Oh, snap(chat)! Gay model Topher La Fleur tumblrs into underwear fame
MEET AND GREET
TMC: The Mining Company, 3903 Cedar Springs Road.
Sept. 11. 9–10 p.m.
Topher La Fleur, a 23-year-old Los Angeleno who presently works as a marketing executive at Out Front Colorado (like Dallas Voice, the Denver-based gay weekly), is of the generation where Snapchat, InstaGram and selfies aren’t novelties but the background of everyday life. And as someone working in media, he knows the power of a good image.
La Fleur proved his savviness earlier this summer by turning what could have been a simple Tumblr snapshot into a degree of fame and adulation.
He’s the national winner of an online selfie contest sponsored by Texas-based undergear maker XVII Underwear. As part of the reward for winning, La Fleur received a paid tour of Texas (including Dallas, where he will be doing a meet-and-greet on Thursday at TMC) and gets to be, if not the face, then the crotch, of a clothing brand.
We chatted with the budding millennial model about his winning pic (plus some other modeling work) and his obsessive collecting of skivvies.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
Dallas Voice: When did you hear about the contest? La Fleur: My partner stumbled across the contest online one evening and encouraged me to enter. There were about 250 applicants to start with, which were later narrowed down to 17. XVII Underwear then sent us pairs of underwear to take selfies in, and then the public voted on them!
Why do you think you won? A huge part of my success had to do with local businesses sharing my photo with their fans. I also received a ton of support from international groups on Facebook.
Have you ever modeled before? What kind? I have runway, fashion, fitness and editorial modeling experience, but I’m by no means a pro. I always look forward to collaborating with new individuals. The challenges help me learn and grow, and the resulting photos are usually pretty amazing.
Do you wear a lot of underwear? What’s your preferences — boxers? Briefs? Thongs? I love underwear! My partner and I have around 300 pairs, and prospective clients are always sending me new samples of products to share with my fans on Instagram. I don’t like thongs — they’re very uncomfortable. I won’t pose in them, either. I find them very unflattering. Day-to-day, I love a good modal or brushed cotton brief. The brighter the color, the better.
You’re quite the expert! Tell us about your tour in Texas. What will you be doing and looking forward to? The most exciting part of this trip is that I’ve never been to Texas. I’ve basically jam-packed every hour of my time in the Lone Star State. I’ve arranged several collaborations with Texan photographers, in addition to the work I’ll be doing with XVII Underwear for their new season. Additionally, I’ll be agent shopping in Dallas and I’m hoping to take a trip to Austin Pride! Of course, we’ll have to hit the town at least once while we’re out here.
What’s the most revealing selfie you’ve ever taken? Being a model is all about image — you have to keep it tightly controlled! I try not to take excessively revealing images, and I won’t work in sheer underwear or thongs. However, for a recent music video, I was asked to wear a jockstrap, and I did enjoy that experience. I definitely took a few jockstrap selfies. They were totally harmless and definitely in good taste.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 5, 2014.