Meet Immanuel McDonald from Supa. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Immanuel moved to the UK after Covid hit to help progress his career as a model. Now a high-flying star, Immanuel sheds some light onto his experience of the fashion industry and provides us with a glimpse into his personal life. It was a pleasure to meet him and to learn more about his hopes for the future.
Annabel Ditchfield: Hey Immanuel, pleased to meet you. What are you up to, are you in the UK at the moment?
Immanuel: Yeah in the UK, I’ve been here for like two years now. Mainly just working, grinding you know.
AD: And where are you from originally?
I: I’m from Toronto, Ontario. But I was living in Milan. I kind of matured, I turned into the person I am today when I was in Milan so I feel like Milan is kind of my second home.
AD: What age were you when you moved to Milan?
AD: And did you move there for work?
I: Yeah mainly for work, I was fresh like moving into a whole new world. So you can just imagine where my head was at.
AD: How did you get into modelling, what made you move to Milan?
I: So basically, I kind of did it the opposite way round. Usually what happens is you’ll get signed and you’ll work in your home town for a little bit like a couple months, four or five months with your booker. But within a couple weeks to a month the owner of my agency flew in for a casting to Toronto then they signed me within a week and a half, two weeks, and they just said send him to Milan and I ended up staying there for two years.
AD: Did you ever miss home?
I: No. Maybe just a little bit like my mum and stuff but it’s always good being out of my home town. I feel like a lot of people get stuck, people doing the same shit. There’s nothing wrong with it but there’s more to the world than at home you know?
AD: Yeah definitely, you took a big leap. What was the thing that you were most scared about when you first moved?
I: I don’t know if I’ve really been scared to be honest, I’ve always been able to adapt to situations and my surroundings. But I guess I wouldn’t use the word scared you know. I don’t think I’ve ever been scared. My mum was scared but I was so carefree, so reckless, I just wanted to conquer the world. I felt like nothing could stop me.
AD: So when you moved to Milan do you feel like you settled in quite quickly to the lifestyle there?
I: Yeah, but like I said I was a little bit reckless, my priorities weren’t in line. I was eighteen, there was models, there were parties.
AD: Looking back to where you are now, how do you view things differently?
I: I definitely have a lot more respect for my work. I’m very thankful to be working as opposed to how my mindset was back then. My priorities are a lot more in line.
AD: If you could give yourself a piece of advice, looking back to when you first moved to Milan, what would you tell yourself? Is there anything you wish you knew back then?
I: That’s actually one question no one has ever asked me in my entire life. You’ll have to give me a minute to think about it. [Pauses] Go harder.
AD: Do you have a favourite job that you’ve done in terms of modelling?
I: Probably an off-white editorial I did. As well as a Philip Plein campaign I did in Milan, as tacky as the brand is, it was a crazy experience. They had flame throwers, bikes flying off ramps, the production was insane. Not my proudest client but one of my favourite jobs and experiences I had in my career. And then the campaign was plastered everywhere so it was nice.
AD: Do you have any embarrassing modelling moments?
I: Probably being late, back in the day because I had been out the night before and like I said my priorities were everywhere. Probably showing up super late to work and having to explain why you were late.
AD: If there was one thing you could change about the fashion industry what would it be?
I: Probably the lack of security. I love the last minute aspect, my whole life is just last minute stuff. But lack of security, not having a consistent stable income. Luckily enough I’ve been on contract here for almost my whole stay in London but you gotta get lucky.
AD: And do you have a dream brand that you would love to work for in the future?
I: Definitely Louis Vuitton. I actually wrote that in one of my journals, a book I’m reading. It’s called Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life and they ask the readers to write some of the things they would like to manifest and Louis V was one of them so let’s do that.
AD: Apart from modelling, what do you do in your free time?
I: I play guitar as my escape. I’m a big big nerd, you don’t even understand I could sit on my PC and stare at it for ten hours straight. I’m the biggest nerd ever.
AD: What are you doing on your computer?
I: Gaming. I play video games. So those are my two main things – playing guitar and gaming. That’s what I like to do in my free time when I’m not working.
AD: And who are the most important people in your life?
I: Lenny Kravitz, my mother of course. I take a lot of inspiration from The Weekend and Jayden Smith. If you look at the stages of my hair you can see the parallels.
AD: If you could go for dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I: Definitely Lenny Kravitz. Definitely.
AD: Why’s that?
I: I feel like I could obtain so much knowledge from him. Not only is he an inspiration but that brain of his, I’d just love to pick at it. Ask him questions that not everyone could ask him, have a conversation that not everyone could have with him you know. Not just to fan out or nothing. I’d say knowledge.
AD: Where do you see yourself in the future, what are your goals?
I: My main goal is definitely financial freedom, to take care of myself, my mum and others in my family. I just have to stay focused and trust my process and I know I’ll get where I wanna be. I definitely want multiple incomes, like investments. I don’t want to just be relying on modelling you know. I also want to mature into the person I want to be, mentally as well.
AD: Finally, what’s your favourite F word?
I: Can I do an acronym?
AD: Go for it.
I: It’s called FIO. It means figure it out. Like I’ll figure it out you know, like FIO.