UNCW senior Landon McClure balances modeling and student life

Olivia Vizethann, Staff Writer

The average college senior is usually hanging out with friends, soaking up their time on campus, sorting out future plans and fighting off senioritis. Landon McClure, however, is not the average UNCW student. His schedule encompasses a full communications course load, hitting the gym and part-time modeling.

In the midst of the pandemic, when the world shut down, McClure began the pursuit of his modeling career. He found inspiration in his mother who had herself worked in the modeling industry. Prompted by her encouragement, McClure reached out to “Directions USA,” the largest agency across North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

“It’s not an easy industry at all and it’s not easy to get into,” said McClure. “Not just anyone can apply to it, they won’t [get back to you to] tell you no.” However, Directions USA reached out to McClure expressing their interest right away. After posting the agency’s response to his social media, a slew of friends and acquaintances reached out, sharing how they had been trying to get into the same agency for some time without any reply. Meanwhile, McClure received a response in less than two hours and realized his potential as a model.

Modeling is separated into three tiers of marketing. Currently, McClure works among the second tier with department stores such as Belk, Wrangler and others. Like many, he aims to make it into major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, where the modeling industry flourishes. When asked about how he feels about his chances of making it into such a competitive market, McClure expressed his optimism. “Modeling trends change every month, it varies, you kind of sit and wait while they’re looking for what they want.” Since the industry is so fluid, there is always a chance for opportunity.

McClure is not passive in his pursuit of the top tier, though. He is constantly adding to his portfolio, making photoshoots a priority in his schedule. McClure takes his photoshoots very seriously. “A few days before I eat clean,” said McClure. “No salt or sugar, lots of water. I work out. I get a haircut, my eyebrows waxed, and a pedicure and manicure.”

Staying in shape is an important part of being a model, but it is not as easy as it may seem. “Modeling is very strict on size and measurements,” said McClure. “I try and maintain my size. I work each muscle group twice with two to three days of cardio, and ab workouts almost every day.”

Despite his passion for fashion and notable success thus far, McClure is very humble and personable. It is not easy to spot his status amongst a sea of students. He doesn’t follow beachy trends, and has a taste for name brands. Some of his favorites are Alexander McQueen, Raf Simmons and Ric Owens. “I’m really into street-style fashion, or a chic, clean look. I have different style in different cities.” But McClure is also not one to draw much attention to himself heading down Chancellor’s Walk. “Wilmington fashion is not going to go crazy versus New York City,” said McClure. “In the city wearing a nice outfit, no one looks, but put on a nice outfit down here and it’s almost like you rule the world.”

Keeping in stride with his friendly and optimistic personality, McClure handles criticism in an admirable manor. “If no one’s hating on you, then you must not be doing anything,” said McClure. “The more haters you have, that’s a good thing, means you’re doing something. I want all the haters in the world.”

With this in mind, he holds tight to the friendships he has and brushes off the fake love. Always on the move to a new photoshoot or hustling to improve himself and his career, McClure makes it a priority to maintain the relationships that matter to him.

With plans to graduate in the spring, McClure intends to pursue sports marketing along with modeling. “I always have a backup plan. Anything could happen and it’s over in a second, got to have a backup plan always in the back of your head,” said McClure.

Having made many connections both through modeling as well as sports marketing internships, McClure is confident in himself and his ability to utilize his networking skills to seize opportunities. “I’m very positive, I try to uplift others. I can talk to others well, I’m very welcoming, easy to talk to, and I can create relationships, which has helped in school, modeling, my personal relationships, applying for sports agencies, and in life.”

With the heavy competition of the modeling career aside, being a graduating senior can be stressful to anyone. Not knowing where he is going to end up next, McClure admitted, “It can get stressful, but I stay grounded. You don’t know where you’re going to be at, but you’ve got to be able to handle that.”

When asked if McClure would recommend the industry and the lifestyle to anyone else, he said, “To the right person. It seems glamorous, which part of it is, but it is a lot more than you see. The amount you put in is what you get out. If you go in there thinking it’s nonchalant, you’re not going to get far. You have to form relationships with the bookers. If they like you, you can go far. If you burn a bridge, you can go downhill pretty fast. If you are super passionate, yes, you have to love what you do.”

“The majority of models my age are not in school, I definitely stand out in that sense,” said McClure. “Overall, I love the opportunities and love getting to go and figure it all out.”