Not Just a Pretty Face: YA Cover Model Mark On Being Your Boyfriend And His Debut Novel

We at RT spend a lot of time looking at book covers. And after awhile, we start to feel like we really know the cover models, if only in our heads. So imagine our extreme delight when cover model Mark Perini got in touch to tak about cover modeling and his YA debut, which he's co-writing with Julie Cross. Halfway Perfect will hit shelves next year, but in the meantime, we, of course, wanted to hear everything. We also appreciate the eye candy.


How did you become a YA cover model? Do you do other genres, or just YA?

Mark: I’ve been a model for eight years and at some point my agent at Ford asked if I would want to be on a book cover and I said yeah of course, why not! Nowadays I’m kind of the token YA boyfriend. I’ve always shot YA because I look young and I shoot young men when it comes to catalogues and such so I suppose they go hand in hand.

What’s it like being a book cover model? Is it different from being a model for, say, cologne or pants? 

Mark: I really enjoy being a cover model, because it’s so different. It’s a lot more like acting than say shooting a campaign for a brand. Characters in books are living, breathing beings within the pages of the novel so you have to assume all those little quirks that make them who they are. So as a cover model, you’ll get directions like, “Okay, we want you to be stoic and fearless but also completely freaked out that you just time traveled.”





What’s it like seeing your face on lots of book covers?

Mark: You know after doing it for so long you kind of get immune to it, sort of like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility/Satisfaction. Of course it’s always going to be a rush to see yourself on a book, but nothing is as good as the first book you see yourself on. Which was Crash into Me. Afterwards, it’s still cool but nothings like that first time.

Which book cover is your favorite?

Mark: I still think one of the best was Tempest and I’m not just saying that because Julie is my co-author. The shoot was awesome. I spent the whole day jumping on a trampoline having a blast and I think the end result is killer.

How did you make the leap from modeling to writing? Why did you choose YA?

Mark: I’m a huge reader and when you’re a model you life is all about the hurry up and wait, so for me I use that time to read. I never really thought about writing a novel until Julie and I started brainstorming for the modeling book and all of a sudden I realized that this isn’t so out there. I can do this.  

Julie, Why did you decide to partner up with Mark?

Julie: I actually “met” Mark (we’re online pals, haven’t met in person yet). Somehow, we got to talking about writing via email and I mentioned my desire to write a contemporary/realistic YA or NA book, something important with a big issue to tackle, but that it would have to be a subject matter I knew well or had experienced. Then I said something along the lines of, “for example, you have the credentials to write a fictional book set in the modeling world” and I think he replied with a mention of co-authoring since he didn’t know the book world and I do. The journey began from there.

Tell us about the book! 

Julie: Halfway Perfect features eighteen-year-olds Alex and Eve so it’s New Adult, but would fit the mature YA bill just fine, too. Alex is a model on the rise, he’s living and working in NYC full time and his career is skyrocketing. Eve was that model on the brink of stardom two years early, having begun her career at fourteen years old. She vanished from the scene and is now back in NYC as a photography student at Columbia University.  

Mark: When Eve’s photography professor offers her the chance to spend a day on the job with famed photographer, Janessa Fields, an ex-protégé of her professor, Eve doesn’t hesitate to accept this amazing opportunity. In a strange turn of events, Eve finds herself following Janessa onto the set for a Seventeen Magazine shoot. Right back in the world she has so desperately trying to avoid. To make matters worse, one of the male models agents is none other than Wes Danes — the other half of the torrid love affair that ruined her life the first time. 

Have you ever spotten Mark on a different cover? Sound off in the comments! And for more YA news, be sure to visit our Everything YA page.