Interview by Michael Ashford
Citizenship and morality harmoniously coexisting with aesthetics in beauty, in today’s society, has become an enigma. Though many of the high standards of beauty stem from cultural relativism, many people feel the pressure from the isolation it causes. Socionormative ideals of beauty have caused a separation between society as a whole and the individual.
Beauty is pleasing, but it is also dangerous and unforgiving. The pursuit of beauty creates a never-ending path. While beauty is both complicatedly simple and simply complicated, there is a cynicism society has created with impossible, in a sense, hopeless criterion. In order to contest the perpetual promise of beauty, you have to fight back. It starts with the individual. Fashion model, Shaun Ross, is doing just that. While he admits his strength as a model and person can be intimidating, he truly is a humble, sweet, loving person.
Michael Ashford: When do you think your self-confidence really developed?
Shaun Ross: Being like a public figure or anything that deals with some kind of fame, of course, your personality and stuff like that is going to bubble. But the thing with me, like, my personality has always been this way.
MA: Has the fashion industry taught you anything about beauty?
SR: The fashion industry, yes, it has taught me things about beauty. Subliminally. Modeling and this industry has shown me that everything comes in different shapes and sizes. And I think that’s interesting.
MA: Are there any models you would love to shoot with in the future?
SR: I would love to shoot with Alek Wek. I would love to shoot with Lara Stone. I would like to shoot with Tanya Dziahileva.
MA: Do you have any rituals you do before or after a shoot?
SR: No. I don’t have any rituals. Honestly, I don’t. Going to bed is my ritual, I don’t know. You know those models who modeling so severe it’s ridiculous, where they have all of these rituals like, “Before a shoot I have to do this many crunches” or “I have to take this many supplements?” I’m like, “no!” I am as unhealthy as they come.
MA: Who are your favorite designers?
SR: I will definitely say I like the designers that support me!
MA: What do you see yourself doing after modeling?
SR: One thing about me is that I never tell people what I’m going to be doing next. But I definitely see things happening after modeling. Shaun was photographed and featured on tons of blogs and print works during Fashion Week recently.
MA: You have an amazing fashion sense. What in your closet is a must have?
SR: A must have in my closet is a pair of black pants.
Shaun is an amazing energy. He greeted me with the warmest hello. We talked about everything you can think of, including our love for pasta, good music, and having a good time with our friends. He’s also a Taurus, as am I. You can only imagine what it must be like to be a close friend to Shaun Ross.
MA: Describe your friends?
SR: My friends are very outgoing. I definitely go by the whole, cliché, “You are the company you keep.” They’re very fun, very diverse, all kinds of things. My close friends are a weird collaboration of people, like, weirdos. They’re industry people but they are the realest people you could find.
MA: What do you do during your down time?
SR: During my down time, I would definitely say I would like to be around close friends, roam around the city, walking, talking, you know. If you really know me, I always have down time. You know? It’s like with some people working comes stress but with me it doesn’t. I’m always stress free. During down time I like to hang out with friends and watch old movies and doing something regular, like ordering Domino’s. I could be doing anything. I mean, you could find me in a street fair with house music or you could find me in the craziest places. I’m very sporadic.
MA: Do you ever watch TV?
SR: I don’t watch TV. TV is toxic. When you break down the word “television” it’s “Tell. Lie. Vision.”
MA: Do you have any hidden talents?
SR: Hidden talents..hmm…I think one of my hidden talents is that I can kind of sing. I think I can sing but I don’t think I would ever want the world to know that. That’s probably one of my hidden talents. I can’t sing amazingly but I can sing better than what the world thinks I could probably do.
MA: How was it working with Beyonce?
SR: I’ve known Beyonce for like four years, through her stylist, Ty Hunter, who is like my godfather. I don’t’ know, Beyonce is so chill! Like, you don’t understand how chill Beyonce is. I will never forget one day we were on set and I was in the dressing room getting ready.I was talking to the person dressing me, saying, “I don’t think I should wear this. I don’t think I can wear that.” And I feel is this wet stuff on my shoulder. And it’s this girl and she just comes and hugs me from the back and says, “Hey!” And I feel her head on my shoulder and this wet hair. And it’s Beyonce! Coming up from behind me and giving me a hug, you can give someone a heart attack doing stuff like that. But Beyonce is very, very cool. She’s very, very nice. She’s a very inspiring person. I can say that. She’s a very nice, cool person. She is very sweet. She’s definitely amazing and it was definitely an honor. She is definitely someone I wanted to work with being that Michael Jackson passed away.
Shaun recently started a huge movement called, “In My Skin I Win.” This movement encourages all to feel good about themselves and promotes self-confidence in all forms.
MA: Tell us about your movement, “In My Skin I Win.”
SR: I have my own movement called, “In My Skin I Win.” I was in Miami one day and this lady sent me a picture of her daughter who has albinism. I was thinking, “Oh my God. She’s so cute!” I was on Instagram, on an airplane in Miami, looking at pictures right before the plane took off. I wasn’t listening (laughs). But I ended up posting a photo and it turned into this huge movement and turned into something concrete.
MA: What is your favorite characteristic about yourself?
SR: I feel like I’m very, not daring, in a way, but I know how to take control. Like, I like that. I know for a fact that intimidates a lot of people sometimes, but I like that about myself. I like the fact I’m controlling, not in a crazy way, like, “You’re going to listen to me!” But I will make you listen to me without telling you to listening to me. That’s a trait I like about myself. I know what I want. A lot of young kids today don’t know what they want, in life, or period. Some don’t even know what to order. I know what I want.