Many people would want to be a model. Modeling can be financially rewarding and can also provide many other benefits; many find the profession exciting and enjoy the varied experiences, while exploring new cultures/countries, meeting new people and most importantly being part of the fascinating fashion industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing sexy Lebanese-Liberian, international male model, Philip Senjaleh Assad, based in South Africa.
1. First off tell us how you were “discovered” and how your modeling career all started?
Ans: Ok let’s do this; I was discovered at the gym. I was working out and then this lady saw me and walked up to me and then she said “You’re so tall. Where are you from? Will you consider modeling?” and then she give me a business card. The next day I contacted her and then my career picked up from there.
2. What has been your favorite shoot/campaign /work to date?
Ans: I’ve done so many shoots that I I’ve lost count of and I love every single one of them. But my two favorites are, the time I did a shoot with “Hugo Boss” I flew all the way from Capetown South Africa to Paris and the experienced was amazing!” and also an I shoot for “Men’s Health”.
3. How would you describe your personal style, Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Ans: Well I’m very original. It depends because I travel a lot so wherever I go, I like to pick up a little bit of the culture and the way they dressed stuff like that. Of course, I love Africa. I mean we have beautiful fabrics and I like to create my own thing. Being original is what I love to be.
4. Do you have any hidden talents?
Ans: Yes I do have a hidden talent. Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that; at my apartment, I do a lot of painting and give it as a gift to all my friends.
5. Do you get to travel a lot for your work? If so what’s your favorite city that you have visited?
Ans: Oh yes, I do get to travel a lot because of my work. And one of my favorite city is Switzerland. The country is nice, the people there are friendly and they have great food; despite its very expensive but they have great, great sense of style and I love it there.
6. Sometimes the modeling industry gets a bad rap with the jealousy and envy encountered between other models and agencies. Was this true for you? Have you managed to tough it out and make good friends?
Ans: Yup! Jealousy obviously is… any model you ask, it doesn’t matter whether they’re female or male; they will tell you the exact same thing. It is one big problem we faced in our industry. As for me, I’ve been in this industry for a while and I’m more mature, I know how to deal with it and I really don’t let it get to me. Because people will always be people. I don’t care what they do or say because I just keep my head up high and I do my thing.
7. Do you ever get shy in front of the camera?
Ans: No way! Not at all. Not when I’m shooting for campaigns. However, when I go out with my friends; to take regular photos then I get really shy.. lolz.
8. Is modeling an easy job or more strenuous than people realize? (How so)
Ans: Ok, modeling is like any other jobs. But it is more hectic and tougher than other jobs. First of all, we stand on cues, go for early auditions by always standing in long lines, you have to wait for callbacks, and it’s not easy. And the traveling part, it gets a lot overwhelming at times. You have to get up at 4:00 o clock in the morning, you have to pack your bags, they give you short notice, you always have to be on the go. So it’s not easy. But when you’re used to it, and you like what you do like any other job, then it becomes bearable.
9. Your Favorite movie?
Ans: My favorite movie is “Coming to America”. I mean, there are so many things to learn from. It makes you appreciate life and not to look down on other people. And not to just judge people by their look and their appearances. So yes, it is my all time classic movie.
10. Five things you can’t live without?
Ans: Ha! look, I’m laughing… First of all, it has to be: GOD, my phone, my debit card, gym. And all the other things, I can go a day or two without them.
11. What’s the best and worst thing about being a model?
Ans: The best things about being a model are that you get a lot of free stuff, you get to enter a lot of cool chilling spots for free. The worst experience is that, in a relationship; your spouse never get to trust you and you get to deal with a lot of insecurities.
12. If you weren’t modeling what would you see yourself doing?
Ans: I always wanted to be a pilot. But based on my geography setting where I came from, I didn’t have enough funds to follow my study. That would’ve been one thing I would be doing rather than modeling.
13. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ans: Simple, Cassava leaf. Just give me cassava leaf all day every day I will be perfectly fine.
14. Cats or dogs? Do you have any pets?
Ans: Not at this moment. My dog passed on like a few months ago. So yeah, I’m a bachelor. No dog, no cat, no pet.
15. Any upcoming plans for fashion week?
Ans: Yup! just waiting for the next announcement, go do casting, and probably do a couple of shows and get some cash. I am also looking forward to Fashion Week. You get to meet talented new/old friends. It’s amazing how many talents you get to interact with.
16. What advice do you have to say to upcoming model?
Ans: First of all, they should get a known agency, make sure you have what it takes to be a model, never use skin lighting products, if you’re dark-skinned you are just unique, be respectful, take good care of your body by going to the gym regularly and eating healthy. Work hard and know that nothing good come easy in life.
Styled by, Hauszoflenze
Photography by, Philly Mohlolo
The interview was conducted by First Lady, Augustina Kou Monpleh.
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