Zeke Clerk, standing 6’2 was about to give up his modeling dream based on the opinion of a model scout. Going with his gut, he booked another shoot and was signed two weeks later to BMG Models in Chicago.
Favorite things: Aside from modeling, I am obsessed with all things track and field. I ran for eight years of my life (four years in high school, four years collegiately.) It taught me a lot about hard work, dedication, being mentally tough and how to never give up. I took those experiences with me while exploring the modeling world.
I also love Horror films. Most of the time when I see a movie in theaters, it’s a horror film. Scary movies in bed on a rainy day is my perfect lazy Sunday. My go to is usually either The Conjuring or The Silence of the Lambs.
What music are you listening to at the moment? I’m a little all over the place with my music taste at the moment. My top three favorites Kanye, Tyler, The Creator and, Frank Ocean are always in the daily rotation in some way. But at the moment I’ve been heavily playing an album called “Choose Your Weapon” by Hiatus Kaiyote. They are an amazing Australian soul band. They mix elements of Blues, Soul, Folk, and Electronic music. I’ve also had Hive Mind by the Internet, Negro Swan by Blood Orange, & Travis Scott’s Astroworld on heavy repeat.
Favorite movie, tv show: My favorite film of all time is Disney’s Hercules. From childhood to now, I have probably watched it over 400 times. I always loved the musical numbers as a child. I can relate to the storyline of the underdog. He grew up an outcast, came into his own and found his real strength. I can connect with that experience as being the “not so cool” kid growing up and always feeling awkward or out of place to becoming a confident model.
Favorite designer, fragrance or grooming/beauty product: Right now my favorite grooming/beauty product is the Kinga Facial Scrubbing Spatula. It’s amazing. It exfoliates dead skin, extracts impurities from your pores and tightens and firms the skin. I’d recommend it to anyone. Its a huge part of my skin care routine.
What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling? If I weren’t a model, I would attend law school and become a lawyer and practice Media Law. I took a couple of courses on it in undergrad and was obsessed. I still have all 180 flashcards. I might apply to law school in a year or two.
What’s something uncool that you love anyway? One thing that people may find uncool but I love anyway are cartoons. I’m still a huge kid at heart. I can appreciate a well-developed cartoon series. Some of my favorites are Adventure Time with Fin & Jake and Avatar, The Last Air Bender, Spongebob, and Digimon.
What’s the best thing about your hometown/country? I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. A town called Chicago Heights. The best thing about the area is the food. There are so many small family-owned restaurants that have been around for years. Most of the owners still greet you at the door and take your order. One of my favorites is Demitri’s. Their gyro cheeseburgers are unbeatable.
Place you would love to visit: I would love to visit Paris during Fashion Week. It seems so busy, full of creativity and beauty. It’s a place that I feel I would call home and inspired by my experiences. I’ve never been overseas before so it would be pretty cool to jump into a completely different culture and environment.
Which brand would you like to model? I would love to walk in an Off-White or Louis Vuitton show. Strictly for the culture. With Virgil Abloh as LV’s [Louis Vuitton] Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer at Off-White, it is only right. It’s so refreshing to see successful black men in fashion. It’s inspiring to see someone that looks like you, cast models that look like you in a runway show for two monumental fashion houses.
Favorite modeling experience so far? One of my favorite modeling experiences was a shoot I did for a Detroit/Chicago-based publication called Rebel Hue Magazine. It was a 12 person shoot for their Spring Issue. That was the first time I had ever shot with another person let alone 11 other models. Its one of my favorite moments because I met some amazing models, photographers, and stylist that day. It was a long cold day, and everyone’s energy was so positive during the shoot. I made so many new connections and friends that day. I worked with a lot of the people I met that day on future jobs, so it was cool to have that support and sense of community.
Favorite season? My favorite season is the summer. I love getting darker and feeling the sun on my skin. I become a whole new person in the summer. I also love that everyone is happy. It is like everyone is on the same wave of trying to have a good time.
Favorite junk food? I have an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s my favorite snack food. I eat one every night before bed, one at lunch, sometimes even for breakfast. The quickest way to my heart is a good PB&J to be quite honest.
Where do you feel the most stuck in your modeling career? I felt the most stuck in my modeling career about a month before I signed to BMG. I had no clue where I was going with it. I had gotten so many “NO’s” to that point that I was contemplating if I was good enough. For a while, I just put everything on pause. I stopped shooting and removed everything from my Instagram page. I was sent in so many different directions on what my look is and where I would fit in. A scout once told me that I wouldn’t even get signed because of my unique eyebrows. I took a step back to make a game plan for myself. I shot one more time and was signed to BMG about two weeks later. Never give up on yourself. Your blessing could be just around the corner.
Currently, you’re obsessed with or about? Right now, I’m completely obsessed with pattered clothing, stripes, and pinstripes. My closet is slowly turning into a collage. I’ve been trying to be more experimental with patterns and shapes and colors in my wardrobe. I love how vertical stripes make me look long and lean. Horizontal lines give me a little more size in the chest. And, patterns are just enjoyable to wear and find.
3 Words that best describe you as a person? Three words that describe me as a person are driven, goofy, and honest.
It is just in me to always give my best effort when chasing my goals. I can’t settle for half effort because who knows what that extra bit of effort could bring. I’m also really goofy. I’ve always believed that every situation in life needs a laugh. I try to let my goofy personality allow people to be entirely themselves around me. I’m also very honest. I try to be the voice of reason with the people I care about because honesty is freeing.
Favorite celebrity/personality: I think my favorite celebrity right now is Will Smith. He is just out there living his best life on social media. That’s how I see myself at that age. Happy, successful, and thriving.
Your favorite quote?“The biggest hindrance of success is failure. If you were to have an idea and scream it out loud and fail, you’d be crazy. But if you were to have an idea, scream it out loud and be successful, you’re a genius.” – Kanye West
Any shoutouts? I want to shout out everyone who has shown me support and encouraged me. You guys were the battery in my back keeping me going. Thank you.