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 is Corey Washington, I'm 21 years old and I'm from Baltimore, Maryland.

FF - Five years ago what were you doing?

CW- I definitely saw myself modeling... my high school was kind of like college, we had majors and mine was culinary. So I was cooking, cleaning, learning how to do catering events, actually going to other schools and serving what we cooked for thanksgiving. But that's low key something I want to do, I want to be involved in that and have something with my recipes, maybe even a food truck, something I can just come back to. That came from high school, but when I was in high school I didn't really want to cook actually, I just loved to eat (laughs). I really just wanted to model, like even my chef knew what I wanted to do. So as soon as I turned 18 I started going to New York.

FF - Was there one specific opportunity you feel broke you out or was it just coming to New York?

CW - It was just coming to New York honestly because opportunities happened one after the other. I wouldn't say that there was one specific thing that put me on the map. But there have been a lot of great opportunities that I wouldn't have got had I not moved up here, definitely.

FF - What's your favorite project or shoot you've worked on so far?

CW - That would be my art exhibit two years ago, it was my first time showing my artwork ever. People didn't even know that I paint because I've never shown any work on Instagram or Twitter or anything. I just released the flyer and it was a really great turn out! I was so nervous, I didn't really know what I was doing (laughs). It was cool.

FF - And what do you do now?

CW - So now modelling isn't something I really want to do full time but it's something that has been happening more frequently. But I really love to paint, and create and make art, draw, sketch every day. I like to paint on furniture too!

FF - Did you grow up in a creative household?

CW - Both of my parents are painters. My mom is more of a perfectionist and always teaches me how to erase and go back and fix stuff. And my Dad is more of an abstract painter, so both of them I got that from when I was young.

And photography... my brother used to shoot videos and do photography, so I learned that from him. And then cooking came from high school, I spent four years doing that. So all of these things I have years of knowledge in but I'm still learning it. So I don't really like to think of myself as someone who's a pro at it, but I know my shit.

FF - So would you consider yourself more of a sophomore / junior?

CW - Yeah I'm like sophomore / junior, you know. Still learning, even though I'm not in college doesn't mean I'm not reading books every day or I'm not like watching documentaries or reading articles online. I look that stuff all the time.

FF - What is the goal?

CW - The goal is just to learn more so I can be able to expand. I just want to evolve, that's really the goal. There's pin points and things I want to do but I don't like to put like deadlines because I can say I want to do something and plan it out key by key but it's not going to go that way. I'm not in a rush, I just want everything to happen naturally. And I'm already making a lot of work now that people don't know about so we'll see...

FF - Do you have a specific dream creative project?

CW - Yeah, to build and design my own house. I want it really rustic, really like this actually (looks around room), like minimal but big plants. My mom always had big plants in the house and she always has a garden around the entire house, she still does. Tomatoes on the side, I want to grow my own vegetables...

FF - What's stopping you from that?

CW - Um, to get there... I just need my money to work for me.

FF - Who are your personal inspirations?

CW - One person that definitely inspires me is Michelle Patterson because she just moved to Los Angeles, got a job in the field that she's studying, in a different state. And then she gets to come back and get treated like a queen in her hometown. And that's a really great feeling, to come back to where you started and where you were raised but be at this level and be like wow, I've worked so hard and it's paid off whereas I can relax for a month and not have to stay with a friend or family. That's not a bad thing, of course you'll see family. But you know, it feels good to be upgraded at home. You don't really expect that to happen so soon. Another person that inspires me... definitely Melo-X, not even just because that's my boo (laughs) even when we were just friends, like when I first met him, he's always been doing something positive, just always working and always busy. And that's a great thing because what else are you supposed to be doing if you want something bad enough? I see the rewards that come from hard work, from him.

FF - What are the qualities of a life well lived for you?

CW - If you've traveled, found happiness and if you've found love and if you've found a home. Those are the four things... travel, happy, love, home. I pretty much have all four right now... yeah, I have a home, I have love, I have happiness and I've traveled. I can travel a lot more, there's always room for improvement. I think it's important to find those things as soon as you can.

you can follow Corey here.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally


My name is Mellissa Miller, I’m 21. My birthplace was Brooklyn but now I live in Long Island. Five years ago I was in high school, doing nothing (laughs). I was a good student but I hated high school because no one got me. I wanted to do other things, people didn’t gravitate towards me and I just didn’t speak to people. I used to walk around with shades on, sit down in my locker, eat a bagel and not talk to anyone. I had a teacher once… I was talking to another teacher that I’m still close to, we were talking about me taking AP classes in 11th grade and she came up to me and said ‘I didn’t know you were smart’. But I loved dance school… it was my senior year in high school and I didn’t do anything but dance, I went to school and danced for like four hours. And learned stage lighting and stage management and how to record… we got to record our own music for our pieces. So I felt I knew all of it and didn’t want to go to school for four years for something I just learned so I convinced myself at some point in time that I didn’t need to go to college for dance.

Right now, I’m in school for professional communications so I’m trying to finish this degree! One more year left. I own a spa on Long Island and we’re opening one in the city. And I’m trying to model. I never wanted to model because I don’t like make up. I think that was a game changer for me (laughs). I know so many people who are in the modeling business and they tell them when to eat and when to cut their hair. I’ve been there with dance. With dance I had a teacher who owned the studio I used to go to, he had a special interest in me since I was seven. And he was just molding me into this perfect ballerina. I remember cutting my hair and it was blonde and I went to class and he wanted to kick me out,

so I know what it’s like from a really young age to just be molded by every body else but yourself. And I can’t do that anymore.

With modeling I just started working with my friends… just shoots at F.I.T. just something for his portfolio. And some people saw and wanted to work with me and then I just started working with other people. I’ve only been modeling for less than a year but I do see me taking it somewhere.

FF – How did the spa happen? What’s that about?

MM – OK so my girlfriend’s mom had a spa for years. It started out mobile so we hired people and went place to place doing bridal parties, facials and massages and all that stuff. They have two houses so one of the houses we rented out to get money to pay for the spa. And we found this amazing spa in Garden City, which in Long Island is a pretty good town. So we opened the spa six months ago! We’re booked every weekend until June. So we’re doing pretty good.

FF – Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your fields?

MM – I am definitely a freshman to business, because I’m learning. I’m not learning how to work for a business.

I’m learning to be a boss.

I’m the one that gets the heat when shit goes down. I’ve had employees about to fight and sometimes you want to take sides but you can’t. I’m definitely learning a lot about being a boss and being a black woman as a boss. It’s not easy. I’ve had someone call the spa the other day and ask if I was black!!! I told her very nicely “you can return your Groupon whenever you’re ready”. Any body of any other race who owns a business doesn’t sit there and say ‘Asian Business Owners!’ We don’t want to be the company that’s like ‘Black People Own This!’ It’s not about that, though we do put business first and are proud to be black women. But just to have someone call and ask… for what? Why exactly do you need to know!?

I didn’t know the world was like this. I really didn’t know that I was black. I had teachers that had to tell me I had to be better and be better but you don’t know it until you actually really do have to be better.

It is definitely not fair but it is what it is, you take it and you move on and continue to live your life because at the end of the day I’m going to be black forever and I’m going to be a woman forever.

We dwell on our 40 acres and mule. it’s not coming… you have to get it.

Also our issue as black people is we aren’t trying to help each other. And that’s big in the black art world too, like No! I’m going to get to the top and I made it so you make it, I had to go through the struggle so you go through the struggle. Instead of saying I went through the struggle so you don’t have to go through the struggle, let me help you out. And there’s not enough hands out there that are trying to help people. And if their hands are out they’re expecting you to put something in it first.

I don’t want to hold on to anything here. When I do… because it’s promised… when I do leave here I want to leave it where it is.

you can follow Mellissa on her instagram.

as told to: Olivia Seally // video: Olivia Seally