Dek Has­san

Grand Magazine - - STYLE - BY BRIAN WIL­LIAMS

Dek Has­san’s jour­ney to Kitch­ener has been an event­ful one. Ea­ger to es­cape the vi­o­lence in his home coun­try of So­ma­lia, he set off af­ter high school at age 17 to join his older brother, already in Cape Town, South Africa. That jour­ney was far from a di­rect flight. He said it was a dan­ger­ous trip that in­volved pay­ing peo­ple, such as bus driv­ers, to hide out in their ve­hi­cles. Some­times, when en­coun­ter­ing a check­point where he didn’t want to be dis­cov­ered as a refugee, he says he’d hop out ahead of time, walk through woods and then meet the bus a few kilo­me­tres down the road af­ter they were clear of po­lice.

Has­san’s tone changed to ex­cite­ment as he re­called his time in Cape Town. It was a place of many opportunities. It was also where he fell in love, which ul­ti­mately became his rea­son for leav­ing the city where a big piece of his heart still re­sides. He met Nema Su­lub of Kitch­ener in 2013 while she was on va­ca­tion in Cape Town. They mar­ried three years ago.

Be­ing with Su­lub and their 2½-yearold son, Bi­lal, is what drew him here last De­cem­ber, in time to ex­pe­ri­ence win­ter. Let’s just say the 26-year-old’s first taste of cold and snow did not go well, as ev­i­denced by a short-lived con­struc­tion job.

“I said to my wife, ‘Please, can we go back to Africa?’ ”

With the cold weather out of the way, the young family was soon forced to spend time apart. A daugh­ter, Bi­lan, not due until the fall, was born pre­ma­turely in July, so Su­lub had to stay in Hamil­ton as the baby re­ceived spe­cial­ized care at McMaster Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

Su­lub’s mother had been help­ing to care for Bi­lal while Has­san trav­elled back and forth to Guelph dur­ing the week to work at a Li­na­mar automotive parts man­u­fac­tur­ing plant. Then, on the week­end, he’d get a ride to Hamil­ton to be with his wife and baby.

He made time for our fash­ion shoot along the banks of the Grand River at Cam­bridge’s Mill Race Park be­cause he’s look­ing to build his Cana­dian port­fo­lio. This is his first magazine ex­po­sure. And, the week af­ter our shoot, he had a cou­ple of more jobs lined up in­clud­ing a com­mer­cial for Broil King bar­be­cues.

Lena Herold, owner of Cameo Mod­els in Water­loo, says she was pleased to work with him when he ap­plied ear­lier this year.

“He has a very nice look,” she says. “You al­ways want to add more di­ver­sity to the ros­ter. He def­i­nitely filled a de­mand.”

While a lan­guage bar­rier will make it a chal­lenge for him to take on English­s­peak­ing roles, she says he’s a good fit for a lot of jobs as mod­els of Asian, African and In­dian back­grounds are be­ing sought out. “His look is very pop­u­lar.” Has­san is thank­ful for any op­por­tu­nity he re­ceives.

He says his ex­pe­ri­ences in South Africa don’t count for much here. Ex­cept for one.

If you meet Has­san he will be ea­ger to tell you about his role in a 2015 movie, “Eye in the Sky,” which starred He­len Mir­ren.

He plays one of the ter­ror­ists that a team led by Mir­ren’s char­ac­ter tracked down and elim­i­nated by us­ing an aerial drone at­tack. Has­san’s char­ac­ter was one of the ones in the house that was blown up – twice.

This big-screen face time is a source of pride for Has­san. He cer­tainly hopes it won’t be his last.

Dot­ted dress shirt, Blue In­dus­try, $149; Zip-up hoodie, Reign­ing Champ, $150; Freestyle vest, Canada Goose, $395; Waxed pre­mium denim, Naked and Fa­mous, $249; Leather lace-up boot, Chippewa, $295; Duf­fle bag, Fil­son, $435. WHERE TO GET IT: PAGE 182

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