“Runway is fantastic because it is so high energy. Anything can happen, anything can go wrong, and everything can be phenomenal.” — Brent Chua
ISSUE: Fall 2011
STORY: Shirley Lau
Brent Chua’s inimitable look graces designer clothing ads and high fashion catwalks.
Killer abs, a signature Mohawk and a fabulously fierce mug have made Chinese- Filipino American model Brent Chua a hot commodity in the modeling world. The 26-year-old now calls East Village in New York City home, but he used to spend his days traveling around Europe and Asia, strutting down the runway for Versace and Gucci, and starring in ad campaigns for Macy’s and United Colors of Benetton.
“Creating images for editorials or fashion houses with talented individuals is an amazing experience; [I’m] constantly trying to bring something new,” says Chua. “And runway is fantastic because it is so high energy. Anything can happen, anything can go wrong, and everything can be phenomenal.”
That anything-can-happen mentality was what actually started Chua on the road to fame. He was spotted by a fashion show producer in a club — at this point he’d never even considered being a model — and his career skyrocketed. In 2004, he was voted Male Model of the Year at the Singapore Fashion Awards.
So why is Chua’s look so sought-after? It may well be his androgynous mien, epitomized in a series of photos where he’s donning a blanket of feathers and a hot pair of heels. Chua’s a bit more philosophical about it. “Your perception of yourself seems to basically be a gathered perception of what others have thought of you and made you aware of,” he says.
Whatever it is that makes Chua supermodel-worthy, it doesn’t seem to affect his down-to-earth perspective on life. He recognizes that modeling isn’t a lifelong career, so he wants to reverse roles and become the man behind the camera.
“I really enjoy taking photographs so it would be great to keep doing that,” he says. “I find a lot of inspiration in cinema and reading and observing the passersby in the city.”
— Shirley Lau
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