An Interview with Deaf Gay Model Martin Ritchie

Martin Ritchie, left, was initially rejected by Janice Dickinson because his tummy wasn’t too firm. But he returned, and is now a “new model” on season four.


By Daniel A. Kusner

Queer Texan Martin Ritchie hopes to impress Janice Dickinson. He’s got one advantage the other models don’t — he can’t hear her scream

Rejection can’t stop Martin Ritchie from achieving his dreams. Neither can being hearing impaired nor being gay. Four years ago, the 20-year-old moved from Austin to Los Angeles to start a professional modeling career and serve as a positive role model for people with disabilities.

His mom still lives in Austin, and while he never went to college, Ritchie says if he wasn’t modeling he would have tried to study dentistry at the University of Texas.

After he moved to Hollywood, he struggled with trying to get his modeling career off the ground and worked at an Abercrombie & Fitch store at local mall.

Then he was discovered by the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. But during his audition, Dickinson rejected him — because he had a “muffin top,” which meant he needed to work on his abs.

He did. And on Tuesday, he’s selected as one of the agencies “new models,” who gets picked to live in a Hollywood mansion.

Since Ritchie works with an interpreter, Dallas Voice caught up with him via e-mail earlier this week.

The Interview:

Q: Were you born in Texas?
A: No, I was born in Lakeland, Fla. Although I feel like I was born in Austin. Austin represents the easy life we’re all supposed to have — the beautiful view of Town Lake; so many people running and kayaking under the bridge …

Q: Are you an expert at seducing a guy with your eyes?
A: Probably. People always came to me and say, “Wow, you have Jane Seymour’s eyes.”

Q: How could they gay community improve how they interact with their deaf brothers and sisters?
A: Show some good affection, communicate with them all the time and share your emotional moments.

Q: What’s your idea of an ideal date?
A: Just a simple romantic dinner.

Q: What’s your idea of a date from hell?
A: Broken chairs and tables.

Q: Is sarcasm hard to pick up on?
A: Not really. But it depends on the person, you know?

Q: What can deaf gay guys do better than gay guys with perfect hearing?
A: Deaf gay guys know how to use eye contact, which is powerful because we all communicate through our eyes.

Q: Because you can’t hear, are any of your other senses — sight, touch, taste — superior?
A: Absolutely! I am very sensitive with my taste and smell.

Q: Can you hear anything at all?
A: Yes, I can hear in my left ear.

Q: Were you born that way?
A: Yes. Although I felt like I was born hearing until I was a few weeks old. I really don’t know.

Q: When Janice previously rejected you and told you to shape up, how did you react?
A: I thought, “Oh, my gosh!” I decided to build up some muscle mass and, of course, I’ve had to change my attitude.

Q: How did improve your physique?
A: I worked on my arms and chest. However, I’m still struggling with my abs. But I have this wonderful trainer I work with, and he’s going to completely transform me. So, you guys better watch out!

Q: Does Janice scare you?
A: Oh, not at all. I’ve dealt with many people. And comparing Janice to those people — she is such a sweetheart and a lady. Yes, she likes to open herself to others all the time. She showed us that she really cares about us in the house.

Q: If you could have perfect hearing for four hours, what would you want to do?
A: I would ask my date to go out with me to the beach during the sunset, where I can hear everything … peacefully. And I would just tell him to tell me something funny or some love stories.

Q: What modeling assignments have you landed?
A: I’ve modeled for Logan Milan, and I recently landed a job for Kentucky Jeans. My next goal is be gracing the Dolce & Gabbana billboards around the world.

Q: If Janice granted you an ultimate modeling wish — you could do anything you wanted — what would that assignment be like?
A: A permanent full-time model for Guess and Kenneth Cole.


TUNE IN tonight, Tuesday, August 26, and watch Martin in the season four premiere of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency show on the Oxygen channel.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Voice and is reprinted with permission.

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