Since his first days on this earth, R.J. King was headed one place or another. Basketball games, soccer practice, softball, track meets—he was everywhere. King, the youngest of four siblings and the only boy, spent more than his share of hours parked in the bleachers or stalking a sideline, watching his sisters do whatever it was they did that day.
There were plenty of CYC games and, eventually, gobs of soccer and basketball at Nerinx Hall. King’s middle sisters, Caitlin (24) and Julie (21) earned Division I soccer scholarships to Auburn University. His oldest sister, Meghan (26), remains in the Nerinx Hall track and field record book.
King, now 19 and a 2010 De Smet graduate, is still off to one place or another. But he’s traded in sidelines for runways, soccer practices for photo shoots. King is one of the hottest male models on the planet. He’s currently featured on the cover of Volt Man and 10 Men magazines, both of which are significant feathers in his cap. He has spent the past two weeks between London and Paris, and before that he was catching eyes on the runways at New York’s Fashion Week, including that of celebrity gossip blogger and gadfly Perez Hilton.
Name a designer, and King has probably worked for them. His first job in the business came after he caught Calvin Klein’s eye in October of 2010. A month later he was living in New York trying to make it as a model. He’s rocketed through the modeling ranks the way his sisters blasted soccer balls. He’s modeled for Prada, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent. Prada liked him so much it signed him to an exclusive contract this summer.
Julie, his closest sister in age, is a senior at Auburn this fall. She’s among the best college soccer players in the nation. A standout striker for the Markers (and a dynamite point guard), she joined Caitlin at Auburn in 2008 and was immediately put into the starting lineup—as a defender. Never one to pass up a challenge, much less get beat, she embraced her new role. She’s started nearly every match since she stepped on campus. She missed one game as a freshman after injuring her ankle in the postseason. Sophomore year, she was handed a straight red card and forced to sit one game. That, as they say, is it.
Julie has always carried an intense competitive fire in her. Whether on the court or on the pitch, she burns to win and would run through a brick wall to do so. She’s been honored for her athletic and academic performance every year by the Southeastern Conference. In short, she’s a beast.
R.J. has his passions, but sports were never one of them. He has the genetics to be an outstanding athlete, obviously. But he never had the drive to push himself through the grueling practice routines like his sisters. “If I wanted to be involved in sports, I could have been,” he says. “It wasn’t my thing. This (modeling) makes sense to me.”
Though he trots around the globe at a breakneck pace—he often doesn’t know where he’s headed until days before a show—he still considers himself a kid from St. Louis who’s just living the dream. It’s a dream he says would have never happened without the love and support of his family. “My family is everything to me,” he says.
Even though he’s often half a world away, he still makes sure to catch Julie in action. Last week he watched her soccer match online while sitting in Paris. “It’s fun,” he says. “I love watching them play.”