Thursday, February 11, 2016

Exclusive Interview: Adonis Bosso

Adonis Bosso, Male Modeling’s Newest Star, Is Far More Than Just a Pretty Face

Male models are rarely as sartorially inclined as their female counterparts—the typical uniform involves jeans, a T-shirt, and a pair of worn-in sneakers—but every so often one comes along who defies the norm. Adonis Bosso is one such model, whose sense of sprezzatura and a penchant for ensembles as varied as denim jumpsuits to the fresh-off-the-catwalk looks from the likes of Vivienne Westwood have caught the attention of the street style set. 
Given his elegant bone structure and septum piercing, Bosso cuts an impressive figure both online and on the runway, where he has appeared for the likes of Public School and Kanye West. Even better? He has a passion for issues surrounding diversity and special needs children. “I want to represent something more instead of being boxed into the pre-existing stereotypes,” says Bosso. “I try to make my mom proud when I walk out of the house.” Outspoken with regards to the industry’s need for inclusiveness and his position as a representative for Africans in fashion, Bosso is carving out his own, exciting niche. We called up the rising star to get the scoop—before he’s everywhere.
He stands for something.
“Over time I’ve begun to see how important visibility is, especially as a black model. I want to represent something more instead of being boxed into the pre-existing stereotypes. I don’t want to be shown as being a thug; that isn’t who I am, and those images are already overly prevalent. I try to make my mom proud when I walk out of the house.

“The best messages I get on social media are the ones where people thank me for just representing them. Often when black people are represented within media, they are lighter-skinned, and I remember growing up and not seeing anyone who looked like me on television or in magazines. So to see those messages from kids younger than me saying they’re just happy to see a reflection of themselves in media makes me feel proud.”
 Mother knows best—especially when it comes to style.
“My mom was like, ‘You don’t have to buy that expensive shirt or fancy jeans, you just have to look healthy and clean.’ That’s what she taught me. Sometimes my mom buys me shoes and the stylists will tell me they have the same pair!”

 He’s been customizing his clothes since he was a kid—but he’s a savvy shopper, too. “When I was in grade school I had my white shirts that I would draw on and make custom shirts for my friends, make me $5. After that, I’d get more creative and add in bandanas and little details. The first time I picked up a fashion magazine, though, was after a photographer friend gave one to me. I never necessarily looked at the magazines or runways, but I always had to look cool.
“I love going to thrift stores. In Montreal there is a place called Value Village, and it is incredible. You can pick up the best things for little to no money. Vintage shopping is a treasure hunt—in New York you’re always going to find great brands because the people are more attuned to high fashion. You’ll get the Versace pants or the Ralph Lauren jackets at consignment shops.”
 Want sartorial inspiration? Look to classic cinema.
“Very often fashion is just redoing something that has already been done, so you’re always going to find something from the past that you can connect with. I look at movies of the 1960s and all the black men looked so sharp. The high-waisted pants, the dress shirts and shoes—wearing a suit was just what you did every day. We don’t do that anymore because now we want more comfort, but I feel like there is always something from history that you can look back to.”

 His off-the-runway passion? Working with special needs children.
“I grew up with a brother who had autism, and seeing my parents dealing with not only having five children but having one with autism, it made me very aware of the difficulties that come with that. I understood my situation as a big brother and as a son, so going into special care felt right. I was able to volunteer at clinics and work with children, which was great. For a time I thought maybe I should focus on that because the work was so rewarding, but I knew I also wanted to travel the world and have the experiences you get with modeling. Thanks to my work, I was able to open a rest center for kids with special needs and their family. They can rest there, enjoy time together, and feel at home. It’s easy to forget how much that quality time matters and how important it is for the entire family.”


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