How this gay underwear model get 600k Insta fans/a TV show/a business by 23

Openly gay underwear model On Mekahel has packed a lot of life into his young 25 years.
He started work in the entertainment industry at 14: ‘Commercials, modeling, acting. But most of my big work has been modeling. I’m short, so I couldn’t do high end modeling. Underwear is perfect, because you can see the whole body in the picture!’
Growing up just outside of Tel Aviv, he was already an established underwear model before moving to New York City after completing his army service to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.


 










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A post shared by On Mekahel (@iamonmekahel) on May 11, 2018 at 5:01pm PDT



‘I couldn’t be just a normal student,’ he explains. ‘The city, the opportunities – I fell in love, and wanted to work right away. So I kept modeling.’
‘I was the face of an underwear company,’ he explains. ‘I discussed with the owner buying a percentage of the company. but my parents came to New York and talked to me about life. My dad is a businessman and said: “Take money from him, and start your own thing.” I thought: “OK. Let’s do it. I’m ready.”’
The birth of his company  On Mekahel Brands . is the subject of Revry’s new reality show, Putting On, which he set up at age 23 with his boyfriend at the time. (On is now 25).

The show is a fun, refreshing watch, with each episode is only a few minutes long. It packs added emotional punch as On’s boyfriend broke up with him right before filming.
‘The producers said “listen, there’s a reality thing here. You have stories to tell.” It was a hard break up for me, and I wanted to cancel the whole thing. But my mom flew all the way over from Israel, and everyone kept saying “Keep going, keep going.”’

Here, On reveals all about the his relationship with his ex, his engagement to his new partner, his favorite kinds of underwear – and, randomly, his 18-month stint as Naomi Campbell’s PA!
‘Some casting directors misbehaved’
Were you always treated respectfully as an underwear model?
Back home, yes. Here in New York – I moved at 20 and had a lot of dreams – some casting directors misbehaved. At times, I experienced hard moments, but I always had my limits. That’s why I’m maybe not a top model or celebrity name. I said: “No. I have values.” Not that I think it’s wrong if you do something, just not for me.
How did the underwear company and the TV show come about?
I started to work on the brand with my ex. We were together at the time, living together. We wanted to make a documentary – not a reality show! – to have some materials to promote the brand.

But a week before we started the show, and started working with the factory and everything, he broke up with me.
How is your relationship with your ex now?
Well, now I’m engaged to the love of my life! So it’s hard to manage. But I’m the CEO and owner and keeping up the business, and he’s letting me do it my own way. So he still owns a percentage in the company and understands what’s going on. It’s hard because we’re not really sure [where our relationship is going], but it’s all probably going to be on the second season of the show! I’ll keep you posted!
‘My fiance’s a personal trainer’
What does your fiance do?
He’s a personal trainer.


 










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A post shared by On Mekahel (@iamonmekahel) on Oct 14, 2018 at 12:53pm PDT



What was the experience of filming the show like?
During filming, my ex was really nice. It was after the hard days. It was just me, and the whole break up subject after two years of a relationship. ‘We’re going to buy a house, we’re going to do this, do that, start the company.’ For me, it was pain in my heart all the time. That’s when I’d tell the cameras to go away for a second. I didn’t want to show weakness on camera, as I’m not a weak person. But I am emotional.
‘I still have a lot of hard days with my body’
Being an underwear model and working in that industry means your body is on show a lot. How is your relationship with your body?
I had and I still have a lot of hard days with my body, because I always have to keep it up. The holiday season was very hard. You can’t eat everything, you have to go to the gym literally every day. But I’ve been doing it for so many years, it’s become my life. As hard as it can be, this is what I do naturally.

I am scared of followers on social media looking at my body. It’s not healthy [to want other people’s bodies]. I see already the change in the world, and the industry, trying to bring more regular and diverse bodies in. I’m happy for that. But at the same time, you’ll always have the skinny girls and the ripped guys out there. I just hope people can put the right sense to what they see in the pictures.
I’m obsessed with beauty. It’s a bad thing! I’m obsessed with perfection. But the truth is there is no such thing as perfection.
How many hours a day do you spend in the gym?
An hour to two hours every day.
‘Jockstraps are a turn off’
What are your biggest underwear turns offs?
Jockstraps are a turn off. I just don’t like it. I prefer basic underwear. That’s why I focus on it. It is sexy.
Have you ever worn a thong?
I can’t even think about it.
How did you get to have such a huge social media presence?
The only thing I did my whole time was to be shirtless. Literally, this is the secret I have for everybody. I stick to it. Being shirtless at home, outside in the street – I take my shirt off and take a picture. That’s what people like to see. It’s become my lifestyle. Once I realised how good it’s doing for me, I kept at it.

‘I’m not really naked ever’
A lot of people say negative comments: ‘You’re just a shirtless boy. Nothing more.’ OK, that’s fine. It’s working for me. I found my voice, and my voice is my body. I’m using it in the right way. I’m not doing anything naughty. I’m not really naked ever.
Have you met any celebrities through your work?
Honestly, after launching the brand, I wanted a change. I kept working on the company, but I was also Naomi Campbell ‘s personal assistant. During that time, I met everyone, basically!
But now, I’m focusing on my brand and my career. I can tell you now, the second season there will be a lot more celebrities, collaborations and fun things. That’s what people like to see, and I know these people.


 










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My Cannes babes at #FashionForRelief @golden_barbie @kendalljenner
A post shared by On Mekahel (@iamonmekahel) on May 21, 2017 at 2:10pm PDT



‘I love the Kardashians’

I have a lot of connections with the Real Housewives. We’re going to do a collaboration for the underwear collection with one of them.
Also I’m donating a lot of percentage from my cosmetic line to the Vanderpump Dog [Foundation] of Lisa Vanderpump. She’s basically one of the biggest gay supporters. So there’s a lot of exciting things.
Parts of the show seem inspired by the Kardashians?
I met them through trips with Naomi but was inspired by them before then. I love them. People say it’s trashy. I don’t think so. They’ve made something out of nothing. I like their values – they value family. For them, family’s everything, and for me family’s everything.


 










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Happy birthday my @iamnaomicampbell so thankful to know you and wishing you all the best the world can offer!! You’re such an inspiration and I’m grateful for all the memories we have together
A post shared by On Mekahel (@iamonmekahel) on May 22, 2017 at 7:05am PDT



‘She’s the queen of the fashion’
Finally, what was it like being Naomi’s PA?
It was the hardest thing I ever did. But it was also one of the most amazing times of my life. I’ll always be grateful and thankful for her. She’s the queen of the fashion industry. It was an amazing opportunity and experience. We traveled the world together.
What was the best place you went to together?
Probably Cannes in France for the film festival, and for her charity event. It was an amazing time.
Did she treat you well?
Absolutely.
To find out more about On, visit onmekahelbrands.com .
 


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