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Richards became one of the biggest names in modeling in the late 1980s and 1990s. He appeared in hundreds of advertising campaigns and was photographed by Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel, Horst, and Albert Watson. His campaigns include Gianni Versace, Valentino, Gianfranco Ferré, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Dunhill, Cartier, and Donna Karan.
In his last year of high school, Richards landed a scholarship which sent him to England to be educated in the sixth form of the English public school Haileybury. After Haileybury, Richards, a scholar-athlete, went to Princeton University from where he graduated in 1985 with a BA in Economics and played varsity football. At that stage, he had no plans to be a model. His focus was on football and school. But a shoulder injury lead him to New York to see a specialist. On that trip, he was told his football playing days were over but he was spotted by a casting director. Eventually, his trips to New York for auditions lead to him a meeting with the Ford Model Agency. Thus began his career as a male model. This career spanned over fifteen years and over encompassed over 200 major ads and hundreds of commercials.
In the late 90s, Richards moved from New York to Los Angeles to begin pursuing a career as an actor. He first appeared in the Harrison Ford/Anne Heche romantic comedy, Six Days Seven Nights. Since then, he has since appeared in over a fifteen independent films including such award winning projects as the comedy, Hit and Runway (1999) and the dramas, Taxi Dance (2009) and The Disciple (2010.) In 2005, Richards, also a screenwriter, began his own production company, Tortoise Entertainment, that develops and produces television, documentary and film projects. In 2014, Tortoise produced a buddy comedy called Dumbbells that Hoyt wrote and starred.