I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw pictures of model Brad Welling. He's strikingly handsome with silver hair and abs that put men half his age to shame. His modeling agency TRUE Model Management calls him their "unicorn", which I believe is the right word to describe him because he's an anomaly!
Brad is 56 and what's even more compelling than his good looks is the fact that he didn't always look this way. In fact, up until just a few years ago, Brad was a skinny out-of-shape father coping with the stress of raising his newly adopted daughter all on his own.
The best day of his life was becoming a dad but he lost so much weight as he took on the endless responsibilities of fatherhood. You can see that he looks older and gaunt in the face in the pictures above. Raising a child isn't easy as every parent knows but Brad didn't want to let go of his health and lose himself. The year after his daughter was born, he hit the gym and started working out with a trainer. Brad went from 165 pounds to 190. You can see the beginning of his transformation in the pictures below and how much more color and youthfulness he regained.
Within a year, Brad had sculpted his body and appearance to make him unrecognizable from the skinny dad he once was. His friends and family commented that he should try modeling. He knew he looked better than he did at 25 but wondered if at his age it was really possible to pursue a career in modeling. Brad already had a great job as an attorney but figured giving modeling a shot would further inspire his fitness routine and maybe even motivate other men his age to get into shape.
So at 54, Brad signed with TRUE Model Management after photographer Rick Day took pictures of him that no agency could turn down. Rick was the first person to really see Brad's potential as an older model through a very sexy lens. This is the greatest part of Brad's story because for so long the commercial and modeling industries have been ageist, preferring talent in their teens and early 20's. It's hard to be over the age of 50 and thrive in these industries. But it's reassuring to know that agencies like TRUE are now scouting more unconventional talent, including older and plus size.
Brad remains humble despite the fact he beat the odds against him. For him, the journey of modeling and becoming a more public figure is all about inspiring people to take care of themselves as they age. There's so much potential throughout one's life to transform in so many different ways. Brad refuses to age awfully just because he's a dad. Additionally, he's become incredibly focused on his daughter's health and wants to be more active in the fight against childhood obesity. He says:
"I blame parents for letting their kids get fat and not encouraging them to eat healthy and be active. Parents who are fat have kids who are fat. It’s time for us as adults to clean up our diets and be role models to our children.”
Brad says he's not quitting his job as a lawyer just yet, but he does see himself starting a movement that will engage middle-age men and women to get out of their funk and into the gym.
"People don't stop wanting to reach their goals, they just come up with a lot of excuses."
Brad Welling is on a mission to show us what's possible. And if you're anything like me, you have no problem watching...or should I say gawking? But in all seriousness, interviewing Brad and hearing about his transformation really made me think about how I often let myself off the hook because of my age.
I can think of so many times that I've given people younger than myself the license to surpass me because I accepted this ridiculous notion that I become weaker as I get older. And that's simply not true...and I don't ever want to think that way again. So I'm really grateful that I got the opportunity to speak with Brad and be enlightened by his positive energy. Make sure to connect with him on instagram HERE and his facebook page HERE.