When we hear the words 'Diet Coke Man', one image springs to mind... a half dressed hunk putting his hands to some vital masculine task whilst being eyeballed by a group of city ladies-who are quickly reduced to giggling girls. Yes, we've all been there. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, Diet Coke cleverly brought back this legendary commercial, and who better to take on the -even more legondary- role, than Andrew Cooper. We caught up with the male model/sex symbol to find out about life since the commercial hit the air...
How does it feel to be the ‘Diet Coke Man’?
It’s definitely the pinnacle of what I have achieved in some ways. It’s great to work for that company, and it’s such a huge thing. In this industry you sometimes forget to appreciate the companies you do campaigns for, and when you realise the size of Diet Coke, it’s pretty cool. We did the launch and it got a little bit kind of… well, “let’s all try out the diet coke man”! When I first started modelling I did all of the teen magazines, which, as a 16 year old boy is really fun, but after a while you forget about that side of things. It’s strange being that symbol again.
Was this your first commercial?
I have done a fair few actually. I much prefer commercials to shoots. It’s a little bit more in-depth and there’s more flow to it-some people are good at standing still, I am not!
The commercial has been able to spread virally through social media. How actively involved are you with that side of things?
I try to do all the right things with social media, and see the bigger picture of what I need to do with it to further my career. Definitely on Twitter and stuff like that it can get quite intense. Even my gay following can get quite crazy, they constantly send messages. I like Instagram more than Twitter, I think it’s a good way to give people snippets of what you are doing, rather than mustering up ridiculous thoughts.
Are there any moments in your career that have stood out in particular?
I started in this business through music. I was part of a boy band in Manchester, so when I first started due to various reasons I was then linked into doing stuff with Topshop and Topman. That was a really cool gig, and I suppose that was probably the beginning. It was around the time that they were starting to get Topshop into Vogue, so it was a great time to be a part of that.
You have travelled a lot with work. Where’s been your favourite shoot destination?
I did a job two years ago in a safari park in Botswana for Louis Vuitton. We spent 10 days there and I’m really into animals so we ‘d all get up half an hour before we had to be on set so we could just go and see all the wildlife. That was probably the best shoot location.
Travel can be tough for some people. I think when you’re young and it’s pretty intense, sometimes you don’t really want to get on that plane. But if you learn to manage it and appreciate it, you see it as a way to take some time out. It’s the best part of this industry in many ways, you get to see the world- and travel to places before taking your family on holidays there!
Would you consider living abroad?
I lived in New York for a bit but found it too cold. I was actually thinking of moving back there again because I have an acting agent in LA and London, so it does make sense. It can be a lot easier to cast for acting in America as a model. In London they like someone gritty, and don’t tend to want a “good looking guy”. In America, it’s less like that, but then again if you are in an American programme, more often than not you will be going for an American role up against people who are born and bred in America.
Have you got anything lined up acting-wise?
There are a few pilots and stuff I have been reading for, which they are talking about pencilling in for the next few months. One is shooting in the States and one in Europe. There’s also a film I have been signed to which is an indie rom-com, based in Glasgow. There are a lot of areas I need to go, with the modelling, acting, everything. It’s quite hard to spend your time everywhere, in every direction. The main thing is balancing the more prestigious jobs in modelling, the field I have most experience in, and then taking the acting bits as an investment for where I want to go.
You also own a pet shop in Notting hill. Tell me about that?
Yes, my wife and I started it up, it’s called The Mutt’s Nuts’. We’re actually about to bring out a range of totally natural dog shampoo called ‘Wild Wash’. We have all that to manage at the moment, so have just bought into 25,000 bottles of shampoo! It’s just the two of us, so the whole process has been pretty mad. When you’re buying into that business you realise how much stuff is really synthetic. It’s an opportunity that I saw arise as something I could plug into, and I just took it.
How do you keep your body in shape?
I’ve done martial arts since I was young- Thai boxing, stuff like that. I don’t really like to go to the gym or lift weights. I actually had to put on quite a bit of weight for the Diet Coke job, they had worries that they wanted someone who was a bit more of a beefcake. I had to have a lot of protein shakes, and because I’m vegan, it was hard because I couldn’t have milk. Then I went to Miami on a job and got myself a trainer. After three days with him I couldn’t walk, but it was worth it.
Do you have a daily routine?
I try to train for about an hour and a half a day. I don’t drink a lot, and I live in the country now so I suppose I have a wholesome lifestyle. It’s nice to spend that time out, but I spend a lot of time travelling into London. Now that my kid’s aren’t as young, we’re looking into moving back there.