Born in Ivory Coast, to an Ivorian and Ethiopian father, and an Ivorian and Vietnamese mother, Joel Williams grew up surrounded all his youth by art and artist. From his economist and musician father, and his lawyer and designer mother, he acquired a taste for music and photography.
He earned his MBA in Luxury Management from EIML (Paris International School of Luxury Marketing), where he had the opportunity to work as an assistant manager at numerous haute couture fashion houses in Paris. During his studies in France, Joel Williams built his personality and his taste for aestheticism.
In 2010 he founded his own agency and later magazine that provides expertise in the world of luxury and more specifically in fashion. Model and muse of several brands in Ivory Coast, Joel Williams as been in the Ivorian film industry for over 5 years now.
Check out my interview with him below:
Hey Joel! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
So I am Joel Williams, 31 years Ivorian guy, photographer, model, actor, publishing director of the fashion magazine MILC , and CEO of Milc3 agency, I like to introduce myself as a visual artist because I work with images.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
An average day start with my 2 years old son’s breakfast, I always take time to take care of him before doing anything, I try to be present in his life as much as possible. Then heading to the office around 10am, dealing with all meeting and work for the agency, I know when I go to the office but I don’t when I come back home.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
I attended a business school in Paris, I graduated and got my master. I didn’t want to came back to Cote d’Ivoire after that, so I decided to get another qualification which in luxury management, so I did a MBA and specialised in luxurious marketing (EIML PARIS).
Tell us more about your company and brand Milc3?
Milc Agency is a communication agency specialised in marketing, branding and event, the company has 2 sides; the fashion magazine and the marketing and branding company.
Why your passion for the world of luxury and specifically fashion?
Since I was young, I liked being well dressed and fashionable, having my own style with my own personality, luxury, passion came when I was living in Paris and doing my studies. I realised that everything about luxury goods are always about rarity and looking for perfections.
You played the role of “Luc” in the new French TV series Blog and also played the main character in “African Chronicle”, the French TV series that was given the 2015 Fespaco Award of the Best TV series. What made you ventured into acting?
When I was young I always wanted to be an actor and when I came back to Cote d’Ivoire people were interested into putting me on TV series or advertising campaigns and I was always saying no, and once I decided to try, so I started with African chronicle.
You also run a Talent Agency and supply talents and acts for brands. How is that working out for you?
The agency is my main activity, I started it 4 years ago, and it is growing really fast, last year we launch our proper fashion magazine.
Why and when did you decide to venture into modeling?
Modeling came to me, cause when I was studying in Paris I was working as an assistant stylist with Maison Haute Couture, and people where asking if I was interested in doing picture with them and so I tried it out and it worked out.
As a model, how would you describe the industry in Ivory Coast?
As a model in Cote d’Ivoire, you can work into advertisement or fashion show, personally I don’t do fashion show, I am only into advertising.
It’s been 5 years now I think that the industry started taking modeling as a serious job, many company are starting using agency for their campaign or show.
What’s your Dos and Don’t of being a model?
1. Being as natural as possible,
2. Being authentic, don’t copy find your own identity
3. Be professional
4. Be healthy, workout and take care of your body
5. Be humble it open’s more doors than you think
2. Smoke (it’s ruined the skin)
3. Talk too much.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I can say I am a totally different person through social media and in real life, I control my image through social media because it’s a brand I sell, my image is a kind of brand, I don’t expose my private life, or I do it with control.
Looking at your photos from 2013 to now in 2018 there as been massive changes and improvements in your appearance. What will you say motivated/inspired you to stay dedicated in it?
I like fashion so to me its not difficult to play with my looks, 5 years ago, I was more trendy, following the fashion evolution, now i am more close to what I represent, as an African mixing tradition and modernity.
How often do you go to the gym and how many hours do you spend while you there?
I go twice a week to the gym, I stay only an our, to me its enough to maintain the body.
What would you say is the main misconception the public have about actors?
They have a wonderful life, this wrong as F*** , of course there is sparkling and glitter because actors are selling dreams but don’t forget that they are still human.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started in the film industry?
What surprised me the most is how much actors are suffering during a set.
Which brands, clients, producers and celebs have you worked with?
I worked with singer: Alpha Blondy, Josey, Lenny Kravitz (on his hotel)
Fashion designer: Damir Doma , Maxim Simoens Elie Kuame, Rebecca Zoro,
Company: Dream cosmetics, Uniwax , La Pointure (luxury shoes), (Moov) Telecomunication company, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan.
Stylist: Lejenke (stylist working with Kanye , Kim K, Naomi Campbell, Beyonce),
Fashion photographer: Patrick de Marchelier.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
I get drunk too fast and more serious, I am the president of a children foundation that put orphans in schools.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
Building my own magazine is my biggest professional success.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
A cover with Naomi Campbell or Rihanna.
You are active on social media. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?
Its important, nowadays because social media is a powerful media to make things seen and to promote something, its easy because, you don’t really target people, people come to you.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
4. Shoe choices
How would you describe your style?
Afro modern style, using some traditional pieces of my country and adding trendy modern outfit.
What style genre appeals to you the most?
Dandy ones, unfortunately I don’t often get dress as a dandy but I am a big fan.
What are your favorite fashion trends?
Biker jacket, destroy jeans, leather boots.
What is your favorite dish?
Placali okra sauce.
What songs are currently on your playlist?
Burna boy – Gwan / R2bees – Plantain chips.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
Follow your heart, stay true to your dreams.
Any specific plans for the future?
Making Milc magazine as the African vogue magazine.
Any final words?
People are their own limit of their dream.