Wonderland.

DUDLEY O’SHAUGHNESSY

The fighter-turned-thespian talks sparring between acting roles and the ring.

Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue grey sweatshirt
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue in the ring

All clothing RUSSELL ATHLETIC

Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue grey sweatshirt
All clothing RUSSELL ATHLETIC
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue in the ring

Generally speaking, actors aren’t always too pleased for being best known for a particular role. But when it’s appearing as Rihanna’s bae in a video so steamy, the farmer whose land it was filmed on asked Ri to leave his property and suggest she find god, you probably won’t mind too much. A top five Rihanna moment, in our opinion; the purest pop culture gold.

Dudley O’Shaughnessy was immortalised as a certified babe in the “We Found Love” video (and eventually ended up dating Rihanna), but the polymath is also a Senior ABA boxing champion, Fred Perry and Stone Island campaign face and has won plenty of roles since the music video, including the lead in the BFI London Film Festival-shortlisted White Colour Black.

Born and raised in east London, O’Shaughnessy’s knack for juggling endeavours has placed him very much in demand. With a return to boxing on the cards, perennial modelling work, an upcoming short film and a mysterious Netflix series looming, this is someone who has leapt out of their lane and dug a whole new path for themselves altogether. We caught up with Dudley about everything he has in the pipeline, spanned masculinity and gender stereotypes and collected a cherished piece of advice concerning ballet and a broken foot.

Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black top
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue white tee
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black top
All clothing RUSSELL ATHLETIC
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue white tee

Hi Dudley! What should we know about you that we might not already?
My name is Dudley O’Shaughnessy, I was born and raised in east London, which is where I still live, and I don’t think I’ll ever live anywhere else but here. I don’t talk that much, and I find life and coincidences very peculiar. I sometimes suffer from depression, but being busy helps to not think about things. I know some very amazing people, and I follow my interests.

One of those busy interests was boxing, right? Why did you decide to leave the sport?
A few reasons. I had achieved the best thing I could as a boxer from England at the time, which was winning the Senior ABAs. I had my trials for Great Britain, but I wasn’t put on the team despite proving I was the best in the country in my weight. In my head, I was at a standstill — GB and international fights were my next step, but as I was denied that opportunity, I felt stuck, and I hate feeling stuck and being unable to move — it drives me insane. Earlier that same year I was scouted as a model, so I started to pursue that and one thing literally lead to another.

I read that you’ve been back in the gym recently, would you ever consider a return to boxing?
I have been training a lot lately, and the return might actually be happening! There is an opportunity to enter a massive competition representing my Dad’s home nation of St Lucia. It’s an honour to have dual heritage, and it gives me the opportunity to represent St Lucia, which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing.

How did you find the shift from the world of boxing to the world of modelling?
Strange, it’s like two different worlds, two different cultures, two different atmospheres. However, the grace in the fighter and the model is the same: there is a certain quality in someone boxing or modelling that you just can’t take your eye off.

You went from something which is perceived as traditionally masculine, whatever that means, to an industry that’s often more geared towards women. Do you think that someone with a platform like you making this decision will show others that assigned stereotypical gender roles are hopefully becoming a thing of the past?
I don’t think it’s a just a case of a gender role that stops people from doing what they want to do; it’s sometimes money, the area you grow up in, or the facilities that surround you. The main thing that stopped me from doing what I want to do is speaking up; if I spoke up as a kid then I would have been acting from earlier.

Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue topless
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black Russell Athletic tee
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue topless
All clothing RUSSELL ATHLETIC
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black Russell Athletic tee

It’s happening now, though! How has that compared to modelling and boxing?
I would say it’s a great mix of the two, it demands the discipline and mindset of boxing, and it also has a similar sense of preparation towards performance. Having the experience of modelling has allowed me to understand the bright lights, events, and dinners that surround the film industry. However, it’s incomparable to anything inside of the industry, which has allowed me to understand the artistic realm, how meaningful art is, and the lengths individuals go to bring something to life.

What’s in the works in your thespian avenue?
I’m shooting a short film called CLICK in a couple weeks where I play a demisexual character, and I’m in a Netflix series that is coming out next year too.

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for that Netflix series… What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“If you have a broken foot, don’t go and read a book on the ballet to fix your foot. Go to a doctor, have an X-ray.” Mario Biagini

Lastly, what do you want your legacy to be?
I prefer to not choose; I’d rather just let it happen.

Taken from the Winter 2018/19 issue; out now and available to buy here.

Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black red Russell Athletic top boxing
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black red Russell Athletic top
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black red Russell Athletic top boxing
All clothing RUSSELL ATHLETIC
Boxer and thespian Dudley O'Shaughnessy in the Winter 18/19 issue black red Russell Athletic top
Photography
Bartek Szmigulski
Styling
Kamran Rajput
Words
Francesco Loy Bell
Grooming
Brady Lea @ Stella Creative Artists
DUDLEY O’SHAUGHNESSY