Close Window

 Josh Pence

Josh Pence, top male model and actor

"I'd started with David Todd at Nous (still my mother agent, best in the biz) and I probably had about 5 or 6 test shots in my book from Nick Hudson and Doug Inglish. It just so happened that Bruce Weber was in town..."

"What's funny is that the shot from V mag came at the end of a long shoot for the Stefanel campaign...

"I'm currently waiting to film a lead role in an independent called "My Angels." Very much a layered character as I mentioned before. And I'm writing a feature script..."

Acting: Josh Pence's page on IMDB

Interview by Edo Q © 2010 CoverMen Mag!
 August, 2010

-Hello Josh, I'm really flattered you accepted to be interviewed for CoverMen Mag!, to start this interview off, please give me some brief background information.Josh Pence, top male model and actor

Well I was born and raised in Santa Monica with my younger brother Jason and slew of pets. My Dad was raised in Seattle and my mom was born and raised on a farm in northern Maine. We grew up spending summers on her family's farm--it shaped much of who I am today.

I graduated from Santa Monica High School (SAMO) and went to Dartmouth College. I was looking for the opposite experience. I'd had growing up, hence the move to Hanover New Hampshire. I'll never forget the fall and winter there, it was truly awesome.

-Who discovered you and convinced you to become a model and how old were you at the time?

After graduating I briefly returned to Los Angeles to study acting, and it was during this time that I started modeling to pay the bills. I'd been scouted before, the first time I can recall was at age 14, at a crew regatta in San Diego, by a Nautica rep.  My parents wanted me to focus on school and frankly I didn't have the time to do anything else besides sports, music and schoolwork. I got up at 6am every day and I wouldn't get home till 7pm.  In 2005 I moved to New York City to study acting with Sheila Gray and continued print work.  I lived  in the big apple for 2 years.

-How did you get your first modeling job and what was it like?Josh Pence, top male model and actor

My first job was in the fall of 2004. I'd started with David Todd at Nous (still my mother agent, best in the biz) and I probably had about 5 or 6 test shots in my book from Nick Hudson and Doug Inglish. It just so happened that Bruce Weber was in town shooting L'uomo Vogue and wanted a few extra models for the story. I met him at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills hotel and a day later I was on my first shoot in Malibu.  And I was pretty terrified.  I was so shy and everyone made such a big deal about the magazine ("it's the men's fashion bible") and the photog ("It's Bruce Weber! 'Nuff said!"). But Bruce knows exactly what he wants and that made my day a lot easier. The second day we shot at Potrero Canyon (where they shot Seabiscuit). I'll never forget it because I was sitting there during our lunch break (for which Bruce had brought in a gourmet LA chef, all clean, organic food) and suddenly I'm watching one of my biggest childhood heroes saunter into the ranch to pay Bruce a visit...Wayne Gretzky! I could not believe it.  And of course I was too awed (and shy) to even say a word.  But I'll never forget that.

Josh Pence, top male model and actor

-You have already worked with many famous photographers, Mario Testino just to mention one, how was working with him for V Magazine? How would you describe Testino's style?Josh Pence, top male model and actor

Mario's very straightforward and he too knows exactly what he wants--I've noticed this latter point with great photographers. They have a very clear vision, which may manifest itself in different ways, but clear nonetheless. What's funny is that the shot from V mag came at the end of a long shoot for the Stefanel campaign.  Mario came up to me and said he was going to take a picture of Gisele for V, in the trunk of a car in the parking lot, and then asked if I would take another picture for an editorial.  And voila!

-Let's talk about your acting career, I know you starred in some episodes of the TV series "CSI: NY" and "CSI: Miami" among others, which characters did you play in it? What was that experience like?

I played a bartender on CSI: NY that was interviewed following a string of murders and I had a blast.  I'd done a few smaller roles on soaps and an MTV movie but I was really excited for that.  It took all day to shoot and of course my lines were the last thing they shot. Everyone was pretty tired by that point so one of the series regulars decided to lighten the mood, trying to make me break during my lines.  All I remember about that scene was trying to keep a straight face.

And CSI: Miami was a big role for me.  I had a small arc (but an arc nonetheless!) and some intense scenes with James Russo.  I also got to do my first bits of stunt work.  I had a blast working with everyone there and I learned a tremendous amount.

Josh Pence, top male model and actor

-What kind of movies would you like to star in? And what character would you most like to play?Josh Pence, top male model and actor

My favorite movies are simple stories about real life.  Of course I enjoy the occasional CGI packed action flick but I find it too often these days and the novelty quickly wears off.  I love Jack Nicholson, Five Easy Pieces might be my favorite.  I'm drawn to characters that you could easily pigeonhole at first glance, but harbor a totally different side/life/secret.  It's so easy to judge people, to categorize them--I think it's something we've conditioned ourselves to do because we think we can control the situation.  It's comforting to think you've got someone pegged.  But I hate labels because we're complex beings and our beliefs aren't black and white, there's all kinds of shades in between.  For instance, Jack's character in Five Easy Pieces is introduced as the archetype of a blue collar oil rig worker. He plugs away in the oil fields, packs his lunch, then goes home and guzzles beer at the bowling alley and treats his girlfriend like shit.  Easy to label, you think you've got this guy all figured out. What you don't know is he was raised by a family of musicians on an idyllic island off the alaskan coast.  And when you're introduced to his family you also meet the band of intellectuals that he probably grew up with, and their own judgements, and you see how he didn't fit there either.  And I love the fact that he's a musician.  I've always thought my breakout role will come as a musician.

-Can you share with me some of your recent and upcoming projects?Josh Pence, top male model and actor

I play a british backpacker in the independent film "The Things We Carry."  Beautiful story about a woman coming to terms with her past. We're still waiting to hear about distribution and all that jazz. But I had a great time filming and it was quite a learning experience for me.  I love doing accent work and (truly) independent film really gives you the freedom to create something.  That's what it's all about. In the beginning, however, the trick is creating something in a few short scenes!  It's the ultimate challenge.

The business is slow right now, patience is the name of the game (more than ever).  I just read that feature film work in LA is down something like 50%, although the box offices are experiencing record breaking numbers.  But I think that's skewed--you've got movies like Transformers posting staggering numbers. Ultimately it comes down to who can guarantee a steady flow of greenbacks.  

A few months ago I read for the role of "Thor" in "Thor."  I went in to the casting office on a Tuesday evening, spent an hour making a tape with Randi Hiller (one of the best Casting Director's in LA, hands down).  An hour later I got a call from my manager.  Kenneth Branagh had seen my tape and wanted to meet me at Marvel in Manhattan Beach the next afternoon. I couldn't believe it.  Still can't believe it. He's one of the most respected names in this business, as an actor and a director, a paragon of talent and work ethic... not to mention incredibly humble. Going into the studio I kept thinking "who am I to read for Kenneth Branagh? Is punked back on the air?"  And he met me on a level playing field, one human being to another, one artist to another, simple as that. He gave me the utmost respect and a few compliments (re: my tape and my acting) that will always be with me. And he inspired me. We spent an hour making a tape which he then took in to Marvel execs.  In the end my resume was just too short to justify me at the helm of a $150 million studio picture. And frankly I don't blame them.  But everything comes in due time. Just to meet and work with Mr. Branagh for that hour... it was a pivotal moment in my career and my life. In the end it went to a talented young Aussie actor named Chris Hemsworth. The cast looks phenomenal and I know they'll do a fantastic job with the project.  I'm still stoked to see it!

I'm currently waiting to film a lead role in an independent called "My Angels." Very much a layered character as I mentioned before. And I'm writing a feature script based on the story of a cab driver I met while shooting a catalogue in Arizona.

-How do you like to spend your spare time? What is the meaning of fun and having a good time for you?Josh Pence, top male model and actor

I spend a lot of time with my family and my dog (Keeva Bean, super mutt extraordinaire). I love animals. My best moments are with family and friends. You won't ever find me at a Hollywood club and if I'm at a bar it's probably a special occasion. I enjoy privacy and I get overwhelmed by "the scene."

I have to exercise just about every day, more for the mental benefits than everything else.  If people would just get out for 45 minutes of moderate exercise a day (even a simple walk), the world would be a different place.  I love to shoot hoops with my bro and my pop, I cycle up the beach, run the Santa Monica stairs, hike the canyons with the Keeves, moderate weight lifting, swimming...variety is the spice of life and you have to keep your muscles guessing, they adapt faster than you think. And if you don't keep it interesting, you won't want to work out. I tend to keep my workouts short and intense.  If I'm lifiting, I'm in and out in 30-45 minutes.  Supersets, dropsets... keep the heart rate up!

But music is my biggest hobby, maybe one day it will be more.  I was a huge (read: gigantic, super, freakish) "band geek" growing up.  The Santa Monica Unified School District has one of the best public music programs in the world.  No joke. I started playing a keyboard when I was three, piano at 5, clarinet at 9, drums at 11.  I was the captain of the drumline in a 200 person marching band and an accomplished clarinetist.  I got to play with the LA Phil my senior year of high school... just beyond words.  I love music, it's incredibly powerful and I wouldn't be here without it.  I play keys and sing backups in a friend's band around LA (Chantelle Barry on myspace) and I'm starting to write my own stuff.  I'm starting to learn harmonica and guitar.

-Thanks Josh for taking your time to reply to my questions, it was a gift to me and my readers!

Haha, but of course Edo!  Frankly, I'm flattered that anyone should care what I have to say!


- Josh P.