Ponsonby's former "hipster butcher" is working on his modelling chops in London after his well-groomed beard and tattoos caught the attention of modelling agencies.
Nick Thomson said a feature in Viva magazine last year set off a domino effect that led to him signing with Kiwi agency Red 11 before being approached by BASE Model Management in London.
"I find it hilarious, the whole thing," he told the Weekend Herald from London.
Mr Thomson trained as a butcher on his Hibiscus Coast home turf and in Australia for 12 years before taking over Meat on Ponsonby with his friend Arron Doumer in October 2014.
"I didn't really expect the attention I got to happen," he said.
"Soon after going in I was featured in Viva labelled the 'hipster butcher' and from there it was a domino effect.
"Then it was a story in Bite magazine where again I was being labelled as a 'well-groomed butcher'.
"I really didn't know what the attraction was. I remember I used to just laugh and Arron would say 'how's your head gonna fit out that door'."
Mr Thomson signed to Red 11 in March last year and seven months later London called.
"With the power of social media and with my Instagram I started getting contacted by some clothing and grooming companies. They were all London-based.
"I wanted to move over anyway 'cause I wanted to do some networking and get inspiration for the clothing brand I work on with my two mates, Gypsy Pirate, so moving over seemed fun. Then I got contacted by BASE Model Management ... so it all just fell into place really."
The 27-year-old said he was taking every opportunity given because "life is too short" to let things pass you by.
Last June he appeared in New Zealand Post's You Can ad alongside Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance - a career highlight so far.
Mr Thomson arrived in London three weeks ago with his girlfriend and has already had his first shoot, with two more lined up for next week.
"One I'm really excited for 'cause I'm shooting with a guy from New York. It's just cool to have a go at this with a beard and tattoos, it's a bit different."
Eventually he would like to "go down the acting route" but Mr Thomson said for now he was taking things day by day.
Despite his career change, Meat on Ponsonby still has a place in Mr Thomson's heart.
"It's a cool shop with the best customers, everyone was so lovely."