Billy Huxley

An interview with the bearded wonder.

Photography by Roo Lewis

Interview by Naeem Alvi (@npalvi)

A former roofer, Billy Huxley was spotted as a model when he was out of work and out of pocket. His tattooed body, East London charm and striking beard have quickly helped him to scale the ladder of male modelling into a world he never expected to be a part of. We spent a day with Billy as he had three more tattoos added to his growing collection, to talk about what it’s like to be rewarded for trying to look different to everyone else.

How did you become a model? My cousin was a make-up artist and asked me if I wanted to do this show. I gave it a go and it went quite well, then I got spotted. I used to work for a media company and then I was working as a roofer. I had to sell my car because I didn’t have a carrot. Now, I just compare everything to that time in my life. You get girls complaining about how their feet hurt in the industry but they have no idea what hard work is. It keeps me grounded.

Did you have to make changes to your lifestyle habits? I used to be a lot bigger but I know the build the industry wants is really slim so I go to the gym a lot. It’s not like I love going to the gym, I fucking hate it, but I know I have to. I know I ain’t going to be in the industry for ever so I might as well try my hardest to make the most of it while I can.

First tattoo? I had Huxley done on my back when I was 16 or something and it’s been surprisingly popular in the industry.

What inspires the tattoos you choose to get? A lot of it is inspiration from everyday things. I see stuff and I like it so I get a tattoo based on it. A lot of people think every tattoo needs to have a deep meaningful story but really people just like being tattooed.

Is there anywhere on your body you wouldn’t get tattooed? I’m not going to tattoo my face. That’s one thing I won’t do because I’ve promised my mum. Every time I go home she’s like, ‘’Billy, when are you going to stop?’’

When will you stop? I want to get a lot of my left leg done and my right thigh and a lot more of my top half. I have an idea of everything I want done.

Is it painful? I didn’t like getting my ribs done, I’ve not got much meat on me and it fucking killed. I don’t want to get my torso blocked out and I won’t do my abs unless I get a bit of a gut. If I get fat I’ll just be like, fuck it.

Are you addicted to getting tattoos? I need cigarettes, but I want to get tattoos. It’s not an addiction, it’s just something I want to do.

Do you think other male models are getting tattoos to further their career? Yeah I think some people are, I know this one guy who wants to crack into the modelling world, and it seems like all the tattoos he’s getting have been in a really short space of time. It just doesn’t seem legit and I wouldn’t advise that to anyone. Tattoos are permanent, modelling isn’t.

”I didn’t like getting my ribs done, I’ve not got much meat on me and it fucking killed.”

Do you enjoy the way people look at you in the street because of your tattoos? Yeah definitely, I’ll see a woman cross over the road as I walk to wards her, but I like that. Not because I’m intimidating her but if they don’t want to know me, I probably won’t want to know them. It’s a filter anyway. On the other hand they might come in closer out of curiosity and start a conversation.

What’s the number 13 tattoo for on your arm? Oh the 13 on my arm is pretty much the only tattoo that does have a story. It’s for my best friend from when I was little. We used to walk to school together everyday and one day his dad phoned to say he wouldn’t be going to school. Later on I found out it was because he got hit by a car. He was 13 at the time.

Do you think tattoos will continue to get more fashionable over the next few years? Yeah, they will for a few years. Right now, it’s hard for guys who are heavily tattooed to break into the higher end of fashion. I wonder if they’ll start bringing in girls with tattoos. It would be cool but I don’t know if it would ever happen.

To see the full interview and extended article download the digital edition of Issue 2 of The Quarterly for free.