Sean Andrew Sanders ... From the Rugby Fields of South Africa to the Lenses of Fashion Sphere

When we think of people from South Africa, we could not help it but to conjure two notable figures that have made their exceptional mark in two distinctive fields — politics and the silver screen — and they are the late Nelson Mandela (also known as Madiba to the natives) and Hollywood screen goddess and the current face of Dior’s iconic fragrance J’Adore, Charlize Theron.

In modelling industry, South African models have been making their presence clear, appearing on fashion runways at international fashion weeks and on the covers of notable fashion glossies. Apart from Theron who was a former fashion model, perhaps, everybody must be familiar with or have heard of names such as Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel, the late Reeva Steenkamp and Gina Athans, who was voted as one of the sexiest women in the world by FHM Magazine. Well, yes, they are from South Africa.

In addition to the mentioned names, do keep your eyes peeled as one more name is currently carving a niche in the modelling sphere. Meet Sean Andrew Sanders, South Africa’s latest and hottest offering. 

Standing at 178cm — shorter than average male models, according to him — it is easy to see why the blue-green eyed, brown haired model is the man of choice for sports publication covers: ripped, toned and tanned modern Greek god with athletic background as a former rugby player and national runner.

Admitting that he never had a portfolio of himself made nor submitting it to any modelling agency, Sanders’ modelling career took off after he had too many injuries from rugby. At the same time he also needed a complete change in life at that stage of his life. Although years have passed and the injuries may have healed, rugby has been off-limit to Sanders.

“Unfortunately, the agency has told me that I am not allowed to [play rugby],” he said on his involvement with his favourite sport. “But that’s not the end of the world. I am into loads of other sports and [at the moment] I am enjoying my football.”

Based in the cosmopolitan seaside city of Cape Town, Sean believes that despite his height, his professionalism and authentic profile (“what you see is what you get”) has given him the edge to stand out within the competitive field. Furthermore, his downright determination to continuously improve on every aspect, both personally and professionally is also part of his package.

Recalling his first modelling assignment — a cover shoot for the South African edition of Men’s Health — there was some nervousness abound during the session as he was thrown well in the deep end with some of the most ripped models he had ever seen. However, he made it in the end with success.

“If you were thrown in the deep end, you learn how to swim or drown,” he said, enthusiastically. “Thankfully, I’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to have swam ever since.”  

Besides the opportunity of exploring the world and working together with incredible photographers, a part of the modelling industry that fascinates Sanders is the constant confrontation with new challenges, meeting new beautiful people and the immense liberty of doing what he wants to do.

“Of course, the party invitations and the crazy stereotyped modelling world do add some pizzazz into the mix,” he added.

While modelling industry has often been associated with plain vanity, more or less, Sanders has a different point of view. He believes that modelling ultimately creates an emotion-oriented image that can stimulate common emotions amongst people and also to promote sales.

“What’s more, the industry has very little to do with me and far more to do with creating an emotion,” says the model who would love to work with cutting edge and contemporary fashion labels such as Diesel and DSquared2. “It’s an art. And just like traditional art, everyone can do it.”  

In line with the prerequisite of his profession that requires him to be fit at all times, Sanders, whose current portfolio includes an advertising campaign for menswear labels T.M. Lewin and Daniel Hechter, trains everyday and considers it as his fix. He runs, he swims, he hikes, he cycles and he even does martial arts, just to list a few.

“Without a doubt, I must say that I am addicted to exercise,” Sanders, who is currently signed to Boss Models South Africa, admitted. “Without it, I can get moody and I have to go through a battle to get a good sleep. Besides, I just love the movement.”

When asked whether his modelling career has changed him as a person and how it affected his relationship, Sanders said that modelling has given him a great exposure to some incredible people. 

In a positive way, he believes that the industry helped him to find himself, become more worldly and more mature. Moreover, he also believes that by appearing on the magazine covers, it does not make him any famous.

“Fame is self-created,” Sanders said, humbly. “I will deem myself famous when I believe I am. Besides, I still have an extremely long way to go.”

As modelling is an industry where a model’s career lifespan is determined by market demand, rest assured a lot of models are likely to plan their next career move ahead of their "expiry date". But for Sanders, life is all about the intrinsic value that he chooses to place on things and he refuses to cut any opportunities short.

“I believe in following happiness and I could not be any happier doing anything else right now,” he enthused. “So, while the waves are up, I’m going to surf; when they stop, I’ll head to another beach.”

*Photos by Garreth Barclay/courtesy of Sean Sanders Facebook

Keep up with Sean and his modelling activities by following his Instagram account at @seanandrewsanders


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