The definition of beauty is a question that is often asked here at BLISS and the revelation is not in the answers given, but in the fact that the opinions expressed showcase how diverse beauty is. In different parts of the world, specific traits can come to define the basis of attraction, and not surprisingly, the American standard of beauty is known well beyond the borders of the United States. Advertisers market to this standard, as do films and even photographers. It is not a secret that some photographers shoot non ethnic models exclusively, which in turn has led others to cater specifically to those that are overlooked by others. The shift is there and the inclusion of ethnic models has increased, although at a relatively slow pace.
African Americans and Latinos have finally reached a mainstream audience, though still not on an equal scale, but other minorities are still striving to be seen within the industry, most specifically Asian males. Last year, BLISS ran an entire issue dedicated to Asian men featuring the amazing Eric Rensburg , Guy Tang, Jeremy Tang and Peter Le. Ironically, Peter remains the most viewed feature on the BLISS site, and continues to be in the top three every month, which shows that the appeal is definitely there, even if the rest of the industry refuses to see it.
Filipino beauty, Jay Jam came to my attention on Facebook first and then Model Mayhem, and he possesses the look, physique and sex appeal that have made Eric, Guy, Jeremy and Peter so familiar to admirers of male art. He is equally comfortable in fashion spreads, but his body has put him more in the category of fitness model. Now he comes to BLISS as a holiday treat, but this gift is presented unwrapped.
BLISS: How did you first get interested in modeling?
Jay Jam: I have always loved to dance and eventually act and being in front of the camera is something that I love and not new to me. But somehow it was never pushed into its maximum potential. So eventually I joined a "physique" contest locally back home and have photographers take pictures of me, that's when I saw myself doing this. For me it’s more like a journal to see how my body is developing and now developing into an art form.
B: What was your first shoot like? Were you comfortable in front of the camera?
JJ: The very first shoot was of course nerve racking and very awkward. Honestly I was not all comfortable in front of the camera and back then I was still developing my body.
B: Most of your images show off your beautiful physique. Do you consider yourself a fitness model mainly?
JJ: Thank you but first and foremost I don't even consider myself a model. These are just a collection of pictures for now, something that I look at to see physically where my body is at. If it is called a fitness model mainly, thank you but that’s for now who knows what the next project will be.
B: You’ve worked with one of my favorite photographers, Desi Arnaz of Zedneram, who was featured here in BLISS. His images show off a different side of you. What was it like to work with Desi?
JJ: I am very honored that Desi gave time to do a shoot with me with his very busy schedule. To work with Desi is a dream come true for a model, such a creative, fun, respectful and professional individual.
B: Is there any particular shoot that you did that stood out as a positive learning experience? If so, what did it teach you?
JJ: Each shoot that I had is a positive learning experience for me. It has thought me how to work on my angle, which muscle part to contract and to work out even more to reach that ultimate improvement in my body.
B: Your profile states that you are based in Canada but you’ve traveled quite a bit for photo shoots. What is the best location you’ve been to so far?
JJ: I would say San Francisco, it's a city that I keep coming back and always have felt the love from its people.
B: If you could pick one photographer and one location for your dream shoot, who and where would it be?
JJ: Well I definitely know that place and that would be somewhere in Florida and as for the photographer Luis Rafael.
B: What is your ethnic background and where were you born?
JJ: I am Filipino and was born in the Philippines.
B: What led you to Canada?
JJ: My immediate family, siblings and parents are all here.
B: There’s Peter Le, Eric Rensburg, Guy Tang, Rob Trinh, Jeremy Tang and a few others who have become known within the industry, yet there still seems to be a lack of exposure for Asian males overall. Do you feel that Asian males are underrepresented within the industry?
JJ: Yes I do feel that we Asian males are underrepresented in the industry and thank you to these guys that they have started representing us in the industry, they are my inspirations.
B: It’s clear from your physique that you work out. Have you always been into fitness?
JJ: Yes I have always been into fitness. I have always pictured myself as to be that thin lanky man, if I can only find and show you that picture. Hypertension runs in the family, it's also why I have always wanted to be physically fit.
B: Do you follow a specific diet and regimen to stay in the shape you are in?
JJ: I believe in moderation in anything that I eat and so far my metabolism hasn't slowed down yet. But before photo shoots of course I have to prepare for that and I would usually cut down on carbohydrates one week.
B: Even the most disciplined models have a guilty pleasure. Do you have any vices?
JJ: After night out of drinking, I would indulge myself in all of the salty sweet spicy junk food that I can have...ice cream, hotdogs, pizza, chips etc.
B: What would you consider to be your best features?
JJ: I would say my abdominals and ass.
B: If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be?
JJ: I am constantly changing my appearance; I treat my body like a work of art. It’s constantly evolving.
B: Model’s always want to update their portfolios and finding new photographers is the best way to do it. Are there any photographers who you specifically want to work with?
JJ: Ed Freeman, Tom Bianchi, Don Pollard, Terry Hastings, Mark Edwards and Sean Dibble.
B: When did you decide that you were willing to pose nude?
JJ: I am willing to try most anything once and when I saw the first nude pictures that I did, from that point on it was journal to see how my body was evolving.
B: What was your first experience being nude in front of a camera like, and how does it differ from other shoots?
JJ: It was very liberating experience I must say and once you've done it most everything else is easy. But of course I haven't done every kind of shoot. It differs from a fashion shoot or other kinds because you really have to be aware how your body is during that shoot.
B: The photos that can be viewed in your public portfolio do not include full frontal images. Have you done full frontal? If you have, why haven’t you made them public? If not, is this something you are opposed to for yourself?
JJ: Yes I have done it. It is not public because the photographers and I have talked about having a mutual agreement and respect that if they need to publish a full frontal image that we should talk about it. I was born in a tropical country and my privates are not use to the four different seasons, especially winter.
B: What is the wildest concept that has ever been presented to you by a photographer?
JJ: I have yet to experience this, so far none.
B: All the photos I’ve seen of you have been solo images. Are you interested in doing duo or group shots?
JJ: Actually I already did a group shot way back home and yes I would be interested in doing a duo or a group shot again.
B: With the exception of fashion, duo shots have a tendency to border on the sensual. Would you be open to an erotic shoot with another model?
JJ: Sensual yes, erotic why not with another model but not pornographic.
B: Which shoot, if any, stands out the most for you to date and why?
JJ: I would say having a location shoot at Sutro Baths in San Francisco with Alec Joseph Bates as the photographer. The feeling of being photographed in one of the historic sites was such an amazing feeling and pictures turn out to be quite awesome.
B: If a new model contacted you for advice about the industry, what tips would you offer?
JJ: Hmmm, just be yourself, look for inspirations, be the best you can be and have fun!
B: Any last words for your fans and the people who will read this?
JJ: Fans? Are there any out there? A big heartfelt thank you and especially to the photographers I've worked with for believing in me, you made my dreams come into a reality. Lastly to you Sean - thank you for featuring me in BLISS. All the best in 2012!
©2011 – Sean Dibble