by Ashleigh VanHouten
photography by Alison Dyer
It would be easy to think of Michigan native Colin Egglesfield as just a pretty face. Or a pretty shirtless model – he is supremely handsome, with one of those faces that’s so symmetrical and aesthetically perfect as to be boring but somehow it isn’t. He has that ageless, universal Brad Pitt quality where it’s too good to be true yet there it is, gracing us with its sculptured, white-toothed smile. Yes, a handsome man is Egglesfield.
But to stop there would be to miss the real substance of this model/actor/producer/real-life human being. Egglesfield is a talented and anchored man whose experiences—plus a unique blend of serendipity and drive—have cultivated a respectable resume of film and television roles; not to mention his smiling visage on enough underwear ads that no hot-blooded woman ever forgets his name.
Currently he’s working on Lifetime’s The Client List, led by Jennifer Love Hewitt as a Texas woman with enough family issues to end up working at a massage parlor that offers high-end happy endings. Egglesfield plays the brother of Hewitt’s estranged husband and part of a love triangle that seems bound to implode. Despite the racy story, Egglesfield insists there’s more to the show than “gratuitous sex,” and the emotional side is what takes the show from guilty pleasure to quality entertainment. “What’s great about the show is that [Hewitt’s character] really plays a relationship counselor, where people will come in who are unhappy in their lives and she gives them advice on how to improve their relationships. It’s really about family, and what we’re willing to do for our family when push comes to shove.”
Egglesfield also recently completed an independent film, a horror movie called Home, where he plays a real estate agent attempting to sell a seriously haunted house. A fan of scary stories, he says the best part was the supernatural antagonist, done up in impressive prosthetics that was “the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. But I love being scared.” He also plays recurring character Tommy Rizzoli on TNT cop drama Rizzoli & Isles, and may be best known for his 2011 big-screen performance in the rom-com Something Borrowed alongside Kate Hudson and John Krasinski, another story of intertwined relationships, friendship, and sex.
While the 40 year old actor’s looks seem perfectly suited to a career in underwear modeling and inviting the swoon of female movie-goers, his career bloomed almost completely out of the blue. “Growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut and an architect, then an engineer, and eventually I went pre-med,” he shares. “I got a degree in biology, then planned to take a year off to see the world. After encouragement from a friend I entered a small modeling competition and next thing I know, I’m walking the runways of Milan. Growing up in the Midwest I wasn’t as exposed to this kind of stuff.” While his start in show business is the stuff dreams are made of, Egglesfield says that his career hasn’t always been as easy as his introduction to it. “I’ve wanted to quit the business like four or five times, because it’s really feast or famine,” he admits. “As I got older my friends were starting families and going on vacations and progressing in their careers, and I was eating ramen noodles and trying to pay my rent.”
Perhaps that’s why he has such a healthy, optimistic view of his current success in the industry, where others may find fault. Similar to the common refrain of fantastically beautiful actresses who are pigeon-holed into the same roles over and over, it’s a reality with men as well—yet Egglesfield doesn’t feel locked in by it. “It’s true, once they see you in one role, it’s hard to imagine seeing you in another role. But the most interesting kinds of roles are the ones not like who you are. I like playing drug dealers and thieves and guys who get in trouble, for the same reason people like to get dressed up for Halloween.”
Similarly, Egglesfield doesn’t let media’s obsession with celebrity life get to him. “It comes with the territory, but back in the day there was respect between [the paparazzi] and the actors; there were certain places you could expect to have your picture taken, but they wouldn’t follow you back to your house and take pictures of your kids—it’s gotten a little out of hand in that sense. But it’s a huge business and there’s a lot of money involved. It’s more extreme in LA than New York, where there’s a bit more anonymity; you can duck away into the subway or a restaurant.”
Next up for the actor: producing a World War II love story, which he says is probably still a year away from getting the green light. He also runs a T-shirt company called Shout Out! Clothing that develops shirts with Velcro letters that can be changed and customized—and proceeds go towards education reform, a subject close to Egglesfield’s heart. “Growing up, I had really great teachers and coaches that helped me stay motivated and believing in myself when I didn’t think I could do it. It’s important for kids to have good role models in life. In LA, 40 percent of high school kids don’t graduate. Kids are smart and when they get bored they lose interest and they will disengage.”
For an actor with such a good head on his shoulders (and good shoulders, but who’s paying attention) staying grounded seems to be the key to managing his success in a world that for most of us is light-years away from normal. Our current political climate is just another layer of that world. “Politics will always be crazy,” he says, but adds that extreme partisanship is hurting our country more than any individual’s beliefs. “I try not to delve too deeply into talking about my political beliefs, but what’s best for America in general gets sacrificed for what people think is good for specific political parties. I think it’s sad when decisions are made based on what’s more important for a political party than for America in general.”