Where has this man been hiding himself? Okay, he’s been walking runways for nouveau fashion designers and established designers. Yes, he’s been working events, basically starting from the ground up, and he has whet his acting chops in a B movie or two, but what I want to know is how in the world is Thomas Gunter not yet a household name? I may be one of the first to plant my (interview) flag on the rock hard abs of this gorgeous man. Maybe he’ll name one of his six-pack muscles after me?
Gunter is a 37-year old who looks all of 27. Born in Phoenix, Arizona and now living in Irvine, California, he’s an avid competitor in the Spartan Races where he continually tests his mettle in brutal obstacle courses against some of the best of the best. With a Nordic God-like physique, it’s no wonder he would love getting dirty and sweaty on an obstacle course, but that wasn’t always the case. The ex-Navy Torpedoman, who spent his enlistment on the USS Kitty Hawk traveling the world, says he used to be short and skinny. Say again?
“Yea, I was skinny. I didn’t start to put on weight or muscle until I was about 22 or 23 years-old. I was a grunt.” Gunter says his wife of nine years, Shanon, still has a picture of him when he was in the navy and wearing glasses. “In junior high and high school, I was the kid who other kids used to rest their elbow on top of my head. I was a nerd that got picked on.” He now stands 6’, 4” and is a wall of solid muscle.
He’s a nerd no more, ladies. Wouldn’t you agree?
After serving four years in the navy, Gunter ventured into learning the trade of electrical journeyman…until he was electrocuted in 2007 resulting in a near-death experience followed by a shoulder injury and heart problems. He went back to school to work on his business degree intent on forging a new path, but finances demanded a more immediate solution.
At his wife’s urging, he grew out his hair (thank you, Shanon Gunter). People used to joke that he should model so finally, in 2008, he struck his first pose, and a sexy model was born.
This big, gorgeous man is also quite the romantic at heart. Thomas knew Shanon wanted to see Paris so he made plans to propose to his love at the Eifel Tower New Year's Eve. The problem? "I took her there and it was cold, so cold! There was snow everywhere. But we couldn't go up in the tower because there was probably about 40,000 people there for New Year's. Everyone had champagne bottles and were getting drunk. Everyone had little bottle rockets and there were fireworks going everywhere so the riot police came out." The riot police proceeded to kick everyone out from underneath the tower where Gunter and his fiance happened to be among many.
With their own bottles of champagne on hand, they asked the people around them "what's going on?" Seems that someone was running out of the crowd and holding his eye. Doing what any normal person would do...Thomas grabbed Shanon's hand and they ran towards the chaos to see what was happening with the intent of recording it. (Of course!)
"There was pepper spray in the air and it was burning. I said, well, let's just go back. By this time it was 1 or 2 a.m. I was thinking I don't even want to propose anymore." After more confusion, they headed back. Along the water, they stopped to sit on a park bench. "I decided to go ahead and propose so I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring and asked 'will you marry me'?" To Gunter's surprise, his bride to be didn't immediately say yes, but rather asked him "Are you sure you want to do this?"
Looking stunned, he asked "why?"
Laughing at him, Shanon replied "because you're putting the ring on the wrong hand!"
Well, he got the ring over to the correct finger and they have been happily married now for almost ten years.
Since then, he has been steadily working. From humble beginnings doing both fashion and character modeling to a GQ Magazine spread in 2011 alongside actress Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Identity Thief), his career has been climbing. His first full-length movie role as a guard in Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage directed by Shahin Sean Solimon is due out in 2014. Everyone must begin somewhere, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll soon be seeing more of this man.
With the recent change-up in the casting of the lead role in E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, it occurred to me that Thomas could easily fill the bill as Christian Grey possessing not only the “look”, but exuding the power and the command of the character. Alas, it seems Universal and Focus Films have cast model-turned-actor Jamie Dornan in the wake of Charlie Hunnam’s exit. Dornan looks a bit too young for the role, but let’s give him a chance.
In the meantime, Gunter, who has done a fair bit of fetish modeling talks BDSM as presented in Fifty Shades of Grey. “Even within the (BDSM) community, they accept for what it is, but don’t embrace it.” He points out that the book gives the lifestyle some recognition, but it’s not truly representative of what it’s all about. “It’s opened up people’s eyes a little bit.”
Well, our eyes are open now and beholding a glorious vision. Thomas Gunter will be doing a shoot with West Coast Leather and designer Skip Pas on October 17th, and on November 9th, he’ll be walking the runway in a charity fashion show for Kevin James Fashion benefiting children with cancer at Miller Children’s Hospital (the CPC Theatrical Concert 4A Cause). In between, he has multiple irons in the fire for a few short Indy films.
As this humble yet sexy man says, “"I'm just part of a bigger picture, so let's have fun and make some magic!"
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