I met Sovanna through my best friend Eyen, whom I met roughly 6 years ago. Eyen is a beautiful, proud Cambodian (ex-model) with razor sharp cheekbones who can captivate you with her warm heart.  Sovanna is her cousin and I had noticed something about him right from the start. If I had to put it in simple terms, the male version of Eyen. His look intrigued me and I’ve been wanting to photograph and get to know him for a while. Here is our shoot and interview… His dog Luna was trying hard to steal the spot light.

Sky- So your name “Sovanna”? I’m assuming it has Cambodian roots. What does it mean?

Sovanna- If I can remember , my mother told me it roughly translates to “golden dream”

Sky- Tell me about you how came to the states did you grow up here?

S- We came to the states in 92. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, and  because of my brothers illness with cerebral palsy , the doctors in America wanted to sponsor our family to come live in the U.S. to help treat my brother. We were thankful that we got to move in the hopes that my brother would live a better life.

Sky- Is there anyone that you look up to or has influenced you in your life?

S- That would be my friend and mentor Henry. He is brother figure that I’ve never had and has changed my outlook on life a lot. He just lives a good life example to follow, he’s married someone who’s a good person , follows the golden rule of  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. He’s hungry, he wants a better life for himself and for other people and I strive to be the same .

Sky – What do you do for work… and what do you want to do?

S- For now I’m a fitness advisor at Equinox. What I would like to do is impact more people in a positive way. Becoming  a life coach is one of my goals.

Sky- What’s your connection to your tattoos are they mainly Cambodian script?

S- Yes correct, the ones on my back are Sanskrit. They are a protection chant for every direction I head to I will be protected. The tattoo on my ribs represents my Grandfathers last words to me when he woke up from a coma. He said to me : “Always tell the difference between wrong and right, and remember to do right. His name was Long Mean.

Sky- Tell me about your first kiss. What was her name?

S-hmm what was her name…? lol We were in an elevator in Brooklyn it was Spring and hot outside. I was 14 she was 16. She was a beautiful Russian girl and her name was Carina.  It was pure lust, It was our first kiss so we were like “lets just do it.”

Sky- What’s your definition of beauty, whats beautiful to you?

S- I would have to say simplicity. Something that is very natural and organic, nothing that tries too hard. When I think of beauty I think of someone that is just naturally beautiful… effortless.

Sky- What are 3 hashtag that describe you?

S- #positivity, #compassionate, #humble


Sky- Finish this sentence : I am a ______ beau

S- I’m a refugee beau.

March 25, 2020 — Seth Foss