It’s a Thursday afternoon at the Boys by Girls headquarters, and we welcome George Koh into the warm sunlight spilling through the office windows. The SUPA Model adds to the brightness of the room with his contagious smile and friendly mannerisms.
After being scouted for a few agencies and having numerous recommendations from friends to model (he still debates whether these were serious or not), it took a small final push and a valued opinion to sway George away from the world of investment banking and into fashion. Having now modelled for around 11 months, George takes us a few steps back and informs us of his multiple talents.
" When I meet other models we don’t really talk about modelling, we talk about other stuff we do. Some of them do graffiti; some of them do drama and acting, sometimes they rap or sing. You know when you get a job you’ve pursued that job, for me being a model, I don’t quite know how it happened. haha"
Why did you choose to jump from investment banking to fashion?
I would say I’m more of a creative person. I like drawing and going to museums. I kind of spend a lot of my money on clothes and shoes, so I think modelling works well for me. Banking I also find interesting, but I think it’s more exciting to pursue modelling, because you never know what's around the corner. Sometimes it’s all about experiences. I can always get back into banking again.
Instant analogue by Cecilie Harris. Special thanks to IMPOSSIBLE.
Is there anything you’ve taken from both experiences that have changed you?
The thing about modelling is that it has made me always want to get the latest clothes - shoes or trainers and jumpers! When you have a casting and the stylist says you should wear certain shoes or socks, before I wouldn’t really mind what socks and t-shirt I wore, but now it's more what’s out there that I want to wear. It has made me more creative with what I'm wearing. Banking is all about saving. Normally with banking I always wore a suit, so in terms of modelling you get to wear different designers. Today for instance I’m wearing a long coat. Before modelling if I wore a long coat, EVERYONE would laugh at me. All my friends would be like ‘oh my gosh you’re crazy, what are you doing’ - but it’s made me more open in terms of fashion.
How have your family and friends responded to your modelling career?
They still take the piss out of me to be honest. haha My family is really happy about it though, they think it’s quite cool. The funniest thing is I remember when I was doing my A Levels and we had to do this fashion design stuff in a group, we had to make our own designs. We had to get inspiration from different artists and designers, so we used Stella McCartney and McQueen. I remember going to Selfridges and looking at some of the clothes and then researching on the internet, and I always thought it would be great to model for Alexander McQueen, so for me to do it now it feels a bit weird, but in a good way!
You mentioned drawing before, what kind of things do you like to draw?
I like drawing people, trees as well, loads of different things. Sometimes it will depend on how I feel. I like using acrylics, watercolours and just drawing as well. I took Art as an A Level when I was in school.
Is there any artists who inspire you or influence your art work?
You know when you’re bored? Or sometimes you’re upset and you just get a piece of paper and start drawing? Then you show your friends and they’re like ‘ Ahh that’s sick, that’s so great man, that’s awesome man’ and then that kind of thrill makes you wanna do it again. That’s how I do it, but no I’ve never really had one. You know when you’re walking and the moon is out and you think ‘hmm that looks quite cool’.
What’s the best and worst part of modelling?
Modelling is cool, and I love the travelling. The worst part is when it’s cold and you’re trying to go to castings and the weather is really really bitter. Ohh and the other worst part is when you have like 15 castings in one day and your phones on 20%. Then you think now what do I do? Do I just go back to my agency or go home and charge it, but then you realise if you do you might miss some of the castings. That’s what I would say the worst part of it is but other than that it’s really fun.
What other stuff interests you?
I’m a BIG Chelsea fan. My Dad is a Chelsea fan, so that makes me one too . I’m really into football. I like going clubbing sometimes, it’s quite cool and I’m also quite good at playing chess. It’s a bit surprising. When I was in secondary school I got taught by one of the mentors that used to do chess tournaments, so I got involved in a few chess tournaments too.
If someone was asked to describe you, what would they say?
It’s hard to describe myself, but I think they'd say I’m always smiling. I smile a lot I guess, and I’m always telling jokes. Apparently I talk too much when I’m happy, so if I’m not talking too much then you can tell I’m not happy. I’d say a kind, nice person and honest.
What are your future ambitions?
I want to become a philanthropist, that’s my goal in life. I like helping out people, so that’s one thing I would love to do if I ever become mega rich.
If there was any location you could live in the world, where would that be?
Probably Brazil. I’ve never actually been there, but it looks awesome. Somewhere hot definitely, as I’m used to being in the centre of London.
Interview and words by Rachel Abebrese.