Engineer to Model: How Appearance Can Change Your Life with Devon Ryan

I’ll be honest with you — I never knew just how much my physical appearance would make such a difference in my professional career. If someone would have told me that in less than 5 years I would become a published cover model, traveling the world doing bathing suit photoshoots in countries like Australia, and modeling in my underwear with beautiful women for big brands like theCHIVE — I would have laughed. 

Let me explain…

I graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with an electrical engineering degree, and I started my career as a software engineer for the department of defense where I specialized in directed energy weapons. Yea, you heard right – energy weapons. Imagine opening the door to your microwave at home and using it as a gun to shoot “things.”

In a nutshell, that’s what I was working on. Needless to say, I was a nerd, and I wasn’t very fashion savvy at that time in my life. Everything was going great; I didn’t have to study intensively every
night for exams so I had more time on my hands, and I was making a good salary so I didn’t have to eat ramen like a poor college student anymore. Then, something awful happened to me that shook up my world.

My college girlfriend of 5 years broke up with me. It felt terrible at first, but it was a blessing in disguise because it was a catalyst for a transformation.

The next time I met a woman, I wanted to present the best version of me, not an emotional train wreck, so I dusted myself off and began conducting research on various ways to invest in myself. I leveraged various resources for research such as GQ, Esquire and people I knew who I thought
had good taste. I revamped my wardrobe, hired a personal trainer, and took my hair style a little more seriously.

It’s crazy what small positive changes can do. I used to try to fit in at work and dress like everyone else, but I just didn’t care anymore. I wore what made me feel good and this radiated self-confidence. Before long, the women at work started calling me Mr. GQ — I kid you not.

With my new image and mindset in motion, I was actively searching for other ways to invest in myself, and I decided to take some acting classes on side. After a year or so, my acting coach suggested that I get some professional headshots and he referred me to his photographer. I didn’t know at the time, but this would be the first and last time I ever paid a photographer in my entire life.

I uploaded the photos on a couple different photography websites for feedback on my look. The next thing I know photographers were reaching out to me stating that they wanted to take pictures of me to build their portfolio, so I did. As my portfolio grew, I attracted more attention and eventually an author reach out to me stating that she wanted me to be the cover model for her romance novel series. This was my first paid client and the beginning of my modeling career.

Since then, I have worked with numerous fashion stylists, hair and makeup artist, and extremely talented photographers. I learned a great deal on how to maximize my appearance and attract people.

The key takeaway is that your appearance will affect your potential for success. How you look and feel are symbiotic with each other and will ultimately determine which type of opportunities you will attract. Find ways to invest in yourself every day, week and month. If you are interested in investing in your image, here are my favorite products to help you get started:

Favorite Hair Product:

Kevin Murphy Free.Hold

Favorite Hair Spray:

Kevin Murphy’s Session.Spray

Best Shaving:

For the most part I stick to stubble, and use a trimmer to keep my hair at bay. However, if you are interviewing and need a close shave check out my advice on using my girlfriend's razor in “Shaving Hacks for a Barbershop Experience at Home.”

Favorite Fragrance:

For evening wear, Armani Black Code.

Sun Protection

This is always overlooked especially by men, but you have to protect your face. If you don’t you will age faster. I get the tinted version because the regular white lotion makes your face look pasty.

Elta MD Skincare Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (tinted)


Devon grew up in a small town in Texas and currently resides in Austin, TX.  

His acting & modeling career started when he started creating commercials for his technology startups. Since then, he has worked with big brand names such as theCHIVE, Ford Motors, TrunkClub, GSD&M and more. 

He recently was featured on the television show Murder Made Me Famous.

Learn more on his website Devon Ryan Fit
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