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“Would you please adjust your front package? It’s looking lazy.” the owner of Jock Shop articulates in a classy fashion; the model blushes right after. The Jock boys are very accustomed with Gabriel’s candour, and they fire back at him almost effortlessly, creating priceless comedic moments. “It sure needs some repackaging”.
The day is sunny with azure skies - splendid lighting to turn those energetic instances into visually stunning photos. The luxurious set of The Jock Shop’s latest photoshoot in Singapore for TANGS features a stylish pool with crystal-blue waters, high gates and long driveways that declare power, men with sculpted bodies, and a snazzy collection of briefs, boxers, and swim shorts from the likes of CROOTA and TEAMM8. I plug into Spotify and let “Summer Acoustics” take over my ears; I ask for a glass of Vodka Lemonade Slush before the photographer from Icons of Man (@iom.sg) reminds me it isn’t a pool party.
In just a few beats, our favourite boys-next-door get into the groove of posing; the clicks never end.
John’s the first model on the list and his sharp features get him a spot by the solid gate with perfectly aligned rails. The man that never seems to age considers himself a gym addict, working out at least twice a day, and maintains a balanced diet of fiber-rich food, protein and carbohydrates. His trick to looking youthful - always keeping well-hydrated.
“Jump in and get wet,” Gabriel calls out to Clarence. He tries a few dives in his swim shorts and the photographer positions himself strategically to capture every movement - marvelous. “Why am I always the one with the most difficult task?” The architecture graduate student jokes about the directions given to him. This jovial man packs a full personality and is extremely humble, which makes working with him so easy. “Go ahead, frolic around in the pool… stick your chest up and show me some abs,” Gabriel instructs Clarence - a few clicks in and we have the best shot.
Tim’s next. The well-mannered model, who works in hospitality in the day, loves travelling and keeping fit. “Keeps me sane and helps me unload some stress,” he utters affably. His eyes exude a certain kind of contrasting charm that’s both innocent yet sophisticated. The photographer puts him in a wide-spaced driveway, which is very fitting for his charm to work out its perfect formula. “I love my pasta and ice-cream too, and most days, I’d just hang out at home in my boxers and slot in some me time to rejuvenate,” Tim tells me unpretentiously.
The doorbell rings and Thura walks onto set, right after a kayaking session at Marina. Looking ripped and toned, he quickly changes out and slips into a comfortable pair of TEAMM8 underwear before getting down to business. “I would describe myself as an adventurous person… recently I’m in love with dragon boating and kayaking,” the undergrad student expresses confidently. The flat walkway and dense flora at the back work sublimely for Thura’s look, with that ray of light accentuating his bold personality.
Five hours into the shoot and I finally catch some time to chat with the Jock boys about their afternoon at the luxurious house. This time, I ask for five glasses of White Sangria - a cool blend of Chardonnay, white grape juice, and soda - before initiating the conversation.
What is it like working with The Jock Shop and Icons of Man?
John: I really enjoy working with the two of them. They’re very open and willing to listen to our ideas. The best part is that they are very courteous; they respect our boundaries and know what we’re comfortable with during the shoot.
Clarence: They’re extremely fun loving people and easy-going. It's difficult to feel comfortable in nothing but your underwear, being instructed to perform a certain pose, but with them, I feel at ease. I’ve not felt camaraderie this strong between anyone and I’m very fortunate to be granted this opportunity to work with them. They also help build my confidence a lot and have been so patient with me. I can’t be more grateful.
Tim: It’s always comfortable working with them. Gabriel is a goofball and the photographer from Icons of Man is very easy-going. I know that if we have thoughts about the shoot, we can definitely share them openly. Most times it feels very collaborative, which I truly enjoy.
Thura: I got to know Icons of Man from Instagram, and was very humbled when they approached me to do the photoshoot. Initially, I was very intimidated because of all the models they’ve worked with, who are way hotter than I am. Now I’m more comfortable after getting to know all of them. The whole experience has been exhilarating.
What are some of the challenges getting into the poses that best sells the underwear?
John: Posing is the hardest as we have to know the concept and idea they want to achieve, and imagine the outcome of our actions specifically. Most times, I like to think about actual places and occasions that others will be wearing the underwear, and always thinking about the angles which will make it look more desirable.
Clarence: I had problems feeling comfortable with the poses because many of them feel very unnatural to me. I also had issues finding the light and my best angle. However, I have absolute faith in the team (Gabriel and Icons of Man), and I’ve learnt a lot from them.
Tim: Underwear, I feel is always a necessity and an aspirational product. The challenge of getting into a pose is being able to capture one that is a right combination of masculinity and sex appeal.
Thura: I feel that people will only buy underwear that they feel comfortable and sexy in. In order to feel comfortable and sexy, I try to feel great and confident in my own skin. I keep reminding myself not to over think, and just enjoy myself.
How does it feel to know that your photos will be featured with TANGS?
All four (agreeing): Excited, for sure! we don’t consider ourselves to be professional models, so to be featured in TANGS means a lot. Ultimately, we hope that this will bring The Jock Shop to a wider market, where many people can have access to comfortable and sexy underwears. It’s all about empowerment.
My Sunday has never been so refreshing.
Now here’s the greatest news: The Jock Shop is coming to a Tangs near you.
*If you like what the models are wearing, feel free to check them out below!
You can follow the Jock Shop Boys on Instagram. @johnkhoo81 @clarenceleeyongchuen @chekinthebox @skinnybao
You can follow the writer on Instagram. @kierancyr