Sun | Mar 26, 2017

Style | Jamaican Coconut Vendor Tevin 'Steeles' the heart of Yves Saint Laurent

Published:Sunday | March 12, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Saint Boss and  model star-maker Deiwght Peters takes his latest protege Tevin Steele  touring Paris. Here they pose at the famous Arc De Triomphe De L'Etoile along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.
Signed in Paris- Tevin poses in front of the mens-board of MP Models(showing his new card) with director David Rayssac, after signing with MP Models in Paris.
Here Tevin poses with two of the world's influential image-makers- casting director Piergiorgio Del Moro(who booked him for Saint Laurent) and uber-stylist Allistair Mckimm.
Tevin poses outside the entrance of the legendary House of Yves Saint Laurent in Paris after he did his refitting with the in-house team on the day of the show.
Tevin gives his beloved mom-and partner in the coconut shop business, Marguerita Belafonte, a big kiss upon his return to the island last week.
Tevin on the runway at Yves Saint Laurent in Paris.
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The Saint International star-making model machine is known for having the unmatched ability to pluck faces from obscurity to almost instant stardom with fascinating precision.

Last week, in Paris, was another huge one for the agency as their CEO Deiwght Peters drove home the point with style, when he confirmed his latest protege - Tevin Romaro Steele - to appear exclusively in the fall 2017 collection for Yves Saint Laurent. Tevin, up until then, was a coconut vendor in Portland.

But let's get back to the beginning. The magical story of the 21-year-old started a few short months earlier. Peters was told about Tevin by New York casting director Larissa Gunn, who has been attending Saint International's events for the last five years. There was no contact for him, so Peters instructed his team to "find him!". He was motivated by the fact that Tevin was from such humble background-a usual trait for many Saint models. "'I love to encourage young people to dream big. The words of our tag line 'Changing Lives, Expanding Horizon, are fundamentals of the company's DNA," Peters explains.

Call it a divine incident, but Peters finally tracked down Tevin and the two met on Tevin's birthday December 7, 2016 at the Courtleigh Hotel.

Star Quality

A few quick digitals and Peters told him he was going to make him a star. With chiselled cheekbones and a gap front tooth, Peters explains that Tevin's main star quality was his personality- "he adapts easily and is really a fun-loving young man with a good heart and ambition. He is disciplined and possesses self-confidence." Like most Jamaican youths, he just wanted an opportunity-and this is surely it.

As is routine, a few of Tevin's digitals were posted on Peters' instagram page with the caption "When I get excited about a new face #2017 will be EPIC'. Soon after, Peters submitted the digitals to the casting team for Saint Laurent Paris. A few days later, they responded that they were considering him for the Fall 2017 show-as an exclusive debut. This meant that Saint Laurent show could be his first international runway appearance.

Fast forward two months later, and Tevin creates history as the first male model to be flown from Jamaican on a direct booking for Yves Saint Laurent, Paris.

He rocked the runway with confidence and style in two looks for the legendary design house. With Peters by his side throughout it all, the experience was in his words 'an epic feeling!'.

Life-changing and perspective-altering, this experience now motivates Tevin who believes the sky is the limit.

Such an amazing career-start is quite de-rigeur for a Saint model. We can recall Brandon Bailey (Prada Milan), Andre Doyley (Calvin Klein, Milan), Jonny B (Louis Vuitton, Paris) and JD (JW Anderson, London).

And while Tevin revels in his new-found fame, strategic plans are far advanced to take his career to the next level. He is now represented by a powerful network of Saint affiliate agencies including Soul Artist (New York), MP (Paris) and WHY NOT (Milan) and Storm Models (London).