The Professionals: Eking out a career in sports

Joseph Schooling: A model champion keeps a fine balance

For Joseph Schooling, balance is the key to living life as a pro athlete. The Olympic champion discusses how he deals with pressure and keeps himself motivated in the pool while fulfilling his other commitments.
Joseph Schooling pushing himself in training after his modelling session.
Joseph Schooling pushing himself in training after his modelling session.ST PHOTOS: CHONG JUN LIANG
Joseph Schooling pushing himself in training after his modelling session.
Joseph Schooling pushing himself in training after his modelling session.PHOTOS: CHONG JUN LIANG

What does it mean to be a professional athlete in Singapore? The Straits Times takes a hard look at the lives of some of the country's sportsmen and women who earn a living doing what they love in this weekly series that ends today. He needs total focus in training and races but must manage multiple roles out of the water

Joseph Schooling is being lightly coated with the paint of stardom. A little bit of foundation, a little spray on his hair. He yawns in his chair and laughs: "You never get used to make-up." His life is usually a stripped-down existence, just swimming briefs and goggles, a lonely lane and a clock. But this morning is another world and his second life.

For four hours he's like a human mannequin, changing clothes and holding poses, a man of sweat in a room of designer cool as he models Hugo Boss' autumn/winter collection. Is this fun? Perhaps. Mostly it's a champion earning a living.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2019, with the headline 'A model champion keeps a fine balance '. Print Edition | Subscribe