Born to Be A Champion. Assad Shalhoub, photographed by David Vance Exclusive Interview.
By Stuart Mark @ModelViews
I haven’t done one of these model interviews in a quite a while, but for this one I jumped at the chance to get up close and personal with someone I long admired for his talent and dedication to his physique. I’m super excited to present the collaboration of two all-time favorites of mine, the Adonis ASSAD SHALHOUB and Photographer DAVID VANCE, in no less than a GLADIATOR themed shoot!
You may know Assad from his many selfies on Twitter and Instagram, especially of his ABS! The 25 year old, model, actor and super fitness enthusiast as appeared on the cover over twenty romance novels and is clearly is currently in the shape of his life! BTW, my favorite answer from Assad, was when I asked him What he wore to sleep and he said “Just sheets”!
In addition to talking with Assad, I was honored to have a brief and candid chat with the incredibly artistic photographer DAVID VANCE.
PnV: You’ve photographed Assad few times, what is it like to collaborate with him?
DV: Challenging. He is a perfectionist. Occasionally he has a different idea about how he looks best, and we don’t always agree. 😊 He definitely likes to have a say in what’s going on.
PnV: Did I say he was a bit of a megalomaniac, or highly opinionated?
DV: Not at all, just very enthusiastic and totally involved. 🙂
PnV: You do such amazing and artistic shoots; do you usually have a concept in mind for a specific model or session?
DV: Initially no. The first shoot is pretty organic. I like to spend the first part of a shoot getting acquainted, and trying to determine what lighting works best.
My main goal is to capture beauty from my point of view, through the lens of my life experience.
PnV: I was so excited about this gladiator themed shoot with Assad, he has the perfect body for it, how did this shoot come together?
DV: Assad contacted me because it had been quite a while since our last shoot, and he was in ‘shoot shape.’ Plus, he was psyched to do some kind of gladiator shoot. I had just refurbished the helmet and purchased some other props, so it worked out well.
PnV: Having worked with Assad over several years, has he changed at all from when you first photographed him?
DV: His body has changed. He was much bulkier before. Now he’s quite lean and totally ripped!
He’s all natural which makes for a body that is more in keeping with my personal aesthetic.
He’s more like an athlete than a bodybuilder.
And now for the main event, ASSAD.
PnV: OK Assad let’s start off getting your stats out of the way. What is your height, weight, age, eye/hair color? Current representation, if any?
Assad: 6’0″. 190. Brown/Black. Seeking representation and in conversation with a few agencies.
PnV: I know your Lebanese heritage is important to you and I believe you were born in Canada but have been in The States for years, right? What’s the back story here?
Assad: I’m Lebanese because of my parents. Canadian because my mom was waiting for her documents, and if I was born two months later I would’ve been born in America. I’ve lived in the United States my whole life. (Currently residing in Florida)
PnV: I’ve been a fan of yours for several years, but I’d be hard pressed to describe your personality. Many of the pics & posts on your social media are seductive, even a bit mysterious and a few seem moody. Is that the real Assad? How would you describe yourself?
Assad: Yes, it does seem like I follow a theme which is dark and brooding, but when people meet me, they see that I am quite the opposite of what I display on social media. I’m trying to show more sides of myself on social media, because as an aspiring actor, I can’t limit myself to just one trait.
PnV: I know you have a couple of tatts, that have special meaning for you, especially the one on your hip. Can you please describe it and what it’s significance is for you. And BTW, so glad you haven’t gone ink crazy all over your beautiful body!
Assad: The tattoo on my hip is an Arabic phrase hidden in freestyle drawing.
PnV: You’re a massively busy person with many interests. It almost seems like your multiple people, international model, romance book cover heartthrob, fitness and sports fanatic, have a thriving professional training & coaching business and you’re also in medical school, right? Did I leave anything out?
Assad: For a long time, I juggled being a full-time student, full time job, and pursuing the entertainment business. It wasn’t easy. If I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would’ve burnt out. Since I’ve finally graduated, I can finally give my all to pursuing the entertainment business.
PnV: How did you get into modeling?
Assad: I was always in shape because I was involved in lots of sports during school, and on top of that, social media was really getting popular as I was in high school. I started posting a lot of gym selfies, so then a photographer named Luis Rafael reached out to me. He had a big following on Facebook, so that was really my first shoot. When he posted the first photos, the rest is really history.
PnV: What is it like being the cover model on dozens of romance novels? How does that experience differ from your other fan bases?
Assad: The book cover world is very weird. I wouldn’t say there’s many people who actively TRY to be a book cover model. The reason I say that is because the first photo I booked a cover for was taken at a spur of the moment shoot. It just so happened that an author saw the photo and wanted it for her cover.
PnV: You’ve worked with David Vance a few times, what is it like to collaborate with David? He does such amazing and artistic shoots; does he usually have a concept in mind like this stunning gladiator shoot? I was so excited about this “300” themed shoot, it’s so PERFECT for YOU! How did this shoot come together?
Assad: David and I have created some amazing work together. We try to brainstorm before coming into the shoot, but sometimes things happen on the fly. The “300” shoot is something that I have long wanted to do, and I think David captured the vision extremely well.
PnV: OK you have an insane physique and I know fitness is an important part of your life. Can you discuss why it’s such an integral part of who you are?
Assad: As I alluded to earlier, I’ve been playing sports for a very long time. Being athletic has been important to my whole life. As I grew up, I became more aware of nutrition and health. Between studying it in school and trial and error with my own physique, I decided I wanted that the next step, and that (was) sharing my knowledge with other people. I didn’t have someone like, myself to help me and I can save people a lot of time and energy by directing them in the right direction very early on. Motivating someone to change their life for the better makes all the blood sweat and tears worth it.
PnV: While you always had a superhuman body, it looks like currently you are in the best shape of your life! Super lean and cut. First is that the case and can you please describe your body transformations over the years.
Assad: I would say that is the case. It seems like every year I figure out how to do something a little better. I played football in high school and had aspirations to (play in) college. My highest weight was 220 lbs. I didn’t like that feeling so over the next five years since then I did trial and error to perfect the balance between aesthetics and strength. I still strive to improve every day. But yes, right now I feel like I am the best I have ever been but there’s always room to get better.
PnV: Can you describe your current workout and fitness regium? Besides working out what else do you do to stay in shape?
Assad: Health and fitness is a 24 hour 7 day a week task. Every meal, every workout, water intake, every hour of sleep, etc… has to be as on point as possible. I train twice a day, early morning fasted cardio and abs and then the weight training at night. Everything that happens in between those workouts and after have to be set up in a way so I can perform at optimal capacity.
PnV: If someone wants your gladiator body, what advice would you give them?
Assad: It is cliché, but this doesn’t happen overnight. I first built my garage gym at age 15 and now I’m 25. I have been nonstop since then. I’m sure if I had the right knowledge early on it would have taken much less time but our bodies are so complex that figuring out the right way of doing things is a challenging task. I would say just keep at it and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
PnV: What is the body part you’re most proud of (from a fitness perspective)? I have a $100 bet it’s your ABS! LOL
Assad: I am known for my abs yes lol. My arms and legs are pretty close, but yes would win that bet.
PnV: What fitness suggestions would you give to us non-gladiators, someone who wants to start working out or just get into better shape?
Assad: The best time to start was then, the second best time to start is right now. Have a plan, throw out the junk food in your pantry, and set your mind right. Ask for help and if needed hire a trainer. Use all the tools that the internet provides us and do INVESTIGATIVE research. Don’t believe the first thing you read. And then go out there and apply it. Don’t get discouraged if the results aren’t immediate. Fitness is a lifelong journey.
PnV: As an avid fan of yours, I know you have some opinions on the current state of world affairs. I don’t want to get too political, but if you follow me on twitter as @ModelViews you know I don’t always do that well with keeping my views to myself. With such diverse fan bases, literally all over the world, women and men is there anything you want to say regarding what seems like the rise of hate, violence and intolerance and the possible retreat of some of the gains we’ve made on equality and the human experience?
Assad: The world has always been a mess. If the internet was invented during the crusades or even the world wars (imagine Hitler with access to Twitter), I’m sure it would have seemed much worse than it is today. There are a lot of good things happening and we try and focus on those. However, it seems like the bad is always pumped into our consciousness. I’m from the Middle East and have seen firsthand the atrocities that occur. I believe that seeking the truth is what a decent human being should do. Humans have a set of basic rights and many people don’t receive them, so it is our job as the fortunate ones to do whatever we can to eradicate ignorance and hate from this planet.
PnV: What can we expect from Assad over the next few years? Which of your passions will be dominating your future?
Assad: The next five years are crucial for my career. I don’t like jinxing myself but if my vision manifests into reality, it will be extraordinary.
OK time for the lightening round, quick questions with simple short answers.
PnV: Tell us something about you that would surprise most of your fans/our readers?
Assad: I think there’s many things, but I keep a journal and write poetry in it sometimes.
PnV: What artist/song are you currently listening to?
Assad: Meek Mill – Outro (Ft. Lil Snupe & French Montana)
PnV: What about when working out?
Assad: Hard Rock, Rap, and EDM
PnV: Latest movie you saw?
Assad: “The Kingdom”
PnV: Favorite food?
Assad: That’s hard. Anything terrible for you. 😂 Chicken Parmesan on a bed of spaghetti or something like that comes to mind.
PnV: Cheat meal?
Assad: That’s like a six-course thing! lol. I’m partial to an obscenely large burgers and fries!
PnV: Dogs, cats or neither?
PnV: Boxers or briefs?
Assad: Briefs or nothing.
PnV: What do you usually wear to sleep?
Assad: Just sheets.
PnV: What is your idea of a perfect evening?
Assad: Amazing cooked food and video games.
PnV: Closing question. If you got a call to be in a “300” movie sequel, would you do it? Even if they said you got to get in shape for it? LOL.
Assad: In a heartbeat.
For more on ASSAD SHALHOUB catch up with him at: