Model Chad White hopped on a plane at the age of 20 to begin his career and was quickly booked for the Cover of an 80+ page editorial in L’Uomo Vogue photographed by Steven Klein. With a body of work spanning over a decade, Chad is well known and universally loved within the industry and remains one of the top working male models in the fashion game today.

denim LEVI’S
swim CDLP

Can you share some of your earliest memories of playing sports, particularly baseball? What drew you to the game initially?
My earliest memories of playing baseball were with my dad in our front yard. After his long days of building houses, I would beg him to play catch with me. He would reluctantly give in and that was pretty much the only time I ever got one-on-one time with him, so baseball became my obsession because that was how I got my father’s undivided attention. I remember as I would improve, he would get excited and praise me. My father was a giant of a man and my hero so his praise meant everything to me. That positive reinforcement really fueled me. I would practice by myself for hours, pitching into a wooden backstop until I could hit the exact spots I was aiming for, then show my dad when he got home. He would be so proud of me and that’s priceless for a kid. Now I understand it from his perspective because of Levi. I encourage him to be his own person and whatever his interests are, I’ll fully support him, but to see your child naturally trying to follow in your footsteps is absolutely indescribable. 

swim CDLP

Growing up, who were your idols in both sports and fashion? How did they influence your journey?
Growing up, my idol was always Will Smith. ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ was on repeat 24/7. Will Smith had this incredible ability to quickly charm and win people over with his one-of-a-kind personality. He was fun and he was flawed, but he always tried to do the right thing. I felt that those were amazing attributes to aspire to. He would make people fall in love with him in a single conversation. 

As for my fashion idol, Tyson Beckford was always the model I looked up to and now not only have I had the chance to work with him several times, but he’s also become my buddy. He’ll always be the OG for me though.

pants K.NGSLEY

After your injury, how did you handle the transition from pursuing a career in professional baseball to becoming a model? What were the biggest challenges and rewards?
After my elbow injury, the transition from baseball to fashion happened rather quickly. I only planned on modeling until I could afford my elbow surgery and then I was out. But before I knew it, I was walking down some of the biggest runways in the world and working with some of the biggest magazines, photographers, stylists, designers and brands. I never even dreamed of being able to work with all of these incredible people. I started to lose track of my childhood dream to play baseball and thought maybe I was living the dream I was supposed to be living. I eventually got the elbow surgery, but by then I had fallen in love with this business because of all the amazing people who made me feel at home. I always felt different, like a misfit, but with fashion folks, I felt right at home. 

swim CDLP

Can you tell us about your first big break in modeling, the 80+ page editorial in L’Uomo Vogue? How did it feel to achieve such an unprecedented feat as a newcomer?
I remember getting the call from my agent Jason Kanner like it was yesterday. I had no idea how big of an impact Steven and that editorial would have on my life, but he did. He told me that no model had ever done anything like it so I was in shock. And then he told me “You better get your ass in the best shape of your life,” and I did. I was in the gym 3 times a day from the time I got that call until the day of the shoot. Jason was right of course. That shoot did change my life. Working with Steven Klein and that L’Uomo Vogue shoot is, was and always will be a highlight of my life. A story to tell my son, to always dream and dream big. Things don’t always go as planned, but if you trust the universe, there’s no telling where you’ll end up.

You’ve worked with some of the top fashion houses and photographers in the industry. What have been some of your most memorable projects or collaborations?
This is a really difficult question because I’ve been modeling for 20 years and I’ve been a part of so many amazing and memorable projects. One thing that I can say for certain is that getting to be the model/actor for the brilliant minds that produce the images and make them come to life is an honor. 

t-shirt VINTAGE
swim trunks BURBERRY
sunglasses KVRT STVFF

What do you think has been the key to your long-lasting success in the fashion industry? How have you managed to stay relevant over the years?
There are so many variables that play into success. First and foremost, being a model is based on what you look like, so thanks Mom and Dad. I have had an amazing team my whole career. My mother agent Kelly, who got the ball rolling, and Jason who took that ball, kept it rolling and has managed to turn that into a 20-year career with no signs of stopping in sight. Also, Sandy and Sarah at Soul and all my other agents around the world. I want to take a moment to thank Patrizia from I Love Models in Milan. She recently passed and my career wouldn’t be what it is today without her. Milan was such a huge market for me for so many years, especially in the beginning, and not only was she an amazing agent, she was a gem of a human being.

Then there are all of the incredible creatives who have booked me, and then booked me again and again. I always hesitate to name names because you don’t want to leave anyone out, but going back to Steven Klein, we have worked together so much over the years. Dolce, Dean & Dan, Jim Moore, and so many more, all of whom I am eternally grateful to. All of these people and their continuous support, especially at the beginning of my career, were the wind beneath my wings that really allowed me to soar. Now the turnover with models is so high, but back when I was coming up, I was seeing some of the photographers and designers so frequently that they felt like extended family. 

swim CDLP

Another thing is changing it up. I’ve had a shaved head, I’ve had slightly longer hair for a more classic look, I’ve bulked up, I’ve leaned out. The changes may be small, but they can make a big difference. The most successful models are chameleons, so you have to know when to switch it up and how to switch it up.

You have to be grateful for every job big or small. You’re on sets sometimes upwards of 10-12 hours a day. Sometimes you’re taking trips and shooting multiple days. People want to be around people they like and enjoy. You have to appreciate the work everybody does with you and for you, and be kind and genuine to everybody at your agency and on the sets, from catering, lighting, production, models,and photo team. And remember, the assistants today will run the show tomorrow. Don’t let your ego get too big. You will be humbled quickly. The business doesn’t like that. Be authentic and most of all, be loyal.

And last is luck, a lot of luck. Some models come into the business, check all the boxes and for whatever reason it just doesn’t work out for them or it doesn’t last, so I am very grateful to God and the universe for continuously blessing me and allowing me to have longevity.

pants K.NGSLEY

How has your athletic background influenced your life and career in modeling? Do you still engage in sports, and how do you balance that with your professional commitments?
My athletic background made the transition to modeling easy. I was used to training hours and hours a day already. What I wasn’t used to was the strict dieting. That was the most difficult part of my transition, especially since I love sweets and am addicted to cookies. I play sports still, but now I do it for fun rather than as a job. Cool thing is that I’m probably all around better now than I ever was at sports. Balancing sports with work is easy. Playing sports is how I stay in shape and staying in shape is part of the job, so for me playing sports is part of my professional commitments. Engaging in sports doesn’t necessarily feel like work because I enjoy it and it’s been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, but the two go hand-in-hand.

As a father to Levi, how do you incorporate your love for sports and fashion into your parenting? What values or lessons are you hoping to pass down to him?
Levi is such a boy’s boy and he’s so much like me, especially at that age. He’s silly and mischievous and athletic and a little rambunctious, but he’s such a sweet, sensitive boy. He wants to be just like me so he tries to mimic everything I do. My job is to incorporate all that I’ve learned and gift it to him without him having to go through the same struggles I did. I want him to be true to himself, to be compassionate, to be courageous, to believe in himself, to always get back up no matter how many times he gets knocked down, to dare to dream as big as he possibly can, and to follow his heart and his dreams. I’m going to teach him everything that I know, but most importantly, I’m going to support whatever dreams he has and whoever he wishes to become. 


Your social media features glimpses of your life, including your son and your husky, Batman. How important is social media to your personal brand and connection with your audience?
Social media is a double-edged sword. I love it and I dislike it at the same time. In today’s modeling world, you have to have social media to do well, to promote your brand, to promote yourself as a person. Although I model for a living and it’s a passion of mine, I want people to like me for who I am versus what I do for a living, which is why I share such personal moments. At the same time, I’m very private, but I hope that sharing some of my personal life, such as being a single father, will inspire other single fathers to step up and be present in their kids’ lives. Social media also is very me. Although I’m proud of my work and my life, sometimes it feels a little bit vain, which isn’t true to who I am so it feels like a bit of a battle sometimes, but I hope that being a vulnerable and genuine person via social media inspires others to be the same and brightens people’s day. I try to approach it that way because I’m not interested in it as a self-centered pursuit. 

How has fashion shaped your life beyond just your career? What does fashion mean to you personally, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Fashion molded me into the man I am today. When I say fashion, I mean the beautiful and eccentric people who work behind-the-scenes to make it all happen. Like I said prior, I never felt like I fit in anywhere until getting into this business and seeing like-minded people. Fashion gave me a roof over my head. It has put food on my kid’s table and clothes on his back. I owe it all to fashion.

robe CDLP

photography and styling TORIAN LEWIN
editor-in-chief TIMOTEJ LETONJA