Barber, model and visual communications designer. Dzak tells us why the sky’s the limit for him.

“I’ve always thought turning 21 was going to be a huge deal. It’s the start of adulthood, and you keep thinking about all these different milestones in life that you want to achieve. Yet, you still have this very teenage mindset. It’s an awkward age, really.

I think life kicked off in the extreme after I started poly. One of the biggest things to happen was getting an offer to work in one of those new wave, hipster barbershops. Back then, it was a very young scene and these barbershops were just popping up.

I started cutting hair at age 14. I’d do it for fun for my secondary school friends. I then part-timed at this neighbourhood barbershop that was run by this 50-year-old Malay uncle. Because I was so young, he was quite supportive when I left to spread my wings.

Now I’m working at DeepCuts. Somehow, I managed to direct myself to their Instagram account and I thought, wow, their haircuts are pretty good compared to what I’ve seen in Singapore. They were really next level, so here I am today.

Another major thing that happened was getting scouted to be a model. It happened at the Neon Lights Festival in Singapore. In the same year that I got scouted, a classmate who takes really good pictures actually asked if I wanted to be a model for a Gucci editorial.

I thought it was crazy, but I just went for it! Being in a fashion shoot for a magazine feels very surreal. Things like this typically don’t happen to a boy like me. I just thought why is all of this happening to me? I just got into poly and suddenly everything accelerated really quickly. 

From that moment on, I realised one thing – I was very spontaneous about a lot of things. No matter how risky things might seem, I tend to say yes to almost everything. I just don’t like the idea of robbing myself of an experience, especially at a young age.

This was also exactly what happened with a music producer who’s pretty renowned in the scene. One day, a friend who knows this producer called me saying, ‘Dzak, we are planning to start our own record label. Do you want to do creative direction for us?’

Once again, I thought that was crazy. But it was right up my alley because I studied Visual Communications Design at Temasek Poly. I actually did the creative direction for local rapper Fariz Jabba for one of his shows as well. So yeah, I accepted the offer.

Everytime I hear this voice in my head that says, ‘this could be really bad’, I tell myself just do it, but be smart about it. I’m too young to regret anything. It’s this ‘living in the moment’ mentality that’s given me many opportunities and allowed me to grow up significantly faster.

But it does seem like I’m all over the place. I’m here and I’m there, and I’m always floating around in different circles. But I’ve always felt like a free spirit, and because of the nature of my work and people that I meet, I code switch a lot.

The whole beauty of code switching and doing it with the right intentions is the ability to understand and resonate with people. I started to learn more about people and how I can connect with them on different levels, regardless of their circles.

So while everything I do seems disconnected and varied, it makes perfect sense to me because my pursuits have allowed me to meet new people and helped gel me into this entity with an odd way of communicating and connecting with others.

The future? Well, I have National Service (NS) to think about right now, and after that, real life begins. I’ll probably have to get my shit together by then. I get very excited but very scared at the same time thinking about the future.

A lot has happened till now. The ups and downs have really shaped me into the person that I am at 21. And it sounds like a stretch to you, that this 21-year-old boy is talking about how  much he’s gone through, but I’m really just trying to figure life out.

To comfort myself in a very scary world, I remind myself that everyone grows differently. And no matter where you are in life and what you’re doing, you just have to be honest with the things that you do. And with time, everything will eventually work itself out.” – Dzak, 21

Interview by: Arman Shah



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