FACE OF THE SEA­SON MUSTAFA DA­WOOD

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - VOGUEHOMMANIA -

When Mustafa Da­wood talks, it’s like open­ing a bot­tle of bub­bly, his char­coal eyes fizzing the minute you turn to his dawn­ing ca­reer as a cat­walk model. Back from his Vogue Hommes shoot in Ibiza, he tells us, in a char­ac­ter­is­tic In­dian lilt, that he had been ec­static about be­ing able to pose for the mag­a­zine on the is­land that had filled his dreams for so long. Born in Hy­der­abad, south­ern In­dia, he had never trav­elled out­side his home coun­try un­til last Fe­bru­ary, but this was al­ready the fifth time that he had an­swered Europe’s siren song. Amaz­ingly, he had in­tended to pass up en­ter­ing the 2017 edi­tion of the Elite Model Look In­dia com­pe­ti­tion, hav­ing al­ready been knocked back twice, be­fore be­ing se­lected to rep­re­sent In­dia in the fi­nals in Mi­lan. On the morn­ing of the se­lec­tions, his fa­ther dragged him out of bed to make sure he didn’t miss out on his dream of be­com­ing a model. Since that morn­ing, he can’t quite be­lieve how fast things have moved for him. Dur­ing his first fash­ion week in Mi­lan this Fe­bru­ary, he walked for Prada, “Prada was my dream show, and it changed ev­ery­thing,” he thrills. At his first cast­ing call at Stella McCart­ney, in­tim­i­dated by his ri­vals show­ing off their pecs, he wor­ried that his slen­der physique might rule him out of the se­lec­tion. He needn’t have both­ered. He laughs as he says he prefers cricket to weights. He’s put cricket on hold, though, af­ter be­ing hit by a ball close to his eye, he says, point­ing to a near in­vis­i­ble scar, and re­gales us with the rules of cricket, of which he is an ar­dent fan. “I’m re­ally happy in my skin, now. At elite, I was one of the small­est models, ( 1m87 ), but my fam­ily and friends con­vinced me that I was some­thing spe­cial.”

His fa­ther works in the jew­ellery busi­ness and had dreamed of an act­ing ca­reer for his son, with his beam­ing, finely chis­elled fea­tures. But Mustafa had other plans for him­self from a very early age. When he was eight, flick­ing through a mag­a­zine at the bar­ber’s, he was cap­ti­vated by pho­tos of David Gandy: “I saw that he was wear­ing de­signer clothes and that he trav­elled all over the world, and there and then I knew that I wanted to do what he did.” Dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures: Mustafa Da­wood col­lects white shoes and leather jack­ets and bags, and says he would like to launch his own line of ac­ces­sories. “In In­dia, there’s no two ways about it, people equate fash­ion with clothes,” he ex­plains. “When I ar­rived in Paris, I re­alised that street­style and haute cou­ture could be mashed up — any­thing could hap­pen.”

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