“The future will tell us,” says model Mahamadou Diaoune in response to what is next. Born in Spain and originally from Sénégal, Diaoune had an unexpected start to modelling and is taking the fashion world by storm. From a Vogue Hommes cover to walking for Louis Vuitton, Hermès and AMI, Diaoune believes that self-confidence and ambition are essential qualities in a successful model. As one of our Issue 7 covers, he talks to 5’ELEVEN” about his modelling experiences, plans for the future and a few of his favourite things.
Stylist assistant, Mathilde Vanghelder. Photo assistant, Magnus.
Mahamadou appears courtesy of IMG Paris.
Above image credits: 3-piece cashmere suit and printed silk shirt by Lanvin.
Gold and crystals necklace by Philippe Audibert.
To give us some background, tell us where you were born and where you grew up.
I am originally from Sénégal, but I was born in Spain and spent half of my childhood there. Now, I live in Paris.
Was modeling something completely unexpected for you?
Well, my friends told me to start modeling for a while, but I was prioritising my studies. During lockdown, and towards the end of my last year of high school, I got the information of the agency through a friend of mine who is also a model. That is how everything started for me.
The first time we spotted you was on the beautiful cover of Vogue Hommes by Craig McDean and Ib Kamara. How was that experience for you and what did it mean for your career?
It was my first job, so I was discovering a new world. I don’t think I necessarily understood the gravity of it and I didn’t really know the team. However, in some ways it was a breakthrough in my career - the proof is in the fact that you spotted me!
We have seen you in campaigns for Berluti and shows for Louis Vuitton, Hermès and AMI. Did you expect this kind of success during such a turbulent time (2020-2021)?
At first no, especially because I had just started and I didn't think that things would go so fast for me! It never crossed my mind that I could work for these big brands so quickly.
From all those jobs and including all the covers you featured on, which has been your favourite and why?
I had a great time on absolutely all my jobs. The most memorable jobs were during my debut! Specifically, I loved the AMI show because the place was beautiful!
So far, what is the best part of your job? Also, what are the things that you would like to change in the fashion industry?
The best part about this job for me is meeting new people, traveling and discovering new things. I feel that I am still in the discovery phase. At the moment, I don't see anything that I want to change.
Given the travel limitations during the pandemic, what was your situation? And, in terms of mobility, what are your plans for the near future?
True, I may have missed some opportunities, but the ones I did have, I gave my best. At the moment, I still see myself in Paris, and I am still flexible for other jobs in other countries.
What do you think are the most important qualities that models need in order to be successful?
I would say the most important quality is self-confidence followed by ambition.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Confident, discreet, observant, ambitious and friendly.
If you weren’t modeling, what would you be doing right now?
Well, I am still studying accounting, so modeling didn’t completely change my plans.
From all the people you have worked with so far, do you have any shout outs?
A big shout out to Piergiorgio Del Moro - one of the best casting directors in the game! A huge shout out to the Vogue Hommes team too!
Quickfire round of questions: What is your favourite place to be?
In my car, driving and listening to my favourite songs after a long day.
What are those songs on your Spotify list that you have on repeat?
I mainly listen to French and American rap music, but there is a wide variety of songs on my playlist…
What movie or book would you recommend to us?
There is a series called “The Vikings” that I would recommend and also, the film series “Fast & Furious.”
For more on Mahamadou, follow him @doums_gls