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.
Show now at shop.2xist.com
[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.
Show now at shop.2xist.com
[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]
Our most recent 2(x)ist PORTRAIT surveyed San Francisco’s Willi Farrales, an ever-active fitness advocate with a zest for life as hardcore as his six-pack. Here, enjoy these bonus shots of Willi, supplied by contributing photographer Ronald NZ Tan, plus more insight into how Willi Farrales’ “2(x)ists” in cosmopolitan San Francisco.
WILLI FARRALES’ 2(x)ISTENCE: San Francisco, California, USA
YOGA: Laughing Lotus
UNCONVENTIONAL WORKOUT: Monkey Conditioning at Athletic PlayGround
ON THE iPOD: Bassnectar, Tiesto (“They’re just good continuous flows to keep me pumped when I cross the city”)
[PHOTO: Ronald NZ Tan (ronaldnztan.com) | MODEL: Willi Farrales]
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 Jay V. del Rosario and contributing photographer Ronald NZ Tan meet Willi Farrales, a Californian who fully personifies the phrase “mind-and-body.”
Upon asking what drives him, Willi Farrales opens the conversation like this: “I guess you could say my foremost passion might be emotional and spiritual development and exploration in myself and with others …”
But before you judge him as some type of crunchy, San Francisco-type (incidentally, that’s where the Modesto, California-reared Farrales now resides), just know that Willi can kick your ass. Literally.
Willi teaches something called BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT, fitness classes that are as intense as their names (and their mandatory caps-lock status) imply. Combining barbells and strength endurance, BODYPUMP—for which Willi is a master trainer—is a lesson in doing what you really love. Prior taking it up as a vocation, the 24-year old attended the BODYPUMP class (which he says “just works … and it’s frickin’ fun!”) for five years before turning “pro.”
Add to that a physical training client roster across four health clubs, biking, skating (“I’m about to do a four-day rollerblading trip from San Francisco to Linden, CA” [Editor's Note: a distance of 100 miles!], the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, and something called “monkey conditioning” and one quickly realizes that peak physical form is paramount to Willi.
“I guess my body is kinda my life!,” he admits endearingly (followed by a hearty laugh).
Considering his insane physical regimen, one would also be wrong to classify Willi as a simple meathead. Instead, you’ll find a laid-back, California-cool dude who peppers his conversation with words like “wicked” and infusing ecstatic, infectious enthusiasm into even the most mundane questions. (On food: “San Francisco has the best food all over the damn place.”)
Delve even deeper and you’ll find a young man on a quest to be “one, whole, integrated, happy little animal.” This means exposing himself to all types of experiences, cultures, and people—rather easy in urbane San Francisco—so it’s no surprise that Willi enjoys a penchant for foreign tongues.
“I love learning languages,” he says. “I’m super intrigued with how our brains process communication …”
To that end, Willi can confidently count fluent French to his skillset, which includes (obviously) English, plus dalliances with German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, and American Sign Language.
With that many dialects, it would take a global village to fulfill Willi’s curiosities and zest for learning. Luckily, Willi can enjoy his cosmopolitan surroundings and continue welcoming people into his world: “I love to enjoy life and help those around me enjoy it more thoroughly too.”
And if you disagree, Willi just may BODYPUMP you to the floor.
[PHOTO: Ronald NZ Tan (ronaldnztan.com) | WRITER: Jay V. del Rosario]