INTERVIEW BY Brownwyn Grey
In a fickle industry where your spot is never secure and seeking constant approval for jobs, Sean McCollet has somehow managed to survive it all and now come out on top. It is remarkable that the 24 year old from Cape-town never saw himself as a model, in fact he started out as an artist manager before he became a renowned publicist to many famous celebrities (as well as tv productions), and it is there - where his journey to model-ville began. Sean was convinced by long-time friend and photographer ThickLeeyonce to try modelling when they met while Sean managed TV darling Boity. She took photographs of him and submitted them to various agencies who soon after were interested in signing him. Fast forward to a year later, he has walked in London for Fashion Week, featured in a campaign for Jockey and starred in a Metropolitan insurance campaign. Many might say it’s only July, it is a bit premature to name him “male model of the year’, however this year alone he has starred in a staggering four commercials for Edgars Clothing and also appeared in their autumn/winter campaign.
Before ThickLeeyonce convinced you to be a model, how familiar were you with the modelling and fashion industry?
I knew the basics really, I honestly was not very much into fashion and I knew a handful of models like Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford and Tyra but that’s as far as it got *laughs* I didn’t even know that there were different types of models, like a high fashion model, commercial model, swimsuit model etc. I just thought that models did everything!
Where does your look fall into the modelling industry?
I am fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to do most jobs in those different categories. I do a lot of runway, have done quite a few commercials as well as underwear shoots.
You work quite a lot with David Tlale, who is arguably the biggest designer in the African continent. How did that happen?
I actually met him at an event, he said he was looking for models to walk for him at fashion week and he would love for me to be one of them. We exchanged numbers but I never heard from him. Then literally the day before fashion week, someone from his office called me, asked me to come in for a fitting and the rest is history.
He calls me his “head model” and it is great to be respected by someone of that statue, he is so loyal to all the models he works with and that’s one of the reasons why I love working with him.
You had the opportunity to model at the Fashion Week Streetwear Showroom in London. How did this come about?
I started having conversations with my then booker about the possibilities of going overseas because the idea of working overseas excited me and I was being told by a lot of designers how I had/have a certain charisma on the runway that would be appreciated internationally. My agency set up appointments with British agencies for me and fortunately one of them signed me and I did my first paying gig for Portugal Fashion Week Streetwear Showroom.
Modelling overseas is an opportunity not often granted to many in the SA industry. What set you apart for this?
I honestly have no idea but I know God has always paved the way for me in all that I do.
You created your company McCollet Consulting at a young age, with your first client being non other than Boity. How did it start?
I was around 20-21 and it all happened in such a weird but great way. I had done a telephonic interview with Boity and the conversation was so great that we added each other on BBM and we stayed in touch. Then somehow we started talking about the possibilities of me being her manager. When I moved to Johannesburg, we had a meeting and we shared the same vision for her career; that’s basically how she became my first client.
Any familiar names you worked with that we might know of?
I have worked with the incredible Pearl Modiadie, have assisted Clinique SA with events and we currently do PR for a show on SABC 1 called Future Leaders which will be on air in October for its 5th season.
As a male model, your looks are your commodity. We saw you on V-Entertainment talking about how grooming is essential for you. What are some tips on staying fit for the guys out there?
I don’t believe in diets. I think people should generally eat healthy meals that they enjoy. Gym is always a good idea, again – do workouts that you enjoy whilst doing those that you need to be doing to get your body in shape. It’s all about making it a part of you, not the other way around.
What is the one thing you could change about the industry?
Just for consumers to invest more in local talent and for the government to support the fashion and entertainment industry more. There are so many skilled and talented individuals out there who do not have any platforms to showcase their talents. The fashion industry is a billion dollar business but that doesn’t reflect very well (if at all) in South-Africa.
What do you hope to achieve by the time you are 30
I always say “don’t tell people your dreams, show them” So I will show you when I’m 30.