Former homeless model Mark Reay on keeping up appearances

Thomas Wirthensohn's new documentary sheds light on the secret life of fashion ​photographer, model and former homeless man Mark Reay.
Mark is a former male model-turned-fashion-photographer who spent years secretly roughing it on New York rooftops. (Thomas Wirthensohn)

Yes, a guy who looks "like Richard Gere in an Armani jacket" can be homeless. Just ask Mark Reay, a model turned fashion photographer who knows how to rough it on a New York rooftop.

For years, Reay kept up appearances — wearing designer suits, using a cell phone, maintaining a bank account — while stealthily spending his nights in a makeshift tarp cocoon.

"I went from the south of France to sleeping south of a fence of a roof. I planned on staying a few days. I left six years later," he tells Gill. 

Reay's long-secret story is recounted in Homme Less, a new documentary by filmmaker Thomas Wirthensohn. Both men join guest host Gill Deacon to explain how Reay's story came to light, the logistics of his lifestyle, and why Reay, who called himself as an urban camper, doesn't consider himself a victim. 

WEB EXTRA | Watch the evocative trailer for Homme Less below. The film has just had its U.S. iTunes release, and will be on the CBC documentary channel soon. It will also be available on Canadian iTunes next year. 




To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.