Philippines-born, Toronto-raised Paolo Roldan is a testament to Riccardo Tisci’s power in this industry. On Roldan’s last day of fall 2010 castings, the 25-year-old was sent on a last-minute go-see with Tisci, where the two made an instant connection. A month later, Roldan debuted exclusively, closing Givenchy’s fall 2010 collection. Tisci then cast the charismatic hunk as the ideal Givenchy man for a spread in Arena Homme +, on top of starring in the label’s fall campaign alongside Mariacarla Boscono and Malgosia Bela. Most famously, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot Roldan in the flesh for French Vogue (which you can see in the NSFW slideshow). But he’s now catching on with other designers too. Phillip Lim recently courted Roldan to close out his spring 2011 show. Reminder: This all happened in the span of just one year. Click ahead to read a Q&A with Roldan, and then visit his new model profile to see loads of on- and off-the-runway pics.
Tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born in Quelon City in the Philippines and lived there until I was about 9. I still have vivid memories about growing up there. It was different from a North American way of living. We spent most of the year in Quelon City, where I went to school at Ateneo De Manila. Academically, I did well, but somehow I felt like I didn’t fit in for the most part. When school ended, my parents would send my brother and me to our grandparents’ farm in the provinces. We would help to plow the fields and take care of the animals. My grandfather also had fighting cocks. My brother and I would go on Stand by Me–like adventures — minus the corpse.
How did you get discovered?
I was discovered in New York while on a business trip. It was David Bossman at Boss Models who came up and introduced himself to me. [He] asked if I had any time to do some test shots. We made arrangements to shoot that same day after all my appointments were done.
You’re a favorite at the house of Givenchy. How did that relationship begin?
I wouldn’t necessarily peg myself as a favorite, but I definitely have a great relationship with the “Givenchy family.” It’s really a strong family-type vibe with them. Our relationship began at a New York casting for the Givenchy fall 2010 show. It was my last day in New York, and I received a call from my agent. I dashed over to the agency to get my book and proceeded to the casting. To make a long story short, I met the infamous Riccardo Tisci at that casting. Since then, I’ve done a few editorials, three shows, and a campaign for the house of Givenchy. I’m thankful for the opportunity!
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I think I have nine lives! I’ve had so many close calls since I was a kid. I’ve probably gone through four of them by now.
What’s your diet like? Is it hard to maintain that physique?
My diet for the past two years consists of a lot of chicken breasts, grilled steaks, greens, tuna, sweet potatoes, and beans. At the peak of it, I was working out five to six times a week. It’s not that hard once you get into the routine of it. It becomes quite an addiction (in the best way!).
On your off days, what do you enjoy doing?
I try to get together with my family or my girlfriend’s family. We try to go as often as we can for the good company and home-cooked meals. When I’m not doing that, you’d probably find me at some random gym with my boys. I also have a passion for cooking, and sketching clothes.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ideally, I would love to have my own clothing line/business. My interest would be to hold down the creative side of things in that situation. Also, next year I will be a face of the new Zipped Man fragrance from Perfumer’s Workshop launching spring 2011.
Favorite thing about being a model?
Traveling and making new friends along the way. Oh, and getting random gifts from everyone I work for.
Worst thing about being a model?
Knowing what’s coming out and getting to try on the clothes before the public gets to see them. I’m a fashion junkie … I get too attached to the clothes!