No Pale Imitation

updated 03/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

SLIGHT AND DECIDEDLY SCRUFFY, Nick Moss has the face of a jock who spends his evenings at the local pub: His nose has been broken three times (twice in soccer games and once in a fight), and his generous lips look as if they've taken a right hook or two. Aside from the name, then, who would guess that—like sister Kate—this 18-year-old from the London suburb of Purley is a high-fashion model who does shows for avant-garde designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and the hip London clothing line called Ghost? "He's certainly not your archetypal model," concedes Storm agency head Sarah Doukas, who discovered both Nick and Kate, 21. "He's sort of a bit of an enigma."

Though he adopts a pouty stare in magazines such as W, the real Moss is a boisterous lad who lives with father Peter, 50 (a travel consultant who split with wife Linda, 46, a barmaid, in 1987), in a modest five-room house where his room is strewn with jeans and T-shirts. Although he has been a full-time model since 1993 (when Doukas saw photos taken by Kate's then-boyfriend photographer Mario Sorrenti and persuaded Versace to use him), the 5'10", 161-lb. Moss would be just as happy as a professional soccer player. When he's not traveling, he hits the field at least three times weekly with a local team. "When he first started modeling, it was a bit weird," confesses teammate Sam Murray. But modeling hasn't turned his head, Murray says. "Nothing bothers him—he's just out to have a laugh."

With no girlfriend for now, Moss is savoring his peripatetic life. His favorite trip: a 10-day jaunt to India last February for the tabloid Today. "We shot for two days, and the rest was a holiday," he says. Just back from a Levi's shoot in Prague, he hasn't spoken to Kate since Christmas. "There was a bit of rivalry when they were young," admits Peter. "But when he's in New York, they go out and she lends him the odd $10." Not that he really needs it—or the boost he once got from being her kid brother. Says British designer John Richmond: "Nick is standing on his own feet now—he has character."

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