At a young-looking 35, Fil-Canadian model Paolo Roldan is the latest toast of the town with billboards along Edsa featuring his long, sinewy body.
As the newest Bench endorser for the brand’s underwear line, he was made to wear the tiniest of briefs in this season’s contrast colors or racing stripes.
While some may find the images risqué, one need only Google “Paolo Roldan Paris Vogue” to see the model in all his naked glory. The photo is three years old, but the image is visually striking and has been mentioned in practically every story on the model.
“That’s only one thing that I’ve done. It keeps popping up, but I don’t really think about it anymore. If it does come up, I get a bit shy, obviously,” Roldan told Lifestyle before the Bench show in Philippine Fashion Week last Sunday.
He admitted wanting to prove sometimes that he’s more than that. “I don’t want people to think that’s how I built up my career. That was just one thing, and I’d really like to leave that alone.”
Open to ideas
Still, his openness to try something that could have backfired caught the attention of Givenchy that cast him in its Fall-Winter 2010 campaign, where his tanned complexion and shaved
head stood out from the crop of fair-skinned male and female models.
“I think two of the highlights of my career thus far were bagging that Givenchy campaign and getting to walk in the Givenchy show that season. I was able to meet so many good people from that stint alone,” he said.
He also got to lock lips with Polish model Malgosia Bela, who, at 35, is considered one of the veterans in the modeling industry.
“I honestly didn’t know at first who she was; I was super green, so I just treated it as a job. At first, I was really shy and was holding back, but the photographer said, ‘Paolo, you have to kiss her like she’s your girlfriend,’ so I just focused.”
It’s interesting how Roldan has eased into his life as a male model when, just three years ago, he was enjoying his job as a buyer for retail brands in Toronto. He was approached by an agent during a buying trip in New York and went for a test shot that same afternoon. By the following week, he had already booked a job.
Instead of focusing on modeling, he held on to his job as a buyer for two years until it became too much of a hassle to do both. He has since gone on to book editorial jobs and walk the runways of 3.1 Philip Lim and Michael Bastian.
Even given his growing popularity as a model, Roldan says being signed up for Bench is yet another highlight of his career.
“This is amazing and surreal, obviously. I know about Bench. We left for Canada when I was nine but every time I’d come home, I would see all the ads, the billboards. There’s no way one wouldn’t know about Bench,” he said.
Will he be using Bench underwear from now on?
“I’ve worn Bench even before I came on board. The fit is great; my favorites are the boxer briefs. My brother keeps bugging me to ‘bring back some Bench stuff, please.’”