The Ultimate Fighter
Being the face of Versace’s Dylan Blue fragrance, getting to participate in Gigi Hadid’s first on-screen makeout session, riding a two-fight UFC winning streak … life is pretty good for Alan Jouban right now.
The Los Angeles resident has never hidden the fact that he has a dual life, focusing his energy as a professional fighter where he’s had his share of success (14-4, including a 5-2 UFC mark) and also dabbling in the modeling world. But in the weeks following his latest match, a July 7 victory over Belal Muhammad, the catwalk side of his life has exploded in a good way.
Versace just released its latest ad campaign — the brainchild of famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber -- featuring Jouban and Hadid, one of the hottest models in the industry.
“(Weber) gave me a call personally and he wanted to have my in his shoot. That was huge!” Jouban said. “I had done some other jobs, some really great jobs, but nothing was quite on the scale as the Versace campaign because A) It was Versace and B) In the world of modeling, so I’ve learned, fragrance is kind of the biggest one; you make the most money of fragrance campaigns. Sometimes fragrance campaigns last for years with the same face. It’s made supermodels out of people. For (Weber) to choose me to be a part of it and pair me with Gigi, who’s at the top of her field, it made me feel pretty good about myself.
“It could’ve been a lot worse (than kissing Gigi Hadid). Luckily they saw somewhat of hero role in me and I was able to get the girl at the end. I was pretty happy about that. During the first day of shooting there was a lot of training and this and that. I was wondering when it was going to be my ‘good shot’ – and then sure enough Weber had me and Hadid go to an elevator shaft and do his shot. Right away he was like “grab her and start kissing her” and I was like “Uhhh …,” but I looked at her and she looked like she was cool with it. And then next thing you know it’s been a half hour and we’re doing this scene where we’re kissing and all this stuff — it got pretty heated. After it was done, I felt pretty confident that we got some great shots. Everybody that was watching – there were like 100 people on set – and everybody really, really loved it.”
Not bad for a side gig.
Jouban is a self-proclaimed Southern boy, having grown up in the bayous of Louisiana where he was a hunter, fisherman, cowboy and a helper to his grandfather, who raised brahma bulls (hence Jouban’s nickname “Brahma”). But things changed at age 20 when he moved to New York and began trying out the modeling waters. Then he truly found his path a few years later when he discovered his passion for fighting, leading to a merging of worlds.
Jouban has done plenty of modeling work since he first started, and this particular Versace campaign could be the start of something big. But that won’t stop his dreams in the Octagon.
“My goal is not to dilly-dally in the division,” Jouban said. “My goal is to get into the Top 15 and make my way towards that belt. After my last two wins, I felt they were impressive enough performances to get somebody in the Top 15.”
Things are pretty good for Alan Jouban right now. But he wants to make them even better.
Jorge A. Mondaca is managing editor of UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JorgeAMondaca