You may recognise him from the day he was known as VJ Dom on Channel [V] or in his more recent stints on E! News Asia and more prominently as a judge on SUPERMODELME for a total of three seasons. He was discovered at 14 in a shopping mall in Hong Kong as has since had an enviable career as a male model representing brands like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. As the only male judge on SUPERMODELME, Dom knows more than a thing or two about the fashion and modelling world and acts as the ‘older brother’ figure on the panel. He speaks to MC about modelling, creepy dudes and making beautiful women listen to his opinion.
How has your own modelling experience helped with the process of relating to women and being on a show like SUPERMODELME?
First of all, I am very comfortable around women. I was born pretty much into a single parent household. My mother raised me ever since I born, my father left before I can even remember and so all I’ve known is growing up with women. My mom is a single parent and still is and my nanny was also a woman so I had a lot of female influences in my life growing up. There was a time when I was like, “Eww gross! I can’t believe I am so feminine” and friends would tease me about it saying that I was such a girl. But you learn as you get older that it’s actually quite wonderful (growing up with such strong feminine influencers). My mother is the leading lady in my life and as a result, she taught me to respect women, to appreciate them and she taught me to value them. So I guess I translate that when I’m at a judging panel.
What was your first modelling experience like?
I was never destined to be a model. That was something that happened quite by accident. I was always tall and so I guess thats just “why don’t you try modeling”. I was destined to be on television I think, or perform in some shape or form because I can remember there was one casting I was standing in front of what I can describe as a ‘dragon lady’ because she didn’t smile, she was very stern looking, very fashionable. I walked in and she was like “What is your name, talk to me about yourself, this is a general casting” . And so I tried to charm her. And my charms did not work! They just bounced right back off. And I thought, ” Oh crap, I’m not going to get this job through my charm because now she’s gonna think I was flirting or corny”. So it was very intimidating but did I feel bad about it? No. Cause my mum taught me not to be.
What advice would you give to anyone who would want to make it in the modelling world?
Be confident in your own skin, doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a dude, it doesn’t matter who or where or what the circumstances are, be comfortable in your own skin.
If you are blessed with seriously good looks, if you have what it takes, the right personality to pursue modelling, then go for it as anyone can do it, really. However, the key is to look at it as a professional job. It’s not about getting hooked up or going to the hottest parties. It’s a job. So look at it as a professional but don’t take it too seriously and don’t take offense by people criticising you.
What would you say to those who fall prey to the dark side of the modelling world?
I’ve heard stories about creepers! Again, if you get into this for the wrong reasons, you could easily fall victim to be preyed upon too. Some guy will say, “Come over to the studio and let me take some shots of you because I really think you have what it takes” and girls will fall for it. They will fall for being flattered and being complimented. So what I would tell these girls is, you have to be street wise, you and use some common sense. If you don’t feel comfortable, if you ever feel suspicious about something, then just say NO. Let your agency handle that for you. If you get approached in a bar, the gym or club and somebody says these things to you, just be street smart about it and don’t give them your own telephone number or email address. Give them your booker’s details or modelling agency’s number. If you don’t hear from them, chances are, it was probably a scam. Be smart with yourself as you don’t want to be exploited for the wrong reasons.