‘I’d get out of bed for $5’: Inside story of Candyman's rise
THE Gold Coast is a city known for its eccentric and flamboyant characters.
From high office to the business community to the local pubs, it has never been short of larger-than-life personalities who have gained fame both locally and abroad.
Businessman Travers Beynon is among the more recent well-known figures to gain notoriety.
Better-known as "the Candyman", the colourful cigarette mogul has gained national attention during the past five years for his flamboyant parties and antics at his northern Gold Coast mansion.
In early 1989 he was known as Travers Martin-Beynon and was just 16 years old when he achieved a lifelong dream of being drafted into the VFL.
The teenager was the No. 4 pick that year and was taken by North Melbourne after impressive play in the Teal Cup carnival.
But a serious pre-season back injury, which included a broken vertebra, forced him onto the injured list and he played no senior games for the club across the two years he was a part of the organisation.
The Queensland product was traded to the Brisbane Bears in the 1991 pre-season but ultimately played no senior games for the club and was delisted, having never recovered from the back injury.
With sport out of the question, he instead turned his attention to modelling after being noticed by manager Robert Veitch.
Mr Veitch initially secured Mr Martin-Beynon gigs in Southport including an underwear advertisement for a Japanese company.
Within 18 months he flew to Milan to try out for the annual Valentino catwalk shows.
He stood in line for four hours with 1000 rival models and was eventually one of just 20 picked to model the Italian designer's creations.
Within two years he was being touted in the press as Australia's "first male supermodel" earning the nickname "The Hunter" and comparisons to Linda Evangelista.
"Martin-Beynon, 22, is fast approaching the ranks of (Evangelista's) $10,000-a-day body," an early 1995 article read.
"Martin-Beynon's 184cm frame, 82cm waist and piercing green eyes have already caught the attention of super-designers like Valentino and Versace, who chose him above about 1000 rivals to appear in Milan fashion shows late last year.
"With less than two years modelling experience under his belt, he has also modelled in New York, Florida, London, Rome, Venice, Las Vegas, Hamburg and Munich, scored lucrative jobs with customers such as Jag and Levis, and appeared in magazines including Italian Vogue, Studio for Men, Style and Elle."
Mr Martin-Beynon recoiled from comparisons with Evangelista and her statement that she "wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10,000".
"I'd get out of bed for five bucks,'' he said.
"If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd be an international model, I would have laughed in your face.
"Money is the main reason why I do it … and the travel, I guess,'' he said.
"I take things seriously when I'm out on a job, but the main way I survive in the business is by refusing to take it too seriously overall.
"I can't believe it's all happened so quickly sometimes … but the other guys aren't jealous or bitchy, it would have been different if I was a girl because that's a bitchy world.''
Mr Veitch insisted the future Candyman was "going to be the next big thing to come out of Australia".
In 1996 he relocated to Miami and picked up a series of high-profile modelling jobs in the US, including the staring role in a Raw Vanilla fragrance for men campaign.
By 1998 Mr Martin-Beynon was living in Miami and married Venezuelan Nini Beth Leal who had previously won Miss World 1992.
By 2003, now known as Travers Beynon, he was a father of two and back in Australia, living at Sovereign Islands and working in "the family's computer business".
By 2008 he had moved into the tobacco industry, become managing director of Free Choice which he continues to run today.
It was in 2015 that he came to national attention as "the Candyman" for his wild parties and salacious social media presence.
Originally published as 'I'd get out of bed for $5': Inside story on rise of Candyman