VENICE, CA – The headlines were a bit sensationalized, of the “homeless hottie becomes a model” kind, but the overnight discovery of John Economou is nevertheless a heartwarming holiday story that was picked up by media around the world
The Daily Mail reported that last year, “After leaving home at 19 and spending his nights on Venice Beach without a roof over his head, things are looking up for the Milwaukee-native now that Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid have helped him out with a major modelling contract.”
The Mail reported the 6-foot-3, brown eyed Economou was just “chilling on the beach”, which was his “home,” when he bumped into two of the world’s top models who were having a picnic nearby.
Some seagulls deserve credit too. Apparently wanting the young ladies’ food, he helped shoo the birds away without recognizing them or Kendall’s manager, Ashleah Gonzalez.
One of the girls said to me, ‘You’re cute’, so I turned around and we struck up conversation,” he told the Daily Mail. “I didn’t realize who I was speaking to at first and it finally clicked who it was.”
The women urged him to take up modelling. “I told them my story, I told them how I was a model back home and how I came here to follow my dream and try get an agency, how I’m living the hippie life, living out on the beach crashing on the sand right now,” he explained.
“They said they could help me out and get me an agency and they got me with Two Management, the agency I signed with…It’s a crazy story. I’m super grateful. I was just in the right place at the right time,” though he has not kept in touch with his angels.
Economou is Now 20 and represented by Katie Wolland at Two Management, and while he is still technically homeless, he doesn’t see it that way. “I like saying I’m on an adventure. I’m a traveler,” he explained, and emphasized that his parents are supportive.
“While he hasn’t raked the big bucks just yet — or any money for that matter, Economou has been auditioning for jobs like crazy,” the New York Daily News reported. “He travels with only a backpack full of two sets of clothes, his tooth brush and a skateboard,” according to the News.
“I don’t have an apartment; I don’t have a house out here. I don’t know where I want to settle down yet,” says Economou, who saved up a mere $4,000 to move last year to Los Angeles after dropping out of college from his home in Wisconsin, where he appeared on local TV commercials and catalogues as a child.
“But Economou doesn’t live like the average homeless person,” the News noted: “He has an iPhone 6 that his parents pay for and sometimes rents a motel room near the beach.”
And he does not suffer from the loneliness that further darkens the homeless experience. He hooks up with women he meets on the boardwalk.
“If a girl comes up to me and finds me attractive, I’ll give her my energy,” he says.