Real Life

Top model Josh: ‘Celebs love me because I’m a Kiwi’

The Upper Hutt hunk opens up about his A-list encounters
Josh's headshot, standing to the side looking over his shoulder

If you’ve ever wanted to know what Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Brad Pitt are really like, you could ask Josh McGregor.

The Kiwi model, who has strutted his stuff on the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan, has met numerous Hollywood and sporting celebrities since moving to the Big Apple in 2021.

“I’ve been really lucky to work with some amazing people,” says Josh, 23, who was born and raised in Whiteman’s Valley, near Upper Hutt.

Since being signed to the prestigious Ford Modelling agency, Josh has appeared in advertising campaigns for brands such as Burberry, Calvin Klein and Nike, plus magazines including Vogue and GQ. But he says it’s his down-to-earth Kiwi attitude that has won him friends in high places.

“Sometimes a celebrity will ask if I’m Australian. As soon as I tell them I’m a Kiwi, they always say how much they love New Zealand. Kiwis have such a good reputation for working hard and being down-to-earth, so they understand that I’m not just trying to get a photo with them or ride on their coat-tails.”

A collage of four images. One of each Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Hugh Jackman and Justin Bieber.
Josh’s celeb pals: Kim, Kourtney, Hugh and Justin.

When Woman’s Day calls, Josh has recently returned to his New York apartment after attending the Coachella music festival in California with Kourtney Kardashian and Justin Bieber.

“I went to a party at Kourtney’s house in Palm Springs and it was crazy. She had all these food trucks and entertainment. I’ve never seen a house like it. But Kourtney was really sweet. It’s also where I met Justin, who wanted to know where I was from and what I was doing.”

A highlight of Josh’s career so far was meeting Kourtney’s older sister Kim when he modelled for the first male line of the reality star’s Skims underwear range last year.

“Kim was the nicest person. She really is a sweetheart.”

Josh was brought up on a lifestyle block with a mother who owns a hairdressing salon and a father who owns a building company. He admits he has had to pinch himself numerous times over the past few years.

“In one of my first jobs, I flew to Ibiza in footballer Lionel Messi’s private jet!” he exclaims. “I was like, ‘I’m just a boy from Upper Hutt. How is this happening to me?’”

He credits his hard-working parents and three siblings with his success.

“We’re a very close family and I talk to my parents every day, which really grounds me. They raised me to work hard, be humble and keep things in perspective.”

Josh standing in front of the Eiffel Tower

Not that Josh has had much time to miss them. This year alone, he estimates he has only spent three weeks in his Manhattan rental. “It started with Milan Fashion Week in January and it’s been crazy ever since. Before Coachella, I was in Sweden shooting a campaign for H&M.”

The handsome hunk never planned to be a model, instead setting his sights on a career as a professional basketballer.

Josh explains, “Growing up, my family were really into sports. I loved basketball and was scouted by a few American universities to play for them. So, I came over in 2019 to meet them.”

In a classic case of being in the right place at the right time, Josh was spotted by an agent while walking around NYC.

Josh modelling for a Calvin Klein advertisement

“The guy asked if I’d ever consider modelling and gave me his card. I was staying with my uncle, who lived in New York at the time and worked in the fashion industry. He knew that the scout was legit.”

While he has no regrets about giving up sport for modelling, Josh plays basketball every chance he gets. “Last week, I was playing on my own at my gym. Adam Sandler came over to ask if he could play with me! I also see Hugh Jackman working out in the mornings.”

With over a million followers on social media and unable to leave his house without seeing his face plastered on huge billboards or the subway, it’s not surprising that Josh sometimes has to employ security when he goes out.

Josh walking down the runway in denim  patched overalls

“I took an American friend to Rhythm & Vines in Gisborne last summer. So many people were lining up to take a photo with me that my friend was like, ‘You’re famous!’” he recalls. “I needed a security guard because it can get a bit much. All I want to do is enjoy my time without being asked for a million photos.”

Despite living a jet-set life many of us could only dream about, Josh says a move home will eventually be on the cards.

“I hope to move to California in a few years because I’d like to live near the beach,” he shares. “And once I finish modelling, I plan to get a house on Waiheke Island. It’s my favourite place in New Zealand.”

Keep up to date with where the talented Kiwi is in the world on his Instagram page.

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