MANHATTAN, NY – When Filipino-Canadian Paolo Roldan came to the US for a work-related visit last year, he had no idea that his life was about to change.
Roldan was in New York last year working as a fashion buyer when he was spotted by Boss Models New York founder and owner David Bossman. It was a chance meeting that opened a door to the New York fashion scene.
“A gentleman who was David Bossman, tapped my boss on the shoulder and basically like, are you this gentleman’s agent?…Bossman asked me to come in to take some test shots, so basically, from then on, a week after I left New York, I was already back in New York working,” said Roldan.
Roldan signed up for Boss Models New York, the modeling agency that invented the male supermodels.
Next thing he knew, he was modeling for Givenchy, a French brand of clothing whose popular clients include Audrey Hepburn and the Kennedy family. He even closed for Givenchy’s fall winter collection fashion show in Paris last January.
It was his full frontal naked editorial photo for Givenchy in the June issue of Vogue Paris magazine that brought him worldwide fame.
“They just told me alright we’re gonna shoot it. Take your robe off, take your underwear off. I was like, OK yeah sure, so I took everything off, next thing you know I was shooting it full frontal nude, it was hilarious, it was nerve wracking but it was a good experience,” he said.
His Vogue magazine “exposure” became a big buzz in the fashion world making him Givenchy’s favorite on and off the catwalk.
Roldan said his biggest break so far is landing a Givenchy ad campaign.
“That I’ve been told, it’s pretty good considering I’ve only been in the business really for a about a year and a half,” he said.
Roldan is in New York for Fall Fashion Week walking the runways for designers Phillip Lim, Michael Bastian and Copper Wheat.
But he said a model’s success can’t be gauged on their fashion week gigs alone. “Fashion Week is not really a thing that you can gauge your career on, you do shows and there’s a certain look that some people look for and you might not necessary fit the description for every show…”
Roldan said while being a man of color still has its ups and downs in getting a modeling gig in The Big Apple, he said the modeling world is fast becoming color blind.
“There’s more Asian, there’s more African-American models walking the runway, showing up in campaigns. I mean it’s gonna take some time but change is coming, and I believe that we all have to believe that,” he said. Balitang America