How Jay Alvarrez went from highschool drop-out to face of Bonds swimwear

Hawaiian-born, self-made Instagram star Jay Alvarrez has become the face of Aussie swimwear thanks to the latest Bonds campaign.

With more than 5.4 million Instagram followers, Alvarrez gets cosy in a pair of boardshorts on a Malibu beach while playing in the surf between shoots alongside Victoria's Secret model and former Melbourne-local Shanina Shaik.

The dream life

At 22, Alvarrez is living the dream. He made a name for himself as a thrill seeker who documents his love of extreme sport and luxury locations, getting plenty of work as a model too.

He first came to our attention as the travelling companion and partner of Instagrammer Alexis Ren – the power couple boasting about their luxury island hopping adventures between 2014-2016 when they dated. A sign of the times, both individuals were Tumblr stars before joining accounts a few years ago to become social media celebrities.

Since their split he hasn't stopped – he's visited Panama, Dubai, hung out on luxury boats in Ibiza, relaxed in Bali and jetted to Mexico (that's just in the past few months). He's always beachside, in swimwear, tanned, surrounded by bowls of fresh fruit and attractive company.

Art imitating life

Tabloid fodder aside, becoming the summer face of men's board shorts for Bonds appealed to the millennial lad. He does after all spend most of his working life wearing them.

"The brand's simple aesthetic is very similar to my own," says Alvarrez.

His life as an Instagram model has seen him pick up with work with some of the world's leading brands. His most well received was an ad for Hyundai with a YouTube video clocking more than 19 million views.


When he's not jet setting to luxury island locations and making it look good, he prides himself on his 'live in the moment' philosophy. He once told Cosmopolitan magazine in the US "we travel the world doing whatever the f**k we want" of his exuberant lifestyle with Ren.

Behind the lens

But while life on the road is one big adventure, he admits social media is not all what it seems.

"What you see isn't always what you get from people," says Alvarrez of the pitfalls.

"A genuine positive energy and charisma weigh so much more heavily than a pretty face or body…but platforms like Instagram have given me the opportunity to travel the world again and again and I've met some of my dearest friends with the same passions, all while humbling me."

Embracing the adrenalin

His love of the outdoors means he can combine business with pleasure and says he never wants to work a desk job.

"I am definitely addicted to doing things that make my heart race and palms sweat," he says of skydiving and passion for extreme water sports.

"I do what makes me feel the most alive."

Living in the moment

Alvarrez, who lost his mother when he was just 14 and raised by his dad, might paint a picture of life as one that can't get any better, but admits not having his mother around has been hard.

He has a tattoo on his bottom lip that says 'Let's Live' and quit school after her death to do just that.

" To put it simply, she [Mom] taught me how to love and she showed me the incomparable beauty of a woman's soul. I strive every day to show love to those I care about the way she showed love to me," he says.

And as far the abundance of fan mail that comes his way from other aspiring teens wanting to live his lifestyle, he says it's humbling and possible.

"All I can really encourage anyone to do is trust your creativity and not let anyone around you influence your hopes to do whatever it is you want in life," he says. "Keep pushing and pursuing."