To HELL.A. & Back

Not many people can say their beard skyrocketed them to fame, fortune, and their fallout. But then again, not many people have a beard like Gregory Broome’s.

 

On Nov. 26, 2015, longtime Savannahian Gregory Broome, whose rugged good looks, exceptional beard and Southern charm which launched a modeling career in Los Angeles that included agency representation and thousands of social media followers, posted this to his official Facebook page:

"Today, aside from being Thanksgiving, here in America, is traditionally always one in which special things happen in my life. November 26th holds a certain energy that encourages huge change and new adventures. So CHEERS to a life less ordinary and a valued reason to be truely GREATFUL (sic) for unknown blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, lovers! THANK YOU."


Gregory Broome skyrocketed to modeling fame as one of the most sought-after beard models in the world, but all too quickly the life of the rich and the famous caught up to him.

 

The following day, the recovering drug addict was evicted from his LA home. He would spend the next several weeks on the streets, hiding his real status from everyone. 

“I did drugs until I was homeless on the street and didn’t tell anybody,” says Broome on a humid day in July as he sits in his parked car outside St. Joseph’s/Candler hospital. He’s waiting for a sick friend he drove there hours earlier, a friend who called Broome because he’s loving and dependable and would do anything for anybody. The car is from his parents, Robert and Debbie Broome, given in exchange for working at the family’s produce stands along I-95 in Hardeeville, South Carolina, as they try to help their 34-year-old son rebuild his life back in the somewhat sheltering confines of the South. 

Living in a trailer in rural Effingham County with his older brother Robbie, Broome is, at least for now, far from the glitz, glamour and temptations of his former Hollywood existence. 

“I am watering the roots,” he says with his signature positivity, “realizing that although sometimes we may not want to slow down, something happens where life doesn’t give you an option. I’ve been made to slow down.”

That “option” to slow down is the latest in a life that’s twisted and turned – sometimes on a wing and a prayer – for much of Broome’s life. The 6’4” gregarious good-time seeker with the chiseled face and sleek physique grew up in Bluffton and played tight end at South Effingham High School, with Robbie as a teammate and his father as a coach. His brother, a constant best friend growing up, was the first person Broome came out to in high school – sensitive news that was accepted on the spot. 

He spent his 20s zigzagging from Georgia to Florida to Ohio to North Carolina and back to Georgia, rebooting his life each time a job was lost, a love went bad or, twice now, something far worse threatened his very existence. 


Posted by Broome on Facebook, Dec. 17, 2005 from a public library: 

"Control is an illusion. And, quite frankly, an idea I thought I’d be weak and lost without. “Show no weakness” & “You can cry, just don’t let them see your tears” were misguided philosophy I based my being around. Well, that Gregory Broome was just set free from the chains that bind. I’ve forgiven my past, embraced my present and invited the future to provide all lesons (sic) with reckless abandon! I now let go of false control and say hello to the moment, the moment that is allowed to be as is…. SANS FALSE CONTROL. Bring it on. Live hard, lovers. #TheGentlemanMovement"

 

To read Gregory Broome's incredible comeback story, subscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South Magazine.