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CHRIS John "Milly" Millington is one of the most in-demand models in the world - after growing a beard for a laugh.

From New York to Dubai, London to Thailand and back again, the Scot and his facial hair have graced some of the biggest magazines and ad campaigns for companies such as TopMan, River Island and Gap.

And yet little over 12 months ago, Kilmarnock-born Chris, 24, was working full-time in a phone shop and had just applied for a career with the police.

As he struck some poses during New York's Tartan Week, Chris said: "It's pretty crazy, really. I got scouted off the street in London one year ago.

"I was in Costa Coffee and someone from Sapphires Model came in and said, 'We think you could do a bit of modelling'.

"I was a bit sceptical but we spoke about how it would work and what kind of things I'd be capable of doing.

"I signed and took a chance on it and, within about a week, I was shooting for Urban Outfitters, which was pretty big.

"Back then I was working for Vodafone and managed a team of 30 people. It was pretty cool but I applied for the police two days before I got scouted.

"It was a bit of a strange one but it's gone really well, so I can't complain.

"Since then, I guess I've established myself as one of the busiest models in the UK."

Chris's bushy beard was the reason for his big break but he admitted that he only grew it for a bet after one of his mates jetted off to New York for three months.

He said: "My friend was doing an internship at a photography studio in Manhattan and we decided while he was there that we wouldn't shave.

"So I didn't but he did - he chickened out after a few months. I grew mine and went down to London just a week before he got back and that's when I was picked up."

The beard went down a storm and Chris was soon being invited to hipster events and shoots around the globe, including closing a show during Amsterdam Fashion Week, opening an event in Sweden and attending the Brit Awards, as well as Jay-Z's after-party in London.

He said: "A lot of things have changed because my life had a lot of organisation and was really regimented and I had a set amount of hours I was working.

"I knew what I was doing each day, whereas now it's so ad-hoc and changes on a daily basis, so there is no way to predict what you are doing in a week's time.

"The structure of my life has changed entirely. I guess it's more glam.

"I've gone to some amazing events. Going to New York's Tartan Week with Genuine PR, to do some work with the Caledonia Collective bands here, is probably the biggest but going to things like the Brits is amazing, too.

"New York was always the plan and actually doing it has been amazing.

I've done a lot of travelling this year."

Chris, who worked with male supermodel David Gandy during fashion week, is one of the only hirsute men in his family.

He said: "I've got a little brother who is more handsome than me by far. It's pretty mad. Never in a million years did I think I'd be doing this."

Despite his modesty, the beard has definitely brought Chris fame, as well as fortune.

He smiled: "I have to keep it but it's a lot smaller than it was. It was much fuller but I had to have it cut off.

"I do a lot of e-commerce stuff for ASOS but it has to be at collar length, so you can see the detail in shirts.

"I'm the Fudge Hair brand ambassador and now have Milly's beard oil, my own brand, which is the No1 selling product in the world in the beard market."

Chris is also working on his own clothing collection, which he is planning to bring out this winter.

He said: "The collection is called Alaska and it's going to be a mix between All Saints and Stone Island, like Arctic jackets and stuff.

"I'm doing a collection of watches coming out in a few months called Instrument and that's for a Glasgowbased company, who have everything manufactured over in Sweden."

When he thinks about the last 12 months, Chris realises how far he's come - and he's grateful.

He said: "The pay is better than in a phone shop, a pretty significant leap, but I've been really lucky the work I've done has been really good.

"I don't think I would get the work if I didn't have the beard."

The perks are obvious, although Chris insists he hasn't noticed the effect his good looks have on girls.

He said: "I don't really pay attention to it. My history with women hasn't been that successful. I am single but I think I need to be because I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow, never mind three weeks down the line.

"I met Nina Nesbitt and she is really cute. I doubt she likes me. She's beautiful and I'm just hairy."

Fashion model Chris John Millington tells how his life changed after being scouted by an agency - all thanks to his beard I just don't think I'd get the work if I didn't have the beard CHRIS MILLINGTON


SNAP With fellow beardy model Ricki Hall

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE Chris meets singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt in downtown New York

FLAG WAVING He joins Nina and others on stage celebrating Tartan Week in New York

LEAP OF FAITH Chris in action in a fashion ad

NEW MAN Before and after growing the beard

EARNING STRIPES A TopMan fashion shot

MAN ABOUT TOWN Chris has been part of various campaigns for high-street brands
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Apr 21, 2014
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