“The major key to success for a model is to have good people next to them, to know their best profiles, and to know how far they want to go…”
Let’s start with the basics. How would you introduce yourself to our readers? When, how and why did you first get involved in the modeling industry? Hi everyone. My name is Moh Dia, I’m a “37 year old” afro-French model based in Paris, France. I started modelling when I was 19, a French model grabbed me on the streets and told me I was tall enough to try modelling and that her agency was looking for new faces, so I tried for fun at the beginning and started doing several castings and fashion shows in Paris. Then maybe two years after I decided to stop in order to get a full time job, but once you start, you never go back, and started again 3 years ago now, and I’m still doing it.
Moh, you have an amazing portfolio. What do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed? Thank you for your compliments:) I would say that the major key to success for a model is to have good people next to them, to know their best profiles, and to know how far they want to go. One of the most important qualities to my point of view, would be to be humble, simple, nice to others and to trust in yourself.
How has modeling experience changed your personal/professional life? It did change a lot my life in both sides: getting to know myself better but also getting to know better the world around me. I started being less shy and also stepping for what I wanted to do and represent as a black model. As I have a full time job, I have to be careful with my images and representation but modeling allows me to sometimes escape from a “natural / boring / usual” life.
Do you feel people act different around you since you have become a model? For sure they do, it’s quite normal. Most of the people know you from one part, without the “glamour” of certain pictures. Some of them will love having a friend model, and some of them won’t (it does change the perception of their eyes on you). You know, sometimes, some pictures done for magazine can be topless or in lingerie and some people are not ready to see their friends this way…
What is your favorite and least favorite thing(s) about being a model? If I have to choose one favorite (which is hard, as I have plenty favorites) I will say having the chance to meet so many different and interesting people and having the chance to act and show my emotions to others and making them feel what I wanted to share and from the other hand, my least favorite thing would definitely be when people think they know your inside only through the pictures you present… definitely not true!
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? If I could change something about the modeling industry it would definitely be the possibilities to see more ethnical models on magazines, TV shows etc… To me, we (all Ethnical models) are less represented and sometimes on a particular way (nudity for example) and there are so many beautiful ethnic models that can do wonderful editos for great stylists… but we don’t think of us first when preparing a project.
Some producers, stylists, photographers, advertisers should really open more their eyes and see around them, see people in the streets and understand that most of them would love to see girls just like them (not necessarily on the body aspect) but in the representation of their “culture and origin”
Something that most people don’t know about models is that we . . . Do eat a lot 🙂 and we do speak several languages 🙂 I speak French / Italian / Spanish / English and my mother tongue Peuhl 🙂
The most exciting project you have done? What photo-session or project are you most proud of? There are several projects I did that I love, but one of my favorite would be the “Nefertiti project” with Audrey Bieber as photographer, Benjamin Rech and Nicolas Buton as co-models, Yvan et Linda Aguilera as Hair Dresser and Montecito Nail Bar – La Seyne for the nails. It was an insane project (cf. Picture) with such a great team and such a great work, they really trusted in me to do a great Nefertiti and I really loved that moment.
Also, regarding that picture and why I am so proud of it is that I would like to pay tribute to one of my co-model, Benjamin Rech who tragically died last April, he was 26 years old.
It is one of the last great memory I’ll keep from him.. He was a very good person, close to people, in love with sport and he was trying to become a good model in this industry (and I’m sure he would have been). May his soul rest in peace and may his family (parents and close friends grieve in peace also). He will never be forgotten by the one who have had the chance to meet him.
But I’m also proud of all the photo-session I did with so many talented persons that saw something in my modelling, but I cannot enumerate everyone, but I must say I’m proud of everything I did in my modeling career and thanks to all of them for making my dreams come true.
What goes through your mind when you’re behind the lens? The pleasure of being behind the lens, the goal of being what the photographer and the staff are waiting for and most of all, having the opportunity/chance to show the world my emotions and share them.
What do you look for in photographers that you would do trade with? I look for a personal touch, I look if they take risks in their pictures, if they have black models in their portfolio and if I’ll be able to rise with/for them in their work. If I can give them in my modeling what they give me in working with me, that’s perfect!
Have you had anything funny, embarrassing or completely out of the ordinary happen during your modeling career? Well, so many funny stories that I cannot tell them all, but one embarrassing : having few clothes on me during a photo-session in winter outside and on the ‘Champs-Elysées Avenue in Paris” with all the tourists staring at you… and wondering if I was crazy … Well the job is the job and it had to be done 🙂
What do you do to keep in shape? Do you have any beauty secrets to share? What beauty item could you not live without? Hope people won’ hate me for my answer… I quite do nothing special … I used to do many sports when I was younger (volleyball, handball, tennis…) but I stopped when growing up.
With my full time job, I got used to eat once a day, and I’m perfectly fine with that, no matter what people might think or say… some need to eat 3 times a day, some others don’t 🙂 And as living in Paris, I must say that we walk a lot, which help !
I’ll just say that when I’m hungry (I listen to my stomach and my hunger).
One of the beauty secret I will definitely recommend to everybody is to be able to get some rest any time when possible and when they need it!
The beauty item I wouldn’t live without would definitely be my body lotion. Black skins people are subject to have dry skin, so I put my body lotion everyday in order to have a very soft skin 🙂
When do you feel most glamorous? When I’m happy… no need to be well dressed or well maked-up … I feel most glamorous when I smile and that you can see in my eyes I’m happy with my life and the beloved one around me.
What advice would you give to a girl who is body conscious? The most important would be to be aware of the world (not naïve) and conscious that having a great body is not everything, and quite nothing actually when you have nothing to share else…
If you could have any person as your mentor for a day, who would it be and why? For sure, I’ll say Iman Bowie. She represents all the femininity, glamour and good leaving and she is just more than gorgeous. Her life is a beautiful example of how to be a successful black model and being humble…
What is your advice to models looking to expand their portfolios? To look carefully the work of the photographers, to never do what they do not want to do or present, to protect their images, to get in contact with stylist, hairdresser, and photographers and also to travel a lot and work with different artist all over the world if possible. It makes you grow up and can expand your portfolio. I have had the chance to work with Germans, Italian, Spanish, Americans and British and being directed in several languages, it’s just so awesome.
What is something you haven’t achieved yet but hope to in the future? If you could have your next dream job, what would it be? I did a lot in the modelling industry today and I’m very happy with what I have achieved so far, but I’m sure I can do more and more and I’d be interesting in putting my modelling actions into movements… and videos. So if anyone think then would like to see me being in action in front of a video camera, do not hesitate to contact me.
What is the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning? I must say … Facebook 🙂 then my personal mail account, then Instagram… I’m quite addicted!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not modeling? I love being with my best friends, travelling, enjoying a nice glass of wine with people, meeting new people and having great discussions about life or even about nothing 🙂 and also getting some rest.
One thing that bugs you about humans is that…? They don’ like the success of the others if they’re not successful the same or more…. Difficult to find people that will be very truly happy for you if you succeed.
I’m lucky I’ve got a wonderful mum and some very good friends in my life that are sincerely happy for what I have achieved so far in the modelling industry and that are willing /hoping to see me more on magazines and TV Shows.
Please share something people don’t know about you and may find surprising. Incredible but true… I use to be a very shy person, and still is sometimes depending on the situation or the persons I get to meet … yes yes I promise 🙂