HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN MODELING? I was asked in Boston, MA to be Kush Groove’s beginning model. It was a great time! The first shoot I did it for free cause I was happy to see Boston people getting out there and being proactive.
Maybe a year or so down the road I decided to move to San Francisco, CA. An interesting chain of events occurred when I arrived to the Bay Area.. I winged it.. had nothing but a backpack and $100. All I knew was that I needed more out of life than the snow and Boston.
I walked into Swig on Geary street one night in SF. I remember the DJ was playing a Jay-Z song. Not a popular one either. I remember spitting word for word the entire track. The DJ abruptly changed the record and I put my arms in the air directing towards the DJ booth like, “What the Fuck!!!”. I looked to my right and one other cat felt that disappointment when the DJ changes your jam, and that cat was Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba and I got to talking.. Not the typical bar talk neither, more real life stuff. Ultimately he asked me, “Zadak have you ever thought about doing what I do?” That meant the world to me that the dude from BOYZ IN THE HOOD asked me that question. Cuba didn’t make any phone calls for me or anything like that, but he put the idea in my head that this could all be a reality.
About 2 days later I went to visit my friend from Somerville, MA at a SOMA bar cause he was a bartender there. When I arrived to his bar he quickly said to me, “I got some people I want you to meet!!” One of those people worked for HBO and said I looked perfect for a series they were currently filming in SF called, LOOKING. I told that particular person, “That’s crazy! Cuba Gooding Jr just said the same thing to me!!” She looked at me funny and said, “Did you just say Cuba Gooding Jr said the same thing???” I simply nodded my head in a YES motion.
From there it was a situation of putting a portfolio together and submitting to the best SF agencies. Luckily, I grew up with a photographer that also moved to the Bay and he helped me get my portfolio situated.
I’d say about one month later I was offered a 2 year contract for an agency and quickly booked clients such as HBO, HP, SAMSUNG etc.
WHEN ARE YOU MOST CREATIVE?
I love when the photographer and I are a team. I recently did a National commercial for STUDY.COM and that may have been the funnest job so far. I was asked to skateboard. I love skating.. I grew up skating Boston and NYC. So when I booked the skater role they had no clue that I was a skateboarder first and foremost.. I’m a model 2nd by profession. So I brought my own board on set. My scene was last. The other actors and models shot their scenes first, so I was just skating flat in the street waiting for my scene and the director was like, “Damn!! Like you do tricks??” Thats changed everything.
The director and I jumped in his jeep and we starting scouting out smooth ground and proper sunlight to film my scene.. That was dope!! Felt like a jewel thief or something. We left the cast and crew and just starting bouncing ideas off eachother. Such a creative experience! Truly got paid to be me.. when it came time for my scene I was hella ready! 360 flips and nose mannys with movie film quality equipment. Such a good crew! Shout out to Oskar and Jelly Donut Media for a great day of work.
They shot the following scene in Africa lol. Hella bummed I couldn’t roll with.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
This might sound crazy, but not going back to the snow is a big inspiration. Cuba really inspires me too. He let me know some things about keeping myself in check as a black man in this world and in this industry. I’m also heavily inspired by the people I’ve met in my journey. I stayed with a group of people in the Richmond District in SF. They were all so motivated and inspired. They got on my case everyday til I got my contract. They’re great for that. Shout out to my 46th Ave Family.
IG : zadak_rb