London-based IMG Brawn (plus-size) model, Nemar has an inspiring journey fuelled by his magnetic personality and a deep love for fashion. Born to parents of Jamaican and Chinese origin and growing up in the multicultural setting of Brixton, in the heart of South London, diversity and embracing differences is in Nemar’s blood.
Having graduated from the world-renowned London College of Fashion and beginning his career as a buyer’s assistant in ASOS, Nemar soon became one of the first faces for their men’s plus-size range after being discovered by the creative director John Mooney in 2016. Talking about how he got started he says, “While I was working at ASOS there was a party one night where I was talking to someone, and he said he’s shooting a campaign for which he thought I’d be perfect.
“Everyone was drinking; I thought it was the alcohol talking and didn’t think much of it. But two weeks later, I was at my desk before they whisked me away upstairs and I’d got the campaign – it just snowballed from there!”
Currently working with international talent discovery and model management, IMG models, Nemar fell in love with fashion at the age of 8. Recalling his first memory of being drawn to fashion, he says, “When I was a child I’d always be in the library, and I remember these books called ‘Fashion by the Decade’ which I’d take home and read as well as make sketches from.”
From that awe-stricken young child to now being deemed ‘the #1 plus-size male model that everyone needs to know’ by Cosmopolitan and ‘one of the ten hottest male models of the moment’ by Seventeen Magazine, Nemar has come an impressively long way.
Reflecting on his journey from working with big-name brands such as Nike, ASOS, Target to his personal highlight of being on a billboard for all at Shoreditch to marvel at- and some challenging lows, he says, “It’s an amazing, interesting and new journey where I get to carve out my own lane. But because it’s a new concept, it can be a bit challenging as people aren’t adjusting fast enough. I do feel out of place sometimes, but I think soon everyone will get to a point where being a brawn model is the norm.”
There is a profoundly motivating sense of optimism that oozes from every word spoken by Nemar. First speaking on his hopes for the fashion industry, he says, “It’s moving towards a more inclusive and diverse place, the industry is definitely changing when it comes to ethnicity and body shape, but I’d also love for it to get more environment-friendly. It’d be amazing if we could have great pieces and styles of clothing without affecting the planet so badly.”
While on the topic of hopes and dreams, we discuss what he’d love to achieve in his career and life personally. He says, “Outside of work I really want to travel and do charity work. In modelling, I really want a cover, and since my passion lies in different textures and clothes, I’d love to open up my own brand someday. Aside from that, I want to continue breaking boundaries.”
From future hopes we harken back to the past, still remaining in the vein of optimism, however, he would advise his younger self, “Know it gets better, people’s opinions don’t matter and save money!”
Stopping the time jumps between future and past, we focus on the present for a minute as we discuss his advocacy for diversity and representation in modelling. He says, “My advocacy is done simply by doing my job by being in these spaces and having conversations. By taking up space and being visible so that other people who look like me feel represented and motivated.”
Influenced by his upbringing and inspired by the likes of actor/style icon Billy Porter and his own sister, Nemar is unapologetically himself, pushing through challenges to rise to the top and chase his dreams, and he’s aiming to bring that positivity to people through his podcast. Currently, still in the works, he describes it “as a platform to openly discuss issues that young people face today with important and inspiring people of this generation.”
Being a successful plus-size model advocating for representation and visibility, undeniably makes Nemar an inspiration that people want to know about. But as people attempt to understand more about the world and experiences of being a Brawn model, many forget to look past at the person that lies beyond and a brilliant person he is.
From his fashion must-haves, “A telfar bag, pair of black Airforces and a bendy Dad hat.”, to a love of reading and music, there’s a lot to discover about Nemar in addition to his achievements as a model. Sticking to mutual interest, we excitedly chat about music for several seconds as Nemar, whose most played track is Georgia Smith’s ‘Be Honest’, reveals an excellent taste in music.
His sunny personality shines brightest as he exclaims that the lyrics which describe his life entirely are from Nicki Minaj’s ‘Moment 4 Life’; “ No I’m not lucky, I’m blessed, yes!” And looking at his impressive portfolio achieved in less than three years, you can’t help but completely agree with the answer.