Alpha Dia Discusses His Eponymous Foundation Set Up To Help Children In Senegal, And Why Self-Belief Is Essential

Alpha Dia, a Senegalese fashion model nominated for Model.com’s Model of the Year: Men Award in 2019, embodies a new brand of influence as he utilises his popularity to better the lives of people back home. Dia was born in 1992 in Dakar, Senegal. He was scouted in a bar in Hamburg, German by photographer Christian Bendel and signed soon after with Modelwerk agency in Germany. It was from this agency that Dia’s representation grew all around the world and debuted on the runway walking for Prada in Milan during the men’s fashion week. Since then, he’s been the face of BOSS, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy, H&M and credits his success to “a strong character and a great team. Since then, he’s been the face of BOSS, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy, H&M and credits his success to “a strong character and a great team.” Dia currently has 30k followers on his Instagram and was identified by Models.com as a Break Out New Face in 2017 was nominated for Model.com’s Model of the Year: Men Award in 2019. In 2020 alone, Dia posed for several campaigns from Missoni F/W 2020 and Boss S/S 21 Show to editorials with Numéro Berlin and V Man. Dia has also graced the pages of GQ GermanyAnother Man, and Essential Homme.

Despite his success on the runway and in editorials, the most notable part of Dia is his sense of social responsibility. Dia expressed to MMSCENE that it is his role to “leave our best footprints so the models coming next will fill them easily” which is why he’s using his fame to encourage other black people to be proud of their colour.

Who is Alpha Dia in 5 words…
Senegal, Africa, Family, Generosity, Fun…

What’s the first place you’d want to go when it’s safe again to travel and go out?
I definitely would like to go home to Senegal or to book a job in a place I’ve never been to before.

If our industry didn’t exist, what do you think you’d do for a living?
I think it would definitely be something new and innovative. I have not made up my mind yet as I love what I am doing right now.

Photography by Benjo Arwas
 

What’s your work-from-home style?
Joggers on the couch, sometimes a quick basketball game to keep energy high. I easily find distraction at home.

Can you please tell us more about the Alpha Dia Foundation?
I was born in Senegal, which is in West Africa. Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility and we are working together with partners to offer quality services with a focus on positive results for children and families. As the Coronavirus is attacking our everyday lives all around, the main goal is to offer assistance to those who need it most. Even under normal circumstances, many families in Senegal are forced to survive on a minimum wage. The pandemic causes further problems. The idea is to offer help to those in need by at least addressing their nutritional needs.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
One of those moments was definitely walking for L’Oréal on the Champs Élysée in Paris in front of a public couple of years ago. The cast including Doutzen Kroes, Jane Fonda, Maria Borges, Lena Meyer-Landrut.

What are your goals as a model? How do you see yourself progress in this field?
There is not much I can do to get booked except for being the best version of myself on set. I like to see clients booking me again because if the client wants me back it shows me that I’m progressing.

What has been your biggest challenge as a model of color?
As an African that grew up in Europe, I was always facing ignorance and racism which has made me super sensitive about the topic. Many times as a black person you are confronted with people not knowing anything about your background and that mostly turns to ignorance.

Photography by Benjo Arwas

Who or what has been your major influence?
My family! The fact that no matter what, I have a family that will forever open their arms to me, makes me go to the limit to chase my dreams.

What’s the biggest change you’ve experienced in the last 02 years?
My growth, especially spiritual, and being more aware of my body and mental status.

If you could tell your former self one thing right now what would it be?
I’m absolutely happy that I was always one who never gave up his identity. I try to stay true to myself, no matter what.

Words by: Tasnova Sattar

Captured by Benjo Arwas Seen Artists Creative Director: Andre’ Adkins.