Australian supermodel Jarrod Scott on life in the fast lane

Jarrod Scott isn't your typical supermodel. He has starred on dozens of covers and in big-budget campaigns for Roberto Cavalli, Chanel and Jean-Paul Gaultier, but his brooding, lone wolf attitude sets him apart from the pack. He's more reserved than you might expect, preferring people to come to him rather than making the first move.

Born in Melbourne and based in New York, the 28-year-old swapped a potential career as a football player for one as a model after a chance encounter in the Philippines. While travelling around Asia with his girlfriend at the age of 21, the relationship unexpectedly split. The newly-single Scott was handed a business card by a photographer. "I didn't have a ticket back home so it made sense to take up the work," he recalls. "I had no money and was accumulating a lot of debt."

Scott managed to get back to Melbourne for a summer pre-season game with the Frankston Dolphins, but was soon signed to New York's Ford Models and decided to hang up his football boots. "It was amateur footy, or a chance to make good money. It wasn't hard to choose."

Homme bro

A few years later he landed a headline shoot for Vogue Hommes International and caused a swirl of controversy by revealing almost everything on the cover, and the full package inside. It was a ballsy move but one that paid off with offers rolling in to work with Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss. "That job set me up," he says. "It's an iconic moment in my career and I'm glad I got to do it."

Scott had no issues posing nude. "When the editors showed me the photos and said they could crop them if I wanted to reveal less, I said I didn't want to emasculate myself," says Scott. "I am proud and what you see is a very raw studio take – there were no touch-ups."

Away from the camera, Scott's consuming passion is for fast cars, more specifically fast Ferraris. He recently became an official 'friend' of the Italian car brand, and custom built his own 488 Spider at the prancing horse's headquarters in Maranello. The supercar brand also makes sure he has his own set of wheels to drive in virtually every port.

Driving ambition

Scott says his ultimate dream is to drive in a Formula 1 Grand Prix. While he hasn't raced professionally yet, he's set to complete the Ferrari Corso Pilota training program and race in the prestigious Ferrari Challenge Series next year.

"Being a racing car driver is an extreme commitment. When I went to the factory in Maranello, they do boot camps and driving schools for about 10-15 drivers. It's really interesting to watch.  They take them out the back of the track and into simulators. That's a whole other level."

We meet at a drive day to test the new GTC4Lusso on the country roads between Melbourne and Nagambie. It doesn't look too different from where Scott grew up with his single mother and two brothers in the outer-eastern suburb of Pakenham.

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Scott's mother Annette is an equestrian instructor from Padova, Italy, and his estranged father is of German descent, but Scott admits growing up was no picnic. "Seeing what my mother went through to raise us on her own taught me to appreciate life a lot more," he says. "I came from nothing and have built my life from this opportunity to model. I don't take any of this lifestyle and what I have for granted."

As a six-year-old, Scott remembers carrying a miniature 1989 Ferrari Testarossa around in his pocket. He was a hyperactive kid, always looking for something to do – climbing trees, riding horses and getting lost in bundles of hay in an effort to burn off his childhood energy. "I also remember holding that toy car and thinking one day I want to own one," he says, flashing a smile. "But growing up the way I did, we didn't even contemplate owning anything expensive."

New York kicks

Scott relocated to New York in 2012 and now lives in an apartment in Manhattan's financial district. He says he doesn't have many close friends. Sure, there's the lads in his racing car club in Melbourne, but many of his mates in the US live in New Jersey and are married with kids. "I treat New York like a business deal," he explains. "I come in and out of that place because I'm on a mission and the way to do that is remain focused. I don't need distractions."

Any other young man earning six figure sums might be out partying all night, but not Scott. In his downtime, he prefers to stay home and create art. His apartment has no television and an area where he paints for days on end. "I love abstract painting, colour and texture," he says. "I was never any good academically at school, but I loved art. Now I am learning to channel my creative side and put it to good use."

When asked if he shares his apartment with anyone, he snaps back. "No, I like my own place. I need it to be neat and tidy. Others would just mess it up."

He says he's not in a relationship and isn't interested in dating anyone. For now he's more concerned with securing a stable future for his family. Scott still stays with his mum in Pakenham when he comes to Melbourne, while his eldest brother Troy lives in New Zealand and younger brother Caleb is a mad gamer who Scott describes as the most intelligent member of the family.

He recently met his mother in Paris while he was working on a campaign for watch brand Omega. It was Annette's first trip overseas. "To see my mum get to see the world and be in a new city like Paris for the first time was very moving," he says.

Family matters

Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, Scott had a sheltered life as a young boy, largely revolved around the church. He was only allowed to celebrate his first birthday at the age of 12 after his parents split – his first chance at a life outside of the religion. 

Scott doesn't like to talk about his father, and when pressed, he turns his attention towards his mobile phone. "There is too much drama in my family. We won't even go there," he mutters, staring at the screen. "I don't know if my dad really knows what I do but he knows I travel for my work. What I do is not his world. I don't think he really gets it. He is in a different world to mine and is a dedicated Jehovah's Witness. I have come to accept my dad will only ever see things his way. They don't believe in Christmas or birthdays and I am not big on birthdays now anyway. If anything good came out of my time with Jehovah's Witness, it was they taught me some good core skills – like not to swear."

Scott says he is finished with religion. "I've come out of that and feel like anything is possible in life. I don't want to waste another minute."

Over lunch at Mitchelton Winery, Scott is the quietest person at the table. He sits on the outer, waiting for others to initiate conversation. At one point he grabs my phone when he sees I'm taking an Instagram photo, and explains how to add depth with a few smooth moves. Is this the same guy who has clocked 314 kilometres an hour on a racetrack at Bathurst? He strikes a fine balance between daredevil and perfectionist, but don't be fooled: he is paying attention even when you think he's not.

At Emerald High School, Scott would mimic his teachers in class, and prides himself on being able to do any kind of accent. It's a skill he hopes to put to good use in Hollywood, as he prepares to launch his career as an actor. "I audition a lot," he says. "I spend days reading scripts. I just want to get in, but my agent knows what will be good for me at the end of the day, so I'll take it as it comes."

Fast forward

While he's worked with some of the biggest international fashion houses, he admits there's one big job that eludes him: a Calvin Klein underwear campaign. It's high on his list of goals. "I have a decent body, surely that offer isn't far away," he says.

His looks have earned him some great gigs from Tom Ford to Givenchy, but sample sizing doesn't generally fit his body shape. Scott is a keen cyclist, but after coming off his bike in New York's Central Park last year he has delayed having his bike repaired and hasn't returned to the sport. 

"I'm a morning person so I'll get up and go for a run as it gives me a chance to see the city I'm in and still keep fit," he says. "I don't do diets but if I am working out less because I'm working on my car or driving a lot, I pay extra attention to my food intake and try to exercise more to balance it out."

A few years ago there was a drop in workload – the modelling world wanted slim, skinny preppy lads over ripped masculine ones. Scott panicked for a moment, but then the offers started rolling in again.

"Masculinity always sells and the casting agents and creative directors always come back to looks like mine," he says. "You can't do every season as a model or you'll burn out. Once [I] start thinking negatively, I know I can't afford to get in that bad mental state. I am definitely not interested in going down that road."

Country roads on the other hand, he's happy to burn down at top speed. He also wants to spend more time in fast Ferraris, racing competitively. Just don't tell his mum. "Mum doesn't really like coming in the car with me … even when I'm doing 60 kilometres an hour she says I'm going too fast," he says with a laugh. "She doesn't like the idea that I race cars but she knows it gives me a lot of joy."

The summer issue of Executive Style magazine is in the Age and SMH on November 24.