He’s single, 24-years-old, and soon his face will be almost instantly recognizable by many gay boys in the U.S. as one of the models in the upcoming Bridgestone print and Internet advertising campaign.
Is he ready for the attention?
Stevn Dutton smiles and says, “yes, bring it on.”
Dutton, who is already a familiar face to many Nashvillians as a popular bartender at Tribe and Play, was one of 16 local people selected by Bridgestone to model in its new advertising campaign. He was “shocked” to be selected.
“Well, I’m very excited,” he said. “But I was quote shocked that I was one of the people selected. I tried out last year and didn’t make it.”
Just over 200 people appeared at Play Dance Club and The Cannery in November before a panel of five judges trying for a chance to become one of the models. A total of 16 were selected – 10 from Play and six from The Cannery. The model search, sponsored by Bridgestone Firestone, Gish Sherwood & Friends, Play Dance Bar, The Cannery Ballroom, The Nashville Scene and Out & About Newspaper, was looking for a diverse group of models for several campaigns, including GLBT, African American, Hispanic, and mass reach. The gay and lesbian print ads will run in national publications like “Out,” “Genre,” “Curve,” “Girlfriends,” “The Advocate,” “Instinct” and local GLBT newspapers like “Out & About Newspaper” and “Southern Voice.”
Each of the winning models netted $2,500 from Bridgestone for the one-time gig. Dutton said he’s going to use his money to pay for college tuition (he is a freshman at Watkins School of Art and Design).
“We were very pleased to be able to secure local talent from the Middle Tennessee community,” said Michael Fluck, advertising and Internet manager for Bridgestone Firestone (which includes diversity marketing and all national brand advertising).
Bridgestone not only selected local models, they also used clothing from local stores (like Joe on Church Street), a local stylist and a local photographer.
“We were very proud and excited that Bridgestone wanted to use some of our designer clothes,” said Joey Brown, co-owner of Joe. “They were our first customer. They purchased the clothes before we were officially open.”
Brown said those clothes included some “one of a kind” belts that were handmade in Italy; Energy and Hudson jeans; and some Ed Hardy designs.
Dutton had to show up for his photo shoot early on the morning of Dec. 7. He wasn’t too nervous he said, as he knew what to expect. His roommate, Shelby Hall, was one of the models in the 2005 Bridgestone campaign and he accompanied her on her photo shoot.
“A week or so before the photo shoot we had to go for a fitting,” he said. “I tried on dozens of different outfits. The stylist measured me and they took some photos.”
And so the work began. As soon as Dutton walked into the photographer’s studio, a stylist began working with him on his hair and clothes and a makeup artist went to work.
Dutton appears alone in many of the photos, but he was also teamed up with Pete Pantazis (a fellow bartender at Tribe/Play and Dutton’s workout partner) for a few photos.
“Pete and I talked about how exciting and fun the whole day was,” Dutton said. “We were both a little tense and nervous and egged each other on to relax and just goof off a little.”
At the end of the day Dutton said he got to keep one outfit that had some clothes that came from Joe’s.
“We got some really cool clothes,” he said smiling.
The ads are expected to be released in late February and may begin appearing in publications as early as March. Is Dutton ready to be seen by millions of people worldwide?
“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I don’t know what the ads will look like. The photographer had us doing a lot of big smiles and just having a good time.”
He’s not nervous though at the thought of all those men who will be viewing him and wondering, “is he single?”
“I am,” he said, pausing and then laughing, saying “bring it on guys.”
Dutton is already a familiar face on Nashville’s art scene. He is an accomplished artist and well respected. His next art show is expected in February or March with a theme of “ sextrology.”
Dutton said he thought it was “cool” that Bridgestone would look to their corporate hometown to find “regular people” to model for their ads.
“It’s just great,” he said. “They can find all that they need for those ads right here in Nashville . I think the idea of using regular people to help promote their tires is just fantastic.”