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Australian model Travis Fimmel, born July 15, 1979, has been catapulted to instant notoriety. From relative obscurity, his symmetrical features, attenuated body and accompanying bulge have been plastered on billboards and placed in magazines everywhere in the free world. From a bucolic background on a farm 40km outside Echuca, Victoria, where he regularly milked cows, Fimmel has rocketed into the pantheon of international sex symbols.
The coveted slot of Calvin Klein poster boy is the most illustrious a male model could snare, it's the big kahuna of the glamour profession. Travis Fimmel has become the instant talk of the town and the stirring up of the controvercies. Some countries dediced to ban the ads, reasoning that it is sexually suggestive and demeaning to men.
However, this didn't prevent this traffic stopper being noticed by American public, and even the celebrities. Meg Ryan first spotted the blonde Aussie on a giant billboard on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. He has since been spotted dining with the real thing at Robert De Niro's Nobu restaurant in New York. Fimmel has a slimmer, more natural look than his preening predecessors Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bergin and Antonio Sabato Jr.
"We were looking for a new type of guy this time," says Sydney Bachman, former global creative director of advertising and fashion for Calvin Klein. "Travis is slimmer and boyish. Today it's not about working out in the gym and having yourself so pumped up and muscular. It's more about being athletic and slim."
As if to prove the point that models are extraterrestrial beings, beamed down from a parallel dimension to torment the rest of us, Fimmel admits his gym membership has long expired, and he eats what he pleases.
Fimmel lives in Los Angeles, where his routine seems to consist entirely of surfing and channel-surfing, as well as cruising around in his 1985 Bronco. He waxes lyrical about the beach at Malibu, an idyllic setting with dolphins and seals. He reserves his wrath for sharks of the human variety.
"The thing about Travis," says Chadwick model agency booker Matthew Anderson, "is he is genuinely not aware of his appearance, or he's just playing cool. It might be a mix of both."
Fimmel is the youngest of three brothers. As a child, he worked on the family farm, rode motorcycles and hunted foxes. He loved his footy and his fishing.
"He's always had an adventurous spirit," says his mother Jenny. "He would disappear and camp out for the night. Even now, as soon as he gets home, he jumps on a motorbike and heads out to see what's been happening on the farm. He's always loved it here."
Fimmel left home at 17, moved to Melbourne at 18, and arrived in London at 19, where he remained for two years. The modelling seed had already been planted when, in 1998, Anderson discovered him in a Melbourne gym.
"He was a bit embarrassed about it all, like, 'What are you talking to me for?'" Anderson says. "He never saw himself as being a star and I don't think he does now."
In fact, Fimmel was self-conscious as a youngster. "He was small, the little guy," says his mother, "so it doesn't suit his character at all to make a big deal about his looks. Last time he was home, he got around in a checked shirt and torn jeans and I thought, 'Can't we dress him up at all? Isn't he supposed to be comfortable wearing nice clothes?' That's not to say he isn't enjoying his lifestyle. He's making the most of it, as any 22-year-old would."
"He has a beautiful face, a very funny personality, it all clicked."
Celebrity photos courtesy of Getty Images, WireImage, Tetu Magazine, Icon Magazine, Attitude Magazine, DNA Magazine, Paparazo, Terra's The Boy,
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