Bold, talented and focused poet, blogger and model, Rayon Rashid is certainly a true citizen of Africa although currently based in the UK. He was born in Liberia to Sierra Leonean and Gambian parents and spent part of his childhood and secondary school days in the Gambia and Sierra Leone. Rayon is passionate about writing and sports but with his athletically toned body he couldn’t resist constant appeals from friends to try out modeling.
In March 2010, Rayon was scouted by one Sonia Robinson and there has been no looking back as he has taken to modeling with such intense passion as if he was born to do this. He is currently signed to three agencies, Models Direct, Cosmic Models and Star Now.
Although very young in the industry, Rayon has already chalked some major successes from commercial modeling to the runway. I caught up with this highly determined model to find out about his ambitions, modeling, writing and more.
Ameyaw Debrah: Who are your role models in the profession?
Honestly for me I was inspired by female models, reason being because of their passion, dedication and determination to become legends in the industry and making people see models in a more respectable way. So my role model would be Tyra Banks, mainly because of her history in modeling, her talk show and her reality series America’s Next Top Model.
Ameyaw Debrah: What type of modeling do you do?
I am a very versatile model, I do Editorial/Printing, Underwear, Runway/Catwalk, Fashion, Commercial and Promotional modeling. I have done almost all types, but I would love to bring something new into the industry, something that would be my signature, something that people would be able to relate to and would remember me by.
Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of the major jobs you have done?
I have done 3 major jobs abroad. My first one was a shoot in Hungary; it was a commercial for REXONA in which I was the P.A to the main star, South African singer, Lira. I also did another commercial in France promoting the use of condoms and safe sex and finally did a couple of fashion catwalk shows and shoots in Italy (Bologna, Millano).
I think it’s almost the same just that there are loads of opportunities in Western World than in Africa, but I love the fact that in Africa there is a raw natural talent, creativity and beauty and nothing can beat that.
Ameyaw Debrah: What’s your worse experience as a model?
My worst was my first abroad job in Italy; I was like the only black person on set which didn’t bother me because I hate the feeling when black people use their colour as an issue. But at the hotel, whenever it was time for breakfast I felt like all eyes was on me I was trembling while drinking my tea because I felt intimidated. I had to call my manager and ask him to cut my contract short because I couldn’t spend one more night in that hotel, Best Western City Hotel in Bologna.
Ameyaw Debrah: People have bad perceptions about models. What do you have to say to that?
There is always that issue about people misjudging models, for me it’s about the way you carry yourself and if you love what you do, then the opinions of others means less to you. So it won’t bring you down when you hear negative comments, I just try to ignore them because a clear conscience fears no accusations. Modeling is a profession just like many other jobs; it’s even more difficult because as a model you need to be able to market your product. Even if it is shit you need to make it look good so when people see it they want to buy it. So it’s so sad when people badmouth models because we go through a lot.
Ameyaw Debrah: Are you married how does your family cope with your work?
I am single, not yet married maybe sometime but not now.
Ameyaw Debrah: What are the highlights so far for you?
For me the fact that I have done so much within 6 months is just amazing, I have done movies ( Bulla, Love and Money) REXONA commercial, Shows in Milan and Shoots in Bologna, and LFW(London fashion week). It’s just awesome and meeting celebrities is just amazing.
Ameyaw Debrah: What else do you do aside modeling?
I’m a civil engineering student at Greenwich University. I am a student governor and I make sure student complaints and requests are put into consideration by board members during meetings, follow up the progress of their school work, help promote student tutor relationships and assist as a study buddy.
Ameyaw Debrah: What do you write about?
I love poetry, I write about things that inspire and affect me, writing for me is like my daily diary, I write everyday although sometimes I run out of ideas but am inspired by anything.
Ameyaw Debrah: What kind of sports do you do? Any plans to do it professionally?
Athletics and I have no plans to do it professionally.
Ameyaw Debrah: Do you have any other career ambitions?
Yes I love acting, but more so I want to be a household name, I want to be a brand and I want to have my own reality TV show in the future.
Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of the challenges for you?
My biggest challenges are very personal and don’t think I can talk about it.
Ameyaw Debrah: What’s the fiercest or wildest photo shoot or job you ever did?
A test shoot for Playboy and G.Q
Ameyaw Debrah: What a routine day for you like?
I wake up at 6:30am, pray, then go for my jogging, and come back home, rest but check my mails whiles doing so, pick up my diary and write down all my plans and jobs for the day.
Ameyaw Debrah: What is your training or exercising regiment like?
I jog and do my sit ups.
Ameyaw Debrah: Any special diets or habits to stay in shape?
I make sure I don’t eat late and I drink plenty of water. I also eat a lot of fruits, and try to avoid oily foods. But I still eat MacDonald.
Ameyaw Debrah: What are the trendiest fashion accessories of the moment for you?
I love my skinny jeans, sun glasses, boots from All Saints, and hand bags.
I think fashion is my lifestyle. I am very adventurous and experimenting. I love colours and now am into vintage, high street fashion and recently I have been going into my dad’s wardrobe and inventing very expensive looks out of his old clothes.
Ameyaw Debrah: Who is your favourite photographer?
Ameyaw Debrah: What’s your favourite African food?
Ameyaw Debrah: What do you hope to achieve with your career?
I want to become the first black male supermodel from West Africa.i also want to have a reality TV career, a modeling agency in Africa, and a fashion label/brand and more.