Thoroughly modern model

Talent scouts from renowned agency, Wilhelmina Models will be on the Island next month, scoping out local talent.

Two scouts from the company will attend the City Festival Evolution Fashion Show, in hopes of adding another Bermudian to its roster.

Darius Dayes, who models under the name Darius Dio, signed with the agency two years ago.

He’s since appeared in television and print advertisements, selling everything from Izod clothing to Miller Genuine Draft beer.

Mr Dayes, who now lives in Los Angeles, California, will headline the fashion show next month

“People used to stop me and say I looked just like Tyson Beckford, one of the first black male supermodels,” he said. “Then one day I thought, if I look that much like him, why don’t I try modelling? I decided to take some photos of myself and submit them to some agencies. I got some good feedback.”

His mother is Bermudian Sylvia Donna Mae Swan. Mr Dayes was able to work in the United States because of his American father.

“To get a modelling job, it is like any other job; you go for an interview,” he said. “They might like your resume and call you in for a second interview. Then they will tell you they called in ten people for the job and chose one person. So you might have got it and you might not have. If you didn’t get the job, it is back to the drawing board. If you did get the job, jobs usually last for one or two days. Then you go back to the drawing board and do it all over again. There is a lot of rejection and competition is very high. When you go into an agency you have to make sure you have done your homework and you have in your portfolio what the agency is looking for.”

Mr Dayes was preparing for a Gillette commercial when he spoke with The Royal Gazette. He said he has had reports from people in Bermuda that they have seen his commercials. Several of them, such as one for Miller Genuine Draft beer, play on the ESPN channel.

“I am not doing bad, especially for someone who just came into the industry,” he said. “It is really about being yourself. When you go into a casting, you go in there for a job interview. The client wants to hire someone they are going to have a good time with on the set and will be easy to work with.”

Mr Dayes said he didn’t train as a model before he decided to become one, but did do his homework.

“Being a male model, it is about your personality and your look,” he said. “A lot of different brands have a particular look to their advertisements and models. Then it is about the personality of the model. Then you have to be able to perform. Maintaining your physique is good because you might get a swimwear job. They want the clothes to fall properly on your body.”

How a model dresses for an interview is extremely important, he said. An agent might recommend ‘smart casual’, or even a particular time period.

“If the interview was for Target, for instance, I might dress smart casual a V-neck with a cardigan and some khakis or some fitted jeans. You have to be smart about what you wear. When they see you they see you as the commercial that they are shooting. It is important that you have those things in your wardrobe. I call them my casting clothes.”

Mr Dayes said he considers Bermuda his home despite having received much of his schooling in the US.

“I don’t have extended family in the United States,” he said. “My mom’s brothers and sisters are still in Bermuda. I usually come back at Cup Match. This time it will be a little earlier in the year. I will definitely be giving the younger models some advice about what to do and how to take things to another level.”

Persons who apply to model agencies should start at the top and work their way downward, he said.

If the people in the top agencies like you, they may give you some invaluable feedback even if they don’t actually hire you.

“Put yourself out there and take action,” he said. “Don’t sit back and wait until you are ready; you are never going to be ready. Get your stuff together and try to make it work.”

On of his biggest stumbling blocks has been his height. Most male models are at least 6ft 1in.

“Being 5ft 11in has been a huge setback for me but it just depends on the agent and if they see something in you. They might say, well you could do this campaign or that campaign. Getting an agent is very important. After you get an agent, you get jobs. But then, there are a lot of models at great agencies that still don’t work. Even though you have an agent, you still have to compete for work.”

Mr Dayes is also signed to an agency in South Africa, a world modelling hub.

“It is so beautiful in South Africa,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind living there but you still have to compete for jobs there. You can go there for three months and maybe work once or twice and the plane ticket is almost $2,000, plus rent. It can be pretty expensive. You have to do your homework and be on your game.”

Admission to the City Festival Evolution Fashion Show is free. The event will be held in front of City Hall on July 7 at 7.30pm. More than 20 retail stores and 140 models will participate.