Alpha Dia can be easily called the shooting star of 2017. No other model has walked as many runways, a total of 43 this year, graced as many editorials, countless, or been featured in as many history-making projects, such as the 2018 Pirelli calendar photographed by Tim Walker, featuring an all-black cast.
He is one of the faces of the Versace’s AW’17 campaign, and recent editorials include Italian Vogue, Another MAN, and Kein Magazine. The 25-year-old Senegalese, who has been around the globe over 13 times this year, calls Hamburg, Germany his hometown even though that’s where you can never find him.
Dia was at the center of a big scandal which occurred earlier this year, in the Czech Republic. A Lidl (Europe’s biggest grocery chain) flyer featuring Alpha sparked racist reactions online and this fueled massive publicity in Germany for the young model who clapped back against the commenters, allowing the world to see him not only as a model but also as an outspoken activist against racism.
How did you get discovered, Alpha?
When I was 22 while working in a bar in Hamburg, a photographer named Christian Bendel asked if he could take some pictures of me, and he did. That’s how it all got started.
Were you confident about your look?
AD: No, not at all. When you grow up in a community where you are the only black guy, and everyone around you has a different understanding of beauty, it isn’t so easy to develop self-confidence.
Model behaviour, what does it mean to you?
AD: Having a lot of patience! And don’t take anything personally. It’s a tough industry. It’s a big industry, and you work with so many different lovely people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. You just need to be patient with time and with people.
How has modelling changed you?
AD: Yes! I’ve gotten so much more confident, and I see people being so happy for me doing this that I just want to give back… make people smile.
If you weren’t modelling, what would you be doing at this stage in your life?
AD: Well if it were to be fulfilling the wishes of my family, I would have studied business administration or anything solid and traditional.
What was your first show and job?
AD: My first Job was for Iceberg, and my first show was for Prada.
Who do you desire to work with?
AD: I had no clue about fashion when I started. And after working with so many incredible talents, I really wish to work with Steven Klein!
Have you experienced any discrimination while working?
AD: Client-wise, no! But catching a cab in Milan can get very tricky. My agency makes sure that I am sorted, however.
Animal, Disney character, or superhero, which one would you be if you could be one?
AD: I would want to be a superhero! But only because I am so mad about Hancock! I mean he is the first black superhero, and he was always drunk. So I would like to be the best black superhero, possible.
If you were a song, which would you be?
AD: My thoughts turn straight to Bob Marley, and I think since my deepest love is my mom, it would be “No Woman No Cry”.
Where would you like to live?
AD: I would like to live in LA. Just being in the sun, and maybe later in life, Senegal.
What is your greatest strength?
AD: Well I don’t know if I can say that about myself, but I think I am very good at forgiving!
What would you wear to your wedding?
AD: I would allow my future wife to choose.
What in your opinion is your greatest accomplishment, thus far?
AD: Workwise, it would have been the Pirelli Calendar. I think, however, privately, it was the moment I got my working visa for the USA.
What should people know about you?
AD: I’m a very good FIFA player! People really should know that! Haha.