Greg Kelley went from being a Leander High School football player to being wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old in 2013 to being exonerated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in November 2019.
His story was featured in the Showtime series "Outcry" this summer, and he received a full scholarship to play football this fall at Eastern Michigan University.
In another unlikely event, Kelley is also the foot of the new men’s boot line for Texas-based Hari Mari. The fall line launched Wednesday at harimari.com and will retail for $120-$220.
Hari Mari co-founder Lila Stewart says the company had planned to do a photo shoot for the new men’s shoe line in Austin this summer and had the entire photo shoot planned, except the model.
"We didn’t have the face of the campaign," Stewart says.
After a friend from Austin recommend Stewart watch "Outcry," Stewart reached out to Kelley and sent him a couple of pairs of the shoes.
"I was mad and angry," she says after watching the show. "You can’t help but feel horrible for him. I wanted to do something to help lift him up."
They began talking, she says, and Hari Mari ended up hiring Kelley to do the photo shoot. Kelley’s wife, Gaebri, also participated in the shoot.
In early August, they shot at three different locations — at Mount Bonnell, the Carpenter Hotel and Desert Door Distillery — one for each style of men’s shoe.
"It was a fun day," Stewart says. "You can’t help but see, it’s palpable, how good of a person he is — his strength of character."
Turns out, Stewart says, Kelley was a natural when it came to modeling.
"He crushed it," she says. He was cool and confident in front of the camera, she says.
This photo shoot has inspired Hari Mari to look for other models with unique backgrounds in the future, Stewart says.
She also hopes to continue working with Kelley, if that’s possible.
"Whatever happens with Greg in the future, we respect him and admire him and his resilience," she says.