Hayley Elsaesser

Hayley Elsaesser is a talented designer based in Toronto. Having brought her young brand from Australia, her fun and in-your-face designs are meant to make the wearer stand out (and feel amazing). In this episode, Hayley chats with Tokyo Smoke about what it means to create with no fear, and how to prioritize action as a way to overcome creative roadblocks.

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For the full article head to Tokyo Smoke's 'Smoke Sounds' here.

Words: Jahmal Padmore / Photo: Olivia Seally


With razor-sharp cheekbones and a smolder that could melt just about anything, it’s easy to see why supermodel Paolo Roldan is a favourite in the fashion world.

The Philippines-born, Toronto-bred model, fashion buyer, and budding stylist has appeared in the pages of GQ, Numéro China and i-D while walking the runways for the likes of Michael Bastian, 3.1 Phillip Lim (he counts designer Phillip Lim as a friend) and Givenchy, where he is often a regular. In fact, Roldan made his runway debut for the French fashion house in 2009 after a last minute casting call with creative director Riccardo Tisci. Roldan is now widely regarded as Tisci’s muse.

Betting that his good taste in fashion and company transcends into music, The Rhapsody e-mailed the supermodel to ask him a couple of questions about his musical journey. Roldan did not disappoint.

TR: Hey Paolo, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

PR: I was born in Quezon City, Pilippines. My family moved to Canada when I was 11 years old. I’m currently residing in Toronto, Canada and anywhere else my job takes me. I work as a full-time model and trying my hand at styling.

TR: How did you first encounter music?

PR: My parents have always been into music. My dad was in a band in his younger days and my mother was a self-proclaimed professional dancer. Both had a ton of Beatles always on rotation. They took us to watch musicals and a lot of parties. Music is an essential part of Filipino culture. I’d say 2 out of 3 people can belt out a tune at any given moment and almost everyone can cut a mean rug.

TR: Who gave you your first album? 

PR: My parents got me my first album on cassette tape. It was Bad by The legendary Michael Jackson.

TR: How does music tie in to your career, friendships, etc, and vice versa?

PR: Music gives me inspiration in every aspect of my life. It drives me to work harder, keep me chill, dance and let loose with my friends, reminisce about the past and look forward to the future. It also helps unite people…music is usually a starting point in starting a friendship/relationship with someone. It helps people to gauge another person’s spirit and personality. It’s like food…for the soul.

for the full article head to the Rhapsody.

Words: Portia Baladad / Photos: Olivia Seally


My name’s Hannah Sider, I was born in Malawi, Africa. I’m 25 years old and I'm a photographer. Five years ago I was living in Toronto. I was pretty comfortable… I was finishing my last year of school for fashion communications. I didn’t have to think too much about the future and I was interested in photography but I wasn’t sure if I could turn that into a career. Prior to university I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I was interested in fashion, so the communications program appealed to me because I could study so many different aspects of art, like illustration and design and photography and journalism. And now everyone is just a jack-of-all-trades, especially in New York.

Photography began as a hobby, I had a camera with me all the time and then I started to take more of a fashion focus when I studied fashion. But both of them are related…

fashion is very visual and I think that having that creative eye, is more important

than learning the technical skills of photography because you can always pick those up. But understanding fashion and design, the principles of design, I think that’s really helpful when I’m taking a photograph. So I don’t have an education within photography, I taught myself.

I picked up a lot by trial and error…

every once in a while I’ll be like shit! I’ve been doing this wrong for the last couple of years. And you learn from other people as well.

I definitely feel like a freshman in my field, in the sense that I still have so much to learn and so much more growth. But it’s cool because I left Toronto and now I’m kind of seen as an established photographer because I’m working in New York. So by Toronto’s industry standards, they would probably not say I’m a freshman. But my aesthetic has changed so much in the last two years that I’ve moved to New York, I wouldn’t have experienced those same challenges. Here, you do something that’s out there and everyone’s like cool, but can you push it further than that? because it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before! So that really challenges me to go beyond what is normal and safe. And you don’t stay stagnant at all here.

I’ve been experimenting with film and other things a lot in the last year and instead of staying with what I know and developing that, I’ve really tried to just do everything different.

I never want to stop experimenting.

A lot of photographers have this thing against event photography. They have this… just, disdain for it and I feel like I kind of did and then I was like you know what, I go to all these really cool fashion parties, I see all these really fucking awesome people that have crazy style and I’m just gonna start carrying my camera around everywhere and start shooting them!


And I think that having that attitude of not being too good to do certain jobs… like I’ve done a lot of favors, shot stuff that a lot of photographers felt above and wouldn’t do, unpaid. But those favors have really paid off. If it’s somebody in the industry whose work I really respect and we work well together, I trust that if there’s an opportunity they’ll come back to me. I think that just not being stuck up about things has really gotten me a long way. Plus, I’m having a lot of fun shooting at parties and odd places, and it’s really just taken my style on a different direction.

Right now I’m just inspired by really interesting people.

I keep thinking about those interesting people that aren’t necessarily "somebody". I saw a guy the other night who had tattoos all over his face and lighters through his ears. And I’m just like you are such a character and I have to take a photograph of you. And I did. Obviously there’s tons of famous people that I would love to shoot and having those people in your portfolio elevates your level as a photographer. But they aren’t necessarily as interesting to me as that guy with the lighters in his ears.

And honestly, networking has been so much of a benefit to me; just being able to go to different events and talk to different people. I don’t think that you have to network, there’s a lot of artists that are very introverted who do great things. But especially in a place like New York, I go out and talk to people and we’re genuinely excited about what everyone is doing and there’s this kind of energy. You don’t have to see it as networking, where you have to approach this person and give them a business card.

I don’t think it needs to be something really formal.

It should be inspiring and creative!

FF- Who’s one person’s brain I should pick?
HS- One of my friends who is insanely talented, an amazing photographer and does these pod casts and he’s also just crazy and hilarious, I really enjoy talking to him… is Michael Donavan. I would love to know how his brain works.

Also Michael Jordan! He’s an inspiration. I want to know if he’s thought about our future together at all and if he’s still gambling (laughs).

you can check out Hannah's photographs on her website, her tumblr and her instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally


Ian Isiah is my name, 26 is my game and Brooklyn is where I am here to stay.
FF - Five years ago what were you doing?
II - Five years ago I was singing and starting a career in something that I didn't think I'd be starting a career in… being an ambassador / creative team member for designing stuff with Shayne from Hood By Air. I never went to school for art or fashion so it was cool growing up with Shayne and watching him really, really do his thing and it pushed me to learn that process. And him being my best friend for all these years we kind of think alike so

it was just easy to create ideas, it was easy talking to him about concepts. And the results of all those concepts were crazy

so something is going right for all of these things to go how it's going. And it's just a great experience, it's basically like I'm learning without paying for it. So it's a blessing.

FF - You're learning from life?
II - I am actually learning from life. So five years ago I quit my job working in retail, at a retail store which is where I met most of my friends that I still know today because they're all still around… but anyway I quit my job and took control of myself and took control of my passion and decided to go out and start doing what I wanted to do, which is singing and writing.

FF - How did your musical interests begin? In choir right?
II - It started in the choir! Brooklyn, New York… two, three years old, I'm in the kitchen… actually it may have started in the kitchen! I wanted to be a drummer first, I'm three years old, I'm in the kitchen, I'm making a drum set out of pots. I was learning the theory of music really young because

by five years old I'm singing in the choir and playing the organ so I developed this thing for music when I was really young.

By junior high school it couldn't get away from me at all, I went to private school where I didn't do anything but sing and play basketball a little bit, from like kindergarten to eighth grade… still singing, creating glee clubs just so I can sing with other people, a bunch of gospel music, R&B music all at the same time. I feel like I listened to that whole thing come together because obviously gospel music is an influence for every genre but in the 90s there was some sort of weird connection where it got even deeper and you really couldn't tell the difference and it was also during the age that I was growing up. Then, in Brooklyn at that time dancehall went insane… dancehall changed the game, it changed life for me, for fashion, style, music, attitude… dancehall basically changed my life in high school. So I started dancing and within me dancing I got a little comfortable with being flamboyant in public, around my normal people, being myself. I met a few people who helped me get started or just helped me realize that it's time and I have to put something out. Not that I wasn't ready and didn't want to do it, I just didn't want to rush anything. So I waited and met a few people I felt confident in as far as producing and co-producing and I made a mixtape called 'Love Champion' last year, which was great.

FF - What was your first project 'Love Champion' about?
II - It's about… the new generation needs to not only be lost in the hook and the lyric, they need to also be lost in the affection of the music, the chord progression and how that intertwines and fucks each other to create a beautiful track. That was kind of the inspiration for the video 'Mind Fuck' because the whole video I'm basically fucking Boy Child, who is an amazing person and amazing performance artist herself.

But basically we fucked the whole video, it was like a soft porn that was immediately taken off of YouTube, because they couldn't handle it.

When I put it out I hosted it on YouTube and YouTube was like get the fuck out of here, basically… I don't know what both of you are, I can't tell if you're a girl, I can't tell if she's a girl, I can't tell if you're a boy, I can't tell if he's a boy… basically being like this is too much for YouTube. So Vimeo tweeted me and was like this video is awesome, everyone check it out. So I put it on Vimeo, I felt like I kinda started a war between YouTube and Vimeo!

FF - Good! As you should! Stir it up…

II - Yeah! The response was really good, a lot of people enjoyed that video and from that I started doing the 'Love Champion' mixtape, which is the first mixtape I actually put out into the world. It's full of a bunch of love songs with a futuristic touch to it. There's a lot of auto tune… because I'm used to singing live, I wasn't used to doing so much studio time and when I saw all this fun auto tune equipment I was like this is fab! It's fun to use auto tune when you can actually sing, because it's actually an instrument.

FF - Tell us about your writing process.
II - I learned to respect that I was also a writer, I learned that if it's corny it's only because I said it was corny. And once I learned to do that is when I actually started writing things down, keeping them and nurturing that. It's a process… I'm still trying to learn how to write better. My process for writing, honestly right now is just like if I have an idea instead of me writing it down I tweet it and if somebody likes it then someone likes that lyric.

FF - Any upcoming projects?
II - I've been writing a lot and working on some brand new music, working with brand new people. I put 'Love Champion' out with Uno Records and I'm now working with new people as well as Uno Records. I'm really excited about it…

there's no titles to anything right now but it's really beautiful music.

I have so many songs already… I have like 50 songs in iTunes already done and recorded, which can possibly be sold, I'm in that process too of learning how to sell my songs and working with other artists and writing for them and stuff like that, it's going quite well.

FF - If your life was a movie what would be on its soundtrack?
II - If my life was a movie I don't know if it'd be a soundtrack, it'd actually be a link to like a 48 hour Spotify situation where you're able to have like twenty playlists that would involve my whole life. Playlist's full of like Brandy 'Full Moon', Beyonce… all of them!, Jasmine Sullivan, Ella Fitzgerald… these are my people I listen to daily. Uh… Jodeci, John Legend, so many people I can't even name… I would just have a playlist of everything I cried to, smoked to, fucked to, laughed to. And Sizzla Kalonji! Everything!

FF - What are the qualities of a life well lived?
II - (1) Love for yourself. (2) Understanding that the answer to a relationship equation is 50% on both parties. And (3) accepting learning, accepting failing, accepting obstacles.

FF - What is your message?
II - The message is to activate, that's my message that I believe in. Like you talk a lot of game bro… but it's not going to come to pass unless you activate it. I understand activating might be hard, it's a process, but you have to… I think that's my message to the youth. Also, nothing is new under the sun, everything that we're doing now has been done before on different terms, you can modify or update something but honestly the sun did not change… it goes up, it comes down, people die, people were born and the mind just elevates, it's about elevating your mind.

Nothing is new under the sun, we're all creative people but it's about the force that you put behind your creativity and how you activate it that is going to make it different from someone else who might have that same talent or same gift that you have and have done nothing with it.

You don't want to be that person, you want to be the person that activates that. And then you'll reap the harvest and the benefit of that. All these great, creative people that I appreciate and learned from, like McQueen and all these other great people that really can't handle it in their mind so they commit suicide… no! I'm not doing that. I do believe in destiny, I do believe in living it out, I do believe in reaping the harvest that I put in. It's your gift, respect your gift! And activate it! Boom! Once you activate that gift you lit! That's it!

you can listen to Ian here and follow him here.
as told to: Olivia Seally // video: Olivia Seally