My Guide To Films With Sergi Shan

Sergi Shan took part in the Elite Model Look World Final 2022 representing Spain and won top place alongside Majda John Peter. Since the competition, he has been working for Spanish brands and building up his portfolio by doing test shoots in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and Milan. Away from his model work, Sergi is an aspiring actor and he is a huge movie buff. We caught up with Sergi to ask about what it was like to win Elite Model Look, his top flicks and what makes the perfect movie. 

What was it like to win Elite Model Look 2022?

Honestly, it’s genuinely quite stressful… In one hand, I had the soundtrack of “She’s beauty and she’s grace, she’s Miss United States” playing in mind, and on the other hand, there were so many unfamiliar eyes on us, clapping, smiling, and cheering. The whole shebang! It felt unreal, overwhelming, but on top of that I was downright tremendously happy. Because I never won anything in my life (except for a massive skin care products gift bag for participating at a school lottery, if you call that winning…). So winning the Elite Model Look 2022 made me very proud, especially for my country Spain, my wonderful team at the agency and all my friends and family who supported me. They were all present in my mind when Daniela Pestova announced our names.

Aside from winning, what was your favourite part of the Elite Model Look journey?

The free coffee. Hands down. Oops, did I say that too quick? Joking aside, it is not every day you get the opportunity to meet all kinds of people around the world, especially when you get to experience a week-long event like that. I mean you just had to appreciate the level of uniqueness in every person, with different backgrounds, and all of the crew ranging from the videographers from LSK Productions, to the local make up artists and social media team and everyone involved. That’s the whole gist: the constant shaping of interpersonal relationships between co-workers and candidates. Oh and my roommate Simone from Italy.

You are currently working in Milan – can you tell us about that?

One thing you should know about Milan is that coffee there is top notch. But really, working in Milan has been incredibly exciting. Meeting my new and very lovable agents, making friends back at the model’s apartment, going to castings and tests which are scary but exciting, and simply just having the great opportunity to work, meet new people and develop your career as a model in a fascinating city like Milan that is unbeknownst to me. It can only be a great experience for any model. Oh and go eat the cannoncini from Panarello because they are like a drop of heaven.   

You also travelled to Paris recently – did you meet anyone from Elite Model Look in the agencies?

Yes! Paris was amazing, utterly amazing. Especially meeting everyone at the agency. I saw Emilie and Jennifer from Elite Model Look 2022, they showed me around the agency, I very much enjoyed that. And I met up with Sara Caballero, the Finalist from Chile of Elite Model Look 2022, for a coffee which was a joy.  

You are a major film buff – what is your earliest memory of enjoying a film?

Yes, I am, 100%. I remember the very first time I watched a film. It was with my brother and one night he decided to put on “La Grande Vadrouille” by Gérard Oury, a French film from the late 60’s. And I just laughed heartedly the whole night away. Something sparked in me that night as I was watching the comedic genius of Luis de Funès. I can still hear his whistling.  

Which film directors do you love and why?

There are just too many. So many creative genius directors with their own cinematographic vocabulary. Directors like François Truffaut, Jacques Tati, Akira Kurosawa, Wong Kar Wai, Martin Scorsese, Edward Yang, Zhang Yimou, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard and many others. They are just utterly fascinating to me, the way the depict and narrate a visual story, it is simply mesmerising watching films from them, transports you into another dimension. This tool they use, cinema, is so powerful through the screen, they really touch hearts.  

You have told us you like watching films about Chinese history – what are your top 3 Chinese history films to watch?

That is easy, first and foremost it’s got to be “To Live” (1994) and “Raise the Red Lantern” (1991) both by the great Zhang Yimou, and finally “Farewell My Concubine” (1993) by Kaige Chen. These movies are set in the 20th century China, a cruel and harsh period for Chinese history. However the three of them released in the 90’s, in a period, more or less, and yet risky, where individual expression was more tolerable. I admire them for creating these masterpieces during that period, and with such authenticity, stunning visual imagery with powerful colours, and expanding the voice of Chinese spirit buried under layers and layers of oppression

What makes a great film?

David Mamet, an American playwright, once said “what comes from the heart goes to the heart”. And I fully agree with this statement. That is the sole ingredient that I find most important in any film. Whether it is comedy, satirical, drama or anything else, if the film is personal, intimate and important to its creator, it will surely touch people’s heart. And of course this must resonate with the whole cast and crew. Only a few times, when everything, the cast, the crew, the producers, come together to create something magical, that is the pivotal moment, when a great film is made.  

Do you have any advice for anyone applying to Elite Model Look?

I know it’s very typical to say this and I know it’s been said many times and people will continue to say this until the end of time but it is true at the end of the day. Just be yourself. I know you are putting yourself in a very vulnerable position and it can feel quite uncomfortable, but you need to let people see how special and unique and gifted you are. Because for me, as in films, every person has a deeply interesting story to tell about themselves. And at the end of the day, just enjoy the experience, it will only enrich you in so many ways you can imagine. Oh and make sure to bring a stunning outfit for the final show party. 

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