Since Abercrombie & Fitch first arrived in the East Bay during the 1990s, the stores have encouraged suburbia’s affair with vintage polo shirts and frayed denim. This season, the purveyor of prep gives Diabloland fashion fans another reason to check out the cover of its catalog: Castro Valley native Mark Carroll.
Carroll, 20, was recently picked to be one of the Abercrombie & Fitch holiday campaign’s fresh faces. And when A&F launches its first European store in London next spring, Carroll will be featured in a massive wall mural, a full-color painting in which he wears vintage athletic uniforms from the 1930s.
"It was really cool to put on the gear from another era," Carroll says. Carroll’s mother, Lujuana Roberts, was the one who arranged for him to pose earlier this year for professional photos, which she submitted to San Francisco–based Look Model Agency. "I knew he’d make the best model the moment he was born," she gushes. In just a matter of weeks, he’d scored gigs with Mervyns and Macy’s. When Abercrombie execs got ahold of Carroll’s portfolio, they knew they’d found a natural. Carroll says he doesn’t tell a lot of people about his modeling. "When I have to go out of town," he says, "I say I’m going to work. But I don’t really tell them what I’m doing."
Regardless of his secrecy, the news has quickly catapulted Carroll to It-boy status on the web. His Facebook (a college version of MySpace) is a favorite site for single females. Adding to his allure is the fact that his dear ol’ mom describes him as a sweet, well-mannered gent who "doesn’t strut around."
The former Castro Valley High School quarterback currently lives in Orange, California, where he’s a sophomore at Chapman University. His football buddies occasionally tease him about his vocation.
"They do a lot of quotes from Zoolander" [a film about a ridiculously pompous male model], he says.