Taking it back to the very beginning, how did it all start out for you?
Hey Fucking Young! My name’s Keenan and I’m from Essex. My roots are British and African -yeah, something that no one ever guesses. My experiences and my life as a whole weren’t easy at all. It was a lot of: “you’re not good enough”, “you will never be able to do that”, or “set your sight lower so you don’t fail.” Honestly, you should have heard what my schoolteachers used to tell me. Many didn’t believe in me: however, such never really bothered me as I knew I was meant to achieve great things.
My journey in modeling wasn’t an easy one either: I have been working a lot, ranging from building sites, retail shops, and catering. When the café where I was employed was shut down, I got to realize the struggles of being unemployed and I eventually ventured into modeling.
I’ve always wanted to get into modeling, so once I applied, I managed to gain a response from the scouting team part of the wonderful Tom Berry. Modeling wasn’t what the world had planned for me. To be where I am now, I think it’s a credit to myself and my mum to prove everyone wrong about my skills.
It started with a very nervous yet shy 17 turning 18-year-old Keenan thinking about where I could have taken this profession, sending off pictures to the team at Premier Model Management, hoping to gain a response.
And as the response got back, I went and met everyone on the men’s board who couldn’t have been more welcoming and lovely, and now they’re like a little family.
Three words that describe your best self are…
Confident, energetic, loving.
How were you discovered/scouted? And what were your first feelings when you happened to sign your first contract?
This all started for me with a little nudge from myself. When signing that contract, I just thought of the opportunities that will start coming, and of people, I’m going to meet and work with. For me, I just felt the start of something new about to start and the journey to greatness was happening. A journey I’m still on and striving for.
Dream client to work with?
I’ve worked with some AMAZING people, counting the likes of Dan and Dean at Dsqaured2, Burberry, Jacquemus, and many more. It would be a dream to with the like of Louis Vuitton, Tomford, or Versace. If I could pick one other, it would be Chanel as there’s just something remarkable about the brand, which consists in being involved in such great history in fashion. Yeah, that would be a dream come true.
Essentials to bring along your travels for a last-minute job are…
An essential for me is the phone charger: that’s the first thing I get packed always.
As a highly admired model on social media, what are your thoughts in regard to the whole Instagram thing?
I think it’s amazing in terms of the opportunities it provides, and it’s also an incredible tool to connect and allow people to watch out for everything. My advice to people would be to not get lost in the world of social media, as it’s not that deep.
Do you feel empowered through your social media channels? If so/not, how come?
Yes, to a degree, because I can show people who I am through them. I treat as a little storyboard for me: my works are featured on the platform, together with my style.
What do you wish you could have done differently throughout your journey?
Just to have let it flow a little more. It’s an intense line of work to deal with, but I just wished I had the same mindset I have now when I first started. But that’s what time is for to grow and learn. So, I’m just happy I’ve learned and grown from it all.
This is a tough one because I wouldn’t say there’s anything that big. There have been times where I’ve missed out on silly things, and I wish I could have done such.
What’s the wisest lesson you’ve learned being in the industry?
Let time do its own thing. Don’t stress about things out of your control just let it happen. I’ve just learned to let things happen, and if it doesn’t, a new chance for something will open and will fill its place.
Any advice to give the young wave of aspiring models, wanting to venture into such field?
Just f*cking enjoy it! There are a million people who want to be in your shoes. Just enjoy it, have fun, and meet as many people as possible!
Photography: Joshua Peroti @joshuaperotiphoto
Stylist: Kayleigh Swan @kswanstyling
Talent: Keenan Gyamfi @premiermodels