Kortajarena currently ranks No. 6 on MODELS.com's Top 25 The Money Guys list.
Kortajarena speaks Spanish, English and Euskera. He went to an ikastola school up until he was 10 years old, but due to traveling he went on to enroll in public, private, and Catholic schools thereafter. His mother is a hairdresser and she often styles his hair. If he was not modeling he would be a full-time actor; however, he notes that interior designing and photography are some fields he has always been curious about. His hobbies include watching films, reading books by Hermann Hesse, sunbathing, going to the mountains with friends, and listening to music. He describes himself as an 'ultimate romantic'. Some of his favorite novels include Perfume, The Wheel of Life by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and Siddhartha. He has an apartment in the West Village. He is currently involved in the 212 VIP Carolina Herrera perfume promotion of 2011.
Kortajarena was born in Bilbao, Spain. He was discovered while vacationing in Barcelona when he accompanied a friend who was invited to attend a fashion show. Whilst there, a booker noticed him and persuaded him to give the fashion world a go. His first professional experience was in Cibeles fashion show for Roberto Verino. He left Bilbao, his hometown, and ventured into the fashion industry in Paris. In 2004, at the age of 18, Kortajarena became the face of Just Cavalli for Roberto Cavalli's spring campaign which quickly jet started his career. He made his international fashion show debut at the fall Milan and Paris fashion weeks for Emporio Armani and John Galliano. Two months later, in New York, Steven Meisel photographed him for Versace. Kortajarena's other runway credentials include walking for Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Carolina Herrera, Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, and Chanel in Milan and Paris. Kortajarena appeared in a commercial for the sugar-free, Fanta Z “Mediterraneo”, a TV ad in 2005 which poked fun at the departed Fanta Lite. Its content, though, quickly drew complaints in Britain and it eventually became restricted to the post-9pm broadcasts.
Kark Meets Gareth, V Man, by Karl Lagerfeld (Andres Velencoso Segura, Jon Kortajarena & Oriol Elcacho)
by Tony Duran
In 2007, Jon Kortajarena signed with GUESS? and renewed his contract again in 2008. With new campaigns on the stands, Terry Richardson photographed Kortajarena for Tom Ford alongside Noah Mills and became the label’s signature male model for the next consecutive seasons. He was featured on the cover of the spring/summer 2008 issue of L'Officiel Hommes magazine, devoting him 200 pages, with the cover title reading “200 Pages of Fashion with Jon Kortajarena”. It was the first time a male model had achieved this and consequently it became a reference in the industry; other models to follow such honor were Andres Velencoso and Arthur Sales. In various campaigns, Kortajarena is known to be portrayed as having a foot fetish such as in Tom Ford's s/s 2008 eyewear ad, and in the latest s/s 2009 ads for Brian Atwood and Diesel. For the 2009 spring men’s wear and eyewear advertising campaigns Jon was art directed and photographed, for the first time, by Tom Ford himself. On 26 June 2009, Forbes published its list of The World's 10 Most Successful Male Models ranking Kortajarena in 8th place. In November Kortajarena was named by German GQ as Model of the Year. Also Spain's Marie Claire awards "Prix de la Moda" awarded him Best Spanish Model for 2009.
Breaking into 2010 with ad campaigns for H&M, True Trussardi and Esprit; Kortajarena modeled alongside Alexa Chung for Pepe Jeans fall/winter Campaign. He was in the Next autumn/winter campaign and in its TV advert that launched on 10 September, alongside Emanuela de Paula. In 2011 he became one of the models to star in Lacoste's $66 million new advertising concept under the new tagline, “Unconventional Chic”. The ads were shot by Mert and Marcus showing models wearing the iconic white Lacoste polo shirts worn over eveningwear. He fronted the cover of the March 2011 issue of Vogue Spain alongside Anja Rubik and compatriot Andres Velencoso. Described as "an icon of charm and masculinity," Kortajarena was chosen as the protagonist for the special video version of Roberto Cavalli Men's Spring/Summer 2012 runway and opened the show held at the Palazzo Serbelloni in Milan. For the fall campaigns he became the face of David Yurman for the third consecutive time and was photographed by legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh. From November 2011 he participated with Desigual on the 080 Barcelona Fashion editions.
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