Bonnie Bing

He's leading a model existence

Austin Cederberg is a sophomore majoring in business at Newman University. And he's a model student.

OK, we don't know whether his grades are good or not, but he is a student and he is a model.

As in Abercrombie & Fitch model.

Talking with Austin, you wonder how he ever got into modeling because he is bashful. It is, however, the type of bashfulness that only adds to his charm.

He says he never would have gone to see Greg Boaldin, owner of The Gregory Agency here, if he hadn't been prodded by his sister and an aunt who knew he'd be a natural.

"He just stood out in the crowd of people," Boaldin said. "He is sort of shy, but get him in front of the camera and he is very relaxed. He instantly creates these characters, and that was true from his very first photo shoot."

The 6-foot-1 Newman baseball player resembles a young Paul Newman with his chiseled features and piercing eyes. He is signed with the Gregory Agency locally, and also with Ford Chicago and NEXT in Miami.

The Abercrombie catalog shoot was in Boston.

"All the Abercrombie people were taken to a huge house, but we shot outside. They didn't let us in the house," Austin said.

Where did you change? I asked.

"They had a big tent set up and they had half of a big box you went behind to get dressed. They had the girls in one corner and the guys in the other corner," he said.

The "headquarters" may not have been posh, but that didn't bother Austin because "the food was great. It was catered. Breakfast and lunch," he said.

He was amazed that he was in Boston for a week and shot for only two days. Other days were spent on orientation, signing all the releases, and primping — the guys got haircuts.

Another day was filled with acting lessons.

"They wanted us to be comfortable in front of the camera. All the guys had to take their shirts off to get comfortable with it," he said, blushing.

He says his shots were on the last couple of days and they were long ones. "It was mainly waiting around," he said. But he liked the fact that he was getting paid for the whole day, regardless of what he was doing.

He modeled jeans and a shirt. "Then they had me take my shirt off," he said, adding with a laugh, "Some guys didn't even get a shirt."

Being in front of the camera is enjoyable and profitable for Austin, but he considers the modeling industry "superficial" and says he doesn't take it too seriously.

"I wonder if that's not part of what makes him so good," Boaldin said. "He's not worried so much about the end result."

This model is more interested in baseball and his future in business. In 10 years he hopes to be running his own company.

"I started a company when I was 12 or 13 years old, then sold it. That's the money I use for tuition and buying my car," he said.

What? Started a company at 12? "Yep, Ceed's Mowing, you grow it, we mow it. I had three or four employees and sold the company when I was 19, which was last fall," he said.

The catcher for the Newman Jets lives in a campus dorm, but at home has two sisters and parents Marilyn and Kevin Cederberg of Andover.

"They live halfway between Andover and Augusta. I love it out there in the country. I go home on the weekends when I'm not traveling with the team," he said.

Instead of mowing this summer he'll be in Chicago and maybe Miami working as a model. After all, there are some very good things about the business.

"It's easy and you get paid pretty well. And there are a lot of good-looking girls who are models," he said.