Los Angeles isn’t dubbed “The City of Angels” for nothing. As a land filled with smartphone equipped pretty faces, anyone can sit there and carve out a career with Instagram. Chase Mana Kai, a 22-year-old model, is not just another pretty face with a hot body.
As an Aries born on the cusp of Taurus, he embodies every facet of the Cusp of Power: ambition, strength and impulse. While most people wouldn’t dare to move out of their hometown, the San Francisco-born Kai decided to pack his bags to LA just to “chase a life” that he’d be proud of. Although he’s got an ever-growing portfolio and currently signed to IMG (a.k.a. the fashion world’s biggest modeling industry titan), the rising star is an affable family boy that you’d like to bring home to meet your parents for dinner.
We catch up over e-mail to talk about how he got signed to IMG, why he isn’t afraid to share his feelings on social media and the one crystal he can’t live without.
What do you love most about modeling? Do you plan to stick to modeling permanently?
CK: I love modeling because it keeps me accountable for being healthy and working out. It also reminds me a lot about not comparing myself and loving myself. I do plan to stick to modeling permanently but it is not my only passion.
You’re signed to IMG, which is one of the biggest agencies in the world. How did you end up being signed by them and what made you want to work with them?
CK: I’m signed to IMG because of my mother agent and former mother agent. I wanted to work with them because of their excitement to work with me. I don’t care about notoriety of agency I only care of the agency sees potential in adding me to their team and when I met with them it had that kind of chemistry.
As a male model, you are often surrounded by so many beautiful people (seriously, that makes me nervous!). How do you feel about being surrounded by people who are as equally attractive as you? Do you think that it makes you feel more/less insecure about your own looks?
CK: Being surrounded by beautiful people doesn’t phase (sic) me at all. I don’t think that looks define who you are, how you treat yourself and others defines who you are. Also[,] I am a former chubby kid that feels like he wished upon a star and his dream came true (when it comes to looks) so I never really feel insecure about how I look unless someone insults me.
Apart from modeling, you seem like a family boy as you always post photos of your brother and sister. What are the biggest life lessons that your siblings taught you?
CK: My sister almost single-handedly taught me how to love myself. My brother teaches me everyday the importance of being vulnerable and emotional and loving. They are my world. I’m literally tearing up as I think about everything they’ve done for me.
I’ve noticed that so many men are preoccupied with work and family. However, there are some who feel like they have to sacrifice their family in order to achieve their dreams. When did you realize that you can achieve your dreams without having to sacrifice your family life?
CK: Family is supposed to be there through every decision you make. When I told mine that I never want to sacrifice my dreams they were on board with it 100%. The ONLY reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because I have a mother, brother and sister that believe in me. I can’t stress how lucky I am to have them as a support system and intrinsic motivation everyday.
What I like about you is that you’re not afraid to share show your sensitive side on Instagram and TBH, I don’t see many men like you doing this. When did you realize that as a man, it’s OK to show sensitivity and vulnerability? Were you raised to show your feelings to people who aren’t your family members in public?
CK: I grew up around a lot of toxic masculinity outside of the household and I would come home and it would be the opposite of that. I never really understood the need for men to forsake their emotions. I am sensitive, I cry, I goof around, but I also know that I am strong and that those parts of me don’t take away from my strength or credibility as a man. That is part of me and it has been from the beginning. Nothing will change that.
We see that you love to travel around the world! What’s the number one thing you can’t live without while you’re traveling?
CK: One thing I can’t live without while traveling is my black tourmaline. I’m a rock nerd and I love my rocks cause they protect me & surround me with good energy.
Lastly, if you have to move out of LA, where will you live?
CK: If I moved out of LA I would probably live in Hawaii.
All photos by Drew Pluta