I don’t know about you, but I am very excited to see men today reclaiming their follicular prowess and growing out their facial hair. It’s a magnificent display – sort of like watching peacocks strut. We see beards of various lengths everywhere; on the subways, on the UPS drivers, on doctors and lawyers, you name it. Today’s furry landscape is robust, and it’s enough to give a guy like me total beard envy (mine grows in patches like Teen Wolf).
However, another male grooming trend that initially snuck up on us like a fox in recent years; but now sends admirer’s hearts pounding and knees buckling is the beautiful natural hair color of the mature man. That color is silver.
When I think of silver dudes, a few stellar standouts come to mind, like heartthrob Richard Gere, foxy fitness model Anthony Varrecchia (see below) and British-born fashion model-Aiden Shaw.
Then, of course, there are the eternal silver cowboys like Kris Kristofferson and Sam Elliot. I have to also give props to actor Ted Danson – who went silver post Cheers, the regal Morgan Freeman, Dr. Drew Penski, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and of course that quintessential silver beacon in the night, George Clooney.
My observation is not just limited to celebrities though. I decided to ask people I personally know to share their silver transition story with my readers. One of the most intriguing among them is Farhad Z, a fitness model of Persian descent living in New York City. Now in his 40’s, he’s in high demand from photographers more so now than ever. I caught up with him for a quick Q&A:
CA: Farhad, how long have you been modeling?
Farhad: Officially, I have been modeling since 2008. But I was first photographed in 2006 when a photographer contacted me and wanted to take physique photos. Initially, I turned him down (it just seemed a little bizarre to be approached by someone you don’t know and be asked to be photographed). Finally, I caved in and did it, and the modeling kind of took off from there. Shortly after, I had another friend tell me I should model underwear for Ford; which prompted me to beef up my profile with the help of Model Mayhem.
CA: How necessary is fitness to you and why?
Farhad: Fitness is a way of life for me…it’s a lifestyle choice, and I’m always excited to conquer new obstacles. While I have always been naturally athletic (I did some gymnastics, played tennis and swam when I was younger), I wasn’t always in the best shape. So, a little over 15 years ago I decided to make fitness an integral part of my life (which means it should be like brushing your teeth — you don’t really think twice about it; it’s second nature, and you make the time to do it). It transformed me both physically and mentally.
CA: As a male model in a youth-obsessed industry, why have you decided to just say “NO!” to “Just for men? ”
Farhad: It’s funny you should ask that. I starting going gray very early in my 20s; so I have had the salt and pepper for a long time now. A few years ago I had an interview with a modeling agency, and they suggested that if I grew my hair longer, they could pitch me for ads promoting men’s hair dyes. I kind of laughed it off and never really pursued it, and neither did they. Of course, if a company were interested in me appearing in their ads but asked me to consider changing something like hair length or color, I would consider it. After all, it’ll grow back. However, I am not going to alter my appearance to fit what society deems to be youthful and virile to perhaps land a gig. The job has to be there first. Regardless, I’m proud of my age and my silver hair, and I think it represents a maturity that should be seen more often.
CA: So would you say that the silver growing in has actually boosted your career as a model as opposed to when you first started?
Farhad: I actually started modeling as a silver-haired guy (36 years old)… so there was no period of modeling before then 🙂 I think that the gray hair and the fit body have definitely gotten me a lot of attention. Has this translated into landing a lot of jobs? Not necessarily. I think the market is still very much youth-oriented and a silver-haired guy with chest hair just doesn’t fit into that mold (mind you, I do mostly fitness modeling — so I have to compete with younger, waxed and shaved models; which again is what that market still dictates).
CA: What do you think of the term Silver Fox?
Farhad: I think it’s charming… and more actors and models seem to be embracing their silver hair with pages dedicated to them on Tumblr and Facebook. Let’s just say I prefer it over the term “Daddy.”
Farhad is of course just one example, but I know more and more, men today are looking at their greying hair as less of a sign of aging. Silver has evolved to become a badge of honor, worn to show you’re comfortable in your own skin – and not uncomfortable with what’s on your birth certificate.