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MMSCENE Exclusive Interview with Ryley Harland

Surfing the waves of success, Ryley Harland talks about balancing elite athletics with fashion modeling and more

In this exclusive MMSCENE interview, Ryley Harland opens up about his dual passions: surf life saving and modeling. Hailing from the surf culture of the Gold Coast, Ryley’s life has been deeply connected with the ocean since he was young. His journey into modeling is a more recent endeavor, sparked by his love for the fashion industry and encouraged by those who saw potential in his striking looks. Ryley talks about the nuances of managing a demanding training regimen for surf life saving while navigating the glamorous yet rigorous demands of the modeling world. From winning titles in surf competitions to stepping onto photoshoot sets, his life is a balancing act that showcases his adaptability and dedication. Through his experiences, Ryley shares insights into maintaining physical and mental health, managing pressures and expectations, and cherishing the journey in both arenas. 

MMSCENE EXCLUSIVES

For this session, Ryley, represented by Five Twenty Management in Sydney, is captured and styled by Pat Supsiri at Innkeeper Studios Sydney.

Ryley, can you share with us how you began your journey in both modeling and surf life saving? What initially drew you to each?
I began my journey in surf lifesaving at an early age, I started as a nipper as most kids on the gold coast do when I was 6. I was drawn in by the thought of going to the beach every Sunday and being able to be a part of a surf club. I naturally began racing as I became older, finding success at an early age. My journey in modelling only started a couple of months ago, after being approached by an agency. I always had the idea to get into it after a few people told me I should. I was drawn into doing it as I love the idea of being a model and being able to find success in a career like this.

Being from the Gold Coast, a place renowned for its vibrant surf culture, how has this environment influenced your career choices and personal growth?
The surf culture on the Gold Coast and the lifestyle here would be one of the best in the world. The environment here was the main reason for getting into surf life saving competitively as it just felt natural to do for me being on the Gold Coast. Personally, being born here and growing up here my whole life, it has really been a place that has allowed me to be who I want to be and grow into the person I am today.

You’ve achieved significant success as a surf life-saving ironman athlete. Could you describe what a typical training day looks like for you?
A typical day of training can vary although one of the days would involve a swimming session in the morning that is two hours long, a gym or running session after swimming which can be up to one hour. Then into an afternoon training session on either my ski or board that will be one hour long.

Transitioning between the physically demanding world of surf life saving and the aesthetic focus of modeling, how do you balance these two aspects of your life?
There is a significant difference in what I do when I am training and racing in the surf life saving world compared to modeling. The change of pace is something that I like though, as I can get away from the physically demanding training and racing and I can be in a different environment. I balance these two aspects by ensuring I am mentally and physically prepared, this means I need to stay fit and eat a healthy diet. While the two aspects are a lot different, I need to be able to be skilled in both aspects, which is something I have learnt and will continue to learn throughout my career.

What are some of the most memorable moments or achievements in your surf life saving career so far?
I have had a few great achievements throughout my career to date. The biggest would be qualifying into the professional ironman series. I qualified by placing 6th in the Nutri-Grain ironman series trials. I was 17 when I qualified and was the youngest in the field of 20. I have also made QLD representative teams and won U17 Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf ironman titles.

How did you get scouted for modeling, and what was your initial reaction to stepping into this industry?
I was scouted by FiveTwenty model agency, they scouted me from some photo shoots I did for my swimwear sponsor Engine Swim. My initial reaction was that I was excited for this new opportunity in this industry and be able to create a career in modeling.

In surf life saving, mental strength is crucial. How do you mentally prepare for competitions?
Mental strength is crucial in my sport as it is an extremely physically exerting sport and requires a lot of focus and mental strength, I mentally prepare by putting myself in the right headspace to prepare myself for the competition. I visualize the races in my head which allows me to think the race through so I am prepared to be the fastest I can be. Although I have learnt how to prepare mentally over the years. As it takes time to learn how to be ready to race in a competition.

What advice would you give to young athletes and models who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
The advice that I would give young athletes and models would be to enjoy what you are doing, as when you are enjoying what you are doing then you will be able to find success much easier. Also, surround yourself with people with similar interests and people who care about you.

How do you manage the expectations and pressures that come with being a young talent in two highly competitive fields?
Managing the expectations and pressure has always been tough. Especially in surf life saving as I found success when I was young, I felt pressure coming from myself to continue to be at the top. Although, I have learned a lot on how to manage this overtime, by asking for advice from mentors who have gone through what I have. As they can give me advice and help mentor me.

Looking to the future, what are your goals and aspirations in both your athletic and modeling careers?
The goals I have for my surf life saving career are to qualify again for the professional series and hopefully come top 3 in some of the series rounds. Another goal is to win the U19 Australian ironman title next year. I also want to win an open Australian ironman title one day, which is the most prestigious race in the sport. I do not have many goals and aspirations in my modeling career as such. I am just looking to have fun and see where my career takes me. I am hoping to be able to continue to model and make a career out of it as I love the industry. Hopefully see it take me to places all around the world.


Model – Ryley Harland from FiveTwentyMgmt – Sydney @ryleyharland @fivetwentymgt
Photo and Styling – Pat Supsiri Shot @patsupsiri
Innkeeper Studios Sydney 

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