Oliver Kumbi is the Model-player, a nickname given to him by his friends connecting modelling and his primary passion, basketball. Envision a Swedish top male model; Scandinavian details, blonde hair, blue eyes, viking vibes. That is not Oliver Kumbi! Hailing from Stockholm Sweden, with roots from the Congo, the 21 year old black Swede has amassed a roster of clients others dream to work with. He has walked for the likes of Armani to Lanvin, has been photographed for some of the most prominent magazines, and is the face of numerous campaigns and commercial visuals, from H&M to Tom Ford and Nike, to name a few.
Kumbi was discovered by (recently deceased Sweedish designer) Ana Londono while working at a music festival in his hometown. Self nick-named Mufasa, like the Lion Kings’ wise leader of Pride Rock, he has a big presence in the modelling arena and is intent on making the most of his modelling career. This past summer, an incident in NYC threated to ruin Kumbi’s career– a stranger in a club attacked him with a key to his face. Thankfully, just like every significant basketball player, he managed to perform euro step (bball move) and dribble his way back to modelling form. We caught up with the busy model for a quick chat.
If you can chill with anyone, dead or alive, who would that be and why?
It’s tough to pick just one, but if I have to I would say, LeBron James, he’s been a huge influence while growing up.
Super hero, animal, or Disney character? If you were to be one, which would you be:
I would choose to be a superhero, my favorite is Daredevil, being blind is the worst thing that could happen to me but he’s overcome that as well.
Do you believe in love?
Yes I believe in love, I think everyone does.
Model behaviour- what does it mean to you?
My principle has always been that if you don’t think too much about being a model, that’s when you are actually the best kind of model. I’m myself and the same person in whatever I do.”
What would you like to change in the world, and why?
Everything at the moment, everything’s a mess!
Where would you want to travel? and why?
I would love to travel to Congo, I have never been and would like to see family and experience the culture.
Have you ever experienced discrimination? In fashion?
Yes as every black person, it’s something you face repeatedly.
What do you offer that no one else does?
Haha, #känsla. I think it’s really hard for me to answer that; it’s up to other’s to decide.
What’s your favourite outfit?
I like comfortable clothes, so whatever I’m most comfortable in for the season.
What do you wear to a casting?
Quite simple, non-branded clothes.
Who is your favourite designer?
As a person, I really like Olivier Rousteing, and I admire Tom Ford a lot as a designer.
Will you ever stop modelling? When?
Hopefully never, but it’s usually not up to the model, haha.
What do you want to see change about the fashion industry?
More diversity, we made a lot of progress the last few seasons but there’s so much more work to be done.
What’s your most significant accomplishment?
Being signed; when it was tough for black models to get signed, and being the first black model ever to work for a lot of Swedish brands, and being the first black model from Sweden to walk international shows.
What should people to know about you?
I want people to know that I’m loyal and a positive person
What do you want people to check out?
I want people to keep an eye on my new shoe line, hopefully being released early next year!