When coming up with the text caption for issue, we couldn’t think of anything better than a reintroduction. We consider this a re-familiarization to one of the most interesting faces in the fashion modelling world. Some of us, perhaps, have always known and loved the Pre-Raphaelite-esque facial features and smoldering eyes but for some this might be the first time. We talk to him on growing up, his career as a model and as an events maven in Accra.
- How was growing up like, especially being born into two cultures?
Growing up was great! I had an amazing childhood growing up in Adabraka, Accra. I learnt my core values and morals; things like respect for elders, not to take things for granted and appreciating hard work from the Ghanaian culture. On the other hand I also got the liberal freedom to live and experience the world with an open mind from the British side. Growing up mixed was interesting as sometimes I never really felt like I really belonged anywhere but friends I have from those days, who I’m still very close to now, have really taken that feeling away as I got older.
- What was your fave memory growing up?
When I look back it is tough to pick just one, but our family used to go to Tesano Sports Club every weekend and we’d just swim, run around, drink Portello (you’re an OG if you know about that one) and play for hours. Going there with my family and friends was probably the best memory I have.
- Tell us about your family
Well, like everyone’s mine is a ‘lil’ bit wild. I get on with my family really well. My nuclear family is just my mum and my sister as my dad passed away a while back . We have a large extended family, both here and in the UK from both sides which always has some complexities . My mum’s side is Jewish, so we are born Jewish but we don’t practice really. My dad’s side is GA from Jamestown so its quite a mix of cultures clashing which made for interesting viewing when we were younger. As a family, we’re quite open and liberal to the world and really want to support and push each other forward. Things were different when I was younger and my parents had to work really hard to get us through school. I work with my sister here now and we get on very well, certainly well enough to work with each other every day.
- You’ve called yourself a late bloomer. How do you mean by that and do still have the same sentiments?
Haha, yea I’d say I have more or less the same sentiments. You know when I was growing up and at school, I was very much the runt, skinny small kid, a bit goofy. I wasn’t particularly exceptional at things either. So feel as I started to grow in my formative years things definitely changed quite drastically, round about when I was 17/18, I shot up in height, academically improved a lot. I mean my beard is still trying to connect.
- For those who don’t know, you have quite a lot of talents/skills. Tell us about that?
I’m great at giving massages. I’m a fully qualified and trained physiotherapist, and I’m pretty handy with computers and technical stuff its actually become a larger part of what I do for work now. I play a lot of sport squash and badminton to football or snooker. I do concept designing and some video editing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of varied experience so far from life and work but I think it’s important to seek out knowledge and skills. One way to do that is always challenge yourself to learn or try and understands something new different. Its how I have grown and opened up my world. Skills are an incredible resource to have because you can always find someone who will need one of them wherever you go.
- With your capacity and experience with Jam Jar Gh, what would you say about events in Accra?
I have to admit, I haven’t experienced all that Accra has to offer but from what I have so far I’d say there is quite a way to go. We’ve got some great events that happen seasonally but not the capacity to maintain something over time. I think longevity here is a real problem. Don’t get me wrong its moving and people are building events for longevity now. I really struggle to think of any event that has been running at a high level for 6-10 years. From my perspective its heading in the right direction but there’s a way to go, in terms of venue’s, customer service, the experience and the attention to detail.
- What’s your projection on event organization in Accra for the next five years?
I think we’re going to see a lot more people trying to do it and fewer succeeding. But I think that competition will start to drive up the quality and standards. I think it has the potential to become a seasonal destination for events, like the Ibiza/Mykonos of west Africa.
- Have you always wanted to be a model? How did it happen?
It’s not something that came from me. I certainly didn’t always want to be one. A friend of mine was doing a shoot and said she needed a male to be in it, she persuaded me to do it by pandering to my ego a little and I agreed. I got the pictures, and someone mentioned to me to try out modelling so I thought what the heck, extra skills and all, and asked my friend to take a few more shots. I posted one of them on Instagram and a friend of Vanessa saw them and sent them to her booker, they said they wanted to meet me and two weeks later I was walking down runways in London and then Milan for Versace. The rest is history.
- What’s the most extreme you’ve had to go for a modelling job?
Well, the photographer wanted to go on a rooftop and he said he’d got a place in mind we climbed up a building opposite the bank of England, it was being renovated and went onto the roof and took a bunch of shots. When we were done the owner popped a bottle to celebrate and a few minutes later there were armed officers pointing guns at us asking us to get down.
At the time, it was the second highest security risk in the country after Buckingham palace, we were on top of the another bank right opposite the Bank of England. We got some great pictures though.
- How different is it, a modelling career in London and one in Accra or Africa?
It’s very different, the type of work here is much more commercial and geared towards mass marketing, there is very little high end or high fashion work available. In addition, the calibre of clients and the understanding of what modelling is and the value of it is completely polar. In Europe or the states modelling is understood and paid for accordingly as part of an overall marketing budget and plan. There is an understanding of the business of marketing, fashion and modelling , as well how important they are to each other. In Africa I think it’s viewed as an additional or unnecessary expense. I think the value proposition is misunderstood here. The industries are younger in Africa and I think that plays a role, but also there are also fewer clients focusing on the detail and quality of their brand, simply having brand is sufficient.
- Which fashion brands did you absolutely love working with and which would you love to work with?
I loved working with Burberry , certainly a favourite, they really have a lot of class in their approach and I learnt so much about the industry by working with them. Also, they are just epic.
I’d love to work with Balmain, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren . Balmain really pushes the boundaries and know how to put on a production, Louis, I mean Virgil is just a boss and a Ghanaian. Tom Ford is well ,Tom Ford and Ralph is just a classic, clean and the history and story behind the brand is amazing.
- How would you define your personal style?
I always struggle with this question you know, my style is very very simple and clean with small touches of differentiation here and there. If it were an interior it would be very minimal with clean lines, perfect edges, attention to detail and consistent. I’ll buy 4 of the same item if I alike it and generally in the same colour.
As I’ve got older over realized less is more for me, I also care a lot less about how people see me and sometimes that reflects in what I wear.
- Which style or fashion era are you most drawn to?
I think a time where people everywhere made sure they looked good, like the 40’s or 50’s. People made sure they were well kept. But I must say I do like that fact now what you can be a boss or run a massive company and just wear a `t-shirt, jeans and trainers to work.
- What fashion accessory can’t you leave the house without?
A watch, simple plain nothing fancy.
- Which do you prefer, cologne or perfumes? Which is your favourite?
I prefer perfumes, colognes are a little pointless they don’t last very long and it’s always stuck with me that ‘eu de toilette’ directly translates to toilet water or grooming water. That’s not really what I asked for from a fragrance. Dior homme, Terre d’hermes , le’eau d’issey pour homme – these are my faves!
- Which trend would you never be caught dead rocking?
The torn holes In t-shirts/jumpers Yeezy thingy that was going on.
- I wish I wasn’t too scared to…
Swim with sharks
- If you can’t sleep at night, what do you do?
I play chess on my phone or raid the fridge…. A huge bowl of cereal usually helps!
- What was the last movie that made you cry?
I remember the last time was when I was 6 , Lion king, when Mufasa dies . Savage!
- Last lie you told?
I don’t lie, nobody does . (this one)
Photography – Lightning Pathways – Carlos Idun-Tawiah
Garments – The Suit Guy
Art Direction & Styling – Brimah
Arts & Design – Henry Ghansah
Location – Urban Grill