Beyond the sepia filter: A day in the life of Instagram star Alex Cannon
You barely recognise Alex Cannon with his clothes on, his perfectly blow-dried hair buried beneath an all-encompassing cap.
It’s Tuesday morning in a Liverpool coffee shop, and the model-turned-Instagram star is grabbing a post-workout caffeine hit.
He’s just come from the gym and has a busy day ahead of him; Alex is doing a shoot tomorrow for a couple of brands he’s promoting on his Instagram account, and needs to top up his tan before going home to decide what clothes he’s going to wear for the shoot.
If you aren’t familiar with Alex – known as @AlexCannon to his thousands of social media followers – chances are you’re au fait with what he does.
Uploading a mix of brooding selfies, motivational messages and the occasional promotional picture, the two-times Men’s Health cover-model is one of a growing number of young men who post every moment of their sepia-tinged existence – from the shirtless pics in the gym to the holiday snaps in a dreamy Bali villa – to an audience of aspiring wannabes and admiring women.
Alex is dressed in a black tracksuit by Gym King, the figure-hugging streetwear label owned by a mate of his.
Followers will recognise the men's fashion brand from the highly stylised, promotional posts that fill Alex’s Instagram account; the company is one of a growing number of brands to use the reach of social media stars as a cut-price advertising tool.
Since “monetising” his Instagram, Alex has worked with scores of brands like Gym King, as his clothes-strewn bedroom is more than testament to. Some are names you’ll recognise, like Adidas, Mitre, Foot Asylum.
Others, such as menswear labels Nicce London and Illusion Attire, will only be known by those who follow reality stars on social media.
He’s sifting through a pile of clothes he’s been sent for the shoot tomorrow.
Fresh from the shower, and wearing nothing but a pair of jeans ripped at the knee, it's clear why he can command top dollar for every photo he uploads wearing or using a company’s product.
Alex has got the sort of body men dream of: toned, tan and relatively “achievable”. More finely carved charcuterie than beefcake caricature.
As we chat, he pulls on a shirt by Couture Club – one of the five brands he plans to wear in London tomorrow. He’s also modelling products from jeans manufacturer Hera London, sunglasses maker Matt Christopher, and the men's accessories brands Tresor Paris and Enbois By Maxim.
“I don't promote anything I don't like,” says Alex.
“If you just push everything and anything people will get bored quite quickly.”
In many respects, Alex is everything you’d expect of a man who makes his living from his appearance. He goes to the gym for up to two hours every day – weekends included – gets his hair cut once a fortnight, and is never short of a new designer shirt or two.
In every other way, though, he’s the complete antithesis of his selfie-snapping peers. He doesn’t bother with supplements or protein shakes, eats only 2,000 calories a day “not including alcohol”. And when Alex gets up, at 6:30am, he doesn’t workout - he reads.
“I’m a bit of a geek,” he says, blow-drying his hair in front of a huge mirror that’s propped up on trainer boxes and rags-to-riches biographies.
“I try to read for at least half an hour before doing anything else,” he adds, explaining that he reads a lot of books on “growing your business” and “social media strategies”. As well as being an influencer, Alex is part-owner of the luxury men’s jewellery brand CRAFTD London, as well as Loyali Footwear, an upmarket trainers’ retailer.
Alex may live a charmed life, but life beyond the Instagram filter is in many ways no different to life this side of the glass.
“There are parts of me I’m still not 100 per cent happy with,” he reveals. “Why else do you think I still go to the gym?”
He’s stood in front of his mirror holding his shoulders – which he’s worried are a bit too rounded.
"There’s nothing vain about wanting to look your best. Just as there is nothing wrong with being skinny or fat".
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you look like. If you have a smile on your face and your shoes are clean, you’ll find someone who likes you. Guaranteed.”