Olympic Fencer-Turned-Model Race Imboden Is The Latest Athlete To Have A Modeling Portfolio, And He's In Great Company
He might not be a household name yet, but Olympic fencer-turned-model Race Imboden is making his mark in the fashion world. The 22-year-old competed at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, where he finished in ninth place. These days, Imboden splits his time between competitive fencing and modeling for labels such as Rag & Bone, J. Crew, and Louis Vuitton. The model-athlete (or is it athlete-model?) told Fashionista how his career as a professional foil-fencer brought him to the runways of Paris and New York.
"I was on television at the Olympic games and a now-friend of mine saw me on TV and scouted me for an agency in New York," Imboden told Fashionista. "I said, 'Sure, I'll come in and see what's up,' and the next thing I knew I was walking the runway." After making the Olympic team right out of high school, Imboden was destined for a successful life as an athlete, but he's since discovered a second career in fashion is also in the cards. His daily schedule often finds the Wilhelmina-signed model training for his sport before going out for modeling jobs. Finding the balance in his busy work schedule as an athlete and model has taught Imboden a lot about himself, too.
"Modeling helps you come into your own," he said. "If you're not really sure of who you are, you freak out and become a different person. I knew who I was — I always knew I was an athlete, and that's what I wanted to be." What's really great for Imboden's dual career path is that he has other athletes-turned-models that paved the way.
Here are five renowned sports figures who also transitioned from competing on the courts to strutting their stuff in fashion.
1. Serena Williams
Queen S is unbeatable on the tennis court, but she has also dominated in the endorsement world throughout her career. Williams has collaborated with Nike, Puma, and also became the first female black athlete on the cover of Vogue for the magazine's April 2015 issue.
2. Rafael Nadal
The Olympic gold medalist and tennis superstar recently stripped down for the latest Tommy Hilfiger underwear ad campaign.
3. Gabrielle Reece
The pro-volleyball player appeared in fashion spreads for Elle during the '80s and '90s, as well as several fitness publications including Shape and Outside. Since then, Reece has transitioned into acting roles and TV hosting.
4. David Beckham
Having already fronted successful campaigns for Adidas, Emporio Armani, and H&M, Becks' latest collaboration is a starring role in the fashion film Outlaws for clothing label Belstaff.
5. Aimee Mullins
All-around badass Aimee Mullins ompeted at the 1996 Paralympic Games in the 100-meter sprint and long jump. She began modeling two years later and became Alexander McQueen's muse. In 2011, Mullins was named a global ambassador for L'Oreal.