How old are you and where are you from?
My journey began 29 years ago in a very small farm town in southern New Jersey, a place called Woodstown. It’s home to the largest rodeo on the east coast- Cowtown. It was a weird place to grow up but every time I go back to it, I appreciate the beauty found in wide-open spaces. This is where I grew up, but honestly, it never felt like home. As a constant explorer, I feel the most connected to myself and the world, when experiencing new cultures.
Give us three words that describe you.
Excitified. Human. Hero (in training).
To start off, what is it like being People Magazine’s current Sexiest Model?
I forgot that I still had that title, ha-ha. A big part of the reason I began modeling was because I felt like I had something to prove. Being bullied in school led me to believe that there was something wrong with being the chubby, introverted, artist. In cultivating a healthy body, I began to cultivate a healthy mind. I’ve found strength through vulnerability that has helped me to honor all the steps I’ve taken to get where I am now on my journey.
What were you doing before you started modeling?
I was a full-time student at University of the Arts, a part-time personal trainer, and part-time bartender. Most of my free nights were spent drawing, painting, or making custom plush toys in my studio apartment. It was like a Muppet horror movie, faux fur and plastic eyeballs everywhere.
We hear you have a massive super-hero, fan boy complex. How did that start?
Ha-ha. I don’t think that holds as much weight as it used to. I collected superheroes like pieces of armor- they were my male role models growing up when I had none. In the last few years, I’ve had a revelation. Superheroes aren’t going to save our planet, stop the wars around the world or stop climate change. They are great distractions, and inspiration, but our power lies in our humanity. Following your truth, through all the hardship and failures, embracing your flaws, taking responsibility for your life, that’s the message I want to spread.
If you could have any superpower what would it be? Why?
I’ve thought about this a lot. I want the ability to unlock the superpower hidden in others and then teach them how to use it to best serve humankind.
Before we get into the body and SOUL stuff, let’s talk about your mind. You have always had the arts as passion. What drew out your artistic side? Do you have a particular medium you like to express yourself in?
The first time I remember ever feeling good about myself, affirmed, loved, acknowledged, was in the first grade when I colored in a picture of a lion. It was selected for the cover of the school newspaper. During a really rough time in my childhood, it gave me hope. It showed me I was capable of positively impacting the world around me through creation.
We hear you are about to finish writing a book. What are you writing about?
I’m working on a training manual that I wish I had growing up which is full of activities, exercises, and tools that explore what the human mind, body, and spirit are capable of. I believe there is a human hero in all of us. That our power lies within us, not outside of us. Move the body, exercise the mind, cultivate the spirit, and then share, share, share.
You’re also a yoga instructor. How did yoga end up in your life? Why did it call to you?
I was a gym rat. The gym gave me confidence in my body since I could see the results and the hard work paying off. I became addicted to it, so much so that I was anti-anything else. Yoga was for… not me. Eventually, I was told I had to lean down for modeling so, I bought Yoga For Beginners; however, I would do it for about 30 minutes, get bored, and go for a run.
As I matured, I started to see all the benefits of yoga beyond the aesthetic. It’s about going inward and disconnecting from the material world, if only for a few precious moments.
Why have you decided to teach yoga?
I love inspiring things that I love, in others – to move, to sweat, to smile. I get excited when I see students trying something that scares them. I love seeing their bodies shake as they flirt with their limits. There is a tangible energy that fills a room full of people moving and breathing.
How have your views on fitness and diet changed while working in the modeling industry?
In the beginning of my career, I felt like I had to deprive myself of a lot of things to stay in “model” shape. Until you reach a certain point in your career, (well let’s be honest), until you reach a certain point in your life, you are following those that came before you. You do what it takes to be the best, to be perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. When you realize that, you begin to practice a fit and healthy lifestyle that is unique to you as a human being.
You are taking a trip to Thailand in a few days. What are you going to do? Why did you pick this location?
Two years ago, I had a plan to travel to Thailand and train in their sport, Muay Thai. Unfortunately, I was in a cycling accident and had to cancel the trip. I took that as a sign from the universe, saying “SLOW DOWN,” in big bold letters. Now, my wrist is healed and I’ve learned my lesson about pushing past my limits.
The plan is to go exploring with my girlfriend, Nikki Carter, for a few weeks, then stay on and train. I want to get the full Muay Thai experience and explore the differences between MMA there and in the US. If that means training in a village, away from major cities, with no air conditioning, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’m working on bringing along a cinematographer to capture the experience and, in the very least, chronicle my journey on social media. So please, join me! These are all small steps towards a travel show idea I’ve been cultivating for a while now. It’s going to be one long, tough, month of training. I’m excitified (equal parts excited and terrified) to see what comes up for me.
What is your life goal? How do modeling, fitness and wellness play into this dream?
This ties into my philosophy…. We are all on our own unique journey. At some point along that journey, typically from the deepest, darkest, pits of self-examination- we look up and see Mount Must. It’s colorful, it’s massive, and it looks impossible to climb. We crane our necks back to see the top but it doesn’t matter because the top can’t be seen. We have no idea how to start the climb; all we know is that we MUST climb. That simply begins by putting one foot in front of the other and dealing with the obstacles as they appear.
Right now, my immediate goal is to prepare for Thailand and finish this book. Once I reach that vista, I’ll have a look around, catch my breath, and then re-assess the next leg of the climb. I want to climb as high as I can with the vessel I’ve been given.
If you could tell the young Parker Hurley was just starting in his career one piece of advice what would you tell him?
“Your name is Parker Hurley-Rioux. Own the hardship you’ve experienced in your life. Honor your mother. Honor your father. Honor their humanity, and honor your own. Respect the journey, and believe, Believe, BELIEVE in yourself!”