Thirstory: Getting Naked with the Towel Boys

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archives that were almost too hot to print. This week, we resurface “Towel Boys,” first published in our August 1987 edition.

In the summer of 1987, the Interview contributor Christopher Makos was tasked to develop a home decor story for the magazine. His assignment? Make towels sexy. In a stroke of genius, Makos turned a possibly drab subject into a centerfold shoot, styling a group of torso-bearing hunks as makeshift towel bars. Looking back on the assignment, Makos says, “There’s nothing like a sexy boy being a home furnishing.” 

In the editorial, the male models reinterpret their towels as togas, flexing their chiseled bodies and perspiring with as much passion as Lisa Rinna live on QVC. 

Makos attributes all that steam-room allure to the casting. “There’s a sense of innocence here that is different than the pictures of guys today, because guys today are so self-aware. The picture you see is of these hot biceps and stomach muscles, but ultimately I was photographing their personalities. It was a lot of fun to ask people to take their clothes off for legitimate reasons. You know what I mean?”

Christopher Makos is a New York City–based photographer whose work will be featured in an exhibition at Daniel Cooney Fine Art this September.