2(X)IST PORTRAITS once again sits down with 2(X)IST Brandfan Rob Trinh, who works tirelessly to combat street crime and youth bullying under his two non-profit organizations Play 4 Phil and Stop The Silence, Have a Voice Against Violence. Today, 2(x)istence shares two more shots of Mr. Trinh in SLIQ, both courtesy of contributing photographer Ronald NZ Tan, then switches gears to ask Rob about his current 2(x)istence in sunny Los Angeles.
ROB TRINH’S 2(X)ISTENCE: Los Angeles
WORKOUT: Gold’s Gym
WEBSITE: VickyBOnline.com (“Because my dear friend Camilla “Vicky B” Caban is tirelessly working so hard to do what she does and handling it!”)
MUSIC: Diddy Dirty Money, Ciara, Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber (“The Biebs. I’m a proud Canadian”)
SNACK: Poquito Más (“The famous taco stand down the street from my apartment”)
To learn more about Rob Trinh, especially his works on behalf of Play 4 Phil and Stop The Silence, read his full 2(X)IST PORTRAIT. In the photographs by Ronald NZ Tan above, Rob wears the SLIQ Sport Brief and the SLIQ Deep-V Muscle. Connect with Mr. Tan’s studio online and his blog and Facebook.
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[PORTRAITS: Ronald NZ Tan (ronaldnztan.com) | WORDS: Jay V. del Rosario]
2(x)ist PORTRAITS is an intimate look inside the lives of our brandfans and how they 2(x)ist. Today, 2(x)istence’s own Jay V. del Rosario and contributing photographer Kevin McDermott meet Stéphane Haffner, a Parisian with no time to clown around as the creator of the fantastical circus-meets-theater performing arts company Les Farfadais.
Stéphane Haffner’s life really is a three-ring circus. But the 33-year-old Parisian juggles his hectic life as Artistic Director of Les Farfadais—a global performing company that blends his talents of gymnastics, artistry, costuming, and storytelling—with aplomb.
“The shows of Farfadais are about creating a dream or fantasy so the audience is transported through the feat of acrobatics and visual beauty,” says Stéphane.
Exactly how Stéphane came to be a master showman is far from the cliché of “running away with the circus” and reads more like something out of that aforementioned dream.
Born in Epinal in the Vosges region of France, Haffner showed a talent for gymnastics at the early age of six. “I asked my parents to sign up for gymnastics because I wanted to become a superhero,” he says. “Being small, it felt like being a gymnast allowed me to do incredible things that other people couldn’t.”
After 11 years of training and competing at a high level, Stéphane suffered an unfortunate injury to his spine, sidelining any future gymnastics career and also leaving him “depressed.”
Rebounding, the Swiss-French-Italian Haffner set off to Paris to study fashion and costume design. There, he found the hustle-and-flow of the metropolis thrilling, but also rather costly. The solution? Stéphane merged his acrobatic skills and knack for costuming and started to perform for street crowds.
“The first day was very hard … but at the end of the day I had a nice surprise—I went home with a backpack full of money and after I counted it, I realized I earned about 500€ [Ed. Note: about $715 USD] for two hours of work!,” he says.
Before long, Stéphane became a street-performance fixture in a prime location: smack in front of tourist-and-pedestrian-heavy Centre George Pompidou, where his show became so popular he started receiving requests for private events and television tapings.
Sensing an opportunity to grow his surprising enterprise, Stéphane enrolled in night classes at a Nanterre-based circus school while simultaneously keeping up his fashion curriculum in the mornings and street-performing in the afternoons. At Nanterre, the young Stéphane excelled at his now-expert “fabric air” (wherein he is suspended from the ceiling by yards of material whilst twisting, turning, and flipping), as well as the trapeze hoops, hand contortion, and other varied circus-worthy feats. But more importantly, he met fellow students who would eventually join his yet-unnamed troupe.
Three years later, Stéphane formed the company he runs today and named it Les Farfadais. In addition to being head of all creative decisions, Stéphane shares a Co-Technical Director title with his own brother Alexandre, an expert in industrial design. Together the brothers combine their collective talents.
“Our shows are a mix of different disciplines that we learned throughout our training, where the stunt is as important as the costume and industrial design,” he says.
And with his Alexandre as a co-captain, Stéphane shares a common muse in their shared childhoods in Switzerland and Italy. “My brother and I are inspired by all the things from our infancy to our youth to our adulthood,” he says.
This includes mythology (which lends heavily to Farfadais’ slant towards the fantastical), and films like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which was the catalyst to create a unique wiring system used to stage large-scale aerial “combat” scenes.
“It is important for us to perform on stage all that may seem impossible or completely unreal, ” exclaims Stéphane. “We are real superheroes!”
And there seems to be no kryptonite in sight for Mr. Haffner. Currently, Le Farfadais boasts over 70 artists in the company, which travels around the world to far-flung locales like China, Japan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and North Africa … not to mention all over their European homebase. Next up? America, who will no doubt react favorably to Stéphane’s passion.
Says Haffner: “I dedicate myself heart and soul into my company, and with my brother we are able to carry on in this fabulous adventure!”
To learn more about Stéphane Haffner’s Les Farfadais, visit the website and follow on Twitter. In his 2(x)ist PORTRAIT by Kevin McDermott, Mr. Haffner wears the SLIQ Brief. Be sure to Like Mr. McDermott’s studio on Facebook and visit his website.
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[PORTRAIT: Kevin McDermott (kevinmcdermott.com) | WORDS: Jay V. del Rosario. Special thanks to 2(x)ist's Alexandre Daniel for translation assistance]
2(x)ist PORTRAITS is an intimate look inside the lives of our brandfans and how they 2(x)ist. Today, 2(x)istence‘s own Jay V. del Rosario and contributing photographer Ronald NZ Tan meet Rob Trinh, who proves the voice is mightier than the fist in his crusade to end youth violence and bullying.
Rob Trinh certainly wears many hats throughout the day. The busy model-dancer-writer-entrepreneur is not short on hyphenates, but it’s one role in which the Los Angeles-based Mr. Trinh readily dives head first: Philanthropist.
The 24-year-old Trinh runs the The Play 4 Phil Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping area children. Through the group’s works, underprivileged kids attend sports camps to help build confidence and foster responsibility. Additionally, Play 4 Phil endows scholarships for students interested in criminal justice studies.
“My brother Tony and I started this for my cousin Phil who was an innocent victim of street gang violence,” he says of the genesis of P4P. To date, the brothers have raised considerable funds through various (and often entertaining) methods, including a charity fashion show called “Rock the Hemline” in their native Vancouver and pick-up basketball tournaments within the community.
And despite all the time Rob devotes to Play 4 Phil, the industrious Californian created another charitable program … but this time he looked to his own adolescent experience.
“I also have a campaign called Stop The Silence, Have a Voice Against Violence where I do speaking engagements in high schools, ” he says. “I talk about my personal experience with being bullied in high school and promoting teens to stand up and be role models versus remaining silent when they witness bullying and violence.”
Rob calls the recent media attention on the issue both “negative and positive,” but with other high-profile programs like the It Gets Better Project plus his own workshops, Rob only sees the greater good of raising awareness to the continued self-harm and unfortunate suicides caused by youth bullying.
“Unfortunately these people don’t have role models or people close to them that are speaking up about it to help in dire times of need, ” he says. “We need to create a sense of urgency … which is what my campaign is all about: Speaking up and doing something about it!”
Hats off for a man who puts action to his words.
To learn more about the charities listed above, explore Play 4 Phil and Stop The Silence. In his 2(x)ist PORTRAIT by Ronald NZ Tan, Rob Trinh wears the NEON Sport Brief in Black, available now at shop.2xist.com.
[PORTRAIT: Ronald NZ Tan (ronaldnztan.com) | WORDS: Jay V. del Rosario]
“To be honest with you, I haven’t really worked out in the past year,” says Jason V, a Long Island-based fitness trainer. Uh, yeah, looking at these photos, we found it hard to believe too. Yet Jason insists that he owes it all to genetics.
“I know from my father’s side, his brothers are all built kind of short and stocky,” he says, “but I know from my resting heart rate that I burn about 3000 calories a day with just my regular activity—walking around, things like that.”
While his own engine revs naturally, he helps others motivate their less ambitious cabooses. The 29-year-old has a lifelong passion for body sculpting, and enjoys a consistent satisfaction from sharing his knowledge with others.
“It’s a great feeling,” he says, “just knowing that I was the one who put the time and effort into training them, and then seeing the reactions on their faces, how appreciative they are. It’s overwhelming.”
Jason V is photographed by Eugene Gallegos in the SLIQ Trunk in Sangria, available now at shop.2xist.com
[PHOTO: Eugene Gallegos (eugenegallegos.com) | WRITER: Ronald Sklar]
Our most recent 2(x)ist PORTRAIT visited with Jon B, a Florida resident and Armed Forces vet who cites honor and integrity as king. Read more about Jon in his PORTRAIT by contributing writer Ronald Sklar, with additional photography by Eugene Gallegos.
In the bonus shot above, Jon wears the ALL STARNo-Show Brief,
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[PHOTO: Eugene Gallegos (eugenegallegos.com)]Read the rest of this entry.