Editor Claudio Harris visit to Models 1
Brandon Dakota Sharp is the red-haired, freckle-faced, new kid on the block. 23-year-old Brandon was born in Evelyn and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas; a far cry from the fast-paced lifestyle that he is now leading being based in New York
His modelling career brought him to London around a month ago. Since then he has been attending castings and working on shoots whilst finding time to explore the big city.
Our editor Claudio Harris squeezed in a meeting with him at his London-based agency Models1.
You’ve been here in London for a little bit now - how is it? Are you enjoying it?
I love it so far. It is really beautiful, and the people are extremely nice.
Is it really different?
A little bit. The currency is different and stuff like that but the thing that I notice the most are the roads. The streets are very narrow. I took an Uber and I was so nervous all the time. I was stressing because everyone was getting so close. But I guess it’s a norm; everyone gets used to it. I’ve never seen that in my life.
What about the food?
I’m yet to see BBQ sauce. The Indian food here is very good and the coffee is so different here! I’m used to drip. I usually go to Starbucks. It’s become a bit of a habit now.
Did you have an agency back in America?
Yes. Last summer I got scouted on Instagram by Click Models (based in New York). I went there last summer in May with about $300 in my pocket. It was up to me as to when I wanted to go. I ended up landing a few jobs to pay for my stay and my phone bill. But it ended up working really well. I am so glad that I responded to that guy on Instagram otherwise I would not be here now!
Are your family supportive of you travelling around for modelling?
They support me so much. They think it is a dream to be out here, but I just take it day by day - it hasn’t really hit me yet!
How long are you planning to stay here?
I plan on leaving in the first week of March. I was supposed to go earlier but got a call on an option for a job so my agency wanted to know if I could delay my flight for a bit. It means that I can do more shoots and stuff until I leave.
Have you done may shoots etc in London?
I’ve definitely done a handful of shoots here, but my time seems to have been focussed more on going to castings. I think they’ve gone pretty well.
Do you think your stay in London will help with your career in America?
I think so, as far as Instagram goes, I have got more followers since being here. I’m hoping to use my stay here as inspiration for my art; I love the architecture – it’s nothing like Texas.
Will you be flying straight back to New York?
I was originally going to go back to Texas but now they want me to go straight to New York for another month. New York is ok but I like London a lot better. I really like the people that I work with (at the agency) rather than the place in general.
Before becoming a model what, was your relationship like with Instagram?
I basically started an Instagram account for my art. I would often get messages from people asking me if I was a model because I had an interesting look. I started a new account for my face and my image as a result of that. I think that was about a month before I got scouted!
How tall are you?
I’m 5’9 which is a lot shorter than other male models. But I think that my red hair and freckles are definitely a strong point; something slightly more alternative. It’s sometimes difficult going into castings with a ‘different’ look but I try to have as much confidence as I can. I try to have conversations with my casting directors and am working on building friendships with photographers as I am really interested in their work.
You mentioned your interest in art – what mediums do you work with?
I started with digital on my phone but branched out to canvas and acrylic paint. It is very abstract and colourful. I work on a lot of anatomy; fingers, arms, faces overlapping each other. I think that this variety is pleasing to the eye when you look at the canvas – rather than just a portrait of a specific person.
When did your passion for art start??
I started taking art classes in high school. They taught me the basics. I liked it growing up but didn’t expect to keep on going after school, but people started asking me whether they could buy some of my pieces. It almost made sense for me to just keep on doing that! As I continued doing it, I ended up liking it more than anything else. With regards to the type of art I did, I started doing what I liked rather than what I thought other people liked yet they would still buy it!
Who are your artistic inspirations?
For fashion, David Bowie is one of my biggest inspirations. Luka Sabbat (the influencer), Virgil (some people like his work whilst others don’t – I love how divisive he is). High fashion people think he screwed Louis Vuitton up with streetwear, but I really like him. Tame Impala is a massive inspiration for my music – Kevin Parker is a genius. I like alternative, funky stuff, R & B – stuff to make you dance.
I had quite different inspirations when I was younger; my dad was a sketcher – he didn’t like to tell people that he was an artist, but I honestly think he is better than me! He played guitar in a Rock & Roll band too – my favourite band when I was little was Metallica.
Do you think there’s any connection with what you do as a model/the modelling industry and art?
I didn’t think that I would find any connection at first but working in this field has given me more publicity and advertising for the stuff I do outside of modelling.
Do you think it makes you more open to working with emotion and vulnerability on a photoshoot?
Yeah, I think so. I’ve never got into photography, but I look at it now as an art. I don’t think I could do stills but would love to do motion films. I could be featured in my short films and so could my art! I could even be wearing my pieces.
Have you done any short films???
I’ve done some very amateur ones in Texas but not any that I would be happy to put out. I want my first one to be legendary.
I’ve noticed your (painted) nails. Would you say that was an extension of your art as well?
I did this on February 2nd for my first art show. I hadn’t painted my nails before that, but I really liked the colour (they’re metallic) and I haven’t wanted to change colour since. You never know but… I think it has become my favourite colour and I think it will stay that way for some time now! Sometimes people do stare at me. I forget that people can often be judgemental. I’ve also had comments from other models about it, but they definitely see it in a more positive light.
Apart from your art, what other hobbies do you have?
I have my hands full in Texas. I started a band before I came to London – I play the keyboard. I’m about to go to college for fashion merchandise and want to make sure that my art goes into the clothes I make. What I want to be doing is creating short films with the clothes I make with my music in the background! I don’t have anything else filling my time other than that stuff. I try to keep myself busy.
Whilst Brandon is rather new to the modelling scene, he is represented by both Click Models (in New York) and Models1 (in London) and seems to be winning the hearts of many a casting director. We look forward to seeing what happens next for him, his art, and his musical talents!
Words By @Alice Harrison
Interview + Photography @ClaudioHarris
Special thanks to @Models1