If MTV’s “The City” measures up to its predecessor, the monster hit “The Hills,” then it will rocket its cast, including Wilhelmina model Adam Senn, to media stardom.
This story first appeared in the January 15, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At 24, Senn is practically a veteran, but nothing in his modeling career — not even appearing in a notorious Gucci ad with a strategically shaven Louise Pedersen — prepared him for the mild torture of watching himself on TV.
“At first it was nail-biting,” he said. “It’s a real humbling experience to hear yourself speak. I definitely watch my tongue a lot more.”
Senn still models full time, and is coming to Milan as usual. He’ll at least walk for Dolce & Gabbana, who will shoot him for its look books. Rumor had it that MTV cameras might follow him to Milan, but he denied that. “I’ve been working the same amount,” he said. “I have my same clients. Some of them don’t know I’m on TV at all, which is nice.”
But just wait. “The Hills” transformed its cast into tabloid bait and fashion plates, and enabled four of its female stars to launch apparel lines (to varying degrees of success). Senn and fellow Wilhelmina model Noah Mills already have a side venture designing T-shirts, which they call Gods N General. Senn is also an investor in two Manhattan restaurants, Il Bastardo and Bar Baresco. His agents say he’s artistic.
Wilhelmina discovered Senn in his home state of Texas. Although he had been offered golf scholarships, he turned down college for modeling, a gamble that seems to have paid off.
So far, “The City” viewers only know Senn as the roommate and sidekick to Jay Lyon, the romantic interest of the show’s central figure, Whitney Port. Senn has cautioned Lyon not to rush into a relationship with Port, and he backed up Lyon in a verbal dustup at a club.
Lyon was a model, too — the two became friends six years ago, at a Tommy Hilfiger show in Barcelona. Lyon introduced his eventual roommate to MTV, which folded him into “The City.” Senn claims he simply thought it would be a fun experience, rather than a launchpad to fame.
“Honestly, I didn’t watch ‘The Hills’ that much,” he said. “I was a secret fan of ‘Laguna Beach,’” which innovated the beautified “scripted-reality” genre and spun off “The Hills.”
“I’m just trying to have fun, mix it up. You never know how you’re going to come across,” he said. “You’ll see 100 percent real Adam. But I’m definitely not in control of the editing.”
It seems that, in future episodes, viewers will watch him fight with his girlfriend and struggle to fend off the advances of other women.
“People will get to see a real relationship. We have our ups and downs, but she’s the love of my life. We’ve been together almost two years,” he said of his girlfriend.
But whether or not he was seeking wider fame, Senn had his first brush with paparazzi recently.
“Jay and I were trying to find something to eat in SoHo, and before you know it, about six guys on scooters and bikes started lighting us up. We just kept looking for a place to eat. Then it was reported that we were on a shopping spree,” he said.
“I hope people see I’m not a bad guy,” he added. “I try to be a better guy every day, and I live in the moment.…I was a broke kid who moved to the city, to an apartment where cockroaches crawled on me, and I was fortunate to get a lot of opportunities in modeling. I’m definitely doing a lot better now.”