Model of the moment

Stevel Marc – I’ve progressed and expanded

Jamaican-born model, actor and author Stevel Marc has consistently served as a model for a number of top brands and has pursued acting at the same time. He’s appeared in movies and TV series such as Of Good Report, The Mauritanian, Professional and Lock down, to mention a few. He is currently signed with Ice Model Management as well as Artist Connection theatrically and commercially. The model is also a published author of The Redefined Player: Sex, Lies and Dates.

MUZI: What’s it like being a fashion model, and when did you have any inclination that you might be model material?

STEVEL: It requires confidence, persistence, diligence, and dedication. The ability to not take the No’s personally and know it comes with the territory. As for inclination, I was discovered by a modeling scout while in high school in Jamaica. So, I was told. After my first test shoot, that was solidified with the contracts that I was offered in New York, London, Milan, South Africa, and Asia.

MUZI: You’ve had an amazing journey in the modeling and film industry – What would you consider your career highlight so far?

STEVEL: The journey so far has been fantastic. I am blessed to have achieved what I have thus far. There is something profound about seeing what you’ve visualized and prayed for coming to life. Being able to say: “I remember when this was a prayer.”

There are so many highlights. Perhaps we can speak on the most recent ones. So, the project I’m shooting presently is one for sure. Working on The Challenger Disaster alongside William Hurt, Holiday in The Wild alongside Kristin Davis, The Mauritanian alongside Tahar Rahim with Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Nominated for 5 BAFTAS and the Golden Globe, which Jodie Foster won for best actress), Black Sails alongside Toby Stephens, and Professionals alongside Tom Welling, Brendan Fraser, and Ken Duken. It’s priceless to watch and learn from these incredible talents. My personal goals are so high that they’re still among the clouds—I have a long way to go.

MUZI: Booking a job is often a challenge because of the high competitiveness in the modeling field. How have you managed to stay relevant and reinvent yourself in this competitive industry?

STEVEL: I’ve never considered it to be competitive. Instead, I either have what the client is looking for, or I don’t. It also helps that I have agents who understand me, my personality, and my brand. Therefore, I don’t waste my or the possible clients’ time at castings and auditions that are not suitable for me or where my chances of booking the job are not high. To say I reinvented myself would suggest that I stopped. I never did. I progressed. I keep it consistent, have a healthy lifestyle, and am always professional. Brands come to me because I echo what their brand is––having what resonates with their brand.

MUZI: Most models work hard days and nights (often in extreme conditions) and face dozens of refusals from modeling scouts and harsh critics – What other issues are you currently facing? Is there a dark side to modelling?

STEVEL: I can’t relate to that statement. Again, this is probably because some of the best agencies globally represent me. If I need new representation in a specific market, that’s handled by my Mother Agent––So I’ve never had to deal with scouts. My working conditions are always up to par, and if there is something I’m unhappy about, it’s immediately taken care of by my agent that booked me for the job. You’ll always have critics along the journey; that comes with the job. The issue I have is that models aren’t paid enough. Shockingly, models are being paid less now for specific jobs than when I started here twenty years ago.

MUZI: What are your views of the local fashion and modelling industry and hopes for it?

STEVEL: I hope, like me, fresh talents are given the correct training on how to handle the industry and the success that comes to the fortunate ones. I hope the industry continues to grow creatively. I hope new talents continue to break through and be given global opportunities. I think it has become slightly watered down because everyone seems to be called a model these days. I’m from an era where the consistency of your work as a model and making a living from the profession made you a model. It was also the way you looked, dressed, and carried yourself.

MUZI: What would you like to see change in the modelling industry?

STEVEL: For models to be paid more. The rates have only gotten worse over the years. Again, this is because the industry has become watered down – if one model doesn’t do the job because of the low rates, another one will because they don’t always know what they should be getting. Perhaps a union built for models–– there isn’t one in place that truly represents the models where their voice is truly a part of the conversation when decisions are made apart from NAMA (National Association of Model Agents), which keeps agencies in check.

MUZI: Let’s talk about your transition from a model to an actor.

STEVEL: More than transitioning, I’d say I’ve diversified. Filmmaking is something I’ve always loved. Thus, I went to film school and studied to be my best at it. I’m blessed to have worked with some incredible talents over the years, where I’ve learned so much. I’m thankful.

MUZI: In 2015, you became a published author with The Refined Player: Sex, Lies, and Dates. A professional photographer in 2019 and have already shot some global faces and brands. In 2008, you enrolled and finished your film studies in Los Angeles, California, and completed a course in acting. You have since featured in movies and series such as Of Good Report, The Mauritanian, Professionals, Noughts & Crosses, Unmarried, uBettina Wethu, Lockdown, and Fifty, to mention a few – How have you managed to juggle being a model, photographer, published author, and acting while also ensuring it’s a seamless transition from one to the other?

STEVEL: Again, more than transitioning, I’ve progressed and expanded. I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy. I am thankful for His favor that allows me to work on all these platforms.

MUZI: What’s next for Stevel Marc?

STEVEL: I’m working on an incredible global production that I can’t speak on right now, but it’s got me buzzing. Regarding the future, it’s a space of endless possibilities- I’m grateful, I’m thankful, and I’m ready for it all.

Images supplied by Stevel Marc

By Muzi Ndziba

Muzi Ndziba | Joburg-based freelance journalist | content creator | Istyleblaq founder

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