Of The Minute
July 1st, 2014 by betty
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Diversity has been the buzzword in the fashion industry of late, and few understand its importance quite as well as the rising young photographers Idris & Tony, who are, respectively, African- and Asian-American. As an accompaniment to their gorgeous portfolio of the rising crop of Asian male models for MDX, the pair talk with Models.com about growing up with discrimination, their favorite new and established faces, and their hope to help turn Asian males into an object of desire like their counterparts, in a personal twist that I (as a young Asian-American) and everyone will surely be able to appreciate. Intro text by Jonathan Shia

(See the photos in MDX here)

Tell me about your backgrounds and how that influenced you in choosing this project?

Idris: Being black in America I can certainly relate to discrimination. Growing up in New York City exposed me to various cultures and I’ve always been intrigued by the beauty of Asian culture. I know this project is very personal to Tony because of the struggle he has had as an Asian American.

Tony: Growing up in the mid-west presented many challenges including a sense of pride in who I am as an Asian American and most certainly from a masculine stand point. Born to a Taiwanese mother and a Caucasian father, I grew up with my dad in a single parent household in rural Illinois.

I can remember kids running around me saying “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees.” Looking back, I guess they said my knees were dirty because they thought I worked in the rice paddy fields? My Asian features paired with a pre-conceived physical stereotype put me at a disadvantage from my all American male counterparts. I received back handed compliments from the girls like “Your hair is so straight and silky. I wish I had beautiful hair like yours” and “Your high cheek bones make you so exotic.” Sure, I can appreciate those words now as an adult, but as a teenage boy those are the words I had only ever heard used to describe females. Hearing them at that time was emasculating.

It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I visited Taipei that I heard words like “handsome” and “good looking” used to describe my features. I could tell by their delivery that the attraction was from a place of desire for me as a whole and not a dissection of my features. Hearing those words finally made me feel masculine, and even if they had been spoken to me before in my homeland of America the overall environment made the words fall on deaf ears.

Although there has recently been a greater visibility of Asians in Western advertising, we are still mostly typecast as the sidekick, but when will we be the leading man, the object of desire? So we approached the project from a Western perspective photographing Asian male models in various denim pieces because you can’t get much more American than t-shirts and jeans.

Idris: We wanted to draw on their masculinity without completely removing them from their personal demeanor. We didn’t want them too polished or to create a false illusion, but rather capture them from the perspective that they are naturally handsome men.

Tony: Our hope is that this series of portraits within this project inspires society to re-consider the way they view Asian males, specifically in America. That our industry colleagues use their “persuASIAN” to give young Asian males around the world an array of role models whom they share the same features and demeanor with. I wonder at times where my confidence would have taken me if I had these role models.

Is there anyone that you wished you could have shot but weren’t able to?

Idris:This is just the beginning of an on going project so there is still time for us to work with guys like Zhao Lei, Paolo Roldan and Godfrey Gao. We’re also excited to meet Sang Woo Kim, a new face out of London.

Tony: I would love to include Kevin Louie in this project. He was the first Asian male model I ever saw flipping through fashion magazines. In addition I find Seijo Imazaki inspiring, not only as an Asian American model, but also as an artist, a father, and loving husband. He is a man who has beaten the odds.

Who made an exceptional impression on you and why?

Idris: There is something so charming about Jae Yoo. He has a heart of gold and it really shows in his character. We’ve had the pleasure of photographing Jae for various projects as well as casting him for numerous fashion shows. His work ethic is one to be admired.

If you could have any magazine or brand come to you and say, shoot this Asian male model, what brand would it be and which model would you choose for it?

Tony: Since we are talking about portraying Asian men in a more desirable nature and changing a stereotype then it would have to be Calvin Klein. The brand has used Hidetoshi Nakata in a campaign for the X underwear line, but again he is one of four guys in that campaign. Give us our own stage. They’ve done it for Latinos with the use of Antonio Sabato Jr. They’ve done it for Caucasians many times with the likes of Joel West, Jamie Dornan, and most recently Matthew Terry.

Idris: Calvin Klein campaigns are seen in shopping malls, on television, billboards, magazines and social media across the world. You may not have seen him in the movie Amistad, but you know you saw Djimon Hounsou’s beautiful African body in their Steel underwear campaign.

Tony: We love the idea of using a fresh face so we would cast Krit McClean. He has the body and attitude for the underwear campaign, the face for fragrance and eyewear, not to mention the overall look and fit for the collection. He has both commercial appeal and an editorial edge to really compete with his white counterparts. And that’s even playing it safe. Krit’s half Thai and half British, but the industry has already been playing it safe so why not push the envelope a little bit further. Make him a leading man and the object of desire for a girl like Christy, Kate, Natalia, or Lara.

June 30th, 2014 by models.com
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June 27th, 2014 by models.com
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June 23rd, 2014 by Janelle
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Summer’s sleekest designer sunglasses look best when paired with bold lip color for a look that’s made in the shade.

Photography by Ilaria Conte for Models.com
Stylist: Zarina Humayun
Hair: Anthony Hernandez
Makeup: Legend Rivera
Model: Daga Ziober at The Society Management (New York)
Production: Kegan Webb
Beauty Editor: Janelle Okwodu


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Alexander McQueen
“Brow Cat” Metal & Acetate sunglasses $395 at Alexander McQueen boutiques.

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Create the perfect pale lip with Givenchy’s Le Rouge Lipstick – Beige Déshabillé 108


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Christian Dior
Dior 55mm Cat Eye Sunglasses $420 at Dior boutiques & Nordstrom

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90s style nude with creamy texture to compliment larger than life shades – recreate the style with Hourglass’ Femme Nude Stylos


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Fendi “50mm Retro” Sunglasses $340 at Nordstrom

Yves Saint Laurent Beaute
Your lips but better, subtlety is required when wearing statement shades check out YSL Beaute’s Gloss Volupte in Or Rose


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Pale yellow stylized cat-eyes by Dries van Noten $400 at Linda Farrow

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“Cheshire” polka-dot round-frame acetate sunglasses $65 at Net-a-Porter

NARS
For touch of pink to compliment polka dots try NARS’ pure matte lipstick in Carthage.


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MAC
A touch of terracotta on the lips for those moments when you need nothing more - try MAC Cosmetics lipstick in Charismatic for a similar look.

June 23rd, 2014 by models.com
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June 20th, 2014 by Janelle
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As one of the most in demand faces of the moment Ashley Graham is experiencing a career defining fashion moment of epic proportions. Fresh work with Carine Roitfeld, an appearance on Elle Quebec‘s best-selling cover and best of all her very own lingerie collection, Ashley is making a splash in and out of fashion. MDC catches up with the enterprising Ashley to talk new work, the changing face of the modeling business and why she’s delving into the world of design.

J: When did you start modeling? I feel like we’ve been seeing you in magazines forever. 

ASHLEY GRAHAM: I’ve been modeling since I was twelve – I probably got my first paycheck at thirteen. It was in Nebraska and I had to model a see-thru bra. My mom had to sign a waiver to make sure that they would airbrush my nipples out. I was plus size already.

Then Wilhelmina found me when I was around 14 or so and later, Ford around 15 and I was there until the end of their plus size division. I’m 26 now and I’ve been with IMG since January.

What they’re doing at IMG is very different.

AG: It’s totally different. I get phone calls at 8:00 at night telling me, “You have a casting at Vogue tomorrow…” and it’s like, “okay, thank you!” It’s just completely different! Different clients – I mean, I still have kept a lot of the same clients which is amazing, but it’s a different territory. I’m seeing major magazines, photographers, art directors. It’s been fantastic. I’m really happy. And I’m happy that they put us all on the same board! Which has just been great – no division!

Definitely, that is such a shift in the way things are done.

AG: It’s about time!

Definitely. You open up a magazine and you see a plus size model, you see a shorter model – those old divisions aren’t as prevalent as they used to be.

AG: No, it’s really changing.

How are you enjoying all this exciting new work?

AG: How could you not love it? First of all, the industry is changing which is so exciting. Because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve seen so much change. You can tell it’s not a fad. This is something that’s here to stay. Curvy women, women that are in-between the straight size and the plus size, opening up doors just for all different shapes, sizes, races, even genders now! It’s exciting to be a part of that in the fashion industry right now and say that I am a part of it.

What would you say are some exciting things that you’ve been working on. Either that you’ve just finished doing, or that you have coming out soon.

AG: Elle Quebec cover just came out, so exciting! They called me and they said, “We want to put you on the cover.” It was just instant it wasn’t even a question. I was like, “What is going on!? Okay, great!!” Harper’s Bazaar is out right now with Carine Roitfeld; that was her first beauty story for Bazaar so that was awesome. Carine is such a sweetheart, I love her she’s so nice. I’ve been meeting some really cool photographers and now that IMG and WME (William Morris Entertainment) merged, a lot of TV things have been popping up which is really exciting.

That’s really cool, I’m happy to hear that! Is there anything that you haven’t done just yet that you’d be really excited to do?

AG: I haven’t shot an editorial for Vogue yet – I would love to do that! I think that would be incredible! Not even for their Shape Issue – just a normal editorial with a plus sized model, or whatever you want to call us.

J: It’s such a weird term because, how do you really describe it.

AG: I just did an interview where they asked “what do you think of the word plus size?” and I had to say that I was honestly so sick of the question and the back and forth fight around it.  I don’t care what you call me. I’m here to bridge the gap between what is straight size and what’s plus size, but I’m a model at the end of the day. If you have to put a label on me to figure out what client needs me that is fine. If a client needs a plus sized girl, then she knows where her plus size girls are! I’m just a model. I don’t like that there is this label used to describe me, but for bookings I understand why it’s needed.

ashleyeditorial-

Elle Quebec by Raphael Mazzucco / Harper’s Bazaar by Johnny Dufort

J:  Those labels are almost passé at this point – if you’re a good model, you’re a good model.

AG: Yeah, it’s a pretty face, it’s someone who can move, it’s someone who is interesting – book her! Who cares what size she is, get the clothes that fit her. There’s tons of clothes out there now and there are so many different designers that are doing plus size now. Like, Eloquii! They’re great, they’re fantastic. Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and everything at Macy’s they all go up to 24’s and 28’s… so it’s happening! Everything is changing, it’s fantastic.

And buy a bra! I have bras! I did a lingerie collection with AdditionElle.

J: What made you want to go into lingerie design?

AG: It was hard enough for me to find supportive, sexy lingerie. Especially with variety – in my collection we’ve got something for the wild woman, something for when you want to feel sexy, something for when you want to feel adventurous. There are big department stores that are hopefully going to pick it up for the holiday so you can buy it in America exclusively.

J: They’re absolutely beautiful too. 

AG: All of the lace is from Paris and it’s quality. That’s what I wanted. I wanted the women of America and Canada to understand that I want quality just as much as you do and I want support and I want it to be sexy. When my shirt comes off in front of my husband I don’t want there to be some nude, grandma, and I call them work bras… with like, a lace design on it.. like, come on!
So, I approached Additionelle- do you guys want to do it with me? And they said yes! So, here we are making lingerie and love together!

They wanted to test it out and see how well it was doing, which it’s doing fantastic, so we’re going up to G’s and H’s for holiday also. It launched in November, we just launched the spring collection almost two months ago, and then fall will come out in July. It’s very exciting.

J: Do you have any plans to do clothes?

AG: Yes! I would love to do clothes. I don’t know what direction I’m going to take it or who I’m going to go with or if I’m going to do it on my own. I don’t really know yet, but I do know that I love my curves and I love to show them off and it’s really hard for me to find clothes that are sexy, but that also have a baggy boy-ish feel to them. I don’t know! It’s a very strange aesthetic that I’m always looking for. Right now I’m loving the Eileen Fisher harem pants, but then I love a sexy and tight body conscious dress that’s cut for an hourglass figure. When I’m designing it, I’m really going to think about every different body shape because that’s the beauty of plus or curvy women, none of us are created equal. There’s different shapes on everyone. I want to do something that caters to everybody.

J: That’s amazing, I love it. Please keep us posted when it comes out, we’d love to see it! It’s definitely hard to find things that are cool and modern.

AG: And that you feel young in! There are so many plus sized clothes that make you feel so old and it’s because it’s made for older women. They think that the older you get, the bigger you get, but it’s not true. I’ve been this size since I was twelve years old. I’m here to change things!

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June 20th, 2014 by models.com
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