Phillip Bloch: Renaissance Man 2010

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Let’s start from the beginning. I was in school on Long Island. I was the rowdy, bad kid, constantly cutting class. I did like to draw, though, which gave me something to do. My parents, to keep me motivated and get me out of Seaford High, worked with the principal and art teacher to create a program, designed just for me, that included art studio, art history, and design classes. This was the only way I could graduate. My parents wanted to see me go to college.

I, on the other hand, wanted to graduate high school as quickly as possible to travel the world and model. I was curious about everything and anything. After watching the movie Mahogany, my aspirations shifted, and I had a goal. I was going to be a modern-day Renaissance man, traveling to Europe and ultimately becoming a model/designer/stylist/actor/author. At home, my parents paved the way for multi-area expertise; over the course of my childhood, they worked in a variety of jobs ranging from dog grooming to IBM to real estate to the restaurant business.

At age 17, I left home, went to the Fashion Institute of Technology for three semesters, and worked many odd jobs in New York City. After dropping out of FIT, I found myself with a thousand dollars in my pocket en route to London to start my modeling career. Despite not being tall or straight enough, my career took off. I met people in my European modeling days that I’m still friends with today. Believe it or not, I did not have the support of the gay community by any means. What I did have was my personality, charisma, charm, and drive. Back then, the gay population was not a community that banded together. It only seemed to exist in terms of a secret nightlife.

Even to this day, I am hugely supported by the “straight” mainstream media. I can be on People’s Hottest Bachelor list, published in every Vogue and every Elle, but gay magazines won’t even cover my book, “The Shopping Diet”. Where is the support for each other in the LGBT community? Maybe the gay community figures I am big enough on my own (but we all know that no man is an island and it takes a small village), but we must always stick together and help each other out by any means necessary.

In 1989, when I quit modeling and didn’t even know what a stylist was, I became one. Hollywood was changing, there was a niche to be filled, and I became a celebrity stylist, television commentator, author, and personality overnight. The new Hollywood era was beginning, with stars like Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Julianna Margulies, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, and Nicole Kidman. I was at the beginning of a change in time. It was the start of a new, young and fresh era of Hollywood glamour, which is kind of what’s going on again now. I filled a void in Hollywood to be the spokesperson for star style. Now, there are limitless opportunities in the world of social media that didn’t exist then, such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, you name it.

After styling 11 people for the Oscar’s in 1998 and releasing my first book, the media caught up with me, and life caught up with me. Ellen came out, Halle Berry won the Oscar (I styled her), and I realized I wanted to do something different. So I started to broaden my horizons, which is when I started to act in movies. I have always made myself available to do whatever there is to do and learn whatever there is to learn. That is, and has been, a big key to my success. Being a friend collector, with every job I have done, I have kept friends and kept them close. Networking, now more than ever, is also an integral part to success in any business, especially fashion and entertainment.

With regards to my sexuality, I have been “out” and on television for nearly 20 years. Again, this was not due to the support from my fellow gay brothers and sisters. Something I still do not understand is that we are segregated when we are already a minority. Black people complain all the time that getting ahead in the world is harder for them. I believe it is equally difficult to be gay and I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to be black AND gay. We are not an inclusive population. The only place we find each other is in a bar or a gym. This is why I’m thrilled that networks like dot429 are beginning to pop up for our community.

Despite my many successes and glamour-filled life, I know that it’s not easy to develop a professional career being “out.” It is not, however, impossible. We are stronger as a group than as individuals. We need each other more than just to date or have sex. We need to build friendships and networks as “out,” open professionals, so it will be that much easier for the next generation following in our footsteps. I love who I am and what I have become. I love my family, my friends and my life, and I will continue to work my tail off to be an example of a successful gay man. We do exist and we must be there for each other.

Check out Phillip Bloch’s latest book, The Shopping Diet.

About The Author

Widely considered to be Hollywood’s premier fashion stylist, Phillip Bloch has arguably become one of the world’s most well-known fashion figures, playing the role of style ambassador at Fashion Weeks in the United States and across the globe, from Australia to Canada. Bloch’s clients have included such familiar faces as Halle Berry, who he dressed for The Golden Globes, The Emmy’s, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, and the Oscars over the course of her historical wins for both “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” and “Monsters Ball.” Bloch’s roster of clients has also included Jim Carrey, John Travolta, Sandra Bullock, Faye Dunaway, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, etc. His photo credits have regularly graced the covers and inside layouts of such international publications as In Style, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, US, and Entertainment Weekly. His witty humor and unique insight into pop culture, celeb-reality and style makes him the most quoted and recognized stylist throughout the world. When the world’s top magazines and television shows, companies, or corporations are looking for wise words on lifestyle, fashion or “inside Hollywood” questions, they always turn to Phillip Bloch. In addition to his styling career, Bloch is also an accomplished writer. In August 2010 Bloch released his second book, The Shopping Diet – Economical and Emotional Solutions for Spending Less and Getting More, published by Simon and Schuster. This self help book is a ten step program that focuses on the psychology of overspending and society’s addiction to shopping in these tough economic times of inflated consumerism …and is filled with countless tips, endless solutions and a plethora of ideas on how to stay fabulous and fashionable without having to go into debt. The book comes complete with a 48 page shopping guide in the back for internet as well as retail therapy and also teaches people how to understand their bodies and flaw. This self help guide shows the reader how to dress for success, accentuate the positive attributes and how to develop their own personal style. In the “closet cleanse” section Bloch demonstrates how your closet should be your favorite place to shop (15 great pieces are much more valuable than 50 that you just don’t know what to do with). His first book, Elements of Style, published by Warner Books in 1999, was an in depth photo driven book that was based on his portfolio as Hollywood’s top stylist. Bloch is often referred to as Hollywood’s “Fashion Guru.” His opinions on style, trends and design are constantly quoted in notable publications worldwide… which is why it seemed only natural then, that Bloch would eventually put all his fashion knowledge in one place for the consumer to learn from. In Spring 2007, Bloch became a contributing writer for ABC World News with a weekly opinion column focusing on today’s current events and pop culture. Bloch has also written for international magazines such as Elle, Fashion Quarterly, and Detour, as well as contributing clever and witty commentaries on fashion and style for such high-powered companies as eBay, DKNY, Neiman Marcus, and Lady Foot Locker. Bloch also filled the shoes of eBay’s Voice of Fashion from 2001 to 2004, where he posted regular online trend alerts and style columns to make shopping on eBay even more consumer friendly. As a part of his glamorous life, he has also covered the New York and European collections for InStyle magazine as a contributing editor. Bloch has also taken the leap from working behind the camera to stepping in front of it and onto the small screen. Most recently, Bloch teamed up with his good friend Vivica A. Fox to co-star on the new VH1 hit reality series GLAM GOD WITH VIVICA A. FOX. On the show Bloch acted as judge and mentor to 12 fledgling stylist contestants. Bloch first made the jump to reality TV in January 2006 with, STYLE ME WITH RACHEL HUNTER on The WE Network. His role as co-host and judge garnered stellar reviews. He has also been featured as a celebrity fashion expert on EXTREME MAKEOVER as well as on his friend Tyra Bank’s world-renowned shows, THE TYRA SHOW and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL as well as its international counterparts, CANADA’S NEXT TOP MODEL and BRITAIN’S NEXT TOP MODEL. But Bloch didn’t stop there. After conquering the small screen, he set his sights on the big screen. Most recently, Bloch made a fashionable cameo appearance in Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2009 #1 box office blockbuster, BRUNO. 2009 was a busy year in film for Bloch, he also shot a cameo in Oliver Stone’s WALL STREET 2 as well as comedic role in the Indie Romantic-Comedy BOOTED. Bloch was cast in his first lead role in a feature film as “Sammy,” a Southern, blind, abused shut-in, in THE UNSEEN, which was broadcast on the Stars Network in November of 2007. As well as bringing the character of “Sammy” to life, Bloch’s role as a producer helped fuel this project in to reality. In July 2007, Bloch was cast to play “George,” a Southern county clerk, in Giancarlo Esposito’s directorial debut, GOSPEL HILL alongside Angela Bassett, Julia Stiles, and Danny Glover. The film was distributed by Fox Searchlight and was released in 2008. Bloch shot three other independent films in 2005/2006. He played a reporter in Tom DiCillo’s DELIRIOUS, which made its American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January ’07. The film stars Steve Buscemi and Allison Lohman. DIRTY LAUNDRY was next for Bloch, which was released nationwide Christmas 2007. Starring Rockmand Dunbar and Loretta Devine, Bloch’s comic abilities were tested by playing a nosey Middle Eastern hot dog vendor. Apart from these more recent film roles, Bloch has already been seen in two other independent films that garnered critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. First, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE in which Bloch played himself. The documentary had its coming out as the opening film of Outfest (July 2000.) In the second film, THE INTERN, Bloch portrayed (appropriately enough) a stylist at an ultra-hip fashion magazine. Apart from these movies, 2002 saw Bloch shooting a part in hip hop mogul Damon Dash’s film, DEATH OF A DYNASTY, which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. The buzz has gotten out and Phillip has been cast in several television shows for parts written exclusively for him such as the highly praised HBO series ENTOURAGE. For Denis Leary’s “MERRY F#%$IN’ CHRISTMAS” special on Comedy Central, Phillip gave Santa a makeover. Apart from writing, styling, TV appearances and acting…Bloch has also entered into the world of design. He conceived and successfully launched a line of jewelry on QVC in June 2000, which sold over $2 million in 2 years with only 12 live telecasts. In Spring 2006, Mattel commissioned Bloch to give Barbie’s longtime love, Ken, a much-needed makeover. As Bloch himself stated: “It’s Matthew McConaughey meets Orlando Bloom” – a quote that would become the NY Times Quote of the Day and Time Magazine’s Quote of the Week during the much-publicized launch. In 2007-2008, Bloch partnered with Hush Puppies for the company’s 50th birthday, and created a fashionable and affordable line of men’s shoes. Bloch tapped into his singular sense of style to create the special collection in Hush Puppies first ever Guest Designer Series. Bloch combined classic lines and modern textiles with an eco-friendly twist, using many recycled materials. The shoes hit stores worldwide in Fall 2008. Following their success, Hush Puppies and Kenmark enlisted Bloch to design a comprehensive and versatile Eyewear Collection due to hit stores in Fall 2009. In his most recent and possibly most creative foray into the world of design, Phillip has fused his stylish brand with the high-end women’s cashmere sweater line, Emma & Posh. His debut collection for the label, PHILLIP BLOCH FOR EMMA & POSH, has quickly garnered attention from the media and has already been lavished with countless articles and coverage from high-end publications like WWD, People’ Magazine, InStyle and Vogue.com. The collection hit the retail floor for Holiday 2008 and was picked up by such prestigious retailers as Henri Bendel’s, Lisa Kline, and Fred Segal as well as many other stores nationwide. Voted one of People Magazine’s “Fifty Hottest Bachelors” and Cosmopolitan’s “Four Most Lusted After Men in Fashion.” Bloch appears regularly on most major network talk shows and has been frequently featured on VH1 and MTV (“Newlyweds,” “Punk’d,” “House of Style – Mission Makeover” and “Becoming”). He often serves as a guest correspondent for CNN, ABC, E!, Style Network, Oprah and Entertainment Tonight. You can also find Bloch appearing frequently on many morning talk shows such as The View, Good Morning America, Regis & Kelly, CBS This Morning, The Tyra Banks Show and numerous other favorite news and talk shows. Due to his international appeal, Bloch often appears on BBC, Rai, Canal Plus, Telemundo and Globo TV and in fall 2008 was asked to co-host Canada’s version of Fashion Rocks on City TV. His fashion expertise has guided him through countless interviews on fashion, trends, style, beauty makeovers and fashion spending sprees to fit any budget. In the past few years, Bloch has had the honor to be chosen as a representative by various corporations, corporations that are not only major players in the world of fashion, but in the lifestyle market in general. In 2010, Bloch has served as the spokesperson for Keri Lotion as they celebrate their 50th “golden” anniversary. He has also was a spokesman for Visa’s “Famous Streets Across America” program, Gillette’s “Turbo Mach III,” Crest, Luxotica Eyewear (Rayban), Cadillac Escalade, Marchon Eyewear (Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Nike, Fendi, and Coach), Lycra’s “Elements of Style” campaign, Pizza Hut, Bounce, Maybelline, Century 21 Real Estate, and Hanes Hosiery. Other notable promotional projects have included his collaborations with Target, JC Penny, Marshal Fields, Mervyn’s, Revlon, Estee Lauder, Panteen and Redken. Bloch’s many duties have included media satellite tours, as well as various interviews with magazine, newspaper and radio experts from small town America to around the globe. He regularly hosts events for Vogue Magazine, including editors’ luncheons, and in-store promotions throughout the country. Bloch has also garnered success as the spokesman for launching major beauty products, including Clairol’s MC Max, Avon’s Little Black Dress, and Garnier Nutrisse. Bloch holds close to his heart his charitable affiliations. Most recently, he was asked by St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to host the fundraiser for Cancer research. The event featured a partnership with Marchesa and it’s co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig. The evening was a resounding success and raised close to a half a million dollars for St. Jude’s. In 2006, he was awarded the responsibility of being an ambassador to the Youth AIDS organization, where he hosted events with celebrity colleagues such as, Ashley Judd, Emmy Rossum, and Josh Lucas. In addition, in Spring of 2006, Bloch traveled to South Africa and Botswana on a Goodwill Ambassador trip. When the devastating Tsunami hit South East Asia in January 2005, Bloch immediately connected with Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford’s successful charity Clothes Off Our Back. Together they coordinated an auction to raise funds for the UNICEF Tsunami Relief Fund. He regularly teams up with corporate, celebrity and private charities such as Avon’s Crusade Against Breast Cancer, Revlon’s Fight to Cure Breast Cancer, and Sharon and Kelly Stone’s Planet Hope. Following September 11th, Bloch enlisted his celebrity and top fashion designers friends to donate clothing to auction for America, with all proceeds of going to the Twin Towers Fund. Having been blessed with an eye for what looks best on who, it Bloch regularly repays the gift by volunteering to work with visually impaired children at Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired. In 2006, The Mattel Company also made a generous donation to the center from the auction of Bloch’s much-publicized makeover of Barbie’s boy toy Ken. Politically, Bloch is a major force and a very active member of The Creative Coalition. He has frequently visited Washing D.C. to meet with members of Congress and the Senate to lobby for vital issues inclusive of the advocacy of the arts and campaigning for funds. Phillip Bloch currently resides in New York City and Los Angeles.

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