Swimmer Nick Tan has represented his home country Singapore for over nine years in high-profile competitions such as the Southeast Asia Games, Asian Games and World Championships and he currently holds multiple national records in the butterfly style.
For the last five years, Nick has been staying in America, where he recently graduated from Harvard University.
Earlier this year he added a new accomplishment to his already stellar portfolio: fashion model. The young champion was recently chosen to become part of a worldwide advertising campaign by Dolce & Gabbana, one of Italy’s most renowned fashion luxury houses.
Nick spoke to the Jakarta Globe about his experiences in Milan.
You were chosen to be one of the new faces of Dolce & Gabbana’s international advertising campaign. Could you tell us how this happened?
D&G Milan contacted me saying that they were interested in having me as one of their faces in their advertising. I was told that Domenico Dolce, one of the two founders handpicked me and eventually I flew to Milan to shoot with him in the D&G headquarters.
Share with us your experience shooting this campaign.
It was an eye-opening experience working with the D&G team. Apart from working with the best of the best, there were also cats during the shoot. It was a pity that I didn’t have any shots with them as I like animals. I learned a lot from the designers and creative team, from their visions, designs, tailoring, to the production of actual pieces. I also got to see and explore Milan in my free time, from its architecture to sampling Italian homemade cuisine (my favorite is gelato!)
You are the first Singaporean and also the first Southeast Asian male to feature in a top, European luxury brand. Do you think others will follow suit?
With the increasing sophistication of Asian consumers, I don’t think it is necessary for brands to feature Asian faces in order to sell to the East. More importantly, the vision of the collection should translate and resonate with the consumer. Also, Asians are beginning to appreciate product quality more than ever, so maintaining quality is going to be crucial going forward.
What is the biggest challenge for you in being a model?
Even for men, most fashion brands are looking for a waif thin, skinny look. However, my built is more athletic due to my daily training.
What’s does the future have in store for you?
I am still a swimmer at heart and am very proud to represent the Asian male on an international stage. But I would also like to pursue acting and am currently taking up martial arts and hip hop dancing classes to prepare myself for potential productions.