A few years ago the thought of becoming a professional model never crossed Rashad Irvin’s mind.
“I was so focused on football, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” says Irvin.
Since way back when, Rashad has always had dreams of making a career out of football. At 6’3 and 200lbs, Rashad played WR throughout his high school and collegiate career at University of Toledo. Unfortunately because of the multiple injuries he faced, he had to consider other career options.
“I tore my ACL my sophomore year and senior year of high school and again during my sophomore year of college,” says Irvin. “All three times were due to the way I landed or planted my feet.”
Rashad says the first two times he tore his ACL; he came back playing better than before he had his injuries.
“I think because I was so determined to overcome the injury, therapy and the extra work I put in was just a part of my routine.”
After the third tear in 2015 was when doctors told Rashad he should start thinking about his future outside of the game. His knee was now full of scar tissue which caused some complications with his healing process.
“I was devastated. Imagine doing ONE thing your whole life, and on a random day all of what you worked for is gone?!”
“I was down and out for a couple months because I didn’t know who I was when football was gone. I lost my sense of identity.”
That same year was when Rashad also decided to take on modeling.
“Me and my best friend, Sadre Howard, were walking around the Fairlane Mall and I was stopped by a Detroit fashion stylist named Raine Webb and she asked me if I modeled,” says Irvin. “I laughed as if she was telling a silly joke, but she was serious. She gave me her information and I reached out a few days later.”
With the help of the Detroit Stylist, Rashad started doing photoshoots and landed a few features on a fashion website. Being featured officially made him a published model which led to other photographers wanting to work with him. As his portfolio grew, more opportunities came, including with NIKE in 2016.
“A friend of mine sent me a text saying that Nike was doing a casting for a campaign they were shooting for Detroit’s first Nike store,” says Irvin. “I drove from Toledo to the Westin Hotel in downtown Detroit for the casting and a few days later, they let me know that I was picked to be a part of the project!”
For the campaign, Rashad was featured on a billboard in downtown Detroit (shown below). And it was at that very moment that he decided he wanted to have a professional modeling career.
“I was so excited to be a part of my favorite athletic brand’s campaign,” says Irvin. “The icing on the cake was when I kept getting calls and texts about people seeing me on a billboard! It was truly a humbling experience.”
Shortly after, his career took a turn for the better when a friend messaged him about a casting call for Wilhelmina, one of the biggest modeling agencies based in New York, LA, Chicago, Miami and London. The casting was at Row House, a popular restaurant in Harlem. Within a few days Rashad got on a 12 hour bus ride with only his wallet, a pillow and an overnight bag in hopes of being signed.
“When I got there, the line was wrapped around the corner,” says Irvin. “I waited in line for about an hour before I met with Olga from Wilhelmina,” says Irvin.
Olga Tavarez is the Head Scout for Wilhelmina and has worked in the fashion industry for more than 20 years. The moment Rashad walked into the casting he stood out from all other candidates. And because of the potential Tavarez saw in Rashad, he decided to sign him to the agency.
Because of Wilhelmina, Rashad has worked with multiple multimillion dollar brands including Ralph Lauren, Target, Michael Bastian , Bedgear , Grungy Gentlemen and many more. He also had the opportunity to meet celebrities through the agency, including Dej Loaf and Machine Gun Kelly.
“Modeling has given me opportunities to meet so many people,” says Irvin. “I’ve been around a lot of creative and inspiring people. I enjoy just meeting new people that I can inspire or be inspired by.”
By January 2017, Rashad made the big move to New York City to continue his modeling career and to start pursuing an acting career.
“Through modeling I had opportunities to act and I found that I really have a passion for it,” says Irvin. “Modeling has and continues to open doors for me and allows me to learn about people, and more importantly about myself.”
Once settled in NYC, he began taking acting classes at The Producers Club and Magnet Theatre under the instruction of Anthony Abeson and Hannah Chase. Since then, Rashad has been booked for multiple short films and commercial roles.
As of this year, Rashad is now under the management of Mogul Management Group. To find out more about Rashad and his booking information, visit iamrashadirvin.com