So who are these hot new handymen and models on Built? Style Network turns the camera on guys who model and remodel in its new 10-episode series Built, airing Mondays at 9pm ET beginning Jan. 28. The series follows five male models – Shane Duffy, Sandy Dias, Gage Cass, Donny Ware and Mike Keute — along with interior designer Kim Gieske, as they work on high-end home renovations.
While the guys claim that some of their jobs are secured based on their good looks — well, it’s part of their moniker, isn’t it — their reputation for quality work and blowing their clients away with the finished job is what they claim keeps them in business.
“To make extra money I used to do handyman work,” says Shane Duffy, co-owner of Hott and Handy and point person for the company. “One day a woman walked by and said ‘You look like a hot handyman,’ and that was my lightbulb moment. So, I hired all my friends, who I met through various modeling jobs — they each have experience in construction, and the rest is history.”
The premiere episode is quite entertaining as it finds Hott and Handy on the job at an upscale home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Their client is a Russian bombshell named Adina, who is over-the-top eccentric and spoiled rotten by her attorney husband Jason Barbara. Adina is looking to remodel her 1,000-plus square-foot closet (yep, that’s the size of a starter home for some people). She considers her handbags her children — she even talks to them, so the special attention they give the bags is worth watching alone. It’s comical to see the guys react to her absurdities and blatant flirting (even though cameras are “everywhere” in this mansion, and her husband is certain on making sure all the hottie handymen know it).
Meet the handymen and models on Built …
Shane Duffy As co-owner of Hott and Handy, Shane’s taken the idea and has grown the business, he has offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. As a model, his bio lists that he has become “one of the most sought-after face and body parts models and has been featured in national and international campaigns for GNC, Johnny Walker, Banana Republic, ASICS, Marlboro and Under Armour, among others.” From Texas, Shane served in the National Guard and is an Afghan war vet who spends time volunteering with the USO.
Sandy Dias Sandy has a degree in Aeronautical Technology but instead of working on airplanes, he’s the foreman of the group and the main man that keeps the crew on task. He’s described as being extremely skilled with power tools and his experience includes framing, sheet rock, doors, plumbing, trim work and tile. His current home is based on a Lego design he built as a child. As a model, his main client is Hugo Boss. He also has worked with Neiman Marcus, Mercedes-Benz, Brunello Cucinelli, Ethan Allen, Tommy Hilfiger and Bloomingdales.
Gage Cass Gage is the artist of the group, “the creative type” and “visionary” of projects. In addition to modeling for clients such as Jose Cuervo, Coke Zero, Gilded Age, 2(X)IST and Microsoft, he’s expanded his resume to include stunts and acrobatics. His bio lists a highlight of his career when he was asked to do a performance with Cirque de Soleil (he framed the paycheck!), and he also repelled off of 30 Rock for a “Spiderman 3” marketing stunt. In addition, Gage is co-founder and president of Mythic Bridge, a non-profit organization that teaches narrative filmmaking and storytelling to underprivileged kids in the Tri-State area. Gage also finds time to get his workouts in during breaks on the job, something Adina appreciated in the first episode.
Donny Ware Donny’s role on the team appears to be more about the looks and less about the skills. Donny’s definitely a head turner but doesn’t take his good looks too seriously, providing much of the comic relief. He does a lot of the grunt work on the crew running heavy equipment and digging trenches. Before modeling, he worked at a glass factory in southern Florida, where he’s now been deemed the mirror and glass expert of the group. His bio states that a car accident five years ago left his face partially burnt, but after a hard recovery, he is now in demand both nationally and internationally, modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Bottega Veneta and Ted Baker.
Mike Keute “My body is my temple,” Mike shares. While he claims “I’m not OCD” (obsessive-compulsive disorder), he does admit to having tendencies of OCP (drop the D that stands for disorder and insert a P, meaning it’s more of a personality thing). Mike grew up around a family of “Mr. Fix Its” so he learned early how to be handy. He excels in carpentry and organizational-inspired design. He’s referenced as “the brains” and “the muscle” of the group, As for the brains part, he’s currently pursuing a law degree and MBA simultaneously at Fordham Law School through an accelerated three-year program. Hello brilliant! As for the muscle, he’s also a personal trainer who is devoted to maintaining his incredible physique. As for the modeling, in the premiere episode, cameras follow his chiseled body to Calvin Klein where he works as one of their main underwear models. He’s also worked for Giorgio Armani, Brunello Cucinelli, Saks Fifth Avenue, GQ and Men’s Health. His bio states that in 2012 Mike formed Famed International, Inc., an entertainment management company that develops, mentors and legally protects models, actors and artists from around the world. His goal was to start small but with his ambition and drive, his company has grown quickly to become a premier destination for the entertainment industry.
Kim Gieske Kim’s also a former model, whose passion for home and fashion led to a career as a lifestyle editor for a variety of magazines, including Glamour, Self, House & Garden and Vogue Living. Kim was part of the original team that launched the Martha Stewart Living magazine and television show, offering her tips and advice for decorating and styling the home. In addition, Kim is a New York Times best-selling author with her home renovation book “Paige by Paige: A Year of Trading Spaces” based on the hit television series. Kim’s really the creative genius that provides the inspiration and detailing to all of the interior designs. She collaborates with the Hott and Handy team on their client services. Her celebrity client list includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Chloe Sevigny, Donatella Versace, Pamela Anderson, Martha Stewart and Ivanka Trump, among others.
Photos: Credit: John Russo/Style