LLL Richards | First Male Supermodel

 

The lives of celebrities are so frequently mythologized to the point of ridicule and unbelievability, but as the adage goes, “The truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction.” Such is the case for the man known as the world’s first male supermodel. Hoyt Richards, a legend who walked alongside the modeling world’s greatest—Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell—spills the tea about his time in the industry, and everything that came after. There’s a dark side to every industry, and that holds especially true for the one industry that’s enveloped in the brightness of hundreds of flashing camera bulbs at every turn.

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The World’s First Male Supermodel and Award Winning Writer and Actor, Hoyt Richards

I’m bringing you another episode with another amazing guest. He’s one of my oldest and closest friends. I’ve known him for many years. We met when I was around 18 or 19. He was born in New York and grew up in Philadelphia. He was a big football and track star and graduated from Princeton. He became the world’s first-ever male supermodel and is an award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer. He is the one and only Hoyt Richards. You’ve lived nine lives like me, so it’s hard to encompass all in a short introduction.

I tell everyone, if my Facebook persona only matches my bank account, I’d be doing great.

All I’m saying is #Goals. You were born in New York, grew up in Philadelphia, and now an LA guy for quite some time. How long has it been since you’ve been in LA?

I moved here in 2000, right around the millennium.

Do you ever have dreams of New York?

I always loved New York but the problem is that New York is a city for when you’re a bit more youthful and sprightlier like your 20s and 30s when you’re ready to tackle the world and be challenged. People come to New York with big dreams. No one goes to New York seeking mediocrity. It’s fun to be in that environment, but as you get a little older, it’s nice to slow down and LA’s space suits me perfectly right now.

I know you’re a health nut. You always lend in a smoothie going to the gym. You’re always doing it. I always remember coming over to your apartment and you were throwing all sorts into a blender. It was always through a blender, so you were quite ahead of the curve. LA is known for its health and fitness, and people are staying in shape and wanting to be at the optimum level. You’ve always been into that. Is that because you were in the industry from such a young age about looks?

Yeah, that was a huge factor in the modeling business. Your product is your body so you take it seriously. Everyone’s talking about it all the time. There are plenty of those rebels who are going to smoke, drink and say, “I don’t care,” but for people like myself that wanted to be professional, you try to take it seriously. You’d work out, you’d watch your diet, you’d try to learn about nutrition, and that was all exploding in the mid-‘80s when I started. All of that was just beginning. I was definitely one of the front runners and all of that. It’s the never-ending battle against gravity.

Trends in modeling change. I remember in the ‘90s it was these gaunt, skinny, heroin chic, rock and roll type model. No one was that baffled looks that fit or even healthy. Do you find in the modeling industry that it goes through phases? For someone like yourself, do you keep yourself to the classic healthy fit look and hope for the best?

Yeah, it definitely goes through cycles. The fashion industry loves what’s the latest thing and that’s the most important thing. There are certainly cycles and within that the only thing that they consistently come back is something a little more classic. That was the DNA I was given and I had to roll with it. I definitely did my best at times to reinvent myself, but I had my limitations. You are the way you are. Certainly, the business has changed dramatically. I’m not in the business per se anymore. The social media influencer mentality has completely changed the way it’s done. When I was modeling, it was all about building this great portfolio and accumulating all this work that’s demonstrating your career. Now, it’s like, “I want to know what you look like right at this minute, what you did 5 minutes ago, and how many followers are watching what you’re doing to determine whether you have value or not.”

How did you get into the business? How was it growing up in Philadelphia? What is that as a place to grow up in? What are your fondest memories?

I was 1 of 6 kids, so it’s big family life. My cousins lived two doors down from us and they had four children so I grew up in a family of ten. My life overall was controlled chaos. I’ve always loved that whole family thing for good or bad. We would spend summers on Nantucket. We’d go up there for a couple of weeks. Eventually, my dad did well enough in the business that he was able to get a house. We spent the whole summer up there when I was in my teens. My fond memories of the Philadelphia and Nantucket thing was a lot of people around always doing family-oriented things, playing sports in high school and trying to have your voice heard.

People come to New York with big dreams. No one goes to New York seeking mediocrity. Click To Tweet

Is it all-American?

Yes, American.

Is it waspy and white?

My dad has all these home movies from that time and it’s like a Norman Rockwellian approach to the family. It’s something I feel fortunate to have gone through and you take for granted. I had dinner sitting down with the family every single night. We sat down and that doesn’t seem to happen anymore.

It happens everywhere but LA or maybe more suburban areas. I know in London, all my friends do that with their kids.

It’s important. Probably in the Midwest, they do all that, but for us in the city, it doesn’t seem to happen much at all. It’s between looking at their various devices, whether their laptop or other phones. It’s tough to get kids’ attention these days.

You have to make rules. You have to be like, “No phones at the dinner table.” I take my kids’ phones away at dinner and there are no phones allowed. We have rules and I sit down with them every night. The nights that I have them, they go to their dad’s, but that’s important. Even if you have 30 to 40 minutes of sitting around the table and I say, “How was your day? What did you do?” They all say the same answer every day, “Nothing.” “What was the best thing that happened?” “School bell ringing. Lunch.” I got the same answers every single day. I do it for the kids to have that consistent almost routine, which kids like to have. They don’t think and they do what they do. My kids know when they finish school, they come in, it’s snack time, it’s homework, and it’s getting ready for dinner. After dinner, it’s clean up, shower, reading, and then we hang out and watch TV. It’s the same thing consistently every day. School day, I have them, so they know it and they’re used to it. That gives you a sense of security as a kid, doesn’t it?

I think so. It’s one of those things you take for granted at the time. You think it’s mundane and you think it’s repetitive. It’s absolutely crucial and that’s a real gift if you got to do that.

It’s laying the foundation, isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s great you’re doing that for your kids because it doesn’t happen enough anymore.

I bet you whine about it daily. Trust me, you have to. “Give me the phones.” “No.” It’s persistence, honestly. It’s the key to success.

My brothers and sisters, I’ve got sixteen nieces and nephews, so I hear about it all the time. It’s always trying to control when they have computer time and video games stuff. It’s constant negotiation. It’s unbelievable.

How was it being Uncle Hoyt to sixteen? You can come in, you can create a ruckus, then you leave parents in the wake of a disaster.

LLL Richards | First Male Supermodel

First Male Supermodel: The definition of a cultic relationship is any relationship with a person you’re seeking love and approval from who is, in some way, controlling and abusing you.

 

I take my role as a fun uncle seriously from the point of view that I try to provide a different outlet for them as far as I’ve lived a sorted life. It’s been a lot of things that have been interesting that aren’t stereotypical. From that point of view, most of my nieces and nephews feel safe and broaching any subject with me. They’ve learned that I’ll never be judgmental about it because I’ve got my own past.

Let’s get into the sorted. Let’s get into the good stuff. First of all, how did you get the title of the world’s first male supermodel?

It is being in the right place at the right time. I came into the modeling industry at the same time as Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer. All those girls are coming in at that time. That’s around the time when that label supermodel emerged. It wasn’t a colloquial type of term until they arrived. At some point, because there was such a fascination with them and the success that they were all having and the celebrity that was occurring around them, they were like, “What about the guys? Who were the male supermodels?” At that point, luckily, my career was peeking and for whatever reason, someone anointed that. I don’t know why, but it stuck. That’s the way it happened.

Tell the readers about some of the jobs you did and some of the campaigns. What are your most favorite jobs? Who was a nightmare to work with?

I was spoiled. I got to work with a lot of the great, not only designers but also photographers. I worked a lot with the Italians. I got to work with Gianni Versace, Gianfranco Ferré, Armani. I had an ongoing love affair with the Italian marketplace. I got to stay at Gianni Versace’s house several times.

What was he like?

He was a total gentleman.

Did he fancy you? Were you not his type?

No, his lover did and it was awkward. I’m staying in the house as a guest and the lover is making passes. I said, “Isn’t this inappropriate? I’m staying at your boyfriend’s house.” People do what people do. Gianni was lovely and I’ve worked with Donna Karan. I’ll never forget that Donna Karan started with a women’s line and it was a big deal when she started a men’s line. I was 1 of 4 models that were asked to do her opening fashion show. The best part about that was because the whole showroom is only set up for female models, they had the whole dressing room for the girls right off the stage. For the guys, they put us behind them. We had to pass through the girls’ dressing room to get on stage and that was a privileged position to be and watching. When girls are doing fashion shows, they can’t even wear underwear because everything’s revealing. They’re stripping down back naked. We had to casually sachet through there and I kept thinking, “I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this.”

You’re getting paid to walk through a room with the entire naked supermodels that you’re looking at daily. No one can tell you off for looking. It’s a dream job.

I can’t think of the millions of guys that like to be where I am. I’m happy being where I am.

Did you get to dates or have any great love affairs with anyone?

I had more excursions and no real long-term love.

In the modeling business, your product is your body so you take it seriously. Click To Tweet

A couple of shags, as we would say.

Exactly. A lot of encounters, I would frame them. I was on the road about 300 days a year for about 10 or 12 years running. It’s hard to maintain a relationship that way. I rolled with the punches. I had a crazy scenario going on in my life, anyway.

Who was your most favorite supermodel? Who is as lovely as they seem? Let’s go through a few of them. I know you worked with Cindy Crawford then you got to make out with her in a commercial. Was she a good kisser?

She is a good kisser. Almost as good as you, Dani.

Is she lovely?

She’s an absolute class act. She was the consummate professional and I remember having dinner with Cindy when she was frustrated because there wasn’t a lot of drama around her. She would show up on time and some of the other girls like Linda and Naomi would be out partying the clubs all night and show up still out of it. There was this feeling that she was getting labeled as boring. I remember her telling me that she was going to pose for Playboy to shake up her persona. I was like, “I don’t know if that’s the greatest idea,” but she was doing it with Herb Ritts. The pictures end up being the thing that catapulted her past, all those girls. She was able to enter the psyche of the male population that looked at Playboy magazine. I promise you, most men are not going to crack Vogue Magazine and don’t care. When Playboy said, “Here’s the most beautiful woman in the world and she’s the supermodel Cindy.” That’s when she said she was smart.

Christy Turlington, it’s like watching an alien walk in the room. She was beautiful. It was like a genetic marvel. She was also incredibly sweet, down to earth and easy-going so she was a doll. Naomi Campbell was a bit brash. I would say that I was lucky to consider Naomi a friend and I met her mom. She was a lot of fun to be with, but if you were on her bad side, life could be hell. She was a little tricky. For the most part, the girls we’re a lot of fun. Helena Christensen was a blast and she was fun-loving. Elle Macpherson could drink more than most guys could.

Did she get all that alcohol into that body?

I know.

That defies nature.

It does. That makes it all the more extraordinary.

I hate them even more now. What are you going to do? It wasn’t a special air in its time. It was with those Gianni Versace runways shows that it was shot by Steven Meisel. I remember that vividly like it was yesterday. The Steven Meisel campaigns that he did change the game. It brought back glamour on a major level.

It was that whole late ‘80s and early ‘90s, things were going well here in America financially. There were a ton opulence and a lot of excessive spending. It was over the top and that was a great time to be in New York. You talked about being in New York in the right place at the right time. I caught the tail end of Studio 54 which was its own thing. The whole clubbing thing is what most models did around and New York was on fire at that time.

LLL Richards | First Male Supermodel

First Male Supermodel: Not everything is what it seems and not everyone’s got your best intentions in mind.

 

I definitely think you’re at the peak time to be a model.

Yeah, I was lucky.

What happened next? The infamous Hoyt Richards, the scandal. I’d known you for years at this point and I had no idea. You kept it well hidden and almost living a double life. What happened and how did it start?

It was a double life because when I was sixteen, I went to the beach with all my peers where we go body surfing, throw a frisbee around, drink underage, and do all of the things you do when you’re a teenager. I met this guy who I thought was a guru type and I’d heard a little bit about them. Ultimately, this was where the chance encounter occurred.

Did he live in the area or he was purposely there?

Nantucket’s a small place, so it was definitely not a place that I was sixteen and he was maybe mid-30’s, so he’s twenty years senior to us. You probably wouldn’t have had that many people that age around there. It’s a little bit odd in that sense but he was young, youthful and liked to be around people that were younger and had this youthful, easygoing quality. I had heard about him vicariously through other friends, so there wasn’t anything that I thought alarm bells would go off as it turned out.

It wasn’t like he’s this older guy hanging around with all these kids.

It wasn’t any of the pedophile thing going on, but he was engaging and into Eastern philosophy, astrology and things like this. It was intriguing but I thought he was part of the acentric landscape of Nantucket because you’ve got all types up there. It turned out that we ended up having a friendship that developed and he pointed me in the direction of some books to read and that thing. Ultimately, no one knows they’re getting involved in the cult at the time because it’s a slow seduction period. It turned out to be a dangerous religious cult.

When did you first get a sense of, “This is a cult? What am I doing? How am I going to get out?”

It wasn’t something that I even was able to face while I was involved with it. I was involved for almost twenty years. It wasn’t until 37 when I finally escaped and even when I escaped from the group, I didn’t figure out it was a cult until about 1.5 to 2 years later. That’s when I had a conversation with you.

I thought you were joking and we were having another one of our casual lunches or dinners. You’re like, “There’s something I’ve got to tell you. I’m in a cult.” I was like, “Funny. What are you having? The tuna melt?” Honestly, I thought it was a windup and then I was like, “What do you mean a cult? Because I’ve never met anybody in a cult before.”

That’s the thing. The word is fascinating, but it’s also misunderstood. The word cult is triggering from the point of view that we think of Charles Manson or Jonestown.

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We think of murders, insiders, multiple wives and all of that stuff.

All of that stuff. Those things do go on in certain groups. There are over close to 10,000 active cults that are operating in America and even more across the world. A lot of them are 50 members or less, so they remain invisible to the rest of our society. We don’t even know they’re there.

Did your family know or any of your friends? Did anybody know?

My mother diagnosed it early on, but she didn’t have a lot of assistance at that time to figure out how to operate. She went to the church and the church didn’t quite understand. They thought I was in Eastern philosophy and my mother should embrace it. My roommates at university got concerned that they went to the school psychologist, they were unprepared or ill-informed to know what they’re up against. They were like, “He’s taking a different spiritual approach. It’s nothing to be alarmed about.” It’s more in the social psyche now, but there’s a lot more information out there to let people know what’s happening. At that time, people were oblivious to it. It was the blind leading the blind. None of us knew that there should be alarm bells going off early on. By the time you get in, it is hard to get someone out.

How long did it take for them to seduce you or recruit you and until you were fully in? Was it a couple of months or a couple of years?

For me, it was slow in the sense that I would see him over the summer. There was no full-court press trying to recruit me in, but it wasn’t until I got to university and I started having issues. I played football at Princeton and I had problems with my shoulders. I had to stop playing football and I went through a bit of an identity crisis. That was how I ended up going to New York. I’ve seen a shoulder specialist and tried to get a better diagnosis of whether I could play or not. The doctor at the university said, “You should stop.” I wasn’t ready to hear that. As I started the travel into New York to try to get a different opinion, I went and saw this guy, Freddie, who was the cult leader. That was when the hooks went in because I was in a vulnerable space at that time. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. He’s like, “You should be an actor and a model. You should spend time up here in New York.” That was when I started to go up to New York to substitute football with something else and it was presented.

Here’s somebody that’s not your parents but is encouraging and making things feel okay with hope. That’s how they get you in. They’ll charm you and seduce you that way. You feel like you’ve got this foundation of comfort and we’re here for you so you trust them.

It’s similar to an unhealthy romantic relationship. We’ve all had them. These relationships haven’t limited a romance, but they’re called cultic relationships. The definition of a cultic relationship is any relationship with a person you’re seeking love and approval from is, in some way, controlling and abusing you. We’ve all had those people that have snowed us over and boldest over with a lot of compliments and flattery. We think they’re great. They see us, they get us and they’re encouraging. They end up switching gears at some point, controlling you and telling you you’re not good enough. You feel like no matter how hard you try, you’re never making them happy and you keep trying harder. You go down this bottomless pit. That is a cultic relationship. The truth is I went through an extreme version of what all of us have gone through. A lot of the work I tried to do in this community is to say, “We’ve all been in these unhealthy relationships. We haven’t understood the dynamics behind them. By telling stories like mine because they’re of extreme nature, they might make you understand the more subtle version you’ve had in your own life. The tools I use to put my life back together might be useful to you or others.” That’s the work I do in that area.

How did you get out of it? What were the extremes in the cult? What went down? Probably at the time seems normal, but now you’re out of it. When you first came out, you went, “I can’t believe this.”

It was quite normal in the cult to break from your family unit because a lot of times they’re trying to suppress your old personality and build up this new personality that you call the cultic personality. I didn’t see my parents for twelve years.

Did you talk to them though?

Rarely.

That’s their whole thing. They want to remove you from those that truly love you because they didn’t want any outside influence.

LLL Richards | First Male Supermodel

First Male Supermodel: It was quite normal in the cult to break from your family unit because a lot of times they’re trying to suppress your old personality and build up a new one.

 

You see that all the time in these unhealthy relationships. You get a boyfriend or girlfriend and they turn you against your family or your friend. They want you to spend all their time with them. It’s the same dynamic. That went on and we fought an extreme health diet. That was done with Nazi-like discipline. If you ate a candy bar, you’d be lambasted.

Was it like you’d get physically hit?

You wouldn’t. Most of the abuse was not physical. It was psychological and emotional torture that you’d go through a feeling that you were never doing enough. We believed in all crazy theories, a lot of conspiracy theories. We had a doomsday scenario where we thought the end of the world was coming. That device is powerful as far as setting up high stakes and things are life and death. If you’re not going to be part of the solution, you’re going to be part of the problem.

The real Hoyt from Philly that came from a normal and nice family. Was there any part of you that went, “This is not right? I’ll go along with this.”

Yes, that all happens more readily at the beginning where you’re seeing a lot of inconsistencies and some hypocrisy going on as far as what the scriptures and things, you’re reading versus what the behavior of the group is. That’s the hardest thing to figure out because usually, a lot of these groups introduce you to information that is valid. You get inspired by that. You project that onto the group and the leader from the point of view that they understand this material better than I do and I find it inspirational. This is great to meet my tribe of like-minded people. We’re all into this approach and philosophy and wanting to make the world better and trying to save humanity. It’s easy to spend someone this idea that the world’s off track and there are all sorts of problems happening.

It’s anything. If you tell somebody the same thing over and over again, it goes into your subconsciousness and it’s the essential form of brainwashing. You’re constantly hearing and saying the same thing over and over. You start to believe after a while, even if you’re saying it yourself, you start to believe your own. What have you learned from being in the cult? Were there any positives you’ve taken from that besides helping others whether recognize, identify or get through it? What have you taken from those years and use now as a tool for your own career and your own life?

There have been far more positives I’ve gained from it than negatives. Even though the negatives are awful. The positives are I’ve learned that it’s the type of thing like being a survivor, you learn you’re a lot stronger than you’d ever give yourself credit for. You can get yourself in a situation where you never imagined you’d find yourself, still find a way out of it and not come through it in a way where you’re damaged that you can’t heal and that you can’t gain some silver lining wisdom from it all. For me, it’s been a matter of recognizing that my intentions in joining and getting involved with this group were all quite noble and things that I would never beat myself up for what I signed up for. That recognition of learning what I signed up for and what it was, were vastly different.

It challenged me to say, “You’ve got to look deeper than what someone’s pitching towards you. You’ve got to look for the deeper layers.” In a way, it was my wakeup call that not everything is what it seems and not everyone’s got your best intentions in mind. There are some people that are manipulative and dangerous out there. You have to be aware, even if you’ve got an optimistic approach that there are people out there that don’t share that and you have to be careful.

How did you get out?

I escaped. It took me three times to be successful.

What do you mean by escape? Did you literally go, “I’m out of here,” pack your bags and went out?

It’s 2:30 in the morning, I packed a bag because I was living up in the garage where we had converted into an office where we kept the dog. I was literally and figuratively in the dog house even though I had been the primary financer of this group for fifteen years.

That’s another thing worth mentioning. All your years of modeling, you had to give them all your money essentially.

If you're not going to be part of the solution, you're going to be part of the problem. Click To Tweet

I did. I gave them millions. I was fortunate as a model, but you don’t get to keep any of it because it was all going towards the group.

They would say, “You go do these modeling jobs and send us your paychecks.”

Yeah.

When you look back on that, that’s probably one of the things as a man that angers you.

Yes, I try to reformat it in the thinking of that it’s the school of hard knocks and this was the price I had to pay for some hard-fought, but worth its life lessons. It’s the cost of doing business in the world. I’ve made it before and I’ll make it again.

It’s 2:30 in the morning, you’re in the dog house and then what happens?

I didn’t want the dogs to wake. It would make noise at least because I would set off the alarm. I had to sneak out of the house I had called a taxi. I knew I couldn’t use the normal phone system because they all lit up all through the house. We had this compound down there. I figured out that the fax machine didn’t with an engagement in that machine, so I could call from a fax machine that I organized to have a taxi meet me about 1.5 miles down the mountain. I met that and then ran off in the cabin. I went back to New York but did not stay in my apartment because that was one of the places I got caught in my earlier attempts. I went up to see my parents that I hadn’t seen in several years and they were freaked out. I had a shaved head because that was one of the techniques to keep me under wraps. They started shaving my head so I couldn’t model. Even if I tried to go away, I couldn’t get a job because back then, bolds were not beautiful. It was something that I had to spend at least three months before my hair even grew back enough that I could even get another modeling job again.

It was one of those things that I had to be the first one up, the last one to bed, and do every type of slave-like labor that they can think of, anything that would be the bottom. No one else would want to do that. They’d be, in some way, diminishing and demeaning to do. That was my job. That went on for about 9 to 10 weeks. That’s when I finally hit the wall and said, “I’m not cut out for this.” It wasn’t because I thought they were abusing me. I thought that I couldn’t measure up to what they’re asking of me and that they were spending time trying to ship my psyche, which I felt I was a lost cause. I was someone that was unfixable and that they were wasting their time. The least I could do is remove them from my presence. All this time that was spent with me could be used more productively on them and their work because I was like a dead weight holding them all back.

Not seeing your parents for several years and then you suddenly show up out of the blue in the middle of the night. They must’ve been like, “Who are you?”

They were smart about it. I give them credit. They didn’t push me and they didn’t ask me a lot of questions. I didn’t stay there long. I only stayed there for about a week or so, I wasn’t completely bold. I thought I could at least go out in public without always having a hat on. I went out to LA and moved in with Fabio. I stayed there for a year and bless his heart. He never pushed me either and he never asked, “What are you doing here?”

How did you know Fabio?

Fabio was one of the first models I met when I moved to New York. We were both Ford models. He lived in the same area that I did. We used to work out together. We’d sometimes go to the clubs together.

How was he? Tell the readers what it’s like being a friend of Fabio. Is he like his persona?

LLL Richards | First Male Supermodel

First Male Supermodel: One of the things in the recovery process from an abusive relationship is to jump into the creative arts because it is the best way to rebuild your self-esteem.

 

No.

He’s quite an exaggerated personality.

He is. Fabio has got a heart of gold. He’s incredibly talkative. Dinners with Fabio’s minimal four hours. He’s incredibly well-read. He was also an electrical engineer, so he’s into machines, technology, computers, and high-end hi-fi stereotype stuff. He loves all the discovery channels. He can tell you about what are the 9 out of 10 most poisonous snakes that live in Australia are. He’s full of factoids and all sorts of things.

Going out with him, eat with the big hair and blowing in the breeze. You’ve told me stories like this where women would throw themselves at him.

It’s like going out with Thor. He’s like a mythical character. I considered myself back in the day that I had a little bit of juice going.

Here you are, the world’s first male supermodel, tall, good-looking, and no problems getting the ladies. Suddenly, you’re out with Fabio. What am I, chopped liver?

I’m invisible.

Do you have this energy? Does he have the moves? What is it about him?

I don’t think you can explain it. There’s no formula at Fabio. What I love most about Fabio besides loyalty, kindness, and generosity is he’s the most comfortable guy I’ve ever met being in his own skin. He doesn’t want to be anyone other than who he is and that is authenticity.

He doesn’t care that he’s cheesy that he does it and embraces it.

He doesn’t act cheesy. The image is cheesy and people play off that. He’s in on the joke and he plays along with it, but he doesn’t act cheesy. Fabio is sincere, down to earth, and opinionated. Even if he’s got strong political beliefs and that thing, he’ll tell you what he thinks. He’s someone that is who he is and it’s out here in LA that’s refreshing where it seems like everyone’s always playing some angle. Fabio is who he is and tells him as it is from the hip. I always love that about it.

How did you segue from the New York modeling scene into being here in LA? It’s a natural segue to be here in La La Land with Hollywood at your feet and your creative juices aren’t flowing once you get here. You get the bug of everybody around you. Let’s talk about the writing, the acting, the directing, and a little bit about the TV and film career.

In a nutshell, one of the things they talk about in the recovery process from an abusive relationship is to jump into the creative arts. They say that’s the best way to rebuild your self-esteem as to whether you’re painting, writing, performing or it’s sculpture, whatever it may be, something that you’re able to create and recognize. You’re getting satisfaction and value out of what you’re creating. Likewise, others see value in what you’re creating is a way to feel better about yourself. You start to recognize the lens through which you create is based on your biography of which part of it might be this horrible experience you had.

Romance comes and go, but friendships can last forever. Click To Tweet

As I tell people many times, as shitty as cult life was, the aftermath is harder because you have to not only take ownership of this experience, you have to go back and reevaluate. For me, it was almost twenty years of my life with this lens of getting influenced. It allowed me to make decisions and choices that I’m not proud of, but I have to take ownership of it. Living in that movie like the existence of the double life, made me fascinated with the story. I lived this crazy story and I wanted to learn how to communicate it to others so that I would feel more comfortable. Being honest with people that I got fascinated with the mechanism of the story that we use that as the best teaching tool to relay our human experience as well as relate to others. That took me down the road where if I want to tell stories. What better place to do it than here in Hollywood?

You’ve won multiple awards. It’s quite astonishing for Dumbbells. Every project you’ve been in, you’ve won an award.

It goes to show that you can’t take what other people say. There are many things out there. The awards are great and I feel thrilled. Most importantly, it’s been fun to do the thing that I love the most. One of the reasons I was vulnerable to get involved with this group was because I didn’t have a passion and now, I have one.

Intersection and you won it for 50 awards.

People seem to like that movie.

What can we expect from Hoyt Richards next?

I’m going to be doing a docuseries, which is based on my experience with the cult. I’m also doing a podcast series where I’ll be interviewing other cult survivors. I’m doing that with iHeartRadio. I’ve got two new scripts that I’m shopping for. One is a story about a country Western singer who is a womanizer, alcoholic and blue hit the one love of his life because he couldn’t get out of his own way. He discovers when in his mid-50’s that not only does he have Stage IV stomach cancer, but he’s got a 21-year-old daughter he never knew about from the love of his life. It becomes a father-daughter road story because she’s an aspiring musician as well. It’s about a family coming back together before he checks out. There’s always time for second chances. Those types of stories resonate with me because of what I went through. I’ve got a love story called Invisible Prisons, which is a love story that takes place at a wellness center between a bulimic girl and a suicidal kid. It’s based on a true story. I loved the idea that our relationship and love can occur in a place where you least expect it to happen and where it’s not supposed to happen. The ripple effect that has on everyone around them demonstrates the transformative power of love.

You are a softie and a lovebug. You’ll get it out of the love story because you feel it.

I’m the guy who’s in touch with his emotions.

Women love that. I know it’s not cool. We don’t want you too girly, but we love that you are in touch with how you feel.

Guys have feelings too and it’s hard to learn how to process that.

#GuysHaveFeelingsToo. That’s the hashtag of the show. Thank you for being my special guest. It’s been such a pleasure. I love you. You’re an amazing friend to me all these years. Hoyt knows me from 18 or 19 years of age. We’ve both gone through our whole careers and lives together, marriages, divorces, children. I’m excited to have you in my life for the next many years.

Romance comes and go, but friendships can last forever. I am privileged to be a friend and I adore you.

Thank you for coming. Hoyt, are there any social media or websites that the readers can follow?

They can follow my Instagram @HoytRich. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter. I’m out there, but I need to be more active and better with that stuff.

If anybody has any questions, comments, if they need some cults advice, modeling advice, and movie advice, you can always reach us. You can always send them my way and I can always forward it to Hoyt. We’re at LaLaLanded.com for all information. Thank you for reading and thanks to my special guest, Mr. Hoyt Richards. See you again soon.

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About Hoyt Richards

LLL Richards | First Male SupermodelHoyt Richards is an award winning actor, writer and producer who was born in Syracuse, New York. He grew up in the Main Line area outside of Philadelphia, PA. He is is the fourth of six children. A high school scholar-athlete, who excelled at football and track, Hoyt graduated from Princeton University with an Economics Degree. A football injury led to him led him to New York to see a shoulder specialist — where he was discovered as a fashion model. Hoyt had a long successful modeling career before turning his efforts to acting, writing and producing. He is considered by many in the fashion industry to be the world’s first male supermodel.

Hoyt moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to pursue his growing interest in the entertainment industry. In 2010, he created a production company, Tortoise Entertainment. Tortoise has released two films to date, “Dumbbells” and “Intersection.” Together these films have won well over a two hundred awards on the film festival circuit. “Dumbbells,”a buddy comedy set in a gym, won over thirty-five (35) Best Picture awards and Hoyt won multiple awards for Best Actor and Best Screenplay. His romantic thriller, “Intersection,” won over fifty (50+) Best Picture awards and Hoyt won thirty (30) Best Actor awards for his role as Cobb Mills. As screenwriter, Hoyt has made the top 30 of Slamdance Screenplay Competition twice and won Best Screenplay at several film festivals.

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