More than just strikingly good looks, over 100k Instagram followers and an impressive list of brand collaborations and runway shows, Bosso is proof of the extraordinarily impactful outcome which can occur when one uses the power of their perceived “otherness” and influence through a deep sense of compassion.
Written by Palesa Kgasane with contributions from Lufuno Ramadwa and Dimeji Alara.
Born in Ivory Coast and raised in Montreal, Adonis Bosso signed to an agency almost 10 years ago when he dropped off his then partner at her agency and got scouted on the spot. Coincidence? Not really, considering that both his god-like appearance and contagious personality have made him more than just a model, but a public figure. Bosso is outspoken about his beginnings as a model of colour in the industry and credits much of his success, starting at 17 years old, to wanting to spread diversity and make his mom proud.
ELLE caught up with the Instagram- hailed Septum papi whilst he was in Cape Town recently and got to know the man beyond the incredible bone structure.
We started off with some quirky things you may not have known about him…
We all want to know about your septum ring, when did you get it and did you have it when you started modelling?
I got my septum ring on a trip to Paris when I visited the city for fun in 2011. I had been modelling in Montreal already but I had a hard time getting into other markets like New York and Europe in terms of my modelling, and the funny thing about that is, 6 months after I got my septum piercing, I was signed in all the global markets.
How many tattoos do you have?
I have 10 at the moment, I get them in every other city I visit.
The one clothing item you wear more than anything else?
I wear Vans all the time. I like the feeling of not having to tie my shoes and you can just slip them on, no problem.
The first thing you bought with your own money?
I have been making my own money for a long time. When I was 14-15 I was working at camps as a counsellor, then I began working with special needs children and after I started working at a centre that helps integrate youth who have just moved to Canada.
But, the very first time I got my own money, I gave it to my parents.
Breakfast or dinner?
Breakfast all day!
When last did you visit your home in Ivory Coast?
I’ve been fortunate to have visited Cuba, Gabon, South Africa, and Egypt all this year but I haven’t been home for 5 years now.
Favourite home-cooked traditional meal?
Aloko, it’s basically fried plantains.
How many siblings do you have?
I’m the oldest of 5, my youngest sibling just turned 12.
Having to communicate with such a big family and entertain yourself on-the-go, you are probably always on your phone…which apps do you frequently use?
My favourite one is Youdoodle, I don’t know if it’s the best but it helps me design and draw different things. Some of my illustrations I draw on paper and then scan.
Do you edit the pictures you post on the ‘gram?
I just use the Instagram edit. But now I have an iPhone 8 and the light is crazy.
Where will you be these holidays?
I always spend New Years and Christmas in Canada with my family, it’s always a big deal and way too much.
On fashion and career…
What was the first major shoot/ for which publication?
I think that would be WWD in NYC. I remember it was my first season of doing runway shows and they would give out the magazine throughout fashion week.
I remember getting WWD and seeing the magazine for the first time while I was in Milan after a show. Someone had told me I was in the magazine and I couldn’t believe it.
It was the first time I was in an American fashion magazine – and they let me keep my septum.
Growing up, what did you envision yourself doing as a career?
Well, I studied Special Care Counselling to work with kids with mental or physical impairments. I opened a centre with my family in 2014. It’s a safe haven where kids can spend the day and night and it takes the weight off of the parents’ or families’ shoulders.
One of my brothers has autism so it sparked the fire to help other families dealing with the same issues mine was.
Who is your all-time favourite photographer?
I can’t say I have a favourite photographer especially when I know a lot of photographers personally.
I can say that I really appreciate the work of Herb Ritts. He did Michael Jackson’s “Keep it in the Closet” with Naomi Campbell and it is legendary.
On his activism…
Activism in light of Autism is very close to your heart, tell us about your foundation and what prompted you to start it?
I have always been a caregiver, and taking care of people has always been my thing. I like people to be good and happy. So, growing up I always had to help my parents with my little brother. We all worked as a team to raise him. I think that’s what brought the idea to open a centre into fruition. It is and was our way to help and give back to the community by providing a place where kids like my brother would be safe and understood. And a place where parents whose children are Autistic can get the extra support they needed.
On his budding music career and musical influences..
What is the most played song on your phone?
‘Still in love with you.’ -Sade
Your favourite childhood song?
I think ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston. I mean ‘The Bodyguard’ was an iconic movie and I watched it so often.
Whitney Houston really marked my childhood.
Favourite music video of all time?
That’s hard one! But I was always into Mangas and anime so I remember watching Daft Punk’s anime music videos so many times.
When did you first realise that you wanted to get into making music?
At a young age, I was always interested in entertainment. I took acting classes as a kid and loved singing. But for some reason, I didn’t believe in my self enough to focus solely on music. It’s a difficult thing to put a part of you that is so raw, out in the open. My songs are written in my own words and sharing that emotion, depicted in my voice, was terrifying. Eventually, that changed when I had other people believing in me, people who I knew and respected – it gave me the confidence to move forward and concentrate on my music.
Your biggest musical influences?
My musical inspiration is a little all over the place. I grew up with the sound of my country and it will always influence my music. There is also the R&B that I have discovered through my aunt such as Toni Braxton, Bryan McKnight and Boys II Men. Then, I had my hipster phase where I discovered bands like the XX and Beirut.
Visually Michael Jackson always made me dream.
How would you describe your sound?
My music is a part of me, it’s a part of all the things I have inherited until now. All the songs from the motherland that I’ve grown up with. All the R&B and Soul I was introduced to in Canada. It’s a mix of the Indie and Alternative songs that I have discovered around the world. My music is like my diary.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your first single, Jungle?
Jungle is a nostalgic song to me. It’s about leaving your home or your comfort zone to chase a dream and though we remember the sweet and comforting memories of home, we keep pushing to reach our goals -no matter the hardships or obstacles. Jungle is about persevering. It’s about hope. It about the chase and survival.
You have an all-female band in the music video for Jungle, how did that come about?
I chose 3 black girls to play my band. You see, I grew up surrounded by strong women – my mom, my aunt and later on my grandma. It made me realize just how powerful these women are and the vital role they have played in my growth is undeniable. The women in my video and the women in my life represent the Tridevi –the 3 Hindu Goddesses protecting me during my journey.
From the beginning of the project, I knew I wanted an all-female band.
To me, there is nothing sexier than women who can play instruments.
What projects can we expect from you in future?
Let’s just say you will definitely get more music, but I won’t say when or how much so you better stay tuned.
Watch the music video for Adonis’ Jungle below.
We look forward to seeing what Adonis has in store for the future and if the present and past is anything to judge by, the world ought to expect many more milestones from the multi-faceted creative.