Rashid Silvera has many facets, all of them colorful. At first glance, the facets seem incongruent. Viewed together, though, they paint a portrait of a Renaissance man who knows a thing or two about keeping all eyes focused on him, whether he’s in front of a classroom or gracing the cover of GQ magazine.
A kaleidoscope of Silvera: a tight end with a football scholarship to Colgate. A transfer student and one of only six men at artsy Bennington College, pursuing his intellectual side – and girls – with equal fervor. A divinity student at Harvard, serving as unofficial chaplain to the football team. A beloved teacher (he also earned his master’s in education at Harvard), who will retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, after 35 years teaching social studies at Scarsdale High. And, oh yes, a model. Discovered on a beach in the 1980s, Silvera soon appeared everywhere and was the first man of color featured in Ralph Lauren ads.
Then there’s the look: handsome and outrageously stylish. On the day we speak, he rocks a magenta blazer over a lime-green cashmere sweater, colorful flowing scarf around his neck, black-felt fedora parked at a jaunty angle. He laughs, noting “my eye for putting style in my substance, and substance in my style.” He should know.