Interview with Nadia Cassim
How often have you come across a Muslim, male model in South Africa? Not very often right? Personally, I’ve always attributed modelling to my female counterparts and that’s often what I see on social media- fashion and female silhouettes, well-meshed and commonplace. It’s no wonder then why my curiosity with what drives model Riyad Ebrahim to do what he does, grew to the point that an interview with him became essential.
Born and raised in London (by South African born parents) Riyad is much more than his good looks and fashion statements. Having studied Physics at Kings College he has always had a passion to explore ‘how things work’. He explains that keeping healthy and fit helps him to relax and he finds that the science behind muscle building in particular, is interesting to research. He does boxing to improve his fitness levels and to keep his reflexes on point.
Interestingly enough, Riyad’s journey to modelling happened quite by accident. He explains,
“When I grew my beard out for the first time I had people come up to me in the street. They’d ask me questions about the products I use and for grooming tips”. This sudden interest in his appearance encouraged him to become the face of his Instagram brand, @beardarmor. Not only did he start sharing his knowledge, but his sharp eye for fashion and sophisticated look attracted the attention of companies such as Redken who quickly snapped up the opportunity to work with him. Riyad explains that working with such internationally recognized brands has allowed him to engage in experiences he otherwise would not have explored.
He has also been asked to review and showcase products for Uppercut Deluxe, Beardbrand and Apothecary 87. “I’ve used these products for years so it was really great to collaborate with them”, he says. Over and above this, he has also collaborated with Amly Botanicals (skincare) and Vivvant London (Retailers of high quality boots).
Riyad’s passion for art is clearly visible by his fantastic ability to create interesting content for his Instagram page – his photographs and videos take on a life of their own and convey clear and bold messages around who and what he is all about. He has pinned high hopes on Beardarmor becoming a page dedicated to influencing men’s grooming, something that’s quickly picking up pace around the world!
When asked what he likes most about his job, Riyad says it’s the experience itself that is enjoyable – new places, pushing himself to achieve more and most importantly, being part of a story to be told to many.
Despite all his successes Riyad insists that he is just a laid back guy who enjoys a cup of Rooibos tea and who wishes he had someone with whom he could share an ice cream!
Follow Riyad on Instagram @beardarmor