Model, photographer, entrepreneur: no matter what you call him, Brent Chua is an artist at heart. We tracked down our talented (albeit elusive) friend to see what he’s been up to.
two + seven: After our last interview with you at Table 12, your photography seemed to take precedent over your modeling career. What projects have you been working on since the last time we saw you?
Brent Chua: I’ve been shooting photographs like a madman and it makes me incredibly happy, what can I say? It keeps me moving, like a fire begging to burn out but never burning out. Not yet.
2+7: What drove you to the other side of the camera?
BC: The need to see things. Isn’t it great to be able to see things? After a while you get the feeling you just want to create your own stuff. And modeling, I mean, it is what it is. So I suppose what drove me was a strong desire to see things in a different way.
2+7: With a background in modeling, do you feel like more you are more forgiving and patient than other photographers?
BC: I would hope so! No, but, yes it does seem that way. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I fancy myself someone quite easy to work with but surely there must be one or two who would not think so. But in general, I really do find the chemistry. Chemistry is something really important. Of course it doesn’t have to exist, for most people, but for me, it makes the time spent worth it.
2+7: What do you look for in your models?
BC: I like when someone can be present yet also when someone can have an imagination. Patience is always great. A virtue, they say. Usually if we are both patient actually it seems to go by much faster. Though I can’t stand when someone isn’t willing to work. I hate laziness. Unless I ask you to be.
2+7: If there was something about the fashion industry that you could change, what would it be?
BC: It is difficult when everything, in anything- from fashion to art to cinema, all seems to reflect our generation now. It all moves a bit too fast, especially fashion, and it would be nice if some things could just be absorbed.
2+7: Why are you always MIA?
BC: Because of the fire [passion]! I can’t help it really.
2+7: Finally, have you taken a shower yet?
BC: Actually, no. But that’s because the model I shot today arrived only ten minutes after I woke up. But I will shower now, don’t worry.
Credits: All photos were taken by Brent Chua. Special thanks to Dmitry Brylev & VNY Model Management, Taylor Edward Freeman and Elena.
Between walking runways for Gucci honing his acting skills, model Berthold Rothas lives in the moment. “I don’t like the idea of planning five years ahead,” he says. ”I think that as long as I stay focused, things will fall into place when the time is right.” Discovered in New York’s Union Square, this sandy-haired gentleman has traveled the world modeling for top designers and photographers. Needless today, his laid-back philosophy has worked out well, and we could all take a page out of this model’s lookbook.
two+seven: What do you think is the biggest misconception about being in the modeling industry?
Berthold Rothas: You get to travel all over the place making many great experiences, meeting some of the most talented people in their field and work for very prestigious clients. But you won’t get rich doing this. It’s basically a job that you do until you’ve found out you where you really want to go in life.
2+7: How would you describe your personal sense of style?
Elena Shkoda for Fashionisto Exclusive
2+7: You’ve worked with many top designers. Any favorites?
BR: Two of my favorite designers that really stand out for me are Junya Watanabe (Comme des Garçons) and Yohji Yamamoto. I’ve been working with both over several seasons now during Paris Fashion Week. They are the most professional clients to work with and true artists. I have the greatest respect for their work.
2+7: You’re currently attending school for acting at at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. What’s your dream acting job?
BR: You know, I honestly don’t fantasize much about dream jobs. I think that as long as I stay focused, things will fall into place when the time is right.
When I was younger it was my dream to live in New York. Here I am studying with one of the best acting teachers in the United States. In the reality of everyday life you lose that sometimes, but thinking back how it all came together feels like a dream to me. However, as mentioned I don’t dwell much on things. The only time is when I have a concrete script in front of me, then I start dreaming to see if it turns me on. If it doesn’t then I know the the role is not for me.
Nylon Mexico by Bradford Gregory
2+7: Where do you see yourself in five years?
BR: I don’t like the idea of planning five years ahead.
When fashion week swept up New York City last week, we couldn’t help but wonder what our model friends were up to. Our beloved photographer/ model friend, Brent Chua, introduced us to one of his muses, Greg Remmey. The 22 year old Re:Quest model chatted with two + seven and shared his current crush and how a fateful day at the gym landed him his career.
two + seven: What sorts of projects have you been involved with in the past? What was your favorite?
Greg Remmey: Well, I began modeling in August of 2011, so I am fairly new. I have shot a few editorials so far. I was lucky enough to get the cover of Attitude Magazine at the beginning of my modeling career. I recently shot editorials for Tetu Magazine, Instinct Mag, Bullet Mag, and Fantastics. It’s been a great experience so far and I look forward to what’s coming. My favorite project thus far was being a part of the Spring Abercrombie Campaign for 2012.
2+7: How did you end up in modeling?
GR: It’s a great story. Ok so, I was working out at New York Sports Club one day in early August and about half-way through the workout a photographer by the name of Gregory Vaughan came up to me and asked if I’ve ever tried modeling. The next day, we shot together and I signed with Re:Quest later that same day. It was very exciting and happened really fast. I am very grateful and Greg is an awesome guy.
2+7: How would you describe your sense of style?
GR: I like to think I’m a California kid in NYC. I wear a lot of bright clothes and forget to layer in the winter constantly. In the summer you’ll see me in casual clothes like a v-neck white t, fitted shorts, and boat shoes. In the winter, I like to try and stay as warm as possible with a beanie or snapback, pea coat, or parka coat, fitted jeans, and my LL Bean boots. Oh, and wool socks.
2+7: What activities do you do when you’re not modeling?
GR: I graduated with a film degree from Keene State College in New Hampshire in May of 2011, so in my spare time I watch movies, read scripts, and write my own scripts. Also, I enjoy longboarding, biking, and baseball. I played baseball my whole life.
2+7: If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing?
GR: I was thinking the same thing the other day. I would either be trying to get a job screenwriting or editing in Film or TV in NYC or L.A.
2+7: Tell us about a typical day when you’re casting.
GR: I live in Brooklyn, so I will wake up. Have a nice breakfast. Do my morning workout. I’ll head to castings with my headphones in, and a book to read. It’s fun to have time to yourself, especially in a city as jam-packed as New York City. In between castings, I’ll meet up with friends or do work at a local coffee shop on my laptop
2+7: How do you feel about men’s style these days?
GR: I love New York City because literally any sort of style is accepted here or I like to think it is. I know I try not to judge. I think variation is very important when it comes to men’s style throughout the world.
2+7: Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?
GR: Hopefully acting. I hope to produce one of my own scripts, whether it be a short film or feature, and maybe have a role in it, as well.
2+7: Last 5 songs, played on your iPod?
GR: Young the Giant – “God Made Man”, Eve 6 – “Anytime,” Blink 182 – “So Sorry, It’s Over,” Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Childish Gambino – “Freaks and Geeks”
2+7: Any model crush right now?
GR: To be honest, I don’t follow female models too much, I probably should. I have a crush on Leighton Meester right now. She has a few pictures on my blog, www.ashadycup.tumblr.com
Name: Peter Sikorski
Agency: Red Citizen NYC
two + seven: Tell us how you were discovered.
Peter Sikorski: Last October, I walking in Union Square and an agent saw me in the street and asked me if I wanted to be a model. It all happened so fast.
2+7: What excites you most about modeling?
PS: I’m excited about all the free clothes and meeting new and interesting characters. My biggest fear is getting an impatient photographer. Since I’m new to this industry there are few tricks that I still need to learn for whenever I go to a casting.
2+7: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you during a shoot/ casting?
PS: There was this one time where I had to wear these ungodly tight pants. When I put them on, it just didn’t fit. It was the first time ever that I couldn’t fit in a pair of pants.
2+7: Do you consider yourself fashionable?
PS: Honestly, I just buy the most affordable clothing.
All photos by Brent Chua
Taylor Edward Freeman is a model with more than meets the eye. As an artist, photographer, and writer, he can certainly tell us a thing or two about documenting the beauty of life. We caught up with the talented Taylor on a Saturday afternoon, chatting about everything from Japan and how the simple things in life can be the most fascinating and exhilarating.
two + seven: Tell us about yourself.
Taylor Edward Freeman: I’m from Queens. I’m 21. The “about yourself” is such a hard question. You never know what you are about to say. I like to drink coffee, sit in cafes, sit on benches, watch people, meet people and piece little psychological things together about them. I’m very observant.
2+7: How did you end up modeling?
TEF: I don’t do so much modeling nowadays but I started when I was 16 when this lady found me on the streets. I went around Asia last year for United Arrows, Diesel. I did some stuff for Costume National, I-D Magazine, which as fun. In the states I did some stuff for Uniqlo.
2+7: Tell us about your trip to Japan.
TEF: Japan is a really interesting place to document. There’s so much to see and everything is really different. Even the first few days of being there, I had this sensation of being somewhere else. Everything was contradictory and bizarre. It’s a great place to document and meet people. As a foreigner, it feels very weird because you’re immersed in their culture and at the same time you are isolated from them. It’s very strange because everyone is so polite and kind and they show you so much but at the same time they are kind of far away from you and reserved. You’re immersed yet isolated, which is why some people feel so lonely over there. Luckily, when I went there I was surrounded by many interesting people and I didn’t feel particularly lonely at all but I still notice it. I caught some glimpses of loneliness when I’m by myself. When I was in Japan, I bought a bicycle and I would ride it late at night and I would feel this strange mystery about Tokyo and the Japanese. There was some underlying feeling at night that feels supernatural and I couldn’t figure out.
2+7: You’re an artist too. What characteristic plays a role in making your art?
TEF: Being observant plays a huge role. Sometimes I’m more spontaneous and sometimes my brain works in a technical way. I like to always be spontaneous because you hold more value on it if it’s less planned and constructed but more fluid.
2+7: What motivates you to take photographs?
TEF: At the end of the day, all I really want is to document moments because memories are so fleeting. Even for the most organized shoots if you will, it’s about remembering. You always want to look back at a photo and reference it to see how you were feeling that day or how you’re feeling in general or during that time period. It is amazing to have something to look at that can reawaken a specific moment in your life. Right now, I’m thinking of a specific photo – it was from a planned shoot but the way that I took the photo was very spontaneous. Just thinking back about that photo reminds me of that day and this image in my head starts to form. I start remembering who I was with that day, that I had a mozzarella sandwich, my summer crush and what I did later that day. For me, I’m always forgetting things and having all these photographs helps me remember and keep track of life.
2+7: How many photos do you take everyday?
TEF: I take my camera with me everyday but I have to be in a mood. I would take some photos using my camera phone if I don’t think the images are worthy of getting printed. I’d like to be as spontaneous and document as much but I think about how interesting the subjects are to me- like a transsexual rave party or a man reading his newspaper on the bench or this old woman throwing bread for the birds. One day, I stepped out for a cigarette and I saw this really old woman hunched with two canes and she pulls out this bag with bread for the birds and she threw it out and the birds started to come towards as if they were waiting for her the whole day. I noticed that there was this old tree above this old woman and the juxtaposition was so interesting to see.
2+7: Did you have a camera at that time?
TEF: No, I didn’t. I would have probably grabbed it but you know that was such a special moment and taking a photograph would have ruined it. It’s a little difficult differentiating living in the moment and documenting the moment.
2+7: Tell us about your drawings and collages. How are they different from your photographs?
TEF: With drawing and painting it’s more mental and internal. When I draw this lady- looking mischievous and used up- she just comes out of my head. It’s very natural.
2+7: Tell us about your design for Marc Jacob’s Marc for Marc Jacob’s shirts
TEF: I came back from Japan and I was going to this theatre school and I was extremely bored then I found myself drawing “The Lady.” I would throw paint and start drawing with markers and buying more t-shirts and drawing more. I had friends who lived with me for a bit. One of them works at Marc Jacobs in the design department. He came to work wearing my shirt and her boss saw it and asked if I could make some. I made five designs and one of them he bought as a display and then the other designs they used for the t-shirts.
You can purchase Taylor’s t-shirt design here
See some of his works on two + seven here
Brent Chua has graced the pages of numerous fashion Magazines. He has been photographed by Vogue’s Steven Meisel and has been the face of worldwide brands such as Benneton, Yohji Yamamoto, and Gucci – just to name a few. But this man deemed Male Asian Super Model is not the arrogant, air-headed epitome that you would expect. Despite his fame, this Ford NY model-turned-photographer keeps his feet on the ground. The two + seven team headed downtown to hang out with Brent over coffee, as he described his signature gesture and war stories in the industry.
two + seven: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Brent Chua: I’m the rebellious one out of my four other brothers. Back when I was in the Philippines, I would go out a lot. Practically, every night. Then one night, this guy asked me to be on his fashion show the next day. I was a tad bit aloof and he told me that I was going to get paid right after the show. I went to his show the next day and while I was changing in the dressing room, a woman asked me if she could sign me as a Ford Model. Since then, I’ve been modeling and worked around Asia. About four to five years ago I moved to New York.
2+7: What do you think about New York?
BC: I love it here. It’s a great and inspiring city. Remember, I’m the youngest of five boys and my parents were a little bit protective. When I moved here I became more independent and felt a tad bit liberated. What I love about New York is the diversity. I’ve met so many interesting people since I’ve moved here. I love New York.
2+7: What do you think about modeling?
BC: Modeling is not all about looks. As a model, it’s expected that you have some ungodly symmetrical face, fit body, great skin and hair etcetera. But what differentiates a good model to a great model is their expression. There are a lot of models out there, that society wouldn’t consider beautiful, I for once fit that category. But for some reason, the industry thinks I have a definitive look, have a strong expression and self-awareness that translates to my photos. The industry looks for something unique and unforgettable.
Just last week, my scout was telling my head booker about this 14 year old girl that she found who looks just like Gisele Bündchen. My head booker said, “I don’t want to see her because if she looks like Gisele, everyone else will associate her with Gisele and there can only be one Gisele Bündchen.” Some do modeling to feed their insecurities but for me I model for the people around me. Friends, families and strangers who get excited with the works that I’ve done. It’s a rewarding. Before I do a shoot, I would think what would make my friends and families happy. It’s my inspiration to improve.
2+7: We’ve noticed that you have a signature hand gesture when you model. Tell us about that.
BC: I will tell you something, I’ve never said in any interviews. I don’t have the best skin in the planet and to be frank. I’m a bit uncomfortable if I’m asked to shoot a cover. So, I started to cover a little bit of my face to feel a little bit comfortable in front of the camera.
2+7: So, you’re unique. It must be easy picking up girls.
BC: No, not really. I told you, I don’t look good.
2+7: Any crazy stories in modeling?
BC: I don’t consider anything crazy really, they’re all just normal and the same to me. Everyone’s really the same no matter how different you look or your background- we all take a dump and it all smells.
2+7: Tell us all about the free clothes you get and your style.
BC: I don’t really have much of a chance to wear all the free stuff, since I’ve said adieu to my young late night outings. As for my style- I don’t really have one. I’m wearing the same clothes since I woke up. Sorry, I haven’t even taken a shower yet.
2+7: Tell us about your shift from modeling to photography
BC: I was dating this French girl, while I was in Paris. While we were in Paris, she asked me to take some photos of her. She put it in her book for her agency (IMG) and they saw my work and liked it. Then they started sending me models from then on. So, I started shooting these models for fun and to be productive.
2+7: Do you want to turn that career eventually?
BC: Hopefully. In life, I think you just have to be happy where you are. You just go with the flow and hope for the best.
2+7: How would you describe your photography?
BC: It’s a bit dark and expressive both in eyes and the hands.
2+7: Any last words
BC: Live life without any intentions. Be genuine.
Find out more about Brent photos and stay tuned for our next post, photographed by the talented Brent Chua.