IT TAKES ME three tries to get Jordan Barrett on the phone. The first time I call, he’s rushing through looks on the set of a photoshoot in New York. “I’ve been here for 24 hours, and I’m already reminded of, like… every time I come back there’s a reason why I leave after like 48 hours, it’s just too full on,” he says, before asking if he can call back a few hours later. The next time, he’s trying to work out his WhatsApp. “I’m in between switching phones all the time, so it’s kind of confusing,” he apologises, before asking if he can buzz me back on his “regular phone” after he’s had a shower.
When I finally manage to keep him on the phone for more than 30 seconds, he’s standing on the curb outside a party in Downtown NYC. I can hear people trying to get his attention in the background. “I’m so sorry,” he says to me. “The host for this event keeps asking me when I’m coming in and I’m like, ‘I’m here, I’m coming!’ he says. “Anyway… yes, the mountain I’m climbing in Nepal… ”.
And so goes the life of Jordan Barrett. The Gold Coast-born supermodel has been walking runways for some of the world’s biggest luxury brands for over a decade, and yet he’s never been in higher demand than right now. This year alone, he’s starred in campaigns for BOSS, Chrome Hearts and Calvin Klein, shot for Louis Vuitton and appeared on the cover of a handful of fashion magazines. His face is one of the most recognisable—if not the most recognisable—in men’s modelling. He’s signed with Kate Moss Agency, and counts the Kate Moss as a mentor. Before this trip to New York, he was in Los Angeles working on some film projects—including an exciting documentary-style piece he can’t say too much about with Lebanon-born, Melbourne-raised director Ribal Hosn—and tomorrow he’ll catch the red eye back to London, where he’s based himself for the last year.
“I just finished setting up my place in London—I went to Tuscany and sourced a bunch of marble from the marble mines out there in Carrara,” he says, before recommending I go there to check the mines out for myself. “And that comes under Sedated Studio. Sedated was like my visual mood board, but now I’m wanting to incorporate more immersive experiences, so Sedated is a bit like this umbrella over all the different things that inspire me.”
If you follow @iblamejordan on Instagram, you’ll have seen him posting about the elusive @sedated.ltd. It’s a bit like a virtual well of visual references spanning films (scenes from Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio are peppered throughout), 1970s paparazzi shots and tongue-in-cheek meme-worthy moments such as Nicole Kidman smoking a cigarette during a 2003 Cannes Film Festival press conference.
It’s curated with the aesthetic eye of an obsessive art student and the wit of someone who spends a decent amount of time on the internet. But Barrett has plans for ‘Sedated’ to become its own ecosystem, complete with a radio, film, clothing and ‘pleasure’ component.
“Sedated Pleasure… it’s pretty broad,” he says, when I ask what that part of the universe encompasses, exactly. “It includes different adventures and experiences I’ve planned, like, I’m going to climb this mountain in Nepal…”. He pauses, and I can hear him ask someone called Philipe what the name of the mountain is. They respond with a foreign noun I can’t quite make out. “Island Peak, in Nepal,” Barrett translates back into the phone. “I’ve always wanted to be climbing mountains and I haven’t actually climbed one yet. I snowboarded down one in Japan… but I’ve never actually climbed a mountain. It’s 6000 metres high—a 10 day hike. Well, it’s 15 days, but I can only go for 10.”
Sedated Radio, meanwhile, forms the soundtrack to the adventures that fall under Sedated Pleasure. Under the banner of Sedated Film, he’ll collaborate with videographers and directors on avant-garde projects, while there’s also a Sedated fashion line in the works.
“I don’t think I could climb a mountain without music,” says Barrett. “I’m just totally inspired by music. I cannot put down music. When my schedule gets hectic I just need, need, need to be listening to music non-stop.” I ask him what he’s been listening to. “I’ve been playing all of this 432Hz vibration-type of music. It’s through this platform called PowerThoughts Meditation Club—I’ll send it to you,” he says. Moments later, my phone dings and a Spotify playlist called ‘I Am Affirmations’ appears in the message thread. “I have this other playlist I should send you, which I listen to every morning and I send to all my friends and family.” Another ding, and I receive another playlist titled ‘Every Morning to Live By’. “There’s this song on it, ‘Burgs’ by Mt. Wolf. I print the lyrics out and keep them with me when I travel.”
His desire to escape the chaos of New York and decompress with some vibrational sound frequencies would suggest that Barrett has realised the temptations that come with living in overdrive—a pace he admits to spending the majority of his life functioning at—don’t necessarily allow him to be the best version of himself.
“In the last six months, last year, last year and a half… I’ve reached a place where I’ve really gained a really clear understanding of what life is,” he offers. “I was thrown into the industry at 13—which I’m so grateful for, coming from where I’m from—but it meant I never really got to spend much time in what you might call a ‘normal’ education system, so I’ve always just been like a sponge, trying to learn as much as I can off anyone I’m around. Soaking all of that up is kind of what I would call… I guess my way of learning in a sense.
“Your mind is forever changing and if you can become more comfortable, things will happen,” he continues. “Life is an obstacle course and you just have to keep going and move forward in a positive way.”
It’s a sentiment that’s shared by BOSS—the very brand Barrett is wearing for his Esquire photo shoot. Following a compelling rebrand in 2022, today, BOSS is known for its contemporary silhouettes, relaxed tailoring and, of course, its empowering messaging. ‘Be your own BOSS’ is the tagline that accompanies every new campaign, and it’s something that Barrett, who is also an ambassador for the brand, holds dear.
“Being my own boss is… it’s always encouraging myself to keep going, keep moving, keep doing what I’m doing and just try and take it one step further, try to get to the next step,” says the supermodel. “Always set your goals and just keep aiming for them—that’s something that took me a long time to understand and follow through with. Because I had all my goals but I was never able to take time to execute them,” he says, somewhat breathlessly. “Yeah, it’s just pulling the trigger.”
Right now, Barrett is in trigger pulling mode. He’s excited to get back to London and plan his mountain climb, bring his various Sedated projects to fruition and, naturally, he’s also looking to build on his marathon running by doing a triathlon—there’s one coming up in Tokyo he has his eye on. “My daily routine is: wake up, sauna, do some cryotherapy or an ice plunge, and then I’ll usually go for a long run. I’ve been swimming a lot more this summer though, which is why I want to do the triathlon.”
The doorman at the party is tapping him on the shoulder again—it’s clear Barrett is a VIP guest at this particular party, and I’m holding him up. But although I might have an easier time getting hold of Obama, once I do get the 26-year-old on the phone, he seems to have all the time in the world. “I’m walking around in circles on the pavement outside this event, trying not to get distracted by all the people,” he laughs.
I thank him for his time, and release him into the New York night. When I’m off the phone, I open ‘Burgs’ by Mt. Wolf on Spotify.
“I think if I could get you to do one thing / I would say that when you get to the point that you / Really feel, highly motivated, to, just, towards keeping your virtue / Then you’ll, you’ll discover quite quickly how extraordinary a life was meant to be / Could be,” a monotone voice with a British accent talk-sings over a composition that sounds like it was produced by a sound bath.
The whole thing goes for seven minutes, and after listening all the way through, I’m left feeling unexpectedly introspective. Barrett’s mind may move at a thousand miles an hour, but his inner sponge has absorbed a few things about how to slow down along the way.
He is, you could say, becoming his very own boss.
Photography: Hector Clark at After Winter Agency
Styling: Grant Pearce
Hair: Joel Forman at After Winter Agency
Make-up: Filomena Natoli at Viviens Creative
Photo Assistants: Dane Moffart, Scott Lowe, Toby Wilkinson
Production: After Winter Agency