Many gay fans have flocked to the new Bravo TV show Manhunt: The Search For America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model. Starting with 30 men, the competition reality show has been thinning the herd of studly guys in search of the best model.
Among the beautiful bodies was one model with striking blue eyes named John. John Stallings, who listed his hometown as Sandy, Utah, was also remarkable in that he was one of three contestants to be openly gay—a fact that fans realized by reading his bio on the Bravo channel’s official website. When asked if he was single or dating, John replied, “I’m sadly single now. I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable with who he is and takes care of himself.”
We were lucky enough to catch up with John while he was back in Utah. After spending two weeks on the show (he was cut at the end of the second episode), he came home to visit his family and celebrate his birthday. The first thing I realized about John when he showed up in the Metro offices, was that television doesn’t do justice to the whole package that is John Stallings. He’s the kind of guy who makes friends instantly, and when he looks directly at you with those often- remarked-upon eyes, you can’t help but wish he’d never stop.
JK: So, do you still come back to Utah very often?
John: I do. I have friends out here and Mom and Dad, so I come back to visit.
JK: How did you get involved in Manhunt?
John: I was actually the very first one scouted for the whole thing. I was sitting in Coffee Bean on Sunset Boulevard—I have to have my coffee—and Stuart Krasnow, the executive producer, was there talking on his phone. I was on the phone making calls as well, but he kept looking at me and I was like, “okay, who is this guy?” He kept looking at me and it was starting to make me uncomfortable, so I got up to go and I hear him say, “Excuse me.” And I’m going, “it’s not for me, it’s not for me.” So I kept walking and all of a sudden he runs up and taps me on the shoulder, turns me around and hands me the NBC peacock show business card and he tells me about the show. He asked me if I’d be interested in doing it and if I was, to call him.
JK: So what are your long term ambitions?
John: Definitely modeling has been a huge interest of mine. I’ve been a performer ever since I was a little guy, like 4 years old… in the dance company doing ballet and jazz. Modeling is just another form of expression for me. Bring on the new clothes, the hair and makeup, the photographers, I’ve always loved that.
I’ve thought about acting, but the next step is getting some representation. I’m heading back to Los Angeles tonight to get in touch with some agencies that contacted me through the show.
JK: Tell me about your daily routine as a model.
John: Well, every morning I have to have my coffee. I have an irregular heartbeat and I have a higher metabolism than other people. I don’t work out that much. I used to be a dancer so I’ve trained my body to be tone and lean, but I can’t do cardio because it tired me out too much. I work out like three times a week, but I don’t have a gym membership, so I’m using my friends’ guest passes.
JK: You’re one of those people who just doesn’t have to work as hard that the rest of us hate.
John: [laughs] Well, yes, it’s nice for me. I would like to get bigger, but even on the show, they were telling some guys, “you’re too big, you’re too Men’s Fitness-y.” I know I’m never going to be that, which is fine.
JK: You “came out” in your bio on the website, but they don’t make it very clear in the show.
John: There were so many chances to have that aired. In every single interview I did—hour long interviews behind the scenes—that I thought they were going to edit into the show, they were all about “what does homosexuality mean to you?” and they never put that in.
So there’s a lot of times they could have aired something with me coming out, but they never really did. It’s kind of weird. But there were comments that I made about girls in Armani Exchange who were trying to hook up with the guys where I said, “get out of my face, I’m here to shop!” All my friends were laughing, saying “that’s John for you.”
I told them I’m an open book, ask me anything and I’m very comfortable with who I am.
JK: How long have you been out in your personal life?
John: I came out right before I went to college, at 18½. My mom actually asked me when I was going to go downtown and stay in a hotel with my best friend Ann for the arts festival. We wanted to stay overnight and go to the festival and she asked me, “What are you doing?” And I told her, “Ann and I are going to have sex together.” And she was like, “Don’t play games with me.” [laughs] She said, “You’re an attractive guy, you’ve never dated whatsoever and you never really talk about girls. Is there something you want to tell me?” I was like “Oh, god!” [laughs] I was ready, but I wasn’t ready because I thought I’d be the one to initiate that conversation. So I’ve been out since 18, but I’ve always known, since kindergarten.
JK: You also said you were still single. Has that changed since the show started?
John: During the last interview before the show, they asked me—with all the goals I have—if I have time for a relationship right now and honestly I don’t. I realize that’s kind of a selfish place, but I really have to think about how I’m going to better myself, get more financially stable, more in the career area… I’d love to share it with somebody, but unfortunately nobody’s come into my life.
John is heading back to his retail career in Los Angeles, but hopes to find more work as a model or actor. He expressed interest in working for a program on Logo, the new gay network, or in fantasy style films. But don’t worry, he should be back to visit us in the beehive state.
Photo by Dave Harris