ABOVE: SHAUN ROSS AT EDGE STUDIOS IN LOS ANGELES, MARCH 2016. PHOTOS: BRIAN HIGBEE/COPIOUS MANAGEMENT. STYLING: JESSIE COHAN/ATELIER MANAGEMENT. GROOMING: NICOLE CHEW/ART DEPARTMENT USING ORIBE HAIR CARE. STYLIST ASSISTANT: HUNTER WOODRUFF. CLOTHING: KENNETH COLE.
“Be change you want to see. It’s that simple.”—Shaun Ross
OCCUPATION: Model, but I like to look at myself as an activist.
WHEN DID YOU TURN ON AS AN ACTIVIST? I’ve always been a loud speaker and I’ve always wanted to get my point across in any way possible. Since I was a little boy, I’ve noticed that I can alter the way people look at situations that normally wouldn’t be looked at as positive. I think this is what has allowed the activist in me to rise because I have confidence when I speak. When I started to hit my 20s, I started to really push self-confidence on the world and this is why you hear such things today.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES YOU’RE FACING? I think one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had to face was being comfortable with the way people view me. It’s not easy being a six-foot light bulb, so I had to become comfortable with that aspect of life. Secondly, I would say having people in this industry constantly tell me that I’m not good enough or that I looked weird. The fashion industry revolves around image and it’s a very important aspect. When you’re image is altered physically to the point where people just don’t understand, it can get complicated. All you have is you and what God gave you.
WHAT CHANGE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? I want to see more diversity, not only in race but in everything. I want to see things that we’ve never seen before. I want to make the world very uncomfortable.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS AVAILABLE TO US? We have our minds and, as cliché as that sounds, it’s very true. The world we live in today controls the way we see everything, but we can change a lot by seeing things differently. If we show powerful opinions in a positive way I think this can be a tool of change.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST ADVANTAGES OF TODAY? Social media is such a great platform. I use my social media to reach people around the world and I see others doing the same. I think it’s completely fantastic how social media has become the new teacher in its own way. I think it’s pretty cool to know that people can touch others with just a simple post.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? I love how I have constantly shown those who didn’t believe in me that I can conquer anything I put my mind to. I’ve always been obsessed with power, but most importantly power of the mind.
WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR ADVICE OR GUIDANCE? My mom, of course, has shaped the way I think today. Also having mentors like Ty Hunter, who now is the maker of the Ty Lite, has shown me how to be more of a people person and respect, not only others, but also myself. I use to doubt myself so much when I was younger and I’m happy I’ve had someone like him to keep me on track.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD OF PUSHING FOR CHANGE? Be change you want to see. It’s that simple.