Golden Iris Awards

2011 Golden Iris Nominees: Physique Model of the Year

By: Michael Matson

In previous decades, a physique model’s stature was often be measured by how many fitness magazine covers he scored. Now that most of those covers go to actors with abs, a physique model’s success can be measured by how quickly and often photos of him go viral.

In addition to career milestones in 2011, photos of our nominees have dominated gay websites for much of year. And several of the men have redefined who can be considered homoerotic beefcake in the 21st century: Matthieu Charneau’s hairy swimmer’s build signals a possible end to the obsession with waxed torsos; Jin Xiankui is breaking the glass ceiling for Asian men as pinups; and Oscar Pistorious is the first double amputee to pose shirtless for a men’s fragrance ad. The other two nominees, Seth Kuhlmann and Anthony Gallo, prove that some fashion models' bodies are just too sublime to cover with couture.

Check out this year's nominees and vote for your favorite. Our pick for 2011’s Physique Model of the Year will be announced the morning of Tuesday, December 20th. The reader's pick winner will be revealed when voting ends later that same day.


MATTHIEU CHARNEAU: Charneau’s wholesome face—complete with optimistic peepers and sweet smile—is exactly what you’d want to take home to mother. His unshaved swimmer’s physique, on the other hand, induces carnal lust in its purest and most passionate form. Shortly after being named Mister Gay 2011 by the readers of Têtu magazine, photos of the French pupcake went gay viral faster than a new Lady Gaga video. Mugler Creative Director Nicola Formichetti noticed, and put Charneau in his naughty fall campaign, which was banned on YouTube. Clothing line Slick it Up noticed too, and hired the 23-year-old to model its fetish gear. More importantly, you guys chose him as June’s Eye Candy Man of the Month.

ANTHONY GALLO: During his nearly decade-long career, Anthony Gallo has posed shirtless more often than not. But in 2011—the year he turned 30—Gallo appeared determined to wear as little as possible as often as possible. The Chicago-native even went full monty for Steven Klein’s controversial Arena Hommes Plus magazine shoot. Gallo’s magnificent muscles also sexed up the C-IN2 underwear campaign, a Joe Lally film and the studios of photographers Rick Day and Greg Vaughan. Still, Gallo’s penchant for nudity never feels obscene. He has an organic quality reminiscent of Joe Dallesandro and Tony Ward. And while it’s too soon to tell if Gallo will become as iconic as those two men, he certainly made himself unforgettable this year.

SETH KUHLMANN: Seth Kuhlmann was gearing up for a career as a professional athlete when an MTV crew discovered him last year. Now the Louisiana native lives in Manhattan and spends most of his days with his clothes off. But that's not a problem for the 20-year-old model, who says he doesn't like wearing clothes anyway. Top photographers Bruce Weber, Steven Klein and Karl Lagerfeld noticed and have shot his flawless physique for Vogue Hommes, V Man and Vanity Fair Italia. Kuhlmann can also dance, sing, and has a winning smile, making him the one nominee most likely to have Hollywood come knocking on his door.

OSCAR PISTORIOUS: South African track sensation Oscar Pistorious is a double amputee who sets records running on carbon-fiber legs; he's also likely be competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Pistorious received plenty of media attention and appeared in a Nike ad. But it was this year’s Thierry Mugler A*Men fragrance campaign that turned him into a bona fide sex symbol. Los Angeles-based fashion magazine Flaunt also spotted the 24-year-old’s beefcake potential and displayed his bare torso on its publication’s oversized glossy pages. Should Pistorious make it to the Olympics, he’ll redefine what it means to be disabled. But in 2011, he's already redefined what it means to be a hunk.

JIN XIANKUI: It’s no secret that men of Asian decent are underrepresented in mainstream gay culture, particularly as objects of desire and examples of physical perfection. Glee’s Harry Shum Jr. has helped crack that glass ceiling and became a sexy vision on gay sites internationally. Korean fitness model Jin Xiankui has done the same; specifically as a model for Chinese underwear line Tiku. Photos of Xiankui seducing us in his skivvies were ravenously consumed on gay sites globally, including here on Not only did you guys choose him as May’s Eye Candy Man of the Month, but his "Jin Blossoms" post from April remains one of our most viewed of 2011.

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