs and everything disappears for a while. That fuels me with some energy. It reminds me why I’m here. Why I’m doing it and it’sn an opportunity right in front of me to make something meaningful. Make something that people will believe in. You know. That’s why I do not design or model for tobacco, alcohol and other companies that spoil people.
TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance story line has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?
Jake: I didn’t take it serious. It’s entertainment, you pay few bucks for something that pleases your eye and you read a story. Whether I like it or not, it doesn’t matter. Everybody loves movies. If you spent a few hours on a horrible movie it may ruin your day, but not your life. Tomorrow will be something new and I personally don’t bother myself with this. As a model, I know that I could influence on people’s choice. Appealing cover talks to your emotions not logic. But in terms of type of covers such as naked bodies it’s just a tool to influence people to purchase the book. It’s business. Nothing special about it.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
Jake: Sure. As a designer with 10 years of experience I could prove that. A good cover makes an impact. It’s advertising. If you have a choice to sleep with a supermodel or somebody who doesn’t made to feel «motivated»… Well, you have no choice, it’s obvious 🙂 The same rule goes here. People love beautiful things. And you know why? I can tell that beauty is the promise of happiness. That something from my lectures 🙂 Beautiful things works better.
TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?
Jake: The one and only «MERCY» by Debra Anastasia. It’s my first cover.
TRC: Would you please tell us about RIVAL Barbershop?
Click HERE to find the RIVAL Barbershop on Facebook
Jake: This is something special. I’ve decided to use all my knowledge and experience to create something simple as a barbershop and make it the way I see it. Experience is everything. People buy Apple not because it got few gigs of RAM, people buy iPhones/Macs and so on because it’s a symbol of who you are, what are your beliefs, you know. RIVAL is a new approach in services, in interior design, in interaction design, in communication in team building.
Everything that I can name «Perfect» place was developed in Rival. It’s my child. It’s like doing what you used to do last 10/20/30/40 years (haircut) when you expect how it will be but when you came in something changes. And that experience I called Rival. Design something simple as barbershop with unique experience that made you change your mind about what is possible and what you though was possible. I want people to get up and be brave. I want our clients not just make good haircuts and therapy with barber but to be confident that the only Rival you’ve got in your life is fighting with your fears, with your auto-pilots that rules your life. To stand up, break bullshit relationships, left the job you hate and rival your own demon. That’s why Rival slogan is «Starts With You».
This place is magical.
TRC: What do you do to relax?
Jake: Sleep. I work until morning most of the time. I wake up and the next thing I do is call for UBER. Life is DIY project I didn’t like to procrastinate and waste my time. Sometimes social events, modeling, listening to my favorite band while driving through traffic jam made me feel relaxed. I don’t know, maybe I am just a crazy dude but until I can walk, think and design something I want to use it to the maximum.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Jake: Huh, that’s pretty easy. I want to feature in a few movies. Visit LA and SF next year. Launch Rival Barbershop / Rival Clothes and build Rival as a multi-brand company. To be the first big design driven company in Ukraine that focuses on experience more than on things. I want to overcome my broken heart and divorce with building a new relationship with a woman who will love me back, I’m 26 years old and I failed to choose the right woman and all my failed relationships were wrong because it was the love story… my love story but not the other person’s. I want to fight the depression and believe in relationship / in marriage once again. So the next step is to build a family. Get myself noticed not only as a designer but as a model too. And self education, self education and self education… Maybe write a book 🙂
TRC: What is something that few people know about you?
Jake: I’m very kind and smart guy. Most people think that I’m aggressive and a tough guy. But it’s because of the tattoos 🙂
TRC: Your tattoos are very beautiful, dark and intricate. Is there any significance or history behind the patterns?
Jake: Thanks. Yeah, there is a story behind it. But it’s personal, so I’ll keep it a secret for now 🙂
TRC: How old were you when you got your first tattoo and what was the precipitating factor behind the choice of tattoo?
Jake: I was 18 when i got my first real tattoo. It was the logo of my first studio. For me it was like showing to myself how much I believe in this project.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about tattoos and the body-modification industry as a whole?
Jake: From my experience the biggest problem is here in Ukraine people see tattoos like mine and they think that it’s something evil and we are all f*cking demons. Poor people. Lots of stereotypes. I don’t like it.
TRC: What type of music do you listen to? What songs are on your playlist today?
Jake: My favorite band for the last few years that constantly playing every single day are:
The Neighbourhood, Bring Me The Horizon, AMATORY, Korn, You Me At Six, Young Lions, The XX, Odesza and Noisia. I love heavy music. I love when it screams. I feel the music. I’m not a big fan of electronic music. I think it’s emotionless.
TRC: On what on your currently working?
Jake: For the last 11 months I’ve been busy getting things together for the RIVAL Barbershop. I think 5 or 7 more months and I’ll be ready to start the second RIVAL project.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Jake: Sure. Hey you, people out there. Please, be kind and love what you do. Stop doing what other people tell you to do. Get up and find your RIVAL 🙂 Be happy.
Burgers and Pizza
Lion King / Life As A House (2001)
Favorite TV Show:
Lie To Me
Last Movie that you saw:
Ummmmmm. «Arrival» I guess
Secret Celebrity Crush:
If I tell you it will be no secret 😛
Dark or Milk Chocolate:
Milk! Milk! More Milk! More Chocolate!!! And M&M’s Please 🙂
Do you have any pets?
Sure, dog and cat. Love them both.
TRC: Thank you Jake for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your first ‘romance cover’ and the opening of RIVAL. We wish you all the best.