Get cast for the Pirelli calendar. Check. Shoot with legendary photographer Tim Walker. Check. Meet Alpha Dia, one of the male stars of the all black 2018 Pirelli calendar that boasts an impressive list of notables. Before he knew it, he was in the presence of veritable royalty: Rupaul, Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Combs, along with top models Adwoa Aboah, Slick Woods, Duckie Thot and more (here). The Senegalese, Germany-based model stopped by Models.com and explained the perks that come with being on a truly iconic set for 3 days.
Did you know how big of a deal Pirelli was when you got it?
No, I didn’t. I was just thinking Pirelli…cars. My booker was excited on the phone and I didn’t know, but after I talked to a friend and he just went down [on knees, throws hands up], “You made a major move!” So, no, I didn’t know anything!
Did you look at the old calendars and you’re like, oh no, what am I going to be doing?
Ah! Yes. I looked at it and I saw all naked pictures. So I asked my booker and they don’t know before because they don’t tell them anything about what it’s going to be. When I arrived in London they told me Alice in Wonderland, so we had a chance to watch the movie, but I didn’t know about Alice.
Did you want to tell us a little bit about the rest of the cast?
Oh yeah, it was really amazing, first of all, seeing the models board–like Whoopi Goldberg–All the models stood there holding hands like, “What?” [in disbelief]. That was amazing. Tim Walker just gave us advice on how to act: If they come on stage just be natural as you can.
But inside you were freaking out?
Yes, inside I was freaking out: Whoopi, Djimon Hounsou, Lupita–she’s oh my god. These people–when they get into the room they give so much warmth. Everyone is just smiling. Whoopi is just–yeah. You get that feeling. That was 3 days I’ll never forget. RuPaul he’s a character. I love the way he takes over everything. He has his own choice on the clothes and the makeup. When we went on set he was like, to Tim, “Can you move that that way…can you take the picture from the other side?” That was funny.
What are you going to do with your calendar?
This one is going to my mom in Africa. I’m going to take it. I was asking the people at Pirelli if they can send it, but they were like, “No take it it’s better.” I will be going this December for holidays.
What was your personal favorite?
Thando Hopa, she’s a lawyer, she’s a really interesting person and still young, but she was always giving us advice. You can see it in the picture, her aura is just amazing. I think people have to know more about this girl. That picture was my favorite one. Beside now I’ve had the chance to know her. I would want to go to South Africa to meet her again. She has albinism, which there’s a lot of discrimination against. I learned a lot of things about that. She’s fighting for people for that, she has become a lawyer and uses that power. She is so nice.