If you asked anyone else in the Dixon family, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was as big as anywhere needed to get. His dad complained about the traffic and the surges of new residents each fall as newly minted high school graduates moved to town to attend the University, while mom openly dreamed of moving back out of the city limits, to the type of small town where car doors were left unlocked and nothing was open on Sundays. Max had a different sort of dream - it started with places where everything
was open on Sundays (what's a weekend with no brunch options?) and where there was always something to do. Even before he knew how he'd get there, Max had dreams of big cities, far away from the types of towns where everyone knew everyone.
The Dixons were all University of Alabama alma maters, Saturdays in fall were devoted to screaming roll tide roll
at the tv and it was a given that he'd attend, too, following in the footsteps of his parents and older sisters and leaving yet another set for his younger brother to follow in, as well, but after an entire semester of convincing his parents finally sent him off to New York City to visit a university - thoroughly convinced that the hustle and bustle would send him back home after the weekend with his tail between his legs, prepared to settle home in Alabama for the foreseeable future. Instead, Max visited New York City and never made it to any of the university tours, interviews or information sessions. He was seventeen and determined to find a way to make it in the big city. Or - when that turned up empty - determined to enjoy it while he was there. That meant meeting a couple of strangers and worming his way into an invitation to a party one night.
Nearly a decade later he still isn't sure whether it was meant to be or whether he was just in the right place, at the right time, but Max's life changed in the course of just a couple hours. Among many other party goers that all seemed way cooler than he was, Max met a modelling booking agent who took an interest in his classic looks and, likely, his naivety. He gave him a card and told him to come by the next day to take some pictures before catching his flight back to Alabama. It wasn't exactly instantaneous success or even an instant job after that: he went home and waited on some kind of news, keeping the truth of his New York visit to himself until he heard back from the agency who wanted to sign him.
The offer came when Max was still in high school, finishing up his senior year, and of course his parents outright refused the idea. Modeling was definitely not a career in their eyes - and certainly not a viable one. 'Give it up,' his dad had told him, annoyed when he brought it up again one night, 'this is getting ridiculous.' In April of that year, however, Max turned 18 and the first executive, adult decision he made was doing exactly the opposite of that. He signed with the agency - a move that bought him a plane ticket, rented him an apartment to share with four other wanna-be male models, gave him a bit of allowance, and a couple of auditions. Under the agreement that any money from those auditions would go toward paying the agency back for those expenses, of course. It seemed like an impossible-to-succeed scenario, but with graduation quickly approaching it was a lot more desirable than taking classes back home.
A couple days after graduation, Max was on his way north. He was particularly lucky in that he landed two campaigns very quickly, shooting both for Armani and Trussardi that fall.
He has considered himself one of the lucky ones
- the aspiring models who actually made it work in the cutthroat New York industry, and he hasn't just made it work, he has been very successful in both print work and on the runway. Over the last several years he has consistently been ranked as one of the top male models and stayed busy with plenty of campaigns. However, it isn't just luck: he's put a lot of time, effort and calculation in to getting ahead. He doesn't only want to be a successful model, but also an 'insider' of Hollywood and NYC. Over the years he has clawed his way to the top of his game where he is now, making friends and rubbing elbows with anyone he has something to gain from, as well as losing the occasional friend or burning bridges when necessary to succeed or advance himself. This was especially true at the beginning of his career; at 19 he had a hush hush 4 month relationship with a much older fashion designer in an attempt to score a campaign gig. In the end it ended up blowing up in both of their faces and Max was taken off the campaign after their dramatic, public breakup.
After shooting several commercials for some of his campaigns, Max caught the 'acting bug' sometime in 2014 and now splits his residence between NYC and LA, hoping to break in to the Hollywood acting scene in the future while he continues to model as well.
His relationship with his family is mostly reconciled now, following a few years of intense bitterness between Max and his parents after he so blatantly disregarded their advice.
02. media perception