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


Kelsey Williams, a.k.a Killa Kels, might be the new kid on the block but don’t let that fool you. The Toronto-based DJ’s determination has driven her to learn everything she possibly can about music and the industry. She’s been working with Toronto mainstays DJ Agile and DJ Grouch to hone her craft and will soon be sharpening her business skills at the Recording Arts Academy’s Business Academy.

It looks like her efforts have been paying off; a little over a year since she began spinning professionally, Williams has been working steadily and making her way to becoming one of Toronto’s top DJs.

The Rhapsody checked in with the up-and-comer and got the scoop on her musical journey.

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

KK: My name is Kelsey, I am a female DJ from west-end Toronto. My DJ name is Killa Kels. I’ve been DJing professionally for a little over a year now. Aside from DJing, I work two jobs in retail, and keep busy with my 5 year old son. I love being around my friends, good music, and good food!

TR: How did you first encounter music?

KK: I don’t exactly remember when my first encounter with music was, however I do have a baby book that my parents have filled out and kept over the years, and it says I really enjoyed music that was current to that time. It says I loved dancing to Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and New Kids On The Block.

TR: Who gave you your first album? 

KK: Far before I received my own album, I remember sneaking into my older brother’s room and stealing his CDs and having to remember to put it back in the exact same order I had found them. I would listen to the likes of Foxxy Brown, TLC, SWV, Method Man, Wu-Tang Clan, and more. As their music played, I would flip through the little booklet that came with CDs back then. I’d read about what inspired their albums and followed along singing the lyrics to each song. My first album of my own, however, was Mariah Carey’s #1s in cassette format when I was about 8. I don’t even remember who bought it for me, but that person definitely impacted my life greatly with that little cassette tape. I would listen to both sides on repeat every morning as I got ready for school, and every afternoon once I got home. To this day, every Mariah Carey ad lib and high-pitched run is ingrained in my memory to perfection.

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