Place of Origin:
Hannibal, Missouri. It’s Mark Twain’s hometown, that’s what we’re known for.
I’m actually not sure. My parents don’t know, but I’ve heard a lot of Scandinavian.
In a gas station. I was buying a candy bar, just going about my day, about to get on the road with my sister, and my mother agents Jeff and Mary just happened to be at the same gas station passing back to St. Louis. They approached me and the next weekend I was down doing test shoots, and then four months later they brought me to New York.
I’m a huge sports guy. I love sports, any sports. I did football, basketball, and tennis in high school. I’m trying to get into cooking. I’m learning to cook a little bit now that I have some more free time on my hands. I’m also very competitive, so any competition I’m usually down for. And fitness. I was very into fitness before I got into modeling and that just carried over. And now I’m getting into fashion and I’m liking to learn about this crazy world.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m still stuck on Drake—some of his older stuff though, like “Star67,” “Karaoke,” a couple of my favorites right there.
Favorite movie, tv show:
Movie, definitely Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon. I’m a huge Matt Damon fan. TV show, How I Met Your Mother.
Favorite designer, fragrance or beauty product:
This is so biased, but I got to go Versace.
What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling?
I was in college working a part-time job, planning on doing that for the next four years and then getting in the cycle like every other American. I just finished my first year of engineering, so I wanted to go into computer or electrical engineering, but I don’t know if I’ll stay with that or if I’ll switch when I go back. My job was working at a manufacturing company testing brake cables and brake levers, so it was right along what I was going to school for.
What’s something uncool that you love anyway?
Solving Rubik’s Cubes. One of my friends back in middle school got me into them. He was messing around with one and I wanted to try it, so I just picked it up. He taught me how to do it, so that’s how I got into it.
What’s your record?
Just under a minute was the fastest I could ever do, but now I can’t do it that fast.
Favorite modeling experience so far?
Getting to go to Napoli. When I was in Italy, I had a job in Napoli and I got to try a pizza from Napoli and it definitely fit the hype. The best pizza I’ve had.
First modeling job:
The first big one was the Versace Jeans campaign. That was my first time working with people of that caliber. I had never seen an actual set that complex, like the lighting schemes and stuff like that. They shaved my head so I’ve been growing it out ever since then. I was overwhelmed at the time a little bit, but it was definitely a good experience for me. It was after like a month-and-a-half, two months of living here when that came through.
What’s the best thing about your hometown/country?
The friendly atmosphere. They call it America’s Hometown and if you’re driving down the street, most people are going to wave at you. People are going to hold the door open for you, say, “Hi, how’s your day going?” It’s just a different culture with the people.
Which brand would you really love to model for?
I would love to do a Philipp Plein show just because they’re crazy, but Versace was such a great opportunity for me starting out. That’s one of my favorites as well.
Place you would love to visit:
Maybe Yosemite. I like nature. I love the city, I love Milan, London, but when I’m traveling for myself, it would probably be to more natural places.
Currently you’re obsessed with/about:
Playing basketball. I’ve been playing a lot lately and when you get enough guys together, it’s a good time. We have this little park outside of our apartment not too far, so we usually play there.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My dad always told me growing up, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. You can apply that to everything in life, so it’s one of my favorite quotes.
Photography by Greg Vaughan
Styling by Javon Drake
Grooming by Eloise Cheung
To view Alijah’s portfolio, click here