“Albinos don’t model! Why are you doing it?” a young man once asked Shaun Ross, an emerging model. , “I do what I do because they told me I couldn’t,” he sharply replied. Confidence is this model’s middle name! Shaun has walked the runway for the late Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Odyn Vovk (his favorite designer), and has shot editorial campaigns for British GQ, Vogue Italia, and Paper Magazine.
His favorite quote is: “Iron gets put through unbearable fire and heat to be made into steel” He says it describes his career in the fashion industry today, facing the trials and tribulations that come with the territory of being the first male African-American albino model, to be exact! “Being the first to do something in anything will cause a stir to the public. You will get negative Photograph taken by: Daymion Mardel or positive feedback with anything that you do,” says Shaun. “I have people who stare at me ‘24-7’ with their children; in either excitement or discharge. And numerous people feel that I am an extraterrestrial life form of some sort.”
Originally from New York City, Shaun began modeling at the age of sixteen. His transition into the fashion industry came after five years of dancing with the Alvin Ailey American Theater Company. He began his career with Djamee Models in New York City, who represented him for a year and a half, and Photograph taken by: Elodie Chapius is now signed with Nathalie Agency in Paris, France, where he currently resides.
The road to Shaun’s success in fashion has not always been receptively positive and he has encountered negative feedback because of his albinism, a look that might not appeal to all clients. “I was told that I may never do certain campaigns, editorials, etc., because I am not ‘consumer’ enough. Meaning that I am not your every day person who walks the street,” he says. “Mostly everyone in fashion cares about making money,” Shaun adds.
Photograph taken by: Timothy Rosado Photograph taken by: Clayton Cubitt
In his two years as an emerging model, Shaun has been featured in campaigns for Pravda Vodka and SKRAPPER. Although Shaun was not present at New York’s Fashion Week – for Fall 2010, he will be featured as an exclusive for the Rynshu by Rynshu show at the Paris Fashion Week later this season.
Shaun has begun to build a portfolio that shows that he can pretty much do it all. His natural unique look is adorned with the black sunglasses he sports everywhere he goes, and his signature “normal-sized” -- as he calls it -- blonde flat top haircut. “The one gift I can say about my look is that just about anything looks good on me, [a quality] that most models don’t have,” he confidently assures.
Shaun dreams of becoming an icon, he and with a wry sense of humor declares that by the end of his life he will have achieved “world domination.” That kind of confidence might just work in the fashion world!
Photgraph taken by: Elodie Chapius
Written by Emanuel Anzules - Thursday, 25 February 2010 10:23