Connor Way, from Football to Fashion

Connor Way, from Football to Fashion

Athlete is an MVP on the field and on the runway

  • Mar. 8, 2019 7:00 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyreStyling by Shai ThompsonPhotography by Lia Crowe

North Saanich’s Connor Way is a rising star on both the football field and the runway. Here, he talks to Pearl Magazine about these two seemingly polar worlds … and presents spring fashion that is sure to put some prep in your step.

Renaissance Denim Pant by 7 Downie St. ($178), skull shirt by 7 Downie St. ($178), double-breasted sports jacket by Coppley ($998), NOBRAND Shoe Grey ($225) and socks by Marcoliani ($32.50), all from d.g. bremner & co. Lia Crowe photograph

Twelve months ago, 17-year-old Connor Way was on his way back from Texas, where he had joined the world’s best high school football prospects at the International Bowl.

Connor still has a passion for the game and, with high school graduation and university application deadlines closing in, he’s already been courted by colleges south of the border.

Yet Connor finds himself suddenly with more than just scholarship offers to choose from this spring.

Not long after his return to North Saanich following last year’s big game down in Dallas, the Claremont Secondary School student embarked on something entirely new when he seized an opportunity to do some modelling work. Never one to step away from a challenge, Connor has tackled his budding modelling career head on.

“As much as football is hard, the game comes easy to me,” he says. “When I started modelling, it required getting to know a whole different thing.”

He recalls the hilariously challenging modelling practise of producing 30 facial expressions in 30 seconds. Walking on a runway, too, it turns out, was also a whole lot different then playing defensive safety for various BC teams.

“It’s actually been really humbling to see how far my work has come,” he says.

And Connor has come a very long way. Within the past year, he’s gone from doing some local photo shoots to signing a contract with Coultish Management, a Victoria-based agency that’s managed the successful careers of hundreds of models since it was established in 1987.

Cool denim by 34 Heritage ($198), blue check sports coat by Ted Baker ($725), white T-shirt by Robert Barakett ($67.50), salmon stripe scarf by Stones ($89), blue textured belt by Benchcraft ($150), all from d.g. bremner & co.
Lia Crowe photograph

Connor is regularly booked for photoshoots in both Victoria and Vancouver, and he’s slated to make his second appearance at Vancouver Fashion Week in March. He also acts part-time, has appeared in seven movies, a commercial and a soon-to-be launched music video.

The highlight of his rookie season in the fashion world, however, came late last year when Connor won the 2018 Senior Champion Male Model of the World competition at WCOPA (World Centre of the Performing Arts) in Long Beach, California. Competing against contestants aged 16 and up from 62 countries, Connor also won gold medals in the casual, formal, spokesmodel and photo categories.

According to Connor’s mother, Shauna Dorko, the competition is akin to the “talent Olympics” and features performers in categories that include vocals, dance, modelling and acting. To Dorko, who spends about three hours per day managing her son’s busy modelling career, the event was about so much more than winning medals. Being in Los Angeles, a major hub in the modelling universe, gave Connor the chance to sit down and meet with representatives from modelling agencies, casting agents and directors.

Dorko, who runs her own business, never imagined her son’s ascendancy in the fashion world. She believed he had what it takes, but she’s continually amazed at how quickly the process has evolved. Given how far he’s come in a year, Connor and his mother already have plans to head back to Southern California to follow up on some of the successful networking leads they’ve established.

“The minute we were in LA, we saw how things were playing out on a whole different scale,” she says. “There are a few people who want us to come back and meet with them.”

Blue cardigan by William Lockie ($250), plaid shirt by Viyella ($145) and blue knit tie by Gattonero ($75), all from
W&J Wilson; cool denim by 34 Heritage ($198) and blue check sports coat by 
Ted Baker ($725) both from d.g. bremner & co.

Lia Crowe photograph

Given his meteoric rise, Connor has stayed remarkably grounded. Within minutes of speaking with him, it becomes clear that his confidence, maturity and respectful demeanour are a major reason for his success.

In the notoriously competitive field of fashion and elite sports, it’s refreshing to hear an aspiring star speak of camaraderie and brotherhood. Rather than pit himself against those around him, Connor seems genuinely interested in their success. His competitive streak is bred not from how he ranks in relation to others, but with regard to how he looks at himself. That’s a valuable lesson to have mastered so early in life.

“I respect what’s best for everyone, and I love to see people succeed,” he says. “I’ve never been super nervous. Nothing really stresses me out because I feel I can turn to people if I’m lost.”

He credits his mother and strong network of friends for his success. Teachers and tutors, he adds, have shown great flexibility and patience with helping him fit schoolwork into a busy schedule that sees him travel extensively for one job and train relentlessly for the other. Despite all the excitement, he fully realizes that it’s nearly time to make a choice.

“I still haven’t made the switch from football to modelling, but it’s time for making decisions,” he says. “Now I need to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Given his attitude, he’s likely to make the best of whichever pathway he chooses.

Special thanks to local skateboarder Zachary Wilkinson.

Photographed on location at the Sidney Lawn Bowling Club, Tulista Park and Iroquois Park. A huge thank you to the Sidney Lawn Bowling Club for hosting our team.

Renaissance denim by 7 Downie St. ($178), green shirt by Stenströms ($295), blue cardigan by Belika ($165), green outer-coat by Milestone ($495), tie by Dion ($135), satchel by Bugatti ($295), shoe by NOBRAND ($245) all from d.g. bremner & co.

Lia Crowe photograph

FashionFootball

Just Posted

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read