AT 50, former male supermodel Edika Yusof is still the hunk he was in the 1980s.
The St John’s Institution old boy and former swim captain attributes this to three things – good genes, an anti-ageing serum produced by his company and sufficient sleep.
Reminiscing about his catwalk days, he noted: “The girls took note of the choreography like they were going for an exam. The boys just walked to the beat of the music.”
Models, he said, had it tougher then. Although agencies did not request they have six-pack abs, they had to learn how to put on and take off a jacket on stage stylishly.
To walk for an haute couture label, it was a prerequisite to be able to take off and put on a tuxedo under a minute. There were times when he almost dropped the ball.
“Sometimes, I’d still have a cuff unbuttoned when I went on stage. But I always managed to cover up. “
He was born Mohd Yusof Abdul Majid and is of Pakistani descent.
It was his older stepbrother, Iftikar, who came up with the idea to stylise his name into Edika when he started modelling at 16.
Assignments took Edika as far as Paris, France, and in 1999, he clinched the Mr Photogenic Asia title.
Today, the model-turned-entrepreneur has left much of the limelight behind.
Edika is married to Nor Hidayah Yusri, 39, and the couple has four children, including two from Nor Hidayah’s previous marriage.
Edika is especially protective of Nor Hidayah after nearly losing her to a meningitis infection 11 years ago. She has recovered but is paralysed from the chest down.
“I cannot bear to leave her for long. I worry she would be trapped if there is a fire,” he said.
The couple now earns a living through an online beauty, design and fashion business from home, leveraging on Edika’s fame, her knowledge of the beauty industry (Nor Hidayah’s mother owned a beauty salon) and social media.
One of their biggest contracts was supplying paper bags for the Islamic Fashion Festival organised by Datuk Rezza Shah.
They also printed the paper bags for Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week.
Being stay-at-home parents also means they can keep an eagle eye on their two younger children, Fereena Nurulhaq, 12, and Fardeen Nasrulhaq, 13.
“I don’t spare the rod,” said Edika, admitting he uses it more as a tool to threaten instead of employing it for its real purpose.
If the misdemeanour is serious enough to warrant punishment, he has found that the most effective way is to confiscate the wrongdoer’s mobile phone.
He is particular that his children learn the value of responsibility.
To instil this, he insists they wash their uniforms and shoes by hand, a rule he has enforced from the time they were in kindergarten.
Despite this, Nor Hidayah said the children still regard Edika as the fun parent.
Edika has not turned his back entirely on the entertainment scene. He has made a comeback in an Astro drama, Hikayat Cinta Si Pematah Hati (Love Story of a Heartbreaker), after a 20-year break from acting.
The move, he said, was largely motivated by Nor Hidayah.
“I can still make it to the cover of Men’s Health if they want me. Just give me six months at the gym to shape up, “ he said.
But one role Edika has vowed never to accept is the character of a grandfather.
“I don’t want to be typecast that way,”
Asked about the current modelling scene, Edika said there was a need for agencies to provide proper representation to their talents, which should include insurance and work contracts to protect them from being cheated.
He said talents were mostly being sourced from Russia, Kazakhstan and several Arab states these days.
“We need to ensure that jobs are reserved for local talents, too,” he added.