A Couture Couple

By Desi Rubio, Sept. 25, 2014.

With a fierce stare and a bold stance, Cole Sudduth is a natural in front of the camera and on the catwalk. His dense eyebrows hover over his clear green eyes and high cheekbones giving him an innate ability to capture someone’s attention right away.

Sudduth, a 20-year-old Seattle native, has been living in Gilbert for the past decade and is simultaneously pursuing a degree in fashion design from Mesa Community College and a modeling career.

Growing up in the adjacent city, Mesa, 23-year-old Colten Hebner had the same aspirations. His love for art and character enhancement projects into his own personal style, which he describes as an editorial, East-Coast look.

He seizes audience’s eyes with his thick brown hair; every strand lying perfectly in a high wave just like James Dean. His lips are adorably pouty and lend themselves to his endearing baby face.

Just over a year ago, the two alluring models met at a mutual friend’s party and connected over their admiration for Lana Del Rey, a pop singer/songwriter influenced by the ’50s and ’60s. Not only did they have the same taste in music, but they soon discovered their shared interests in fashion, art and design as well — commonalities that would serve as the foundation for a budding relationship that blossom into personal, and professional, chemistry between the two.

“I was drawn to him because he was just super nice and had that golden boy vibe,” explained Sudduth, who had began his modeling career after being approached by a modeling scout while working at a coffee shop after high school.

“I had always wanted to model but never knew how and she really helped me out a lot, she managed to get me free photo shoots and now [we’re] just focus on trying to get signed to an agency,” he said.

In turn, Sudduth encouraged Hebner to pursue his modeling aspirations as well and, shortly thereafter, Hebner caught the attention of The Agency Arizona, a local modeling agency that represents all ages for runway, fashion and commercial print, who signed Hebner last November.

Mixing business and pleasure can be quite precarious for any couple. However, both men explain how their personal bond does not interfere with, but actually enhances, their business affiliation.

“We are always talking about fashion, so when we go to work it never feels like work,” Hebner said. “We keep it very professional and make sure to project the right image in front of the camera.”

Conducting business in front of a live audience or a camera comes naturally to both models. And, behind the scenes, most of their contemporaries are in same-sex relationships as well.

Hebner, in particular, believes the LGBT community has actually gained a lot of support from the fashion industry, which made it easy for the couple to make their relationship public.

“Fashion is a huge outlet for creative expression and most of the defining designers have been gay,” Hebner said. “It has influenced the LGBT community in many positive ways.”

The ambitious couple has already worked together on various test shoots for friends and Toni & Guy hair salons. However, their greatest collaboration yet is set for in October, when both models will hit the runway as part of Phoenix Fashion Week 2014.

As part of the annual event, Sudduth will model a collection designed by Chandler-based State Forty Eight, who are competing in Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition.

Sudduth was also chosen as one of the Top 40 models to compete in a Model of the Year competition, the winner of which will be announced Oct. 4 and awarded a contract with The Agency Arizona (ironically the same agency Hebner is currently signed to).

Hebner knows he will be will be walking the Phoenix Fashion Week runway, but has yet to find out which designer’s work he’ll be wearing.

“As a model, we just show up,” Hebner said. “It is going to be so nice to see people of at the top of the field there.”

The couple agrees that working together in a supportive industry has been a career highlight. And, collectively, they’re looking forward to being a part of Phoenix Fashion Week and supporting one another through what promises to be an unforgettable experience. e

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