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.
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H. O. U. S. E. L. O. V. E. ~ Just stop on by anytime – Cause what's mine is yours – And what's yours is mine – And when things are going crazy – I'll be your shelter, baby – Keep you warm and Keep you from the rain- yeah yeah…come, come, come on in – It’s my house filled with love ….
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.