It’s twilight at The Gansevoort hotel in the Meatpacking District with a last glimmer of sun streaming in the Presidential Suite as Victor Cruz and his fiancee, Elaina Watley, arrive. The suite will serve as the backdrop for photographing the cover (of this magazine) with the New York Giants wide receiver. Before the crew gets a chance to greet him he approaches each person with his boy-next-store smile and a handshake saying, “Hi, I’m Victor, pleasure to meet you.” Professionalism and good manners come easily to the 28-year-old Super Bowl champion and budding fashion icon, who is known to do a salsa dance after every touchdown he scores. There is no trace of weariness in his demeanor although he no doubt dashed from Giants practice to the photo shoot. He carries himself with a breezy exuberance that seems to say, “I love my life” and “Anything is possible.”
But football is not the only venture that the New Jersey Millennial has on his very full plate. Voted Internationally Best Dressed, by Vanity Fair in 2014, he’s also on the cusp of fashion and sports cross-pollination. Stylish sport gents like Amar’e Stoudemire and Cruz are hanging out front row at New York and Paris runway shows and attending buzzy dinners like one hosted by Internet retailer Farfetch.com in July. Added to his impressive fashion résumé is the French label Givenchy, where he became the face of the brand in June of this year. He flew to London to be photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott — the uber-creative duo who snapped photos of Cruz in his bold pinstriped ensemble as well as other sartorial looks. He met Givenchy’s designer by chance a few years ago. “I met Riccardo [Tisci, the designer] on New Year’s Eve two years ago at Jay Z’s party in Miami. Riccardo and I spoke for an hour and just hit it off. He is a good person — a good dude, and you could sense his humility when he spoke. We kept in contact and became friends. Then one day he called and asked, ‘Hey Victor, do you want to do the campaign?’ It was a no-brainer, I had to do it — there was no way I wasn’t going to do it! I flew to London for two nights, and we got to hang out. The entire shoot took about three hours max. It was just a fun atmosphere,” he says of the spring campaign now in magazines.