Newcomer Sergi Shan is ready for center stage. You are going to be seeing a lot of, whether it’s on the runway or our screens. The Spanish/Chinese model was named winner of Elite Model Look last year and recently moved to Paris. With a resume that includes acting and dancing, in addition to modeling, we got the chance to meet Sergi before the busy fashion week season. In this exclusive story inspired by the rehearsal room, Sergi is captured by Enzo Farrugia in pieces styled by Tine Kozjak.

Dries Van Noten

Hey Sergi, let’s start by introducing yourself!

Hi there, Sergi Shan here.21 years old. Currently working as an actor and a model. I would describe myself as dysfunctional, neurotic, with questionable life choices, and frankly, someone who laughs at their own jokes.

Join the “questionable life choices” club! You and anyone who hasn’t followed the traditional career path. However, you are in good company, how were you discovered?

My agent Vanessa from Elite Spain came up to me on the streets of Barcelona. I was carrying what seemed a shopping cart, a somewhat poorly fashioned 80’s outfit, and on my way to help my mother with some grocery shopping. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but then little did we know, it was going to be the beginning of a beautiful partnership. God, I sound like Humphrey Bogart at the end of “Casablanca”. And the rest is history. But seriously, I am very grateful for this fortuitous encounter because we’ve achieved so much together over time and we have yet to reach tons more.


Last year you won the Elite Model Look. Can you tell us about the experience?

Amazing, yet surreal. It’s not every day that you get a trip to Prague, the opportunity to meet industry experts from the competition, and actually win the goddamn thing. To be honest, I was just happy being there. Shaking hands, talking to people, and the whole shebang. And the best thing is that, through this competition, I got to work with clients like Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Hugo Boss, and much more. I can’t complain, to be honest. Just simply as an experience, it was very fulfilling. And it made my mom happy.

You split your time between Barcelona, Shanghai, and now Paris. What made you decide to move to Paris?

Well… more than moving to Paris, I was more like getting away from Barcelona. Simply put, I didn’t want to be stuck in my comfort zone after graduating, I just wanted to be on the edge of my seat really…and the whole existential crisis/trials-and-tribulations deal that comes with being in the early 20’s I guess. All kidding aside, I just wanted to find new experiences, learn, and live to be frank. And thankfully I speak French, otherwise, there’d be no purpose in going there.


France is amazing once you have already fallen in love with the language or are a bit of a Francophone.

Definitely Christine Cinéma Club in Paris. That place is a gem. One of the best independent cinemas in Paris. I go there as religiously as a YouTubead that keeps popping up every 30 seconds. And if you find yourself in sunny Barcelona, please go to Hoffman Bakery and buy yourself a mascarpone croissant.

Besides your modeling career, you are also an actor…How and when did you start acting?

I’m not going to bore you with some sentimental story (even though there are many) but I will say this. I will always be a lover of the world of cinema. And I will always belong there. No matter what, I will carry on expressing myself in different forms, be it acting, dancing, writing, or even cooking. And I have to thank my brother for that. So I applied and stayed three years at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona in 2020, where I learned tremendously about acting as a craft, and now I’ve recently signed with Gosua Films from Spain. Things are looking up and a few projects are on the way.

ACNE STUDIOS Jumpsuit + Socks MM6 Shoes

Spain is producing so much these days, we aren’t so limited to location to practice our crafts these days, but if you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would you go?

New York City, The Big Apple, Gotham or however else you call it. Never even crossed the Atlantic Ocean, but definitely want to live in New York City at one point in life. Especially for acting and the entertainment industry. And I know I’ll live there at some point, it’s just a matter of time.

Jumping to the subject of beauty, do you have a favorite scent?

I would have to say oakwood. And by oakwood, I really mean the smell of gasoline. Please don’t judge me.

I was one of those kids that rolled down the windows at a gas station, let’s pretend I didn’t admit that. As a dancer, what’s on your playlist? And what drew you to dance?

Oh, ladies and gentlemen, strap your gloves and get ready because if we’re talking about dancing, you know that I will crank up some heavy 70’s funk like The Bar-Kays, George Benson, The Temptations, some good old Stevie freaking Wonder, the one and only Diana Ross, Kool & The Gang and Chic. And I have yet to hear La Mosca Tsé-Tsé in a nightclub, ‘cause I will lose my mind at that point. But I’ve always loved to dance. I’ll dance whenever I can, even on shooting. It’s like acting, just another form of self-expression. What drew me to dance was that empty stage with music still playing I saw as a child during one of our family vacations. I saw my chance, and I took it. Thus, the Asian version of Michael Flatley was born.


“The Asian version of Michael Flatley “ is a quote in itself. We are now in the midst of Fashion Week. What essentials do you bring along on your travels for a last-minute job?

If by essentials you mean, toothbrush, underwear, and common sense? Yes. But for me, one of the most essential things to bring would be simply a good book and a swim trunk. You never know if the hotel you’re staying at has a pool where you can practice your cannonballs.

I imagine that you are running around going to castings and jobs, trying to get a cannonball in somewhere. What’s on your playlist and or reading on the go?

I will usually put some upbeat, motivating kind of music like KC & The Sunshine Band, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Curtis Mayfield, Luis Miguel even. However something I tend to do is I will usually listen to songs in the language of the country I’m in. if I’m in Milan for example, I will listen to singers like Fred Bongusto, Mina, Ornella Vanoni, so I can learn a bit of Italian on the go. It’s either that or a good old GeorgeCarlin stand up, that will surely make me burst into laughter out of nowhere, but I wouldn’t care, ‘cause I know I got some good comedy material. And as for a book, I always carry at least one book, it usually tends to be on the subject of Chinese history, particularly the 20th Century.

DRIES VAN NOTEN Jacket + MM6 Shoes

What’s been your most memorable shoot and why?

The most memorable shoot for now would be the Tommy Hilfiger x Greg Lauren capsule collection I did over a year ago. It had everything! A fantastic American-Spanish crew. Crazy good chemistry. Huge production. A beach photo shoot. In my hometown. Need I say more?

Any good tips you have exchanged with other models?

Not really. It doesn’t usually happen in this tip exchange scenario. I’m more of a fall-on-my-face-break- my-back-and-learn-on-the-way kind of guy. However, I did learn A LOT from my older sister Lena, who’s also a model. Things like, how to say no, the importance of building a strong mentality for this industry, and the power of visualization/manifestation. And I know it’s extremely cheesy, and I hate to say it but it rings true. Just. Be. Yourself.


Let’s have a little fashion fun. What was the worst style choice you ever made?

Probably wearing a whole array of oversized T-shirts with movie posters imprinted on them, like “Jaws”, “Godzilla”, and “Star Wars”. But you know what? I don’t regret it, in fact, I’m proud, because I freaking love movies. But I won’t do it again. Except for that cropped T-shirt from the show Cheers that I have and love.

Do you know how many people wear Tim Burton t-shirts from Hot Topic where I come from? If you could bring back any fashion trend what would it be?

Bring back long collar shirts and bell bottoms!!! Make life like a Soul Train show!I once saw a man on the streets of Paris dressed in a full 70’s outfit to the tee, and I said to myself “Man… he is really cool”.

Which designers are you loving at the moment?

To be honest, my knowledge of fashion designers is quite limited. But I have recently been keen on the works of John Galliano, especially his latest couture collection for Maison Margiela Spring 2024. I loved absolutely everything about it. The Parisian nighttime atmosphere, the ample silhouettes, the sense of theatricality. Maybe that’s why, because he blends fashion and performance together, making a fantastic visual and rich story-telling.


Do you have a favorite piece of clothing?

Either my Onitsuka Tiger shoes, because every time I wear them, I feel like I’m on a major vengeful spree with a kick-ass soundtrack in the background, or my Lillies Studios shirt, made by a very dear friend of mine, making me feel like a devil-may-care cowboy. Yeah… I think it’s safe to say that it’s quite obvious I like to “get into character” when choosing my clothing style.

Finally, what’s the biggest risk you have taken so far?

I would say getting an acting degree. And it’s not only because I wanted to scare the bejesus out of my parents, but I honestly don’t know what else I would do. It just felt like a natural risk to take you know? And thank God my parents let me take it, I mean they have good reason to be worried. The only place I am qualified for a job with a Fine Arts degree is Ancient Greece. But not to worry, I will keep on taking more and heavier risks in the future, in acting, in self-expression, in love, life in general. ‘Cause otherwise, I would flatline. And hey, I’ve already moved to Paris. I’ll see where life will lead me. But I will always have one particular quote from Conan O’Brien in mind when taking risks: “If you can laugh at yourself every time you fall, loud and hard, people will think you’re drunk”. So there you have it, this is just the very beginning. Oh, and getting a perm at 17. Well, that was a useless risk to take…

To quote yourself, the perm can fall under “questionable life choices”, and we are all for it!

Model – Sergi Shan @sergi.shan at Elite Spain
Photographer – Enzo Farrugia @enzofarrugia_
Stylist – Tine Kozjak @tinekozjak
Director – Antoine Lebas @antoinelebas
Set Design – System F @system_f_
Make up Artist – Aurelie Dehecq @aurelie_dehecq
Hair Stylist – Raynald Croix Bernard @raynald.croix.bernard
Light Assistant – Vanina Esdras @vaninaesdras
Shot at Studio Royal Cheese