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The Mormon Model Who Writes Poetry on the Side

“After high school I went on a service mission for two years in Germany.”
“After high school I went on a service mission for two years in Germany.”

M. Keon Smith, Model

How long have you been modeling? 
Since October. I’d been scouted in New York a bunch of times, but I never wanted to be seen as just an attractive person. I felt frustrated when people asked if I was a model. I’d think, Am I just my face? Do I not have a personality? I always wanted to be a Renaissance man: My dream in high school was to join the Peace Corps, discover random plants in Africa, and create a clothing line based off them.

So what convinced you?
Being able to travel. I was just in Milan and Paris for the shows. And I trust my agent — who scouted me at Le Bain on Bastille Day.

Where are you from?
Spanish Fork, Utah — the same town as the model Lucky Blue Smith. I actually went to the prom with one of his sisters. I’m also Mormon, and after high school I went on a service mission for two years in Germany. I did a lot of garden work for older people, volunteered at a food bank, and went door-to-door — which I usually tried to avoid, because I respect people’s personal space, but it’s part of the deal.

Did you have to wear a suit and tie?
Yes, but I designed my own skinny suits and always wore floral and paisley ties. I was known as that missionary.

Lightning Round
Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens.
Fur coat: Margiela.
Relationship status: Single. “I find dating frustrating — people just want to have sex, and that’s not what I’m about.”
Currently reading: Some of My Best Friends Are Black, by Tanner Colby.
Hobbies: Painting, drawing, and writing poetry. “My poetry is about relationships and the hookup culture of New York.”

*This article appears in the February 8, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.