I had such a lovely time answering these questions and taking these pictures for my faveMEN Cover Story that I wanted to share both with you all! Hope you all enjoy it!
FM: Where to begin? There’s so much our readers want to know about you and certainly can’t cover it all in 10 questions. But I’ll start by asking about your swimming career. You dedicated over a decade of your life to swimming. What kept you swimming for so long and can you share one thing that you took from swimming that has remained in your life?
BP: Well, we can try to fit in as much as we can in 10 questions. I am excited to share my answers with you and your readers, and feel honored that you guys are even remotely interested in me and my life.
Swimming was the first thing I can vividly remember falling in love with at first sight. It was the summer of ’97, and my family went to an outdoor public pool to escape the summer heat. We ended up staying at the pool right up until it was time for a swim meet to begin. My family stuck around to watch some of the meet, and I was instantly in love. The next day, my father took me to the best swim team in town for tryouts, and I was ready to go.
My love for swimming stayed with me until the day I decided to quit because it was time to focus on building a career in college. The escape it offered me is what really kept me going. There was something about diving into the water, and having just you and your thoughts that was beyond therapeutic for me. I’ve always felt extremely at home in water, and swimming gave me multiple outlets to thrive.
I had a natural ability when it came to competitive swimming, and I quickly rose amongst the ranks. By the time I was 14, I was swimming with the 18 year olds, and not only swimming, but beating them at meets. I loved to prove to people that I was a force to be reckoned with, and that not everything is as it seems.
It was that idea coupled with a sportsman competitiveness that has stuck with my character throughout my life. I love proving to people that I am not always who they expect me to be, and that if you work hard enough, anything is possible.
FM: Was training for swimming the beginning of your passion for fitness?
BP: Swimming is definitely where my passion for fitness began. The beauty behind it is that I never once thought of swimming as anything other than something I loved. It was not till I was older, and in college that I realized swimming had been “exercise,” and gifted me with my physique.
I still strangely think of swimming as something to do to relax, wind down, or escape. There have been plenty of days when I ran, lifted weights for an hour and a half, and then went and swam a couple thousand yards to wind down.
I am a Pisces, which makes me a fish, so the water will always be my peaceful place.
FM: We’ll stay on fitness for one more question. If you can share one tip with our readers who want to achieve a lean physique, what would it be and how do you stay motivated?
BP: One tip to achieving a lean physique is to truly employ some form of cardio. It sounds obvious that I would suggest swimming, but it truly is the only exercise that employs every muscle in your body, when done correctly. It also does not hurt that it is low impact, and used for recovery when injured.
When it comes to motivation, I always suggest to have realistic goals, and to be kind to yourself in your journey. While you may be trying to achieve something physically, you must remember that your mind is your ultimate weapon, and if you tell yourself you can do something, eventually you will be able to do whatever it is.
FM: Can you tell us about your website Artisan and King, how it got started and why?
BP: This topic is what really lights me up these days.
Artisan and King, or A&K, as Bianca, my co-creator and I call it, came to fruition because we both had a passion for style. We met the first day of college, and instantly clicked. 9 years later, we still talk every week, multiple times, and wanted to work on something we loved together.
We’ve been those friends that unintentionally keep trading cities, the second one of us moves to New York, the other one moves to Los Angeles. The website was meant for us to stay in touch, create, and fill what we saw as an open void in the style world of a guy and girl team.
However, when I moved back to New York City, I lost the passion I had for style and fashion. I was going through what I call my quarter life crisis. I ended my long term and long distance relationship, quit my career, moved cross country, and to top it off shaved my head for the first time. I really went for it.
I found it impossible to focus on superficial things like fashion, and I was dealing with a lot of emotions, so I went to one of my oldest passions, which was writing. I’ve kept a journal since I was 12, and this was my open forum to speak from my soul.
From there I told Bianca I was sorry that I could not pursue our original intention, but had something else I wanted to share. Thus, my contribution to A&K was born.
FM: Your blog posts are very inspiring and our readers are big fans of you and your values. You’re very open and honest about dating advice. What inspires you to share some of your experiences and sharing tips on this subject?
BP: I was not always someone who was very open. My sensitivity got me bullied through my formative years, but when I got to college, I realized that holding things in does not serve anyone any good. Ever since then I have been the first of my friends to share when things are feeling good or bad, which creates trust, and opens people up to sharing their feelings as well.
When it came time to write about my life, dating was just another piece to the puzzle, and I knew there would be others who felt the same way, but were simply not talking about it. So, in typical Barrett fashion I spoke up.
I know there are many men and women, who feel as if they are not heard, or represented, and all lot of magazines give silly advice. I speak from my heart, my experiences, and my real desire to find true love. I do not commend games, and I do not think there are rules to finding your perfect mate, but I do think that there are truths we must tell ourselves, and patterns that must end.
Ultimately, I think my genuineness is what has resonated with my audience, who I feel so lucky to share with.
FM: One would have to be from another planet not to admit that your good looks and physique are eye-catching. How do you does this affect you out there in the dating world?
BP: I appreciate the compliment, and still get slightly embarrassed by those kinds of statements. I’ve said this before, but in my head I will forever be the nerdy 9th grader, who has braces, glasses, and a blonde bowl cut. I was not popular, and no one was romantically interested in me until I got to college. However, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am not that 9th grader anymore.
When it comes to dating, I think I face the same hardships everyone does. I worry that I might not be enough of something for someone, or too much of something else. It has been a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs when it comes to dating. I think for some people, I am looked at as a conquest, and for others completely unobtainable, when in fact they probably would have stood a fair shot.
Social media, and my different careers, some of which require me to be in my underwear, have also made some people believe that I am one way or another, but what I try to remind people is that it is part of my job. I love being in my underwear, and I grew up in a speedo as a swimmer, but I am mostly covered up in clothes, and a giant dork.
There are a lot of judgments placed upon me before I get to know a lot of people, but I also think that’s true for everyone. I just know that once people actually talk to me in a genuine, intimate forum, they usually end up saying, “You are not how I expected you to be,” and we have a really nice conversation.
FM: Let’s talk for a second about modeling. When we type in your name in the Google images search, an amazing array of images flood the page. How did modeling begin for you and what has been the most interesting/unique shoot you have done so far?
BP: As you may have noticed most of my life did not really “start” until I got to college, which I should mention was in NYC at NYU.
The same is true for modeling. My friends told me I should, they submitted pictures to agencies, and the next thing I knew I was being signed by a NYC agency. Cut to today, and its been a solid amount of years that modeling has been in my life.
The most interesting shoot I have done so far would have to be when I was shooting a video for Britney Spear’s Femme Fatale World Tour. The entire day I was naked, except for a slight cover over my “junk,” and every thirty minutes sprayed down with shimmer and oil. I then had to stand on a column that spun while holding Greek god like poses. The video ended up being super cool, and it played behind Britney Spears during the song “Drop Dead Beautiful,” which is definitely something not everyone gets to say they’ve done.
Modeling has definitely been an interesting part of my life, and I am grateful to have the opportunities I have had because of it, but most of it is truly not as glamorous as people tend to think. Only a small fraction of models live off of just modeling, and when people ask about getting into it, I always say go to school and do it when you have the time.
FM: Apart from modeling, you have also appeared in some film work. Can you tell us about that experience and will you be doing more?
BP: I had originally moved to LA to pursue an acting career as most young hopefuls do. During my three years in LA, I was lucky enough to be taken under the wings of some great people, and I ended up getting to be in Magic Mike, True Blood, and a few other really cool projects with some really big celebs. However, my heart was just not completely in it, and the industry wore on me, so I moved back to NYC to rediscover myself, my passions, my goals.
Acting, like modeling, is painted as a much more glamorous picture. Yes, once you make it, everything is amazing, but getting there is a hard path, and takes a huge toll on a person’s psyche.
As far as doing more acting, I never say never, but for now it is not a main focus of mine. If the right project was to present itself than that would be something worth considering, but more than anything I want to spread my message of light and positivity. The dream would be to have my own talk show.
FM: Travel, my favorite subject and something you enjoy as well. What is it about travel that you enjoy the most, besides visiting beautiful or interesting places? And what has been your favorite place you’ve visited so far?
BP: What draws me into travel is the fact that you get to experience an entirely different world than what you know and live in. My first time out of the country was to Paris, France. I did a semester abroad in Paris, and got to travel all over Europe while I lived there. It opened my eyes to so many things, but more than anything I remember finding the old history and culture to be so beautiful and romantic.
America is extremely young when we are compared to most of the world, and while I am proud to be someone who has an American passport, I think there are a lot of things we do that are not the best, and it was not till I got to travel that I began to understand this concept.
I think formal education is extremely important, and if you have a way to get a degree, I think you must take that opportunity and run with it, but there is something about experiencing other places firsthand that teaches you more than any book could.
FM: What’s next for Barrett Pall, what can we expect to see in the near future?
BP: What’s next?! Honestly, right now I look at my life and see endless possibilities. I am currently really focusing on my writing, and promoting what I call a heart-happy life. I see taking my website to a whole other level, and becoming somewhat of a life coach for all different types of people. My dream would be to have my own column in a major publication like Time, GQ, Men’s Health, something that really let my voice be heard. I would also love to have a career like Oprah. I know those are the ultimate shoes to fill, but someone has to do it, and I would love the opportunity.
There are definitely big things in the works, so continue to follow along. All I know is that this adventure started with a dream, a passion, a desire, and now my hard work and persistence is beginning to pay off. I have always been a soundboard for my friends, and have been happy to give my own perspective on things, which has always been to find the positive. I feel blessed that anyone would want to listen to what I have to say, so as long as there is one person out there that is being positively affected, I am going to keep sharing my journey, my life, my heart.