Toronto-born Riley Dorland at PRM Models is at a crucial point in life: the intersection between 'I’m no longer a child', but, 'I’m still not quite an adult'. Waking up to a bowl full of delicious, multi-coloured excitement, he's fresh-faced and ready to take on the world. Recently finishing round one of his studies, he now has a year before he enters the big boy league of university and with 365 days to explore, develop and grow, he steps out of the United States into the United Kingdom and beyond. His defiance and determination unlock keyless doors, forcing him to climb through partially open windows of opportunities.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone” - words by Ronald Reagen recited by Riley Dorland. Feeling inspired by others helping him, he dreams of returning the favour with added interest. There is something humanity can still offer: kindness and a desire to help. Motivated by the knowledge and stories from others, he wishes to become a psychologist in the future, the go-to person for your time of need.
An open book when it comes to life, he carries around that strong Canadian honesty, and speaks with an endearing confidence. Breaking out into a smile, he has you trapped. Keep an eye out for his upcoming Boys by Girls editorial, where we will be introducing the second chapter of Riley Dorland.
How long have you been in England?
I’ve been here for about two weeks now and I have another two weeks before I go back to Toronto. I’m planning on staying here to work on my personal development, because I’m fairly new to the industry. I started about a year ago, and this was my first season of shows just gone; I did Milan and Paris with shows like Raf Simons and Dior. Because of school, I couldn’t really leave or pursue modelling when I wanted to, but now that I have time I wanted to come here for a while. I’m actually taking a whole year out to do this, then I’ll start university in Toronto to study psychology.
I originally applied to do Business, but after doing some work experience at a business company I decided it wasn’t for me. The thought of sitting at a desk for the rest of my life, didn't feel quite right. I have a really strong interest in wanting to help people, so psychology works more for me. Psychology, sociology and anthropology are all really interesting to me, I’m really excited!
You do sports too right?
I did pretty much every sport. I’m kind of retiring from them now though, because I kept getting injured. I broke both my feet twice during volleyball, and then I got too many concussions from falling. I also played baseball and American football. I guess you could call me a 'jock', but I took a lot of pride in my academic studies too so it wasn’t merely sports - everything was in moderation.
Do you do anything else in your free time?
I like to travel a lot. Every time I go to a new city and I have a day off I like to go and explore, experience the culture and immerse myself a little bit. It’s kind of tiring, but it’s a lot of fun getting to know the city more than a tourist would. Living here for a month is really cool, I get to see what it’s really like.
What was growing up in Canada like?
It wasn’t that easy. I always had a good school, but when I was about 12 I went to a private school and hated it. They didn’t let you live or anything, they were so on you. You were basically paying them a ton of money to babysit you all day and it was useless. When I left and went to a public school it was hard to catch up. Growing up was kinda tough; my parents divorced when I was pretty young, so there was a lot of animosity and bullshit going on in the rest of the family. I was always the one in the middle of it, because I was the middle child.
Do you think that's why you want to study psychology?
A little bit I guess. I saw a lot of stuff and how it affected my family, so being a family psychiatrist could be a route I’d go down. I really appreciate their jobs. I’m an open book when it comes to things like this, I will answer any question.
How are you finding modelling?
I really like it! I love the opportunity of being able to travel and see things I’ve always wanted to see. I didn’t ever go out looking for the opportunity, it just happened. One day I went into Elite Models (my mother agency) with a friend and was scouted there and then. I didn’t really know what it was, so I took some time to research everything. I love doing the jobs.
Are you normally fussed about your appearance?
No, not normally. I mean if I’m going to an event or something I like to look nice, but I don’t really care - I’ll always dress how I want to dress. I’d say I care less now about what I look like than before I was modelling. I used to be really self-conscious, especially at school, but now I don’t give a shit really. My school was kinda bitchy, so I guess it was a bit stereotypical in that sense. I was never ridiculed, but I was always afraid I would be if I wore certain things. I trusted my friends, so it was fine. Modelling has helped me with all of that, so I’m lucky, because it could definitely send you down another path.
What are the rest of your plans for your time in the UK?
I have a whole list of things scheduled: I’m doing Schuh’s campaign in Scotland, then I’m doing Wonderland the day I come back to London, then I have a few other things to do. I'm always adding to the list.
Interview by Jonny Clowes.
Words by Ede Dugdale.