Man Crush Monday: Shaun TUpaz

Last year, I was attending a Lacoste event stuck in the middle of the atrium at Orchard Central. Though we were in an enclosed space inside a mall, this little cozy spot was a playground for extroverts like myself to meet people. Tabitha Nauser performed that night, my best friend and I took photos with her, then we both of met an unexpected character whom none of us ever heard of. With jet black hair, a warm smile and dressed in a black tee, the man who caught our attention was Shaun Tupaz, a radio host/actor/stand up comedian. From that night, we swapped Instas.

Fast forward to fall 2019, I attended two Tupaz stand up shows and realized what it was that drew me to feature him: his sense of humor and friendliness. There was zero artifice. Born and raised in Singapore, the 33-year-old Scorpio is also – his own words – S.I.N.G.L.E – Strong, Independent, Noticeable, Generous, Loving, Enlightened. Though he’s “not so” single, the self-described “raised on Netflix and Spotify” comedian is also a spinning instructor.

We chat about comedy, why having a sense of humor is sexy, body shaming, being a “fatness influencer”, why we shouldn’t go back to toxic people.

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MCM: Chase Mana Kai

Los Angeles isn’t dubbed “The City of Angels” for nothing. As a land filled with smartphone equipped pretty faces, anyone can sit there and carve out a career with Instagram. Chase Mana Kai, a 22-year-old model, is not just another pretty face with a hot body.

As an Aries born on the cusp of Taurus, he embodies every facet of the Cusp of Power: ambition, strength and impulse. While most people wouldn’t dare to move out of their hometown, the San Francisco-born Kai decided to pack his bags to LA just to “chase a life” that he’d be proud of. Although he’s got an ever-growing portfolio and currently signed to IMG (a.k.a. the fashion world’s biggest modeling industry titan), the rising star is an affable family boy that you’d like to bring home to meet your parents for dinner.

We catch up over e-mail to talk about how he got signed to IMG, why he isn’t afraid to share his feelings on social media and the one crystal he can’t live without.

What do you love most about modeling? Do you plan to stick to modeling permanently? 

CK: I love modeling because it keeps me accountable for being healthy and working out. It also reminds me a lot about not comparing myself and loving myself. I do plan to stick to modeling permanently but it is not my only passion.

You’re signed to IMG, which is one of the biggest agencies in the world. How did you end up being signed by them and what made you want to work with them? 

CK:  I’m signed to IMG because of my mother agent and former mother agent. I wanted to work with them because of their excitement to work with me. I don’t care about notoriety of agency I only care of the agency sees potential in adding me to their team and when I met with them it had that kind of chemistry. 

As a male model, you are often surrounded by so many beautiful people (seriously, that makes me nervous!). How do you feel about being surrounded by people who are as equally attractive as you? Do you think that it makes you feel more/less insecure about your own looks? 

CK: Being surrounded by beautiful people doesn’t phase (sic) me at all. I don’t think that looks define who you are, how you treat yourself and others defines who you are. Also[,] I am a former chubby kid that feels like he wished upon a star and his dream came true (when it comes to looks) so I never really feel insecure about how I look unless someone insults me.

Apart from modeling, you seem like a family boy as you always post photos of your brother and sister. What are the biggest life lessons that your siblings taught you?  

CK: My sister almost single-handedly taught me how to love myself. My brother teaches me everyday the importance of being vulnerable and emotional and loving. They are my world. I’m literally tearing up as I think about everything they’ve done for me. 

I’ve noticed that so many men are preoccupied with work and family. However, there are some who feel like they have to sacrifice their family in order to achieve their dreams. When did you realize that you can achieve your dreams without having to sacrifice your family life? 

CK: Family is supposed to be there through every decision you make. When I told mine that I never want to sacrifice my dreams they were on board with it 100%. The ONLY reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because I have a mother, brother and sister that believe in me. I can’t stress how lucky I am to have them as a support system and intrinsic motivation everyday. 

What I like about you is that you’re not afraid to share show your sensitive side on Instagram and TBH, I don’t see many men like you doing this. When did you realize that as a man, it’s OK to show sensitivity and vulnerability? Were you raised to show your feelings to people who aren’t your family members in public?   

CK: I grew up around a lot of toxic masculinity outside of the household and I would come home and it would be the opposite of that. I never really understood the need for men to forsake their emotions. I am sensitive, I cry, I goof around, but I also know that I am strong and that those parts of me don’t take away from my strength or credibility as a man. That is part of me and it has been from the beginning. Nothing will change that. 

We see that you love to travel around the world! What’s the number one thing you can’t live without while you’re traveling? 

CK: One thing I can’t live without while traveling is my black tourmaline. I’m a rock nerd and I love my rocks cause they protect me & surround me with good energy. 

Lastly, if you have to move out of LA, where will you live? 

CK: If I moved out of LA I would probably live in Hawaii. 

All photos by Drew Pluta

Man Crush Monday: Scott Smith

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a new job on LinkedIn and a sudden notification appeared on top of the tab. Stirred by my curiosity, a familiar face and name wanted to connect with me years after we’ve graduated high school together seven years ago. While I scrolled through his accomplishments and bio, I was shocked that the former jock I met in high school bloomed into an entrepreneur with two companies under his portfolio. Although I could’ve stopped gawking at his page, I suddenly jumped to my Insta, surfed through his photos and upon looking at his selfies, my jaw dropped. The babyfaced teen who bloomed into a handsome entrepreneur is Scott Smith.

Articulate, honest to the bone and empathetic, this passionate 25-year-old Melbourne-born Piscean describes himself as someone who has the “crippling joints of a 97-year-old” with a face of “16-year-old girl”. Alongside his sense of humor, Smith’s been loaded with three degrees inside his handbag for majoring in communications, economics and Chinese. On top of being able to juggle multiple subjects, the NYC-based bachelor has two companies: Parvenu and Edgepoint.

In spite of an extremely tight schedule, Smith and I get real about how he joined Parvenu, share styling tips for men, what it’s like to juggle two jobs, why helping others succeed sparks joy and the sexiest trait he admires in a woman.

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Man Crush Monday: Scott Albrecht

Tall, dark, exotic and handsome, Scott Albrecht fills in all the checks for every girl who dreams for a man by her side. While it’s easy to go for any man who has conventional Netflix actor good looks, this 26-year-old Baltimore born Charles Melton lookalike is not another ridiculously good looking model/budding actor.

Like the Riverdale actor, Albrecht grew up in an Korean American household and was once an aspiring football player before he dipped his toe into modeling and acting. However, this lovely bilingual Libra is an avid comic book collector whose Insta bio casually references Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a movie starring Michael Cera alongside two future Captains (Marvel and America, of course).

Although we have yet to meet in person, Albrecht gets candid about his journey to modeling, what it’s like to grow up in a multi-cultural household, why he wants to use film to tell stories of Asian American history in Hollywood and how growing up in a rough neighborhood inspires him to help others improve their life.

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Man Crush Monday: Nick Wehrli

A couple of summers ago in Los Angeles, I was just an unpaid intern at a small music startup. Comprised of like-minded music geeks, my boss, colleagues and I would often attend concerts, drink and dance our butts off. At almost every concert we attended, a beautiful bleached blonde surfer dude always popped up everywhere we went. Charmed by his beauty, it was hard for me to not resist looking at him. When he introduced himself as Nick Wehrli, little did I know that he was also a fellow intern.

Outside from our internship, I couldn’t shake off the memories of listening to old Blink-182 hits and NBF in his car alongside with other colleagues. If there was one thing that Nick couldn’t be separated with, it’s his trusty digital camera. Years after our internship ended, he moved to Bali, picked up a new language skill (seriously, who doesn’t love a man that can speak Bahasa?!) and as of now, he’s currently trotting around the globe as a photographer.

The luscious Libra and I catch up over e-mail to talk about his passion for photography, the biggest culture shock he’s ever experienced, what it means to live the Instagram dream, why he’s cool with being Instagram official (SPOILER ALERT: he ain’t single!) and the one country where he never wants to leave.

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Man Crush Monday: Joseph Angelo

It was a balmy Saturday night in early February and as much as I want to dislike rainy season, the cool wind was ready to calm my nerves. Standing alone at a rooftop bar, I wasn’t so sure who to talk to as I don’t like to talk to strangers when I’m alone (even though I’m an extrovert). From the corner of my eye, I spied a tanned and tall hunk with shoulder-grazing ombré hair held a drink in hand. Dressed in a black dress shirt with matching jeans, he wore silver rings alongside a delicate thin chain around his neck. Breaking into a friendly smile, he introduced himself to me. The moment our eyes met, I felt the mojo of a rockstar, the charisma of a politician and the aura of actor. If you believe that he is Aquaman, don’t be distracted. In fact, this 25-year-old Jason Momoa doppelgänger is no other than Joseph Angelo, a Bangkok-based Phukhet-bred actor.

The virtuous Virgo and I chat about fitting into gender conventions, why it’s cool to be inspired by women and if horoscopes make up character traits.

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Man Crush Monday: Cameron Tagge

On a blustery cold fall in 2014, a Casey Cott lookalike with a shaggy haircut exited the Lair, a cafeteria where LMU students feasted on greasy pastas, salads and burgers. Fresh off of my shift at the radio station and a hanger filled to the core, it swept aside the moment I locked eyes with him. With five minutes to spare, I realized that he was someone who looked so familiar to me as I often saw his face in The Loyolan. Not only did I remember him for his wicked penmanship in the newspaper, he was also a budding actor, too. If you dare to stalk him on his IG, his name is Cameron Tagge.

Five years later and living in two separate cities, I felt that it was time for me to reconnect with my old LMU classmate. Blessed with Marvel hero looks, the 20-something budding actor and screenwriter is currently milking up his double degree in theatre arts and screenwriting into a rising acting career. While his days as a student journalist are far behind him, Tagge is writing Internet-breaking skits for Flighthouse, a channel from TikTok that’s now featuring original videos on YouTube. However, the one thing that’s added to his ever-expanding resume is being a musician.

The L.A.-based Virgo virtuoso and I catch up over his lust for creativity, why humor is sexy, the most awkward date he’s ever had and the biggest secret to maintaining his 3 and a half year relationship.

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MCM: Preston Slack

On a quiet weekend night, I was scrolling on Instagram and out of the blue, the name “Preston Slack” slipped from the tip of my fingers as I typed on the search bar. Upon stumbling his page, my screen was graced with photos of an tanned athletic young man with corkscrew ringlets. As I continued to scroll, I couldn’t help my thoughts as he instantly reminded me of a young Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle. However, finding his page was no accident, but rather a word of mouth discovery through a DM I received through a friend who lent him clothes to wear to a photoshoot.

While the single 21-year-old Oklahoma-based model and budding musician can be easily dismissed as another IG mannequin (think Jay Alvarrez), I honestly beg to differ. In the midst of making his first album (SPOILER ALERT: it’s gonna be a pop album with tribal influences!), the candid Cancer opens up about how he started modeling, how he dealt with the pressures of the modeling industry, what’s it like to try on clothes from different eras, his hidden talent (watch out, Jon Snow!) and why Instagram is the new Tinder.

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Man Crush Monday: Samuel Jacob Lopez Jr.

Tanned, fit and blessed with lush chest-grazing jet black locks, Samuel Jacob Lopez Jr. is not just another scruffy-faced suave California skater boy. Artistic and ambitious, the 31-year-old Los Angeles-based musician has cut his teeth with bigger names in the music industry such as 30 Seconds to Mars, whom he is touring as their go-to Ableton Tech man. Not only did he catch the ears of his peers, hotshots such as Red Bull were instantly hooked by his danceable beats and airy vocals. With that voice, strong lyrical penmanship, laid back personality and warm teddy bear eyes, we are forever trapped. It’s no secret that he’s been able to lock down the hottest clubs of Sunset Strip!

If you believe that this interview is our first encounter, this is not the first time I reached out to Lopez. In the summer of 2015, I was interning at a startup music company, where my boss assigned me to e-mail Lopez, who was previously in Little Wolves, to link up with him. Three years later, the alluring Aquarian randomly slipped into my mind. One night, I pulled up my Instagram, stalked his page and liked a bunch of photos. Much to my surprise, Lopez slid into my DM! Starting anew with his new project Coquí, it brought me to feature him in my column.

Although both of us have yet to meet in person, his aura, warm energy and super duper fly personality lights a spark inside my soul. We chat about (

(P.S. If you want to take him out for dinner, this very single bachelor is actually vegan!)

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Man Crush Monday: Han Chandra

Model, blogger, influencer, children’s book author, graphic designer and painter. Is there anything that Han Chandra can’t do? As an all-around Renaissance man and kid at heart, this Jakarta-based hottie is also blessed with super fly style, chiseled cheekbones and flawless skin. While every man on earth can win us over with lush locks and a charming smile, the one thing that made us swoon over him is his compassionate soul as he is devoted to spending time with kids.

With an army of 26,000 followers on Instagram, the 27-year-old single bachelor is not just another rising social media celebrity. In place of notches on his bedpost, he’s got multiple diplomas under his belt. (Beat that, James Franco!) On top of his stellar academic career, this pretty Pisces writes on his self-titled blog. Not to forget, he’ll sneak in some Whitney Houston songs on your Spotify, serenade you with a Michael Jackson hit and take you along to a Bruno Mars concert.

For our very first debut of Man Crush Monday, Chandra and I chat via WhatsApp about the secret to getting crystal clear skin, his next children’s book and why women shouldn’t be afraid to make the first move.

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