This rugby player is a champion on the field and off.
Stuart Reardon may be a fantastic rugby player, but he gets more recognition for his modeling than the fact that he’s been playing his sport professionally since 2000. Like Anna Kournikova, Danica Patrick, and Lolo Jones, his appeal isn’t only about his athletic abilities. But he hasn’t let the fact that he’s sometimes treated like a hunk of meat deter him from seeking the spotlight. In fact, he’s embraced his acclaim for a good cause, using the attention to speak out on behalf of gay athletes.
“I think it is disgusting what’s going on in Russia,” he says about the country’s anti-gay propaganda laws. But he agrees with the countries that chose not to boycott the Olympic Games, which took place in Sochi in February. “I’m an athlete and I live to compete at the highest level like all athletes do, but it would not have been right to boycott. The athletes had been training for four years for that one chance. I think a stronger message was sent by competing and winning, which gave us a better platform to be heard from.”
Reardon’s own shot to be on the victory platform comes this month as his French squad AS Carcassonne sets out to capture the Elite One Championship, the ultimate prize in the French professional rugby league for which he plays. “We won two trophies and a promotion last year, so the club has confidence and a winning mentality,” says Reardon, whose 2013 season ended early due to an injury. In his case, it’s his Achilles tendon that is his Achilles’ heel. “It’s always tough coming back from a long-term injury, and this is my third Achilles rupture. It’s been physically and mentally tough the third time around.” The rest of his body remains impressive, and last year it helped him to become the spokesmodel for The Navy Diver, an Australian underwear and swimwear company. He’s also picked up a new gig modeling for Axiom for Men, a skin care company. “I sort of fell into modeling four years ago,” Reardon says. “I am fortunate my rugby career keeps me in really good shape, so it makes sense to do a bit of fitness modeling. It’s always a great compliment to be the face of a brand.”
More than just a face, Reardon is also showing off his tattoo in ads. The piece was done six years ago by Roy Priestley at Skinshokz, in Bradford, England, and it’s a mix of different tribal patterns. “I was always interested in different tribal cultures, and it has a wide range of those influences running through it, right back to the Maya and Aztec empires,” Reardon says. “I originally got the tattoo when I was recovering from two really tough Achilles reconstructions. It reminds me of the tough times I overcame and got through.”
Tattoo enthusiasts have been clamoring for Reardon to get more ink, and he says that he will—but on his own time. He treats the coming-out process the same way: “I don’t know why a gay athlete wouldn’t come out because it’s not a big deal anymore, but I also don’t think it is my place or anybody’s to give advice about that,” he says. “I think it’s up to people to do what’s best for themselves at the stage they are in their own life. Only you can truly know what
you want, or what you want to do in life.”
Model Mayhem: modelmayhem.com/2225474