What's so alluring about Djimon Hounsou? The question proposed itself as I was mulling on subjects for this feature. I can't quite formulate what makes Dijimon special, but besides the exterior, I was enthralled with his story. Mr. Hounsou was born and raised in a small country in Africa called Republic of Benin. In the late 80's he moved to France and established a career as a male model (I read somewhere Thierry Mugler discovered him). Consequently he moved to America and transcended into film. You might remember him on Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do You", where a camera follows him in slow motion running in what appears to a wide open field. I'm sure his physique and charming smile captured the attention of some. Janet, was sure pleased. Furthermore, I remember the first time when I watched "Beauty Shop", the scene when Queen Latifah knocks on Joe's door (Dijimon) and he opens the door shirtless. Pure Eye Candy. And who can forget his championship performance in "Amistad", "Gladiator" and "Blood Diamond"? Class Act.
In September 2007, Hounsou made fashion history when he became the first African model for Calvin Klein underwear commemorating their 25th anniversary. The ad campaign, shot by giant Peter Lindbergh in Palm Springs, made headlines everywhere. There he was in traditional tighty whities reminiscent of a Greek God. The spotless white backdrop highlights his smooth, seemingly oiled skin (reminds me of a Hershey's chocolate bar melting). His beefed, chiseled, perfectly sculpted physique is not a result from gifted genes as you might expect, "I regularly have to watch how much, when and what I eat," he told the New York Post. "It really becomes a daily routine. You just have to do it - get up, eat something and go to the gym -- so you can burn as much and look lean. It's pretty challenging." Who knew? But whatever he does is indisputably working for him.
Moreover, I find these images (below) by celebrity photographer Robert Ascroft of Djimon mysterious for some reason. The one where he's wearing a perfectly fitted three piece suit gives a vibe of mystery. The question rises if I've never heard his name before. What does he do? Is he a banker? A movie director? I love the overall composition of the photos, and seem as if they belong in the pages of GQ: well polished loafers, smart selection of clothes, and give a sense of personality.
I think Djimon Hounsou embodies the idea of the so-called "The American Dream". It's an ambiguous idea, but generally it's a representation of what us, migrants, would not have accomplished in out homelands (or not as easily). He was smart enough to seek an opportunity to grow and evolve as an artist and a person, and that's commendable. I can relate to that, so I guess that's why I decided to dedicate this humble post to him. Not only do I celebrate people who I find interesting or are linked to fashion, but also individuals who dream and inspire.
In case you missed it, on my previous Take A Bite I shredded light on male model Chad White.