#MindBodySOUL With Kevin Johnson

#MindBodySOUL is back this week with the one and only Kevin Johnson. Read our exclusive interview with him below on how he got started in the industry, his love for baseball and boxing and his acting career. For more, follow us on Instagram.

Photographed by Ashton Do #AshtonDo

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SOUL ARTIST MANAGEMENT: How old are you and where are you from?

KEVIN JOHNSON: I’m 28-years-old and I was born in Seattle, Washington. I was raised in Olympia, Washington and when I was 18, I left home for college in Raleigh, North Carolina.

SOUL: Describe yourself in three words.

KEVIN: Loyal, disciplined, confident.

SOUL: What did you do before you started modeling? How were you discovered? How did you land at SOUL?

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KEVIN: While I was in school, I played baseball at St Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was discovered walking to the store after practice; at the time, I had absolutely no interest in modeling.

SOUL: What attracted you to baseball? Where did the sport take you?

KEVIN: Baseball has been a family sport on my Dad’s side since I can remember. It was just something I loved to do from childhood; it was like a calming Zen situation for me where I could forget about my day and just enjoy playing the game. I really enjoyed the mental aspect of baseball. Playing in school took me all over the country, from Ohio to Florida to upstate New York, including North Carolina where I played.

SOUL: How did you decide to move to New York and pursue modeling instead of a career in baseball?

KEVIN: When getting drafted to play professionally didn’t work out, I ran into the friends who had originally approached me about it (Anthony, Tim, and Alva) and decided to give it a try. With $200, I bought a bus ticket and moved myself to New York City.

SOUL: What did your family think of this decision?

KEVIN: Ha-ha. My family was baffled at first because I was planning on going to law school or graduate school. Although they supported me very much, they let me know that this was my decision, and I had to make it work. I think they were just confused about why I followed this particular dream.

SOUL: Landing a modeling agency in New York City is not easy. What challenges did you face? Who helped you along the way?

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KEVIN: Oh man, that was the tough part. Everyone told me I was too short or too ethnic. The biggest challenge was being shorter than a typical model. I was already the “underdog.” After a few weeks of trying the agency route, I met a photographer named Joseph Bleu who became one of my closest friends here in New York. He has believed in me since day one. He still encourages me to this day! When I was jumped and had my jaw broken by five people, he told me not to give up and come back to New York. He always told me, “If you believe, they’ll believe.” Another good friend who has supported me is Haracio Hamlet. He has blossomed into an amazing photographer over the years. He’s like my little brother.

SOUL: You also shot the cover of Le Monde Magazine with famed photographer Bruce Weber. What did he teach you?

KEVIN: Good Ol’ Bruce Weber. He is an amazing guy! He taught me to walk and talk like I am nine feet tall, to come into a room and not “give a F*.” He urged me to act like the best guy in the room. He would also tell me to become an actor in front of the camera. Always be yourself, but portray a character as your “best self.”

SOUL: As a model, what has been the biggest benefit of adding kickboxing and Muay Thai into your fitness routine? Where do you train in NYC?

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KEVIN: Aside from the amazing fitness, it keeps you lean and limber. I just love the way I feel when I leave training. I train at the Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC.

SOUL: Is there a spiritual or wellness side to boxing? What does it do for you as a person?

KEVIN: Definitely. It helps me focus tremendously. For many people it is as much an art as it is a sport. You are always learning something new about yourself. It also keeps me level headed. There’s nothing like going to a training session to blow off steam by punching and kicking the pads. I love learning new techniques; it’s a massive escape from the “BS” happening around you and allows you to focus on what’s going on in front of your face.

SOUL: What has been the biggest moment of your modeling career to date?

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KEVIN: I would have to say shooting the holiday campaign for Nautica and shooting the cover of Le Monde Magazine with Bruce Weber.

SOUL: What made you start taking acting classes? Are there differences or similarities between acting and modeling?

KEVIN: People had been telling me to take classes for years, but I really gave it a shot after talking about it with my agent and friend, Jason Kanner. I love it! There are a ton of similarities. When you get in front of a camera you are always acting. Depending on what you’re trying to get out of a shot, you are portraying a character and making him come to life.

SOUL: Are you good friends with anyone in the SOUL family? How did you get close?

KEVIN: Yes, of course. SOUL is like a big family; they’re all good people. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint just a few, but I would say I’m closest with Kenneth G, Henry Watkins, Cory Bond, Josh Truesdell, and Wally Savage. Spending time with these guys is really easy, hanging out with them and being able to talk about things other than modeling. These guys just make me feel like they’ve got my back and vice versa.

SOUL: What character do you dream of playing on TV or in a shoot? How is this character different or similar to Kevin?

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KEVIN: I’d love to play a character like Al Pacino in the Godfather. He was just a badass. I love how he handled his business and his family. It would be similar in a sense because I see myself as cool, calm, and collected like Michael in the movie, but I don’t know a thing about running a Mob family…

I also wanted to take the time to thank some very special people who have always had my back and believed in me when no one else really did: my wonderful agents Jason, Sarah, Andrew, Lindsey, Christophe, OJ, Barbie, and Greg. Thank you! Love you all dearly!

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