Homme Less: The homeless male model

A new documentary follows a model, actor and photographer who chose to be homeless. Tom Brook discovers why he’d rather live out of a bag.

“I had a nice inflatable camping mattress, comfortable and warm, sleeping bag, and some tarp to sort of serve as a cocoon to sleep inside of, I felt completely protected from any danger.” The man saying this does not look like someone who sleeps rough. Mark Reay is a model, actor and photographer, more debonair than down-and-out. As the synopsis for a new documentary puts it, “Mark walks the streets of Manhattan looking like a millionaire, wearing designer suits and expensive leather shoes.”

Homme Less follows Mark as he attends glamorous parties and fashion shoots by day – and beds down on a roof at night. The film’s director, Thomas Wirthensohn, tells Tom Brook: “People today, because of the rising cost of living, have to make hard choices. Maybe they won’t make the same choice… but they have to give up something.”

Yet Reay does not see his situation as a powerless response to wider economic forces. “I actually quite like living off the grid, and thumbing my nose at the system… I think many people are aware that their housing is only one or two paychecks away from being taken away from them, and this is just my peculiar way of surviving in that circumstance.”

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