It’s no secret that Models1 is home to a cast of characters but very little is known about our office heartbreaker, James Kakonge. A London boy in the truest form, Kakonge has been with M1 for a few short years, landing campaigns for brands like TopMan and Moss Bro’s. As a new edition to our Talent board, he’s hit the fashion scene this past year and is grabbing the attention of some of the industry’s biggest names.
What makes Kakonge so special? If you can make it past the flawless skin you’ll find a real charmer with a dedication to his craft and a surprising love for koala’s. Back in London after a stint NYC, we caught up with Kakonge to give you a deeper look at the young male model on the rise.
M1: Your sister brought you into M1 for a walk-in a few years ago and shorty after, you were signed. Growing up, what kind of career did you think you’d have?
JK: Honestly, I wasn’t sure when I first signed I was just so grateful to be there. I never thought modelling would be for me, however, since doing it I’ve truly come to love it and wouldn’t change it for world.
M1: What would you say are the pros and cons of modelling?
JK: A major con is the rejection. You won’t get every job that you go to a casting for and that’s ok but in the early stages it was definitely one of the hardest things for me. There are so many pros, from meeting new people to travelling the world. I’ve learned who I am whilst doing this and have done so many cool things that I might not have done being in another career.
M1: What are some other countries/places that you hope your modelling career takes you?
JK: Fiji, so I can be the black James Bond and definitely Australia so I can meet a Koala Bear.
M1: Do you ever have people criticise what you do as a model? If so, how do you handle it?
JK: Never, everyone around me is so supportive. I’m fortunate to get such great feedback from my friends, family and the people that I get to work with.
M1: What, if anything, has modelling taught you?
JK: To be confident in yourself and not question your self worth. Also uplifting others is a major key because at the end of the day, everyone is human and sometimes we all need a little encouragement.
M1: As a male model, how do you think your experiences differ to that of a female model?
JK: That’s a hard one, I’m not sure what it would be like being a female model lol! But I think it’s a lot more competitive for males especially young black male models.
M1: Who have been some of your favourite people to work with?
JK: Literally everyone at Asos they’re all amazing! Luke Jefferson Day from GQ he’s great and has a sick personality. I’ve shot with some great photographers like Mariano Vivanco and Aaron Dunworth, we always produce incredible images together.
M1: Is there a male model that you look up to or whose career you admire?
JK: There aren’t really that many black male models that inspire me currently or ever to be honest so I’m hoping to do it myself.
M1: Who in fashion would you love to work with?
JK: Burberry for sure! I’ve always loved the brand, and definitely Calvin Klein because it’s the male equivalent of Victoria Secret haha.
M1: What have been some of your career highlights so far?
JK: Being featured in British GQ for sure!
M1: You’re known for having impeccable skin, how do you maintain a flawless face?
JK: Genetics. Plain and simple. Sorry!
M1: You’ve been in New York for the first time this past month and it seems like you’re having a great time. How has the experience been for you socially and as a model?
JK: Socially it’s been more beneficial because the crowd out here is amazing and they all love my accent lol. In terms of working, it’s been emotionally draining, it’s a huge place and to be alone can get to you however I’ve had some great experiences and learned so much and if I hadn’t put myself out there I would never have become this resilient.
M1: Outside of modelling, what are some of your hobbies/passions?
JK: I love basketball. I used to play professionally before modelling and now I do it for fun, it’s the best thing for stressful relief.